Hello to Everyone at SpecialStage!
I have been reading all of the threads about Mark Lovell and Rhys Millen's speeding incidents. My opinions have not always been the most popular in regards to these issues. We witnessed Lovell and Millen drive up to the refueling zone when these incidents took place. From my vantage point, I feel that both of them were driving cautiously and with their heads. But I have a question. Was anyone checking the speed of these cars? If not, then there is no proof that these guys were speeding (even if they were). In order to punish them, there has to be proof. I'm not trying to sympathize with the works teams. I also felt that the penalty imposed on John Drislane a STPR was too stiff. If an SCCA Official was checking speeds with a "GUN," I would not be ranting and raving. But this is ridiculous.
I think that the effort put into this issue should be transferred to cracking down on the spectators who are in the forests drinking alchohol. Oregon Trial 2002 was incredible. I was witness to several groups of inebriated spectators who jumped into their cars after the end of day 1 stages. I don't feel that a rally driver (especially of Lovell's, Millen's or even Drislane's abilities) endagers me on the road, even if they are speeding. These guys know what their doing. But these drunks leaving the Trask River stages...I honestly felt that my safety and security was in danger. If they have to, the organizers should charge for spectators to get into the stages, on condition that it reduces the number of drunk lunatics who endager not only our safety, but the future of our sport. If anything causes us to lose this sport in the U.S., its not the rally drivers who occasionally speed, but the irresponsible spectators. In 1992, while living in Southern California, I attended the Rim of the World (South Portal Road Stage). While driving up this road, a silver Mitsubishi Colt Turbo jumped out of a corner, sideways, and skimmed our Honda along the drivers side. The only reason a head on collision was avoided (the roads in California are quite narrow) was because my dad just had time to hug the cliff on the right side. That's irresponsible. To top it all off, this guy didn't even stop to ask if anyone was injured. It was a hit and run accident and he was never caught. Chances are good that he was drunk. He sure was driving like it.