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· Registered
971 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Notice: This topic is not intended to be tangled up with other semi-related opinions currently being debated.)


I believe the growth in the American "popular awareness" of Rally as Motorsport in rescent years is due to the World Rally Championship televised on Speedvision (Speed), WRC in the print media, and WRC in manufacturer advertising. Organizational structures related to American Rallying should not base there operations on a misconception. American rallying and related enterprises have been riding the WRC coat-tails.

True AMERICAN based rallying has had no significant influence at all. It was WRC that allowed American pop culture to identify rallying as an exciting "extreme sport". To attibute the branding of the High Performance Rally image in the USA to any other source is misguided.

Well, that's my opinion. What's yours?

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"

>True AMERICAN based rallying has had no significant
>influence at all. It was WRC that allowed American pop
>culture to identify rallying as an exciting "extreme sport".
>To attibute the branding of the High Performance Rally image
>in the USA to any other source is misguided.


Those who attribute it to SCCA and its employees
are misguided.

>Well, that's my opinion. What's yours?

Increasing U.S. rally's popularity is a negative, not a positive.

· Jct Motorsports &Collision
386 Posts
Rallying is going into one of those 7 year cycles. 7 on way up. 7 on way down.I started rallying in the mid 80's. rallying doing really good in 1985 grp B CARS and so on and 1992 at a low, 1999 doing good again.2004 looks a little down hill car counts down and moneys gettig tight. Just my veiw of things.:-( :-( :'( CHRIS PUTZIER

>>True AMERICAN based rallying has had no significant
>>influence at all. It was WRC that allowed American pop
>>culture to identify rallying as an exciting "extreme sport".
>>To attibute the branding of the High Performance Rally image
>>in the USA to any other source is misguided.

The guys here are always asking me when more Rally will be on TV. WRC, SCCA, they don't care what it is. They want to see action. These guys don't see rally as "extreme" any more than NASCAR or sprint cars are.

>Those who attribute it to SCCA and its employees
>are misguided.

Those who attribute local organizational choices and problems to the SCCA are similarly misquided.

>>Well, that's my opinion. What's yours?
>Increasing U.S. rally's popularity is a negative, not a

Doesn't rally require some competition to be enjoyable?

Or is there some auto-erotic quality to it that only a few are aware of?

· codriveur
1,478 Posts

I generally agree.They know how to do it best. So it begs the questions & I do not want to "get tangled up" but if the WRC gave birth to it should the WRC have a role in raising it? Should they like F1 bring an event or 2 over. Should they reach out & create a North American Professional circut?

Furthermore do they support a feeder class of rally or do they feed off of the fervent fan base and coresponding amateur club level and how do they support it/or not?

How do you get them over here?


· Registered
413 Posts
All the above statements are very true and helped me learn about rally (in Europe). All these things made me crave getting involved in rally but none of them let me know that rally is happening in the US. This even with at the time I became involved 3 competitors in town and that VW commercial (that as I said in adjacent post I assumed was filmed in Europe). Even with all the things I see and believe that the SCCA is doing wrong to rally they have done a good job of starting to advertise it. It still needs more advertisement and promotion to develop a national pro series and be able to support quality regional proam and club series'.

· I am not here anymore
2,917 Posts
I agree. I did not find out about rally through Spitzner-era SCCA promotion.

I first found out about rally by reading around it in Autosport, looking for F1 news and what rally was never really clicked then.

What probably first turned me on to rally was "Sega Rally" and "Sega Rally 2". I could not play Sega Rally 2 enough.

It really didn't click to me that rallying was going on in the US until I moved to Seattle in 97 and met John Allen (who lives a couple miles from me), which is strange, because I knew Ben Bradley before that. It was then that I figured out what Ben was involved with.

So, exactly who did the Spitzner-era promote rally outside of folks who didn't already know what it was? The "cute car" ad? Seems more like VW promotion to me.


· Registered
107 Posts
I think the "tuner" craze has been one of the single largest contributing factors. Flame me if you will, but with the insane popularity of imports and the tuning craze that goes with it, the "tuner crowd" started looking and learning where their favorite cars where being raced and enjoyed. WRC coverage paralelled and helped increase the interest as well as the games. From there, I credit Subaru with the introduction of the WRX and the rally-related ads they ran. Brilliant I might ad. They new they needed to do little to get the tuner crowd, they already had them. The rally slant to their ads was just helped widen their exposure and interest level, regardless of how Subaru BECAME popular. The WRX, as we all know, was already very popular nearly everywhere else in the world and was HOTLY wanted in the USA. Just look at the WRX sales numbers. I think Subaru wanted to sell 10,000 the first year and they ended up with something like 25,000? My numbers are from memory and are probably off, but the point stands.

Here is where I am really going to get flamed: As far as the increase in popularity/participation in the younger generation, I think it has more to do with being different and wanting to take the road "less traveled." I mean that with all due respect...especially since it was one of MY reasons for getting involved. In fact, many rallyists are involved, beyond the enjoyment aspect, because it IS different than anything else. Here is how I justify that. The next "big thing" is drifting. It hasn't had allot of exposure/participation in the US, but it is growing by leaps and bounds...or at least WILL, like it or not. If the increased rally interest in the US was directly corrolated(sp?) to the tuner craze, we all would have more rallys and racers than anyone could handle...and the money from all sources would also be more than most could count.

Now, I know that I have contradicted myself...to a point. I guess what I am saying in all this is that my points in the first paragraph have helped to a signifcant degree to improve US rally...but it will not continue to increase it at the same rate. Rally is, in my opinion, a purist sport. What I mean is, that it is not convinient to spectate or participate. On the spectating point, it is far easier to go to a show where the single largest aspect is the car show and related interaction that is inherant. From there, the drag racing is so popular because it offers the ease for everyone to congregate and spectate. This also allows many to feel like they are, in some small degre, part of the action. This is the same for NASCAR. It is easy to go to one place and sit and watch ALL of the race. Is rally more interesting to watch? Matter of opinion. I will say it offers ALLOT more variety in both vehicles and driving styles. On the spectating point, I think I covered that well except for this point: we live in a society that wants things easy, quickly and delivered with minimal effort. Cost is of little concern. I know that sounds nuts, but look at the prices for a NASCAR race or ANY stick-and-ball sport. Cost obviously isn't an issue. If it were, we would rule the world!

What I have said above might, to some, sound like a death knell for rally. Far from the truth. What I think it DOES mean is that rally in the US will NEVER achieve anything even close to the popularity that most other forms of sports enjoy. I also hope it never does. If that happens, allot of the "family" aspect will vanish. Also, in this litigis(sp) and environmental-sensitive society, huge popularity would shut rally down forever. Think I am wrong? Look at the recent California wildfires. IF just one of the very large ones had started as a result of a rally spectator, kiss rally goodbye...at least in California during anything but the most ideal of conditions. We also all know that many things that happen in California spread across the country, good or bad. Lastly, add in the increase in spectator incidents that would definately happen. It has already made us all take a long hard look at Clubrally.

The only way I see a signifcant increase in US rally is stadium-style events. Scream all you like, but in this society, that is what it will take. The spectators want the ease of access, with little to moderate interest in ticket cost. The media want the absolutely lowest possible expense to cover an event to maximize profits, period. Proof: Manufacturers pay for the TV coverage in the US, on SPEED. ESPN, the sporst leader on the planet, will air instead of more interesting motorsports, Scrabble, Chess and the World Series of Poker. Economics at play. If there were a "Super Special" set up in conjunction with a huge import tuner car show/drifiting competition/bikini contest, the popularity would increase by orders of magnitude. I know the competitors hate the Super Specials for many reasons. That isn't the point of the thread. The tuner crowd loves EVERYTHING that is done with imports. This would work, but I don't know if it would ultimately help or hurt rally. Flame away!

I apologize if I went too far off topic...I suffer from "can't shut up" and there is, unfortunately, no cure :+

Edit: poor spelling, grammar, etc :7

· Registered
790 Posts
It all adds up (and all works together).

SpeedTV broadcasts is a huge factor, but they need the advertising which, beyond the School of Synthetic Rock Technology (my favorite), is Subaru and Mitsubishi. SCCA originally teamed up with Subharu for the intro of the WRX. Mitsubishi was forced to follow Subaru with the EVO.

The games are very important for the youth factor, but I would not simply suggest SCCA had nothing to do with it.

Yes, Performance Rallying in this country does indeed go through cycles which are sometimes economy dependent but also appear "car" dependent. The mid-eighties surge was a Mopar thing (Omni-based products and contingency) ; 1999 to 2002 a Subaru thing. Mitsubishi sort of missed or blew an opportunity in the early 90(s) when it abruptly cancelled its contingency program even though it had a neat car in the Talon.


· Registered
705 Posts
JC, your sarcasim has been noted.

On another note, if SpeedTV coverage of ProRally is sooooo great, then how come none, NONE of the races are EVER reported on Speed News, and when the championship was won, nothing on that either. They will show ever small town sprint car race, modified race, stock car, even the winner of a lawnmower race in Charlotte, but not the ProRally National Championship.

THAT shows the true nationwide awareness level of ProRally more than anything else, not manufacturer support. As far as SpeedTV is concerned (except for the infomercial/race shows) SCCA ProRally doesnt exist.

· Registered
1,277 Posts
I was involved in TSD rallies in a car club (the Escort Car Club) in Australia in the early 80's.

We knew about the car's rally heritage so it seemed appropriate.

I also had a few friends who were into performance rally in Australia, but I pretty much thought they were crazy.

I can remember the performance rally cars (from the Brisbane Car Club) on display at motor shows.

Fast forward to 1997/8 - I'd seen the WRC broadcasts and thought, wow rallying has become big time. I bought an Impreza 2.5 RS and restarted TSD rallying at TBird 1998.

Eventually I figured I should get into historic rallying so built my Cortina. I've done 4 events. I still watch the WRC.

I still find the SCCA coverage embarassing. Really, you should watch the Australian Rally Championship broadcasts. Grp N, close racing between the factory teams and privateers.

I hope Open Class dies a natural death (as the US championship class), and soon, due to the increased popularity of Grp N here.

With Subaru's increased contingency fund for Grp N, hopefully it will accelerate it.


· Registered
636 Posts
Word Of Mouth...

I think word-of-mouth is the biggest seller of anything. That's how I got started, I knew somebody. No amount of advertising is as good as word-of-mouth. I'm sure broadcasts of WRC help, but acually being invited to an event as a spectator, service crew, etc. for the first time, really locks it in for most people. If you want this sport to grow, start inviting, be passionate about it, be evangelistic about it.


Politically-correct homogenized quantity

>If Rally in the North America was less popular,
>this website would not exist...
>Would that be better?

It wouldn't make much difference. Someone else would
create a website. Rallyracingnews.com is an example of
an excellent rally website. The CRS website which later
metamorphosed into Special Stage was a better website (IMHO).

See all the posts on Special Stage requesting it be
used as a place to communicate with SCCA, the PRB,
the PRD, and other rally officials.
Although these groups and people can be reached
through other means, posters desire one convenient
place to go to for rally rather than jumping from
website to website.

"One stop shopping" convenience is the driving force
behind Special Stage (others will disagree). It is like
the Wal-Mart of rally... politically-correct homogenized quantity.

I'm not complaining. You asked. I answered.

· Registered
913 Posts
1996-1997 started TSD rallying. 1997 (after college) started working performance rallies and doing TSD (working, competing, writing). 1998 started competing and working performance rallies, and doing the whole TSD thing.

Basically: TSD got me started in taking that road less travelled, and performance rally got me going down that road faster.

I got the bug from my brother Mark, and I'm not sure where he got it from. :) But my first rally I worked was the Dryad Quest rally way back in November of 97 (I think) with Mark in our convertible Mistu Eclipse. I remember when Paul Choiniere won every National event. And it was predictable that he would win. Either he, or Noel Lawler in the other Hyundai. Boring. No variety in cars. Now at least we have three or four different sorts that could potentially win, instead of one.

Somewhere around here I still have the original handwritten and photocopied results.

Most of us don't care who sanctions and insures rallies, we just want to go out and drive fast in the woods with our friends. If rally went back underground, organizers couldn't afford to put on rallies (where do you think the workers come from?? Out of thin air??), competitors couldn't afford to enter rallies, and, well, the death spiral has begun.

Personally, I don't like it when spectators are walking up the stage road because they think the stage is done before sweep has gotten there... but with the corralling of spectators, I haven't seen it as much this year as last year. At Mt. Hood, I only saw people in the forest, not on the road.

Less spectators=less potential workers=fewer rallies=nothing to do of a weekend.

Those of you who wish rally would go back underground from whence it came: accept the universal mandate: change, or die. That means that rally has to keep up with changes with the times, or it will die. No halfway measures. No, "I'm entitled to sponsor money so I can go rally, but I don't want anyone to know about rally" or "I'm entitled to something from the Pro side of things and I don't want any spectators to watch and I don't want National to have anything to do with the rally".

Oh, and by the way: until you have a hand in organizing an event (as in, take on a high-level volunteer position and have a hand in the actual running of the event), I'm not seeing how you can have an informed opinion of where rally should go. Not to say that you can't have an opinion if you don't organize or work, but you can't have an INFORMED opinion.

Flame on, light up the night.
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