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Discussion Starter #1
My sincere condolences to the ones involved in the accident at Sawmill. First and foremost to the families, to the driver that caused the accident, and to the organizers. They have all been affected by the tragic events of last week.

Some of us wanted rallying to become BIG in the United States, we wanted large crowds of spectators, manufacturer involment, and hundred car field on each event. Well, we got it. It came with some baggage we didn't count on, and now, people are dead, and our sport is "cancelled".

SCCA has to protect themselves, and they every right to do so. I just hope the SCCA sees Club Rally as a viable option, and approach this problem from this point of view.

The real question is: What do WE do now?....

WE have to look out for our sport. Club Rallying has people from all walks of life, a great pool of resources. Maybe we can toss ideas around, come up with some reasonable options, present them to our peers, and hear what they have to say.

Tony Chavez
 

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Thank you Tony for starting a new thread...this isn't the time for us all to get angry.
We need to come up with some solutions and work together on this.

We try to run rally as safely as we can, but we can't control everyone out there.
The World Rally folks have started charging for passes to go spectate on stages. It might help us too...you don't have a pass..you don't get to watch.

I am not saying charge an arm and a leg for it..maybe a few bucks.

We have lots of options...we just need to work as a group.

Thanks,
Tina Lengacher
 

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Watch scca.org for official announcement

My understanding is that the SCCA (that's us, isn't it?) will be posting an announcement on the www.scca.org web site today, which will hopefully clarify things. I haven't seen it yet though.

Someone may want to post a note here when it appears. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if MaryAnne notified us. She's really good about letting us know when important stuff goes up.

Several sources have told me it's SCCA's insurance guy, not the carriers directly, that want to pull the plug, but I haven't been able to confirm it officially. Regardless of the root, we need to work hard to preseve and improve club-level rallying, regardless of brand name.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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Tony,

FIRST: Resolve the short-term problem of getting the ClubRally suspension lifted quickly. First priority should be given to the concerns of the Organizers, then Competitors, then Spectator's in that order. Close the "official" hot stage spectator area's off from the public if necessary to get ClubRally going again promptly.

SECOND: If the potential liability of spectator safety is seen as a genuine threat to the continuation of amature rallying in the USA, it would not bother me at all to put a "formal" lid on it forever. Personally, I have never liked the hype and publicity considered necessary to grow the sport through greater public awareness and access. I prefer small hometown events. If ProRally sponsors need spectators let them pay for it, including paying for extra-ordinary Spectator Safety measures and liability insurance.

LONG TERM: I would prefer to see the amature level "sport" continue to evolve as a discipline enjoyed primarily by those who participate. If not with SCCA, then with any other sanctioning organization.

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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>I second everything Rich said, particularly in respect to
>ClubRally spectating.

One of the issues is that spectators will show up, regardless of whether or not you want them. That means that you will have to take them into account in event planning. If you can control all access to the venue you can limit the potential risk. If you can't control the access (public land, permissions only cover use of the road...), what do you do?

Adrian
 

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Spectators spectate from where ever they want to because we let them. They walk down the stage from the starts and finishes because they can. It has always been allowed so as Rally gets popular more and more people do it. It is time to put more control on where spectators are allowed. When I say spectators, I mean everyone that is there watching the event, press, crew, workers, rookies, and veterans. It is time we all rethink what a "safe" place to stand really is. Controling spectators will make some mad, those that don't like it can find another sport, those that don't mind, can watch from a controled area. As an organizer it is my job to look out for your safety, even if you don't want me to.
It will take years to retrain the spectator. They will learn what is allowed, or we won't have events.
 

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RE: What now? Show some initiative.

If the problem is indeed insurance, do what the political types do and throw a bone - meanwhile, it can help solve some of our problems too.
Rally too expensive? Roads get rutted? Speeds too high? Get rid of the FIA rules and make a north american series they can copy from us.
I propose 3 classes.
Production - showroom stock.
John's triple 2
The New open with Normally Aspirated 4wd and a rev-limited top speed.
Of course I'd say my car would be the model (2.5RS Subaru) but it could be 2 liter or 3 liter.
Pick a final drive, no more than 5 or 6 gears and limit the top speed to a number and make the rev limit in all gears fit that speed, have officials sit on some straights and shoot radar to police it.
--
This solves a bunch of problems and makes us look safer.
Triple 2 and open should be a good fight for OA.
Less road abuse, easier to drive, cheaper to operate, easier on parts, cheaper to build or buy. No more inlet restrictions.
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Downsides? Fewer europeans making a living mapping anti-lag ECUs, fewer tire sales, fewer special parts sales. Stage times reduced by 10%, fewer pops and bangs and flames. (or are those more good things?)
A divorce from FIA car rules (of which only GpN is affected so far).
---
rz
 

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>It will take years to retrain the spectator. They will
>learn what is allowed, or we won't have events.

We will need to empower our workers - and competitors, too - to shut a stage down if it can't be run safely. The threat of shutting a stage down must be REAL. If there are spectator problems, we will have to actually DO it to get their attention. It's worked fairly well at the WRC level...

Bruce
 

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thinking toward the future

I've learned some about contract law the past year and something occured to me regarding this issue. See, contracts can come in MANY different forms. From a 50-odd page letter going over all the intricacies to a simple email saying someone will pay someone else back; there are a LOT of different types of contracts..

What about putting up a huge flyer at all of the rally access roads posting something like "By passing this sign, you agree to not hold the SCCA, landowners, competitors, etc. responsible for any damage or injury while on these premisis." ??

I know it'd have to be crafted air-tight by some super-duper-uber contract lawyer that only someone like Microsoft or Boeing or the Gov'ment could afford, but it's a thought.

-Jason Grahn
 

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>One of the issues is that spectators will show up,
>regardless of whether or not you want them. That means that
>you will have to take them into account in event planning.
>If you can control all access to the venue you can limit the
>potential risk. If you can't control the access (public
>land, permissions only cover use of the road...), what do
>you do?

This is not entirely true. The same people that issue road closure permits can also close areas (at least if you run in BLM or national forest land) Desert racing has been doing it for years. It works pretty well, but they provide easy access spectator areas in exciting places (ie road crossings) and the local authorities are quick to hand out citations. Yes, I speak from experiance. I payed my fine and will not be caught in a closed area again. BTW, I was in a very safe place; I dont think I could have been hit if a driver tried. I was over 200 yards off the course and on top of a large hill. It didn't matter, I was not in a spectaor area and I got fined.
 

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RE: thinking toward the future

>What about putting up a huge flyer at all of the rally
>access roads posting something like "By passing this sign,
>you agree to not hold the SCCA, landowners, competitors,
>etc. responsible for any damage or injury while on these
>premisis." ??
>
>I know it'd have to be crafted air-tight by some
>super-duper-uber contract lawyer that only someone like
>Microsoft or Boeing or the Gov'ment could afford, but it's a
>thought.

You can attempt to do a million things and they all might not work. Best thing we can do is to educate the spectators, and the best thing the spectators can do is cooperate with us. I know from now on if I see people being stupid or where they shouldn't be, I'm going to tell them about my experience this past weekend.

People who are at a rally who know about this incident should outnumber those who don't know. If everyone works to get the message across to 1 person, and gets them to move in a safer spot, then we're doing our job.

Pete
 

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RE: thinking toward the future

>What about putting up a huge flyer at all of the rally
>access roads posting something like "By passing this sign,
>you agree to not hold the SCCA, landowners, competitors,
>etc. responsible for any damage or injury while on these
>premisis." ??
>

In the UK EVERYTHING connected with the rally, from Supps to programs to marshals' vests, has the following printed on it:

WARNING
MOTORSPORT CAN BE DANGEROUS
Despite the organisers taking all reasonable precautions, unavoidable accidents can happen. Please comply with all instructions of marshals and notices and remain in permitted areas only. They are concerned with your safety.

...it may yet come to something like this in the US.

BTW...keep studying...get to the part about litigating these contracts. :)

Bruce
 

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>
>>One of the issues is that spectators will show up,
>>regardless of whether or not you want them. That means that
>>you will have to take them into account in event planning.
>>If you can control all access to the venue you can limit the
>>potential risk. If you can't control the access (public
>>land, permissions only cover use of the road...), what do
>>you do?
>
>This is not entirely true. The same people that issue road
>closure permits can also close areas (at least if you run in
>BLM or national forest land) Desert racing has been doing it
>for years. It works pretty well, but they provide easy
>access spectator areas in exciting places (ie road
>crossings) and the local authorities are quick to hand out
>citations. Yes, I speak from experiance. I payed my fine
>and will not be caught in a closed area again. BTW, I was
>in a very safe place; I dont think I could have been hit if
>a driver tried. I was over 200 yards off the course and on
>top of a large hill. It didn't matter, I was not in a
>spectaor area and I got fined.

True, but that is where you have control over the venue. A lot of events use roads that are controlled at a municipal level and the road permissions don't (or can't) give permission to control access to the land surrounding the road.

Adrian
 

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>True, but that is where you have control over the venue. A
>lot of events use roads that are controlled at a municipal
>level and the road permissions don't (or can't) give
>permission to control access to the land surrounding the
>road.

For example, 100 Acre Wood is run on roads in the National Forest. The roads are the responsibility of the counties, but the land belongs to the USFS. As the Forests Service officer told me, "The county gives permission to close the road, but if somebody goes off and hits a tree, a report lands on MY desk."

Ojibwe Forests runs on some roads that are controlled by the DNR but run on tribal land.

And it gets even sillier than that sometimes.

Bruce
 

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I would like to see some sort of Forest Pass system for Spectators. Maybe have the spectators sign waivers and give them a quick lesson on the safety of spectating rallies. I know I'm not taking into account all the logistics involved, but I believe it would be a good way to educate safety and the SCCA could be somewhat covered. Then these people with the passes can find a spot where they want (like they do now) and the people without the passes can sit in the safety zones like they did at Cherokee Trails. This would also allow for the marshalls to save there breath when they see the arm band. Just a thought.
 

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>True, but that is where you have control over the venue. A
>lot of events use roads that are controlled at a municipal
>level and the road permissions don't (or can't) give
>permission to control access to the land surrounding the
>road.
>
>Adrian

In Ontario, the land immediately surrounding the road is part of the public highway that typically gets temporarily closed by a road closure by-law under the Municipal Act. The full width of a public highway (often incorrectly refered to as the right-of-way) varies: depending on whether the road arose as:
- a forced road
- a by-law road
- a road allowance as part of an original township survey

Road allowances in the southern part of the province vary: 66 feet (common), and 40 feet (not-so-common). Widths of by-law roads and forced roads run the gamut.

What I'm getting at is that the vast majority of municipal roads (public highways by right of the Municipal Act) which are closed by by-law are closed to a significantly greater width that that which is travelled and maintained. Therefore, restricting access to the travelled portion is, in most cases, doable. Similar situations exist in other provinces and, I would imagine, in the U.S.

Robin
 

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Sorry guys, I know I'm opening Pandorra's Box but I beg to differ.
Hate me if you want but I always say how the cow eats the cabbage.

Rich you say;

"Personally, I have never liked the hype and publicity considered necessary to grow the sport through greater public awareness and access. I prefer small hometown events. If ProRally sponsors need spectators let them pay for it, including paying for extra-ordinary Spectator Safety measures and liability insurance."

Sorry but you are mistaken, you may be independently wealthy, you may not need a sponsor to support your rally efforts but most club rallyists need all the financial support they can get to continue rallying. Ban spectating and it will really become the Secret Car Club Of America, that would only hurt the exposure. We need spectators, but we need to educate them, we need to educate the safety workers as well, keep in mind we still don't know how the accident happened so whatever we are saying here is relative.

Randy you say;

"Rally too expensive? Roads get rutted? Speeds too high? Get rid of the FIA rules and make a north american series they can copy from us.............
.........Downsides? Fewer europeans making a living mapping anti-lag ECUs, fewer tire sales, fewer special parts sales. Stage times reduced by 10%, fewer pops and bangs and flames. (or are those more good things?)
A divorce from FIA car rules (of which only GpN is affected so far)."

I'd say look into the FIA rules with even more attention, they have been there done that, so far they only had one knee jerk reaction in a similar situation. Better look in CARS rules, look in Sweden's, Finland's, Germany's, England's, make a synthesis, tailor the regulations to suit the conditions we have here there is no need to reinvent the damn wheel there, is nothing wrong with asking for help, when the powers to be drop their arrogance and know-it-all attitude we'll all start moving forward.

Do you think there is anything wrong with making a living by mapping ECU's. There is a demand therefore there is a supply. Yes it will hurt for a while but some other opportunity will present itself.

Do you remember what happened when FIA banned GrB ? They thought it was going to solve all the problems, BTW this is the knee jerk reaction I was referring to. So, we stopped driving 400+ hp cars, what do we have now, WRC, so what if you have 300 hp, you pull 450lb torque, is it safer now because GrBs are abolished ?? Look at Portugal, still the same stupid (sorry I can't call them brave)spectators at the same corner, same jump. But the rally improved 75% as far as safety is concerned, you have incredibly strict safety marshalls, almost like gestapos.

Accidents will happen, that's the nature of the beast. IMHO the best course of action is to learn from them, find out if there was any negligence, if it could have been prevented, improve don't destroy.

I know you have been racing since Mobby Dick was a minnow, so have I, so have a lot of others, there are lots of people who can handle powerful cars, I am just against the idea of letting newcomers drive high horse power AWD cars, we need to prevent them from competing with more car than they can handle (I know it doesn't apply to the case at hand, Peter Malaszuk was seed3). It's a lot more beneficial to learn to rally in a low HP 2WD car, heck it's the right way.

You said, "This solves a bunch of problems and makes us look safer" frankly speaking I don't want to LOOK safer, I want to be safer as much as possible.

Here's an idea (I know I'll be the bad guy again), stop blind rallying, allow recce, and don't give me the stage notes, fair opportunity mumbo jumbo. I don't like to race with someone else's notes, racing doesn't have to be fair. Let every driver make their own notes if they chose to, especially in club events, teach drivers and codrivers how to effectively and safely prepare notes.

That's all I have to say about it.

Cheers

M.Samli
Vive le Prole-ralliat!
 
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