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Chris,
You make me feel young again! What's next is you will get that ride and be totally ruined forever. Do not be discouraged by some of the heated discussions here. Do get everyone you can involved in the sport. Be as encouraged by the good folks you meet at the events (Ham operators, dedicated organizers, competitors at all levels) as I am by your youthful exuberance.
We have been putting on rallies in the Chattahoochee National Forest since the 80's. It is one of the most heavily used forests in this country and presents some challenges to organizers, but you will find that we have organizers who are up to the task. Join me in getting behind them. Get your driver to commit early next year. I for one promise an entry next year, even if they need me for lead car.
One suggestion for you. Get a Ham Liscense and you might score the opportunity to co-drive in a zero car if you don't have the chance to compete.

Rally on! Chuck
 

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The closure of CT comes with the attendant anger, disappointment, in-fighting, and flaming. Now is the call for "Series Unification", then more anger, disappointment, in-fighting, and flaming. Rinse, repeat.

I'm a novice co-driver right now---or close to becoming a novice. From the standpoint of all those on SS, I've absolutely no rep. But I think my opinion counts here: I'm one of those who makes up the future of rally here in the US. I've been volunteering to help teams for three years now in service and in management. I try to do as much as I can, spend as much as I can, while still juggling my job, my house, my marriage, and all the other "Other Important Stuff/Costs" we deal with. I won't try to compare my sacrifices to those who spend a great deal setting up rally cars, or more importantly setting up events. Someday that will be my mantle to take on. But for now, I'll still call myself a rallyist.

As CT shut down and again a $600+ opportunity to try co-driving disappeared (the third so far for me), my personal recourse is to press on regardless. Find more money, find another opportunity, maybe, for RNY. We all have our reasons why we do rally (in what ever ways we do). And yet over the last three years I have heard/read so much of those tired of the BS policies, of the price increases, of how we just can't run it like the Canadians, why American rally is so much scrappier that anyone else's, and why NASCAR drivers only turn left but somehow them ******** pay $$ to see that. It is tiring to hear all that. Maybe its also my mantle to be that tired rallyist---but I'd like to earn that right first.

So for now the question is "What's Next?" I won't be the last to suggest that the entry fees are daunting. Or that the team I'm with plans for races not based on which series they are in as much as proximity and the ultimate $$/mile ratio of expenses. But this sport needs a better future in my opinion. This posting is an offer or a request for some thinkers to step forward and help me and the others who are looking at our future opportunities in this sport.

The Strengths:

(1) Its a small sport. I think a previous post suggested that there were about 500 rallyists. You could probably meet them all, and I sure many have. Most of them are pretty nice, too.
(2) It's rally. We do jumps. We go sideways. Anytime. Anywhere. In 4-cylinder street-legal cars. 'Nuff said.
(3) It's outdoors, not (always) on some racetrack.

The Weaknesses:

(1) It's outdoors, not (always) on some racetrack. (esp. the legal/fiscal issues, but also the spectator limitations)
(2) An apparent inability of the rally community to pull together
(3) We're trying to raise a sport in a nation that hardly has any attention remaining for other sports

This list probably isn't new to anyone. In my opinion, the standout here should be Weakness #2. This is my impression, from an 'outside' perspective. For an organization as small as we have, its just seems so easy to have a pretty tight-knit community. At least that factor is the one of the five (or six?) above that we have the most control over. But there's some mistrust of the sponsoring organizations. And there's clearly a lot of drivers who moonlight as armchair-stewards. We also face the universal, physiological principal that Mankind Becomes Stupid Behind the Wheel of a Car that plagues all motorsports. Or do I misrepresent some of the sentiment here?

Rally in the US (and North America) has a lot of challenges, but some unique strengths. Frankly if you consider the Brock Yates Theory of Equalization (http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=953029), we should be comforted that therein lies the seed of an idea that maybe Rally still has the opportunity to avoid becoming what Brock is observing so much elsewhere.

Recognizing the shear hypocrisy of my position, let me suggest some ways we can get the thinking started--it would not be fair to write some big post without some preliminary contribution:

(1) To the Folks at "SpecialStage.com": get us a forum on North American Rally and its administration. Let's get a few more folks to spend time moderating this forum to keep flaming to a minimum and build a space for thoughtful exchange. A successful discourse is easily worth it to you.

(2) Same goes to "Rally World", who's tried the offline angle in covering North America for a couple of year---and now a new role of managing the Spanish-language coverage of all FIA/World Rally Championship. You guys are a base of "bipartisan" mass communication that helps us improve the sport. Your presence as a journalistic force in Rally can be invaluable to North America (if you don't leave us behind for greener pastures). Stick with us. Get critical, dig down to the smaller teams, help drive us (as more than a glossy brochure for North American Rally) and
we'll help drive you. The two pages per month we find in SportsCar or GrassRootsMotorsports is helpful, but not going to carry the sport.

(3) A little more transparency on how rallies are set up. We're all in this together. The closing of CT this year was followed by questions and speculation. Whether its RA, NASA, or SCCA or something else, what are the things that this organization needs to bring to the table, and what are the gaps that are left to fill by the individual events planners? How can these organizations effectively subsidize individual events that are having trouble? Maybe this whole process needs to be more visible--like a charity fundraiser? The discussion of series sponsorship, probably often rehashed, seems to be central. How do national organizations help regional rallies to get sponsored?

(4) Consider this a Sport of the Amateurs. We must absolutely be thankful for the Factory Teams and Championships that bring international stardom to the sport. But somehow the rest of us will need to fill out the rest of the field. SCCA's theory of Rally Crosses and Rally Sprints would help to build a base of rallyists. Club Rally rally should be the destination of that base. NASCAR is NASCAR, but beneath it (and beneath the Busch league) are hundreds of dirt tracks...

(5) Look for a more integrated system of sponsorships. Can we leverage individual team sponsorships across multiple teams (a spider sponsorship)? Or can a sponsorship opportunity be better placed at the event level? Is there more room for events to partner w/ teams in making sponsorship pitches--this would certainly give additional credence to a sponsorship proposal if the sponsoring organization were able to be somehow involved. Would your team trade on a single sponsorship for you team to have a broader field and a lower entry fee?

(6) Let's review whats been tried, what's worked, what hasn't and maybe what needs to be retried. This may be a regular occurence among rally masters--but transparency might help others (newer rallyists who might be interested in helping out as Rally Masters) tackle what lies ahead. Anders Green did what appeared to be quite a successful job w/ Sandblast this year as his first rally. Perhaps he could speak to the rest of us about Lesson's Learned. Nor would I discredit the hard work of other organizers; their thoughts too, in contrast with Anders', might help construct a useful timeline of our ideas and innovations over the years. I know that some SCCA rally masters took the time to get a lot of briefing from WRC hosts in the UK--these shouldn't be trade secrets. Or maybe they're used today? (I just don't know--my point exactly.) As another example, Rally America might be able to talk a bit candidly about its transition from time keeper to sponsor. Accepting that there are business economics at stake, I still think that there are more than a few watered down "tips" on rally organization that we could farm out of current and past organizers.

(7) If, ultimately, the problem is the culture of the US, then lets understand why the involvement of DC Shoe, motocross stars, Playstations, and so many other positive factors can't make that change if few minds from Microsoft can revive the entire professional bowling industry (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.09/kingpin.html)...

So what I'm looking for is help. Help from other, more experienced members of the rally community and from the other proto-rallyists like myself to start getting involved. We've only got our time, our sweat, and our money to give. Each has more of some than others. Its all more, perhaps, than we asked for. But its What's Next.

FattyW
 

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Heck of a post!

I think the biggest problem with rally in this country is us, to be painfully honest.

Rally people are some of the most passitionate, focused, determined people I have ever met. Every person here has their own idea of what to do and how to do it (I am as guilty as anyone else), and they are very passionate about their ideas. At some point we as ralliest have to come to a consensus, because if we can't get to one, how can we expect two sanctioning bodies to come together and get over their philosphical differences?

The founders and directors of NASA RallySport have poured tons of time and money into doing things the way they believe they should be done. They feel entitled to do things how they believe they should be done, and by and by, with the time and personal money that has been invested, they deserve to.

The founders and directors of RallyAmerica have also poured countless heaps of time and money into the sport steering things the way they feel is necessary, doing things how they believe they should be done. And you know what, they deserve it just as much as the NASA guys.

In the end the sanctioning bodies are now businesses, they WILL reflect what the community wants (you saw the bemoaning of the oversight of 2wd cars, NASA launched a 2wd USRC, and RA vetched at the marketing company and got the press out there for 100AW). Until the small, but ever so passionate rally community decides what they want, and how to get there, we will forever be divided, and no better for it.
 

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>Heck of a post!
>

Agree

>Until the small, but ever so passionate rally
>community decides what they want, and how to get there, we
>will forever be divided, and no better for it.

I think they/we possibly have decided. But there are people that have their own vision and by golly, they're going to follow it to the end, and it may be the end!
 

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Here is the deal Rally is a niche and hobby sport in the USA....This is like complaining Motorcycle Trials is not bigger , we are small and it is OK
Some areas Rally is just fine; this past weekend Seed 9 got 18 cars which is great for our little event. Of those 8 cars were P-stock. So competitors in P-stock paid $250 to enter in a car that cost between $2500 and $6000 , as racing goes this is pretty cheap. So I don't see where rally costs are up anymore than costs for anything else in the world.
All we need is more club events , my opinion here of course , but why we are going on and on about National Championships and where is WRC in America and why can't Americans make a living from Rally is beyond me. (I relaize there are a small group who can afford a National Championship and it matters a lot to them)

The question I think we should be asking is why don't you have a club rally near you....now I'm blessed with CRS out west so things are better for us then some if not most.
It has been said by a lot more experianced people then me on this forum but we need more club level drivers before we can grow, plain and simple.

Tom
 

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Rethink the paradigm

Cherokee Trails was cancelled and to read some of the posts in a number of threads it would appear the sky is falling.

Some are screaming to combine RA and NASA. Some are screaming at others to work rallies. Some are screaming that people should enter more rallies.

Rethink the paradigm. Things are very different than they were under SCCA. This is no longer a club racing type of scenario. It is corporate. If you want answers try asking for financial statements from both organizations. Will you get the info? I don't know.

Rethink volunteering. Would you volunteer for AT&T, CBS, Time Warner, General Motors, etc. without expecting something in return? Get it in writing.

What will you get in exchange for volunteering? Will you get a guarantee? Will you get a "piece of the action" if/when things operate in the black?

You want to invest in corporations? Will they issue you stock in return for your time investment? Then at least you have a chance of getting something of a more long term return than just the chance a rally won't be cancelled.
 

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HERE IS What's Next?

FattyW - here's what you and every one of us needs to do.

Log OFF specialstage.com... Get out of your chair...

1. Call your local rally masters up and say:
"What can I do to help?" Have you called Kendall? Does she know your name by heart yet?
2. Volunteer to work when you're not running. When you are running - find other people to help out.
3. Think of business services you can offer to rally.
For example - I'm WSRC's webmaster. Does your company do something that a rallymaster needs? Ask!
4. Remember that this is a grass roots sport that will only change when you're out there everyday helping to change it. Not thinking of ways to unite two groups that are doing quite well on their own.
RINSE AND REPEAT STEP 1

I know your pissed that you lost your rally - I've had it happen.
I know that you feel NONE of this is working - but you'd be surpised to find out how well it does work. Trust me, and GET OUT THERE!

Cherokee Trails International Rally
Web Site: www.cherokeetrailsrally.com
Contact Person: Kendall Russell – Rally Manager
Email: [email protected]

MORE USRC CONTACT INFO HERE:
http://www.unitedstatesrallychampionship.com/Contacts.htm

I used to have a utopian vision of the future too...
Then I logged off special stage and worked a rally.
"Rally with the people!"

- Kris

http://rallynotes.com
 

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RE: HERE IS What's Next?

>FattyW - here's what you and every one of us needs to do.
>
>Log OFF specialstage.com... Have you called Kendall? Does he know
>your name by heart yet?

>
>- Kris
>
>http://rallynotes.com


Well, you certainly haven't run any south eastern rallies. :) Kendall is actually a very pretty woman.

Otherwise, you are correct. Most organizers need all sorts of help. Any one in Texas up for a fence building day at Camp Maxey?
Richard
 

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RE: HERE IS What's Next?

D0h - Edited.
Sorry Kendall :D

Yep - I was in New England helping Maine Forest, Maine Winter, and Great North Woods (remember THAT rally??)

Now I'm out in CRS land. Helping and running Rim, Treeline, Laughlin, etc, etc.

- Kris
 

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RE: HERE IS What's Next?

WebKris had asked, basically, what have you done for rally lately? Well, this weekend I volunteered as a ham at an event to hopefully get some of those working last weekend to help MFR this summer (I think I snagged three).
The event? 250 miles of trails in the woods, 5,000 spectators, and a 40,000 dollar purse. In Fort Kent, Maine, as far away from anyplace as you can get. It was...

A dogsled race.

Repeat, a dogsled race.

I don't know what we are doing wrong, but we must be really doing a lot of it...
 

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RE: HERE IS What's Next?

> The event? 250 miles of trails in the woods, 5,000
>spectators, and a 40,000 dollar purse. In Fort Kent, Maine, as
>far away from anyplace as you can get. It was...
>
>A dogsled race.
>
>Repeat, a dogsled race.
>
>I don't know what we are doing wrong, but we must be really
>doing a lot of it...
>

*raises hand*

Proposal to mandate that co-drivers wear fuzzy ears and howl at the moon!
(No biting of Marshalls' legs though)

Ian. :D
 

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RE: HERE IS What's Next?

>The event? 250 miles of trails in the woods, 5,000
>spectators, and a 40,000 dollar purse. In Fort Kent, Maine, as
>far away from anyplace as you can get. It was...
>
>A dogsled race.

I'm guessing this is the web site:

http://can-am.sjv.net/

Wow. I grew up in Maine, and FK is **WAY** up there.

What is the story with spectators there? Paid or free? And _man_ they have a lot of sponsors! Wow.

I think I'll call those guys and see what I can learn.

Cheers,
Anders
 

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RE: sled dogs

Anders,
I did a quick look there and saw that one guy had run the race "decades"
before it was made into the race it is today.
Looks like the race in its present form started in '93.
The third running, '96 had almost no entrants, followed by a great year and this happened again just in '04 almost the same way.
Ask what they did to turn it around.
(it took me a while but the "--" button is the one that shows past results)
rz
got my years right(r)
 
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