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Discussion Starter #1
In the short time the web page for the Santa Maria Rally Sprint and Rally Cross has been public, I've already received several questions as to why we chose to sanction this event through NASA instead of the SCCA.

As most of you know, I've been a supporter and promoter of the SCCA for the last 15 years (and counting). I've served as Flag Chief, as a Governor on my region's board, and as a ClubRally steward. One organizer even joked that I wear red white and blue SCCA underwear! So, given my long-term commitment to the club, why would I go to NASA?

The reasons are several. 1) At the time I needed to finalize commitments, the SCCA had no ClubRally program. 2) The costs to insure and sanction with NASA are less, meaning the entry fees will be less. 3) NASA allows organizers to do their job with NASA providing support instead of interference. 4) It's easier to make non- rallyists welcome through NASA.

The most important reason for a NASA sanction was that the SCCA had canceled their "ClubRally" program at the time I needed to make commitments to the track promoter. Most organizers have long lead times in order to secure road use permits. In many cases, you need insurance certificates months in advance of the rally date. My situation is a little different. Permission to use the closed course has already been secured, so insurance certificate deadlines weren't as tight. Instead, because we're putting on our event in front of a crowd of paying spectators, we needed a long lead time for promotional reasons. The PR Director for the track is already advertising our gig in each week's race program, as well as announcing it to the people in the stands. We had to have the arrangements locked in place to make sure our sprint was really going to happen. We couldn't afford to take the hit that Dryad's Quest and Shitepoke took.

The second reason is financial. Though I'm dealing with a very small event, buying insurance and sanction from NASA makes good financial sense. It's especially important I keep costs down for a small event so I can keep the entry fees low, thus encouraging more people to enter. (If I were hosting a Coefficient 2 or 3 rally, the savings would be even more pronounced, but I'm not ready to tackle that large a challenge just yet!)

The third reason is flexibility. NASA takes a hands-off approach to the day to day running of events. They recognize their strengths lie in administration and leveraging their power in the insurance market, while our strengths are in the operation of rallies. NASA believes strongly in letting each of us do what we do best.

Fourth, we want our Rally Sprint to be an inclusive event, allowing not only rally cars, but also SCCA and NASA road racing cars, SMS Mini Stocks, and other vehicles that meet our safety requirements. In this way we hope to draw not only our regular competitors, but also a group of racers new to our sport. We hope that a good percentage of them will get hooked to our form of racing just as we have done.

"But what about safety?" I hear you ask. "You're allowing all these other cars in your rally sprint that wouldn't pass tech at a stage rally."

In the Sierra Club, you're taught four priorities when enjoying nature: Safety, Safety, Safety, and Safety. All of us in motorsport embrace these same priorities. While some may lead you to believe otherwise, SCCA has not cornered the market on safety. NASA, NASCAR, CART, SCRA, WoO, AMA, and everyone else involved in racing shares these concerns.

Our event, held on a closed venue with emergency personnel never more than one minute from anywhere on track, has been designed for safety. We don't have cliffs, trees, or stumps hidden in ditches. With the exception of the oval sections (which are several), the course is technical and speeds will generally be fairly slow. The two most dangerous spots on the course, the gates in and out of the oval, will have chicanes to force a subdued entry. (These are the double and triple cautions you may have spotted in the route book.)

As organizers we put on the safest events we possibly can, but not for fear of lawsuits, nor to protect our sport, nor even to preserve the forests we race in. We put on safe events because we do them for our friends and don't want to see them hurt.

In summary, my decision to go with NASA for the Santa Maria Rally Sprint was based on the availability of their program, the lower costs they offered, the flexibility provided, and the ability to welcome cars from other series.

I'll continue to compete in rallies as long as drivers are willing to haul my body down the stages, as long as the enjoyment and satisfaction of codriving outweighs the discomfort of sleepless nights poring over supp regs and route books, as long as I can contribute to the success of the team and the safety of the sport. For as long as I'm welcomed by my friends I'll continue to rally, regardless of sanctioning body, because it's the people, not the politics, that provide the enjoyment.

It's the people--people like you, Doug and Sue Robinson, John Forespring, Leon Styles, Kim DeMotte, Ray and Donna Hocker, Mike and Paula Gibeault, Sean Conlan, Lauchlin and Minerva O'Sullivan, Mad Mike Halley, Ole Holter, Alex Kiruhani, John Shirley, the flock of Tabors, Kendall Russell, Dennis Martin, John Buffum, Charlie Bradley, Mark, John and Karen Nelson, Phil Pausmer, the Freund family, Christian Edstrom, Pat and Denise McMahon, George Plsek, and all you other folks--that make rally fun. You'll continue to see me at ProRallies, at local club-level rallies, and at the ARSG's Ramada Express International Rally (my favorite event on the entire calendar) because of you, not because of some artifice known as a sanctioning body. I look forward to visiting with you at another race soon, and I hope you'll visit us too.

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

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john,
Thank you for all your hard work in the past and your continued work to make our sport happen. Organizers like you and others, that work with SCCA or any other sanctioning body to ensure we can still have fun in the woods, are to be appluaded. The hoops you jump through are meny and varied. It is more work than most of us are willing to do, but if it werent for you who do it, we would have any place to go.

Thanks
 

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John.
First up...."Bravo"
Nice work with putting together this event and making it happen.
Kudos to you in INCLUDING as many flavors as possible. Something that is all too quickly forgotten is that if we do not make it easy for people to take part in our sport, that fewer will.
Easier and more affordable IS important.
I wish that I could attend. I'm sure that it will be a lot of FUN.
As it goes for me; we could have the Boy Scouts of America for a sanctioning body. I care not which sticker I have on my car for sanction and insurance. I feel that these are only required to keep the wolves (attorneys for those of us who are slow this morning) from attacking.
I wish you well with your event John. I hope that everyone attending has a great time.

John Lane
Viva Le Pro Le Ralliat
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Why NASA for SMS Rally Sprint?

I meant to title it "Why NASA for SMS Rally Sprint?" but was in a bit of a rush and forgot to change it between the time I wrote it on the plane and the time I got to my room. Each organizer has to make their own decision based on whatever factors they consider important.

Ultimately, the title isn't that important as long as it stimulates dialog and can help to improve our sport.

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[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
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RE: Why NASA for SMS Rally Sprint?

John,

[font color="color" size="20" face="BOLD"]THANK YOU[/font]



Cheers

M.Samli
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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My NASA Experience

John:

I must say that you see a lot of things that I do in NASA as well.

Being a fledgling rally organizer (something about giving back to the sport, which has led me to positions as head of the SCCA Mid-South Region Solo II Program, and founder and organizer of the SCCA Chattanooga Region Rally Cross Program, among other responsibilities in the Region), when the moratorium came down on ClubRally, I was very frustrated. We had a planned July 18 rallysprint event.

In light of the concerns of the SCCA regarding ClubRally safety, I submitted a proposed safety plan with the organizing documents to the PRB and BOD, asking for an exception to the moratorium for a closed venue rally sprint (Interestingly, some of my recommendations on spectator areas/controls will be in the new SCCA spectator regs). However, I received a total of one e-mail from both the PRB and the BOD. I did not receive a variance for the event.

I then looked to other avenues to insure the event. After contacting, among other folks, NASA, and providing them a copy of my organizing and safety plan they responded quickly and favorably with an insurance rate that I simply couldn't understand, it was so good. It was even better than the SCCA's rate.

I presented this information to my local region. Due to what was viewed as a "threat" by a competing sanctioning body, the motion to have the event under NASA insurance and sanction was tabled in our monthly meeting. But, I felt that it was important to give the Club the option, because I respect them. Interestingly, a lot of the rallyists within the Club were in support, and we decided to go ahead with planning the event.

Everything that you say about NASA is true. Their insurance coverage is comparable if not better than the SCCA's (especially for non-member workers). Their per event insurance coverage costs are less (substantially for larger -- coefficient 2 & 3 -- rallies . . . to the tune of thousands of dollars). They are flexible about how you put on your event. Perhaps, most importantly, they are user-friendly.

I'm not giving up my SCCA membership, but organizers, ralliers, workers, and the rest of the rally world here in the US need to understand that there is a viable, if not attractive, option for them, that can provide a quality experience at a very reasonable price.

Rally on.

Wilson
 

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RE: My NASA Experience

I only speak for myself here, and have yet to compete in a rally so take this for what its worth. Everyone I have met at a Club event has been great, this diatribe is aimed at Topeka:

I have no emotional ties with the SCCA, the only reason I am (was?) interested in them at all is that they were my avenue to participate in rally. I have raced many different types of vehicles (mostly motorcycles and PWC's) under many sanctioning bodies since I was 4 years old. I am underwhelmed by the SCCA's management skills and unimpressed by the SCCA's "professionalism". The IJSBA (International Jet Sports Boating Association), the last sanctioning body I held a licence for, is tiny in comparison to the SCCA, yet does an infinately better job of taking care of its DUES PAYING MEMBERS.

Sure, every organization has problems, and everyone will not be happy even in the ones that are run the best. That being said, I have never seen anything like the state of affairs the we currently have with the SCCA in any other sanctioning body. They seem (my impression not a statement of fact) to not care about those that can not write a $100K check for the television coverage. Do we, the average Club competitor, really need them? Or is it they who need us?

I could not care less who sanctions rallys as long as they are a help and not a hinderance. As I said, I dont have 20+ years of investment in a rotten "Old Boys Club" bureaucracy, I say if NASA, USAC, hell I dont even care if NASCAR would sanction us so long as they are willing to help instead of just being tolerated.

Wilson, if you put on a rallysprint I will compete no matter who you get sanction and insurance from.

EDIT: for spelling
 

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RE: Prescott

Woohoo!! Finally the perpetual insanity of the SCCA stranglehold is breaking? One can only hope.

Skye Poier
Seattle, WA
 

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RE: Prescott

Can it be said that "the rolling stone is gathering moss?"
 

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Monopolies and Competition among Sanctioning Groups

Some competition between sanctioning bodies for events, competitors, workers, organizers, insurance rates, sponsors (or lack thereof), media interest, fair rules and procedures, and credibility will do more good than harm for the sport in the US.
It may do some harm awhile to have a splinter group, but in the long run and after years of pretty much a monopoly, competition will make each group better.
 

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RE: Monopolies and Competition among Sanctioning Groups

I am curious to hear from organizer folks if they would not, why they would not consider NASA or any other alternative for insurance or sanctioning ? Is championship points and familiarity the only attraction to SCCA sanctioning, or are there other positives that we don't hear about as competitors. I would guess that a large percentage of organizers, like John, have been very active in SCCA for years and may feel pressure from themselves and/others to remain "loyal" to SCCA. Or is that not really an issue ?
I will likely never win a championship, so I don't care who sanctions the events I enter. Do other competetors feel the same way or would the lack of points keep others from spending a fixed budget on non-SCCA point events.
If it is cheaper and easier on the organizers, I say "Bring it on!"
Until there are 5+ events in the upper mid-west that are non-scca, I am pretty much required to continue to give them my $150 per year, so it really doesn't negatively impact the SCCA.
 

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RE: Monopolies and Competition among Sanctioning Groups

Advantage of SCCA as an organizing body:

For many years, rallies (performance, gimmick and TSD) in the Texas area were put on by clubs other than the SCCA. Performance rallies were primarily put on by the Dallas Sports Car Club. But the membership in these other clubs started to fall off and gray. There simply isn't the membership available anymore for them to do rallies. Also, SCCA provides a fairly good liabilty insurance to protect the organizer. So we are relying on SCCA for both manpower and insurance.

And equipment. It takes lots of pylons to put on a performance event. We borrow those from our solo friends. It takes stop watches for the check points. We borrow those from timing and scoring at race. It takes a financial commitment to order porta-potties, etc to put on an event. The Texas region supports us there. The last Paris event lost about $1500. That would have come out of my pocket without the backing of the Texas region.

In summary, all the backing as described above comes from the local Texas region except for the insurance. From Topeka we get a fairly good guide on how to organize an event and safety rules that help, well, safety. Yes, I argue that some of the rules seem inane.

All that said, I will run a NASA rally if I have time and money.

Richard Miller

PS: I am now officially running for the national Board of Directors of SCCA from the Southwest Division. Vote for me.
 

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Rapidian RallySprints

>I am curious to hear from organizer folks if they would not,
>why they would not consider NASA or any other alternative
>for insurance or sanctioning ? Is championship points and
>familiarity the only attraction to SCCA sanctioning, or are
>there other positives that we don't hear about as
>competitors.

Rapidian RallySprints and formerly ClubRally which had been sanctioned by SCCA in previous years will be sanctioned by NASA in the future. Attracting competitors with the lure of SCCA championship points and the fact the landowner is a SCCA roadracer were the only SCCA positive aspects. Negatives heavily outweighed them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
RE: Equipment

>Advantage of SCCA as an organizing body:
...
>And equipment. It takes lots of pylons to put on a
>performance event. We borrow those from our solo friends. It
>takes stop watches for the check points. We borrow those
>from timing and scoring at race. It takes a financial
>commitment to order porta-potties, etc to put on an event.

It's cool that you get the support of your local region, including financial backing. Out west our region's focus is on road racing and mostly to hell with the rest. (Ask about the history of Cal Club and SCCA sometime.) Even the SCCA Solo community has its own organization and checkbook, completely independent of Cal Club.

Our organizers banded together long ago as sort of a co-op to share equipment and other resources, which is what the CRS is all about, since there was no interest from the regions at all. (Exception: Las Vegas Region has been supportive of Scott and Tom's hard work.)

We have tried in the past to include the mainstream folk in our events but they can't be troubled. Just ask Bill B or Steve Johnson about Prescott 2000. Even when I served on the Cal Club board I couldn't get our region to simply display their road racing rolling stock at Rim of the World. (We've got a pair of fire trucks, a pair of tow trucks, and a rescue vehicle.) It seems to me like a missed recruiting opportunity.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear the Texas region is more supportive of your efforts.

John
 

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Support from Regions

Luckily for us here in Oregon, our region Board is highly supportive of rallies.

They come out and work and compete in Road Rallies; they come out to volunteer anywhere at performance rallies.

I'm not sure what some of the road racers/solo/autocross people think of the rally arm of the Oregon region, but we've been accepted with open arms by most of the Oregon SCCA community.

Last year at our all-club party, we had a small rallysprint at PIR; the rally folk got to drive their cars around the track three times. I'm sure the race folks laughed a lot at our antics, but it was so cool to see race cars, rally cars, and autocross cars in one venue at one time; then we all got to eat good food, drink tasty adult beverages, and listen to great music together! :) It was great!

As to why NASA or SCCA: I've renewed my membership and license in SCCA, and am looking at joining NASA (membership only); I won't drop SCCA completely until there are a LOT more NASA rallies to make it worth my while to do so!

:) KT
kd7yct
 
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