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As my first visit to the Great Northwest, I can say we had a great time! You have some very good roads, even if they are like running an R/C car on 40 grit sandpaper! :) Thank you!

The people were great and feast was very good. Thanks to all who poured in their hearts and souls to make a successful event, at least for most of the classes. Its a shame that the Overall shenanigans had to tarnish it.

As with most rallies, a few things were also less than stellar. Since you asked and I believe you are looking for constructive criticism, here are my gripes. Take 'em or leave 'em.

First...the purpose of rallying for most of us in this country is about maximising the fun. Yes, it is very expensive. Should we punish those without 9 trained and uniformed mechanics by employing these 20 minute services?

If Joe Blow finishes the first day with a gearbox full of rubbish, I feel he should have the evening to change that gearbox to tackle the second day in earnest. If Joe doesn't have an army of trained mechanics, but rather some enthusiastic rally heads from the local area, he isn't going to get that chance with FIA services. A wasted second day that could be seat time.

Next would be the supps. I understand the need to quote a fair portion of the FIA rulebook, since most of us are unfamiliar with the FIA rules regarding the way things are done.

One item of interest: If I read them correctly (and I read them 7 or 8 times to make sure), it is considered ILLEGAL SERVICING to accept help or tools or fluids from ANY source other than one's own car when not in a service area. I lent Lauchlin tools to fix his car on transit. According to the rules in the supps, this is illegal. I don't care for this and willingly lent him tools despite the rules. This is American Rallying and I believe more in the spirit of American Rallying than the letter of the law.

Since we were supposedly adhering to a smathering of foreign rules, I would have liked to see these rules, FIA or SCCA, be enforced.

It was in the supps that we had a couple 22 minute services and a 45 minute service at the end of the first day before Parc Ferme. It was my understanding that there would be a control at the end of Parc Ferme and that the transit to Parc Expose was indeed a TRANSIT (ie, no service) and that Parc Expose was, in effect, a SECURE (or FERME) Expose (as per FIA rules). This means we hauled ass during our 45 minute service to make sure that the car was READY for Sunday's stages. You can imagine my surprise when I showed up at 7:30 (that's when my apparently outdated version of the supps said that PF closed)and found a good portion of the field working on their cars outside the fairgrounds. I was even more surprised to see trucks, including Factory Team trucks parked downtown servicing cars at the PE. Doc did his best to circulate a flyer discouraging this activity, but to my knowledge no penalties were levied for this. Unfortunate.

I was very freaked about adhering to rules that apparently didn't even matter. Since we had only 8 wheels, we took the (spent) spare out of the trunk on Saturday night to have a fresh tire mounted with our 3 in the truck. I seeked permission from Joe Noyes to make sure we could bring a fresh tire into Parc Ferme in the morning so we could have a spare. We went out on spent rubber on Sunday morning cuz we figured it to be illegal to change tires before the day's stages.

Oh well. I still had a ball and enjoyed the roads and the people. I'm sure these problems were probably due to the workers/organizers being as unfamiliar with the new rules as the competitors...in fact, in many cases, perhaps even less familiar.

I will definitely be back. Since we were locked into second in the G2 championship, we really just went for Mazda's exposure and to learn how to set up the car for next year. Winning was a bonus.

Thanks again, and please take these criticisms in the right light. It IS a great event. Just could be greater...and fairer.


Regards,

Eric Burmeister
MAZDASPEED Rally Team USA
 
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