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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, Saturday afternoon and Sunday Morning everybody in service seemed to speak with certainty that there was a surprisingly light penatly of 3 minutes and a mere $1000 fine levied to Lovell for speeding in service and there doesn't seem to be any penaty on the results.

According to first hand reports, Lovell was not just speeding, but driving to endanger, admittedly it was only a service crew person who was carring a strut assembly, and the person in question _did_ manage to jump out of the way and avoid getting run over, but there was no attempt to steer away or slow down.

I mean Lovell is a paid professional and I can't imagine his employers would be allowing him to endanger their reputation and expose them to liability and disdain and so the guy in question is probably just making up a bunch of exagerated drivel and lies,
but he did seem actually shook up at being inches from being hit by a car.

I told him he's a big limpwristed weenie boy, and I've been run over several times before, no biggie.

But EVERYBODY else seemed to have heard of this incident, so what happened?

I will not comment on Millen's case as I heard nothing from anybody directly there.
Others can do that.



John Vanlandingam
Seattle, WA. 98168
 

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>
>I will not comment on Millen's case as I heard nothing from
>anybody directly there.
>Others can do that.
>

Well John,

I did actually witness both events (Lovell's driving and Millen's thru the service area).

The person in question was not really in any danger of being run over, but Lovell was indeed driving too fast and passing a spectator mini van in the service area which was just plain STUPID. Besides dusting out several service crews, he was driving unsafely, against the published rules in the supps (listed limit of 30KPH) (not MPH!).

The person in question and others tried to get Lovell to slow down and yelled at him. The person in question even attempted to kick Lovell's car as it passed, but it was moving too fast (but it was that close to him!)

Poor form for the organizers to drop the penalty and make it appear to all of us that the rules don't apply to series sponsors... If it were any other teams, the penalty would have stuck-IMHO.

I also witnessed Millen. He was not driving recklessly, but indeed was doing well over safe speed and the 30KPH limit as set in the supps. He too, was extremely inconsiderate and dusted out most of the service crews he passed...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So are you saying that penaties were levied, then dropped?
Why to quote somebody (I can't remember who)

"THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!"

Especially coming as it does after the EXCLUSIONS of Privateers for various observed naughtinesses at Sno Drift, Rim, STPR

But what the hell, the whole series has become about as real as Reality TV.

I guess we have to understand that the Manufacturer Championship Series Council supply the bulk of the funding for the TV programmes, so we couldn't have 2 of them penalized, now could we?

Even if it's in the rules and there were dozens of witnesses.

Maybe Lovell didn't like Dave cause he supplies shocks to their competitiors.

Or could it be revenge for actually saying to people about him leaving Rim service 5 minutes late and arriving on time?

Oh, yeah, that was an error.



John Vanlandingam
Seattle, WA. 98168
 

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>"THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!"
>
>Especially coming as it does after the EXCLUSIONS of
>Privateers for various observed naughtinesses at Sno Drift,
>Rim, STPR
>

Well John,

Your posts themselves appear slightly inflammatory--IMHO. Don't become reality TV yourself...

But the reality is that the penalties (which I found a bit excessive for the level of the infractions) were indeed RETRACTED.

To go unpunished for flagrant (yes, I will use that word) violation of good conduct at an event in light of the others you mentioned who received much stiffer penalites (including EXCLUSION)at other events does appear duplicitous.

In English, that means that favorites appear to be played, and that top drivers and big, series sponsors APPEAR to get favorable treatment.

I am sure that those teams and the event Stewards will have another story, but look how it all lays out...

I spoke personally with the National Steward, event organtizer and safety steward at the event. Each said they were outraged, yet each allowed the penalty to be retracted and themselves to look foolish to the body of their membership. Obviously it was their choice to determine the final outcome.

I have great respect for John Forespring, Rich Olmstead and others who WORK THEIR ASSES OFF to put these events on, and put up with this bullxxxx. I just wish they had choosen differently. It makes the sport look bad.

It had nothing to do with FIA vs SCCA rules or any vague appeal handwritten on the bulletin board. Those in charge should have either said "yes, there was an infraction, and dealt with it as they saw fit (including merely a warning)" or said "no, we can not verify there was an infraction and therefore will not do anything."

But to issue a penalty, then retract it and not even issue a warning, just looks bad. For those drivers, to drive too fast through the pits loaded with kids, dogs, and service people, and to coat other teams trying to service their cars with dust, was just poor form.

Then, for one of those teams to not even have a representative present to pick up their "hard-earned" third place in open class trophy (Lovell/Prodrive), was the epitome of poor form. Maybe it was their little boycott. It looked pretty crappy to me...

Pe
 

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New Trend Toward Leniency ?

John,

I think the organizers are to be congratulated if retracting the penalties becomes a new trend toward overall leniency for those who repent and mend their ways for the remainder of the Rally. I personally have disliked the strict and severe penalty(ies) imposed at other Rallies earlier this year (or was it last, or both).

Stiff penalties do not necessarily ensure good safety practices. Sometimes, the Competitor may choose to take the penalty. Particularly a fine, if the team is well funded and it's somebody elses money.

But, man, am I glad nobody got hit in that long service area. It would have been easy. The poor victim(almost) lost at least 1 of his 9 lives and probably had to change shorts. I hope he got the opportunity to deal with the offender face to face.

Was there an appology at least?

Rich Smith
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

The real question is, would Randy Zimmer or John Drislane or Pat Richard, or (your name here) have had their penalties reversed in the same situation? I think not.
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

I don't think this is a new trend. Here is what I heard.
(I was not there so this is all second hand). There was
not a specific penalty for speeding in the supps. If there
had been, the retractions would not have occured. No editorial-
izing from me on this one. Just the facts or as close as I
can get too them.

pt-
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

So there was a speed limit in the supps of 30kph in service but there is no penalty for breaking the stated limit?
 

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I am the guy that nearly got run down.

No, I was not in any real danger of being hit because I'm quick like a fox.:p However, I feel certain that had I not jumped out of the way or had tripped and fallen down that I would have been hit or it at least would have been very close.

I think it would be appropriate to recount the incident here so it doesn't get distorted or blown out of proportion by second hand accounts. Paul Eklund posted a good account of it as he was an eyewitness. If anyone who witnessed it thinks I remembered something wrong please add your perspective.

For those that weren't there the service area was very long and the regrouping control and refueling area were at the opposite end of the service area to where Prodrive had set up. Oops, poor planning on somebody's part, but that doesn't give them an excuse to speed. Anyway, I observed Mark Lovell travelling towards the regrouping area at a speed way over the 30kph limit. Actually, everybody in the service area observed this. He was coming towards us at, I dunno, at least 35 MILES per hour, maybe more. Hard to say since we didn't have a radar gun on him. One event official who saw him told me he thought he was going up to 50mph. I don't know about that but it was obvious to everybody there he was going way too fast in the service area. At first he was travelling in the coned off lane on the right where he should have been. However, just prior to arriving at my position there was a car stopped in that lane so he swerved around it to the left, not slowing down at all. Engine pitch did not change. He was now travelling in the wrong lane and partially in the service areas just as fast as before. At this point I don't think I was the only one yelling at him to slow down. He wasn't slowing down so I stepped in front of the path of his car (I only had to take about two steps away from my truck) and waved my arms and yelled at him to slow down. I was directly in front of his car, there is no way he couldn't see me, yet he didn't slow down at all, engine pitch didn't change. He didn't slow down or make any move to avoid me so I jumped out of the way. I could have stood my ground longer but I really wasn't so sure he would have stopped. I ask you, what would most drivers do in that situation? They would have slowed down and might have even apologized. Lovell just sped by as I (and others) continued to yell at him to slow down.

This is not a case of one person's word against another's. This was witnessed by at least 15 people, perhaps 40. Even if they didn't see this particular incident most all of the people in service including several event officials witnessed him speeding, since he sped through nearly the entire service area.

I reported this incident to event officials and they asked for a written report which I gave them with signatures from about ten of the witnesses to the incident. After the rally I talked to enough of the stewards and officials to have a pretty good understanding of what happened in the penalty process and why the penalties were eventually rescinded. It would do no good to go into the details of that here. Suffice it to say that the stewards probably could have done things better and Prodrive were able to find a way to get the penalties dropped on a technicality.

I had a little talk with the Prodrive team managers after the event as I was upset that they seemingly got away unpunished. I wanted to let them know that I was the one their driver nearly ran down and they shouldn't be driving recklessly through service areas like that. I found their attitude to be very cavalier and they weren't about to admit that Lovell had done any such thing. In fact, the impression they were trying to give was that they didn't believe me or any of the dozens of other witnesses that this incident even took place. As far as David Campion was concerned if he didn't see it happened then it never happened. This isn't me reading between the lines this is responses to direct questions. I understand it's their job to make sure their drivers get the best finish possible and I can't fault them for making sure any penalties, etc, are administered according to the rules. But they seemed not to care that their driver was breaking the rules in the service area and potentially endangering others.

I got no apology. Just an attitude that they were annoyed at me because I reported the incident to event officals instead of coming and talking to them about it first...
In any case, I felt better after talking to them because I at least was able to express my concerns to them and in the end we shook hands and I think at least agreed we understood where each other was coming from. I did not have an opportunity to talk to Lovell about it.

What about the fallout? I know there are a lot event officials that are very upset about this. As well as a lot of other competitors and crew, etc. I think Prodrive and Subaru of America come out looking really bad because of this. This incident does not represent their company well. If they had just accepted their penalty and made an apology it would have been a very good PR move. By weasling out of the penalty on a technicality and claiming nothing ever happened, even though it was witnessed by LOTS of people they just made themselves look even worse. This only serves to perpetuate and legitimize the underlying feeling many people have that the Manufacturer teams can get away with whatever they want and that there is a different set of rules for them and another set for the privateers. If this had been a privateer team do you think they would have gotten away scott free? Ask Randy Zimmer or John Drislane that. The violations that they got kicked out of rallies for earlier in the year were not as dangerous or flagrant or witnessed by as many people as what Lovell did.
Subaru of America and Prodrive should view this whole episode as an embarrassment to themselves as far as I'm concerned. I hope they've at least learned from it and will make sure their drivers are more considerate and pay closer attention to the speed limits in service areas and elsewhere. I know that I and everyone else will be watching very closely...;)

Sorry this was so long but I feel strongly because I was kind of close to the situation...

-Dave Clark
(the other DC)
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

Seems like a cop-out to recind based on the "no penalty in the supps"

-- the speed limit was designated, speeding was observed by event officials (I assume), the rules in the rule book should cover this infraction. There are at least two options, either the speeding rule (you could opt for the minimum penalty if a measured speed could not be calculated). Or without question to the actual speed the "if an event official observes an infraction" imposed on a competitor earlier in the year.

The consistant message from this forum is that we want the rules enforced with an even hand -- it very much LOOKS LIKE "who you are" counts for much more than it should.

Only one more event to the controversial 2002 season. It looks like with the schedule in disaray we can expect more chaos in 2003.

The competition this year has been plenty interesting without all the selective enforcement of the rules.


Looking forward to a ending the season on a positive note at LSPR.

Mike
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

Paul, this was not just a case of speeding (see my account below, if you have some time to kill...)

This was clearly reckless driving. If Randy Zimmer could get disqualified from Rim for "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" for passing some cars on a transit then I think Lovell's incident at WW qualifies WAYYYY more than that. I don't think that anyone who witnessed it would disagree.

As far as I'm concerned Lovell should have had his time card taken away right there. Reckless driving and unsportsmanlike conduct. Speeding was only one element to it. Perhaps that's where the stewards made the mistake, opening up a loophole. I dunno, but there was more going on behind the scenes than maybe you know about. I'm not going to go into that, though, it doesn't matter now.

-DC
 

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RE: reckless abandon

This was the first event this season I missed so I had to call someone who's story I trust.
He said Dan C. was really bent to make a definitive statement but was out-voted 2-1 by the organizers (this is also an FIA event).
The rebuttal from Prodrive was that there was no speed measuring device nor timing lines in place - speed was perceived with no proof.
So, as much as it hurts, their lawyers were better than mine. SCCA actually tried to penalize Lovell.

rz
 

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What do I tell my driver?

The service area on Saturday was very long, and unfortuately our service was the farthest from the ATC. It took almost 2 minutes for us to reach our service crew. Thus to get back, would take another 2 minutes. With 4 minutes of transit, our service was now 18 minutes, not 22 minutes.

With only one service crewman, we were late leaving service back to the ATC. I told my driver NOT to speed through service, because it could be grounds for disqualification. I was vigilent about checking the speed on transits. (After the Zimmer incident at Rim.)

The signal now sent by organizers is speeding can be done without penalty.

ORGANIZERS, What do I tell my driver the next time if we are running late?!

The reason given for removing the penalties was that the statement of fact regarding the speeding incident was withdrawn. I have no idea what that means. I personally reported to the officals that my service crew personally witnessed Lovell speeding in service. (He was one of the people trying to get him to so down!) I never withdrew my statement of fact.

Paul Nelson
Navie at Wild West for Car 451 (Janusz)
 

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RE: I am the guy who saw you trying to slow Lovell down

>I got no apology. Just an attitude that they were annoyed
>at me because I reported the incident to event officals
>instead of coming and talking to them about it first...
> In any case, I felt better after talking to them because I
>at least was able to express my concerns to them and in the
>end we shook hands...

Just for those lurking and reading these accounts. Dave Clark's estimate of about 35MPH (not KPH) is probably pretty close to Lovell's actual speed. And he did not make an effort to slow after myself and Dave shouted. I never saw him doing 50mph though...

I did immediately go down and report to Prodrive that their driver was speeding and that he should be a bit more considerate (and smart). I also stated that he indeed may receive a penalty for his actions because it was going to be reported. I guess that got their lawyers hard to work thumbing the rulebook for loop holes. So Dave Campion was fully aware from moment one of his driver's actions...

One of the Prodrive senior members retorted to me that the rally "owed them 20 seconds due to an earlier control error" I said that didn't justify blasting through the service area.

I also spoke briefly to Jeff Walters of SOA (Subaru of America) and let him know that it didn't put his efforts into a very good light. He hires these guys to promote Subaru, not make it look bad.

When I saw Rhys buzz by at just a little less speed than Lovell, I knew the wailing and gnashing of teeth would begin. I figured at that time that just Rhys would get nailed since he was the second offender.

Pe
 

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RE: What do I tell my driver?

.
>I was vigilent about checking the speed on transits. (After
>the Hintz incident at Rim.) <<

I think you mean Zimmer. Hintz did not have any speeding incidents at Rim. (No offense Dave, I'm talking about the transits not the stages! }> )

-DC
 

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RE: I am the guy that nearly got run down.

Dave,

Well said, I couldn't agree more.

I don't understand how there could be a technicality, SCCA Rule 9.2 allows the officals to impose more severe penalies (beyond what is recommend) if they feel the situation is warrented by the offense. And FIA rule 3.3.6 says "Any incorrect, fraudulant or unsporting action carried out by the competetor or members of the crew will be judged by the stewards who can impose a pentaly which can go as far as exclusion."

As I mentioned earlier, the statement for removing the penalty was "statement of fact was withdrawn." Does that mean everyone withdrew what they saw?

This action could be grounds for people to file a protest with the FIA on the opperation of the event.

Paul Nelson
 

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RE: What do I tell my driver?

>.
>>I was vigilent about checking the speed on transits. (After
>>the Hintz incident at Rim.) <<
>
>I think you mean Zimmer. Hintz did not have any speeding
>incidents at Rim. (No offense Dave, I'm talking about the
>transits not the stages! }> )
>
>-DC

Ooops!

Yes you are correct! I will edit my post and make the change!


Paul
 

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RE: New Trend Toward Leniency ?

>
> This was clearly reckless driving. If Randy Zimmer could
>get disqualified from Rim for "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" for
>passing some cars on a transit then I think Lovell's
>incident at WW qualifies WAYYYY more than that. I don't
>think that anyone who witnessed it would disagree.
>
>As far as I'm concerned Lovell should have had his time card
>taken away right there. Reckless driving and
>unsportsmanlike conduct. Speeding was only one element to
>it. Perhaps that's where the stewards made the mistake,
>opening up a loophole.


Dave,
If you are going to compare Randy's unfortunate DSQ to Lovell's actions, then I believe that you may be correct.

Unfortunately, I don't think you can directly compare 2 separate incidents that way (I may be wrong though).

I don't believe that either driver in this instance should have been DSQ'd, but I did cringe when I heard the words "we don't want the outcome of this rally decided by penalties" which is the age-old fall back organizers use for not doing anything when top-level teams break the rules.

All the officials I talked to individually SAID they wanted to apply some penalty, but as a group they did nothing. That's what makes it most irksome to me.
 

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Whose rules?

A couple of points regarding this situation and yes, I saw both cars speeding dramatically and dangerously through the service area.

It may be the wrong rules were applied to these two offenders. Regardless of whether specific penalties were or were not listed in the supps, these two rules would take precedence.

8.5.A. Required Conduct. Every contestant shall conduct himself in a sportsmanlike manner at all times during a ProRally or ClubRally event in his dealings with the public, with other contestants, and with members of the rally committee.

The consensus amongst all witnesses was that this unsafe driving is unsportsmanlike--after all, how sporting can it be to mow down your competition while driving through service?


8.2.A.9. Ten minutes or exclusion for refusing directions from a rally official.

It seems to me one of the ham radio operators yelled "slow down!" to both cars. Reports are that several other officials did as well. "Slow down!" sure sounds like a definite instruction from a rally official.

Scores are final, so there's nothing we can do now about it.... or can we? What's the appeals process? Someone want to research it? Is it worth it to appeal or is it safe to assume the the appeal would also be rejected for whatever reason you care to guess?

I'm just thankful that no one was hurt. Our club (the SCCA, yes, it's theoretically still OUR club) has made a clear statement that you can drive recklessly in the service areas if ... (fill in the blanks here). Next time we won't be so lucky, and our whole sport will suffer, just as it did around '95. I hope the organizers aren't blamed when it happens.
 

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this is another reason to move away from the SCCA Pro rally ! They need to enforse the rules, not bend them for certain teams, also note that certain teams were not at the awards banquet, what was all that about, Re the event, Bloody great Show, well run, great freindly workers, big thanks to you all, thanks to the crazy spectators out in the rain:), thanks to you all
Leon Styles Audi #374
ps best feast ever:)
 
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