> Dennis Grant writes...
>> Once you start getting successful with a class, once you want to broaden
>> the appeal outside of a local area, you start needing rules to keep a
>> handle on things, or the class gets ruined, participation falls off,
>> and poof! No more class
> It sounds like you're saying this: within the confines of a local region,
> where prize money is non-existent, as is national fame, such a class,
> OSP works. It attracts those who like tweaking their cars, but who
> don't have "national" aspirations.
So far, so good - with one caveat. It is possible, if one has a region
where the local competition is particularly cutthroat, for things to get
out of hand even at the local/regional level. It's rare, but it can happen,
if the right combination of people and personalities show up.
Fixing a regional problem though, is much easier. Far fewer people in the
decision tree, far fewer people affected.
> But in the context of a national competition which is likely to attract
> those of a more "serious" persuasion, perhaps those with more money might
> tempted to run in such a class, and since the rules are unlimited, they'd
> able to spend whatever it takes to build the dominating car. Those
> are left in the dust. With rules, there is some control over what can be
> done to a car, making the class more accessable to all.
Bingo! You've hit the nail right on the head. Well done.
And then Bradley Lamont said:
>> Rules, like it or not, are a necessary evil. And hey! Look! We did a
>> good job last year with SM.
> Actually Dennis, I'd have to disagree with you on that. You had a good
> year, and a few other people had a good year with SM, but I really can't
> agree that it was a success.
> Looking at the pro results, we find that 16 out of 17 trophies were won
> four models, and 12 out of 17 trophies were won by just two cars. I
> see this as a success.
Looking at National competition results, in terms of number and variety of
cars participating, in the first year a class is offered, is going to
seriously skew a number of statistics:
Firstly, people who come into the class from other autocross classes have a
serious leg up on people brought in off the street. They have more driving
experience, they have a better idea of what cars will do well and what
modifications work, and their cars start off at a higher preperation level.
They also have access to more mundane things, like actually knowing that
Tours/Pros exist, having the confidence to actually attend (which is a much
bigger deal than I ever thought it would be), and having access to tow
vehicles, trailers, etc for carrying the Gypsy Caravan that's a typical
race weekend's stores.
Secondly, it takes time for your average regional competitor to reach the
national level. If you assume that 1 in 5 regional competitors has the time
and inclination to play on the National stage, and you assume an average 3
year delay between the first regional race and the first National race,
then we won't start seeing the real influx and variety until 2002 or so.
This year's primary National-level success was how close the competition
was. While one competitor walked off with the lion's share of the actual
wins, he had to fight for every single one of them. All 5 Pros I entered
this year were settled on the last 2 runs on Sunday AM. There were no
overdogs. Not yet. ;) As well, SM only got bumped (meaning it had less than
the 5 cars needed to make a full class) at only one of the 9 Pros - there
are few other classes that can make the same claim.
The secondary Nationals success was Nationals itself. 20 cars, of which I
believe 14 were first time Nationals competitors, and 5 or 6 were in their
first year autocrossing. Of the 6 trophies, 4 were first-time Nationals
winners (although this statistic is further skewed by how soft the class
was) We also managed to beat Street Touring's freshman Nationals debut
attendance by 6 cars, and had better overall attendance than half of
The real success this year is better illustrated by Regional attendance
statistics, which are unfortunately much harder to come by. I have the
regional average (for regions I have statistics for, which is in itself a
skewed stat) at about 7 cars, with local peaks in the high teens/low 20s.
I agree that it's too early to declare victory and go home, but I call this
a pretty successful year - better than ST's debut, and ST is looking pretty
healthy this year.
Incidently, I take STRONG exception that this is an "I" class. I ran SM
this year not because I had carefully tailored the class to me and my car
(HA - like I'd let a Supra within a hundred km of a DSM "I" class) but
because I felt that I had a duty to participate in it, having caused so
much work for so many other people. If I was gonna talk the talk, I had
better well walk the walk. But initially, SM was just an academic exercise
- I didn't realize I was going to be running in it until the '99 Town Hall
meeting, when Roger pretty well dared me to, in public. And by that point,
the rules had been written for some time.