What’s wrong with rallying?
- 28th March 2007, 12:01pm
Or should it be said, like many have, that we can forsee the end of Australian rallying in it's present form?
OK, it's not all doom and gloom, but several states are battling with getting events off the ground and competitor numbers are failing at the top end of the sport. Not to mention getting officials to assist, etc.
So what direction does the sport need to take to progress to the same level of professional sportsmanship as other leading sports or "businesses" like Aussie Rules, tennis, golf, swimming, athletics, rugby league, touring cars, etc?
The thought occured a long time ago that, unlike rallying, I can't actually play for Collingwood (my "once" favourite football team) and I can't enter the Australian Golf Open. In fact the Australian Tennis Open continually refuses my entry to hit a ball across a net in front of a paying crowd of screaming onlookers - shock horror!
Yet I can enter a Datsun 1200 in our sport’s biggest and greatest rally championship (the Australian Rally Championship), providing I, or my parents, can afford it.
Wouldn't it be lovely if one day I had to actually earn the right to compete at our sport’s most competitive level, and when I had earnt the right I actually got paid? Jeepers creepers, it sounds like I'm referring to golf, tennis and football here!
BUT what would happen to rallying if the only way to obtain that right was to qualify?
For arguments sake, maybe if we had to:
1. Be a member of a car club.
2. Earn the right in that club to actually enter a rally.
3. Win at club or intro level before being allowed to even get a start in a State level rally.
4. Have proven our competitiveness by at least winning a State Championship, or have won multiple State level rallies to even get a wild card entry into the Australian Championship.
Ummmmm! Well, we'd still need to find X dollars, generally considered one bucket load of money, but often becoming two bucket loads, to enjoy the top end of the sport!
So what would happen if the ARC was "franchised " or licenced to 20 entrants who had to provide two cars each? Choose a formula, any formula, or make a new one if necessary.
What would the licences be worth and how would they find 40 top drivers who had qualified to enter? (read the above 1- 3!)
But could we find 20 individuals in rallying, or even outside, who could afford the licence fees? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT as it would be a magnificent sounding business.
Just ask Ron Dennis of McLaren fame, Larry Perkins, the Stone brothers, Mark Skaife, Honda, Renault etc.
Jeepers creepers, it sounds like I'm talking about starting a professional organisation here, just like Aussie rules or tin top racing - no need to mention F1 or any other sport which has varying differences/degrees of the above.
Maybe we could even sell the TV rights and create a pool of cash to give back to the entrants, instead of using manufacturers who don't mind paying for the privilege of show-casing what they've achieved against 25 privateers.
Ahhhh, it's all a dream, or is it?
One can only wonder who had the forsight to start the AFL, Aussie touring cars, etc.
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