Sunday, October 07, 2007

SCORE Gambles on its future

Gary Newsome

On the verge of celebrating the 40th Baja 1000 from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, a historic event in off road racing, SCORE has positioned itself with obvious exposures to the safety of its racers.

The Top Five To Watch for the 2007 Baja 1000 and 2008 season.

1. No rules on the use of Head & Neck Restraints

2. The Weatherman Channel Issues

3. More Ejido Problems, now in Baja Sur

4. PCI Radios vs. RLH Communications

5. Racers have no trust in Rally Loggers

Tony Tellier reportedly is sending this letter:

""To: SCORE International
From: Tony Tellier

Subject: 2007 “Baja 1000”: Possible Highway Issues

As we look forward to November’s “Baja 1000” from Ensenada, Baja CA to Cabo San Lucas, Baja CA Sur, there is an increasing concern regarding the large amount of highway running necessary to join the course sections. We agree that these cannot be avoided but what we wish to avoid is the possibility, or even the hint, of competitors exceeding the reasonably-mandated 60 miles-per-hour pavement top speed rule.

The required Rally Track “Rally Logger” stores an immense amount of on-track information: position, time, speed, etc., however that data is not available to competitors, only to each individual team ... this is made all the more unsettling due to reports, unproven, regarding teams seen covering the “Logger” box in remote areas then stripping said “blocker” when approaching race activity sites, at the San Ignacio army check, for a good example.

This occurs after nightfall – say the Bay of LA highway area -- and HID lighting temporarily blinds observers, so seeing such covering is problematical … even if one were specifically looking for a line-of-sight-of-the-sky shield.

It would seem that periods of “No Signal” or “No Record” would be obvious to a simple interrogation code … this would be “very interesting” especially if these “blanks” contain Highway 1 stretches!

We think that all vehicles who are in the position of class winner, trophies, pay-back money, Toyota’s Milestone and True Grit awards, and class points challengers should have their “Logger” logs made public, at least the “60 mph” sections.

(The “No Pass” zones are under the jurisdiction of the Mexican Highway Police and, as such, we feel that that issue is best left to them: if someone wishes to pass in a dangerous area, far be it for me to complain, so long as it does not jeopardize our race, and then that would become a Competition Review Board issue.)

After all, the data exists, the concern exists; the solution is apparent.""

The reason why Rally Loggers are used in SCORE competitions is not because they are the best safety equipment/program for the racers. Baja Racing News sees the status quo benefits the racing organization, in its control and manipulation of the racers.