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LICENSING, is it time?

ndvalium

Rescue Director
View attachment 170269

This team needs to be banned from competition for actions that are detrimental to the sport of Off-Road Racing !
This team was involved in the big 2016 Mint 400 crash !?! BITD had to red flag that race also.
Now they are involved in ANOTHER serious accident ???
Licensing in these high power unlimited classes will at least let the event promoter and the other racers know how much skill a particular racer has.

As I stated in the 500 thread and I will stand by my statement -

The Mint 400 accident that this team was a part of was in no way their fault and had zero to do with their driving or abilities. There was on board video and helicopter video as well as accounts from all parties involved that made that very clear. Only a handful have ever seen that video. Todd and his team did nothing wrong in the Mint accident and it would have happened to whoever the next vehicle was coming down the track.

I know there are a lot of emotions on this. I respect everyone's opinions. I just know from my role with BITD and the Mint, that I have a little more personal knowledge that the average person on that accident that many are not aware of.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
In regards to licensing, I think it's a good idea on paper but it's not the most feasible option.
Exactly. Even if well intentioned, the practical application of a licensing process would be dubious at best and in my opinion wouldn't solve ANY of these safety issues. It's just a warm security blanket that makes you feel like you did something and provides extra liability padding for the promoter.
 

FAT ROB !

Well-Known Member
I must have misread that post, thats why i put the ? mark for their involvement in the Mint accident.
Sorry for pointing fingers and not have the facts correct about the Mint 400 accident, but if this keeps happening it is going to change our sport for the worst.
 
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FAT ROB !

Well-Known Member
Exactly. Even if well intentioned, the practical application of a licensing process would be dubious at best and in my opinion wouldn't solve ANY of these safety issues. It's just a warm security blanket that makes you feel like you did something and provides extra liability padding for the promoter.
How do you know ? Has something like a license, safety clinic or skills test ever been tried ?
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
How do you know ? Has something like a license, safety clinic or skills test ever been tried ?
No, obviously it hasn't. My opinion is this isn't the kind of thing you "try". You don't dip your toe in the licensing process. If it happens, it's all in. It costs time, money, and energy to establish. You don't do all of that to "try". And it opens up a whole bunch of other cans. When a solution causes it's own set of problems and only marginally addresses the issue it was intended to solve, it doesn't seem like a viable solution to me.
 

12LaPaz

Well-Known Member
I didn't start this thread to talk about the tragedy at the 500 or play the blame game in yet another thread. A license doesn't suddenly make anyone accident proof. It would simply be a sign that this person has taken a class and a skills test for a certain level of race car. It might prevent a bonehead rookie mistake that would have cost a life. It might not change anything. How do you prove it either way? You would be hard pressed to argue that it

You can't buy a funny car, show up at a race and get on the track. You have to go through a training/licensing program to drive your Porsche at PoC track days. I can't think of a respectable program that doesn't have a license or training program.

As far as cost goes, if you can afford to race you should be able to afford a class. If you can't then you shouldn't be racing. Cry me a river over having to spend money to race.

I realize this is a hobby sport but that doesn't change the fact we are racing. It doesn't matter if the guy driving is a pro or an amateur with a fat wallet. The damage the race car can do if it crashes is the same. Are the odds of a crash the same for fat wallet TT driver and Rob Mac? Of course not. The new guy is a greater risk. That doesn't mean tragedy can't happen to anyone but the odds are not the same. Is a new guy going through a training program less likely to crash than fat wallet TT driver with zero experience? I would say the same thing. The guy without the training or experience is a greater risk.

Training doesn't guarantee outcome it just helps to lower the risks.

Sad to say but the days of the wild west of off road racing are over. We either control ourselves or someone else will. I guarantee you there are people out there thinking up ways to end our sport.
Its not about the money its about those of you who think you need to control the rest of the racers, who says your qualified to make those judgment calls about who gets a licence and by the way this is not drag racing or porsche cup or indy car. some of you guys are like a bunch of old hens.
 

dfresh

Well-Known Member
Pretty sure, I was racing that day the incident took place out by wild wash road and Hodge when it was a 70 plus mile course
It was Billy Wright and the Sandak 2 car. I believe hit and killed an 8 yr old girl on a bike on the course...i could be wrong...was not McMillin.
 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
Licensing to me is really an interesting concept and opens up a whole additional liability of a responsible party when it comes to a litigious society that we have become. A sanction body and the driver are already the target when something goes wrong. Now you would also add the individuals, school, or other party that signed off on the license of this person to any lawsuit.

I think it is also challenging to think hobbyists, should have a required step stone to reach whatever their desired level of participation. Licensing standards for other forms of Motorsports are traditionally only utilized in professional paid motorsports. The kind where people are paid to race, not off road where people pay to have the privilege to race. While I am not a fan nor do I support someone that has never driven a TT coming out and entering races in that class with no experience or seat time, the reality is that is their choice. How can one adequately test someone for their ability. I have said the same thing about people that have challenged the required age of drivers in some of the disciplines that my team supports. There simply is no age that says someone will be a good race car driver. There is also no magic test that someone sitting on a room will make them a better off road driver. That being said, I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of optional seminar that folks could attend if they wanted. My team really wanted to put together several things for racers available to all teams, crews or anyone else at each and every race. We started with Fire Extinguisher use class and had 12 people show up. I had other people lined up that were willing to offer in-services on safety equipment, pit equipment, first aid, and so on and there was very little interest from most racers as they are to busy to have people attend on tech days before races so that idea is on the shelf right now.

I think if we look at the last lets say 10 years since we saw a resurgence of "unknowns" jump fully into the sport, there have been relatively few incidents but most of those are with other cars and tend to sort themselves out on the course. Even if we somehow could retrospectively apply the license concept to last weekend incident, there is nothing to say this driver would not have already gone through that process. This wasn't his first race. This wasn't even his first year of racing in this class. This was an accident that occurred on a race course.

I will pose this question out of my lack of knowledge. I know that many teams pre run all or portions of the race course for mexico races. Are the transition areas such as this where you go from city street to dirt race course part of the area that you pre run? Are they open during the pre run time to become familiar with how you get in the wash or is it only the dirt portions that people are able to use during pre run times? I know form my BITD experience, even on our supervised pre-runs, we do not include the city street transitions in the pre run. We have seen more than once a race car roll in the first turn as a vehicle transitions at race speed from pavement to dirt.

As a side note based on a recent experience, Keep in mind that everything you type in here, Your opinions or what you perceive to be facts can come up years later in court. I personally have had to sit in front a team of attorneys and go page by page through a printed out RDC Forum Thread to discuss things people have said in a lawsuit. It isn't all that much fun.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
The idea that licensing will in any way reduce stuff like this from happening is ridiculous on its face. It's racing, people, not driving. The whole point of the sport is to push the envelope, be on the edge, strive to be the fastest. Any thinking that a 'license' will somehow reduce crashes and prevent injuries is a joke. Do any of you know how many people drown every year? Should there be a license needed before you ever touch water, even bath tubs? Do licenses given in F1, NHRA, FIA, etc... reduce the number of accidents in racing? Did the #1 and #2 qualifier at an F1 race take each other out on the first lap of a race THIS YEAR? Should both of them be banned from racing or sent down to race a lower tier for 2 years while they 'learn' to race safer? This whole concept that licenses will make racing safer is hogwash. At MORE races these days, spectators are required to be back from the course by 150 feet and no children are allowed in pits inside that distance, and races have been not allowed to start if those violations have occurred. There was talk last year about infomercials for the general public regarding safely spectating at Mexico races and guess what? It was Americans who got hit. Humans do thoughtless and stupid things every day and get away with it, then, eventually, someone pays the price and the Nanny Staters come out in force to try and save humanity from itself. And even with all their good intentions and restrictions placed on the public, someone still finds a way to get hurt or killed bypassing all the efforts to protect them. As far as best things to do to prevent spectator deaths at off road races goes, a license would be down around 297 out of 300 on the list of successful ploys.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
And liability of the "licenser" is only one of many challenges to be solved in the licensing process.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
Absolutely, Who becomes the responsible party, the driver who 'earned' a license or the license provider who said they would never crash and hurt anyone?
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
How do you know ? Has something like a license, safety clinic or skills test ever been tried ?
And just a quick follow up based on a couple of subsequent replies...I would suggest that things you "try" include putting up hazard tape and physical barriers..., and work with local police to provide more proactive crowd control in known danger areas. Those are things you "try" that don't create any potential new conflicts and can easily be scrapped if ineffective.
 

Mark Newhan

Well-Known Member
And just a quick follow up based on a couple of subsequent replies...I would suggest that things you "try" include putting up hazard tape and physical barriers..., and work with local police to provide more proactive crowd control in known danger areas. Those are things you "try" that don't create any potential new conflicts and can easily be scrapped if ineffective.
Some of the themes being played in current day are simply "feel good" notions... Like, "if we could just save one kid", when it comes to violence when a gun is used. Or the ever present "an SUV went out of control and killed a bystander".
 

_

Well-Known Member
So, I have read through this entire thread a few times. And, what I take interest in first before considering the contributions made to this thread, is the experience level and years each of the contributors have in Off-road Racing and/or other forms of motorsports outside off-Road racing. The funny thing is, there are many contributors on both sides of the argument, but the ones making the greatest conviction and/or contributing the greatest as to how this sport should proceed, are by far those with the fewest years in in this sport. But then again, this is not a bad thing. But I must admit I do believe the old adage “Age brings wisdom and sometimes complacency.”

With that said, I’ve decided to jump in and contribute not so much my opinion, but more so my experiences from being in amateur and professional motorsports for over 45-years, with the last 25-years almost exclusively in Off-Road racing. And yes, I have also driven/competed in race-cars, race cars capable of obtaining speeds far greater than most commenting in this thread have ever been close to.

The Off-Road Racing industry is one of the only motorsports racing industries which does not require any form of qualification to compete at its highest levels. Almost all other motorsports sanctioning bodies require some form of minimum on-track experience through formal on-track training programs, on-track competency test, on-track race completion record, etc, and in some cases, a combination of all of the above before a person is allowed to compete in its faster and more dangerous classes. In fact, some sanctioning bodies will not even allow you to enter a race regardless of the speed and/or difficulty of the vehicle to drive without having completed at minimum, a certified race-driving school pertaining to that particular form of motorsports. In addition, some sanctioning bodies require you to go through an extensive minimum race completion record at each level / class of vehicle prior to moving on to the next level.

Many comments have been expressed around the concept, “this is not professional motorsports and is strictly a hobby sport,” but this is true with 99% of all motorsports in the USA. So for the most part, that argument has been negated by almost all other mortorsports sanctioning bodies in the USA. Let’s avoid the term “Liscence” and focus more on the concept of experience. There is no arguing; experience brings with it a better understanding of car-control, greater knowledge of potential hazards and pitfalls, greater expectation of the un-known, and an overall wiser and more capable driver. This by no means is saying that an experienced driver is going to be faster than a non-experienced driver, or an experienced driver is going to be wiser than a non-experienced driver, it is just saying that for any one person, experience will improve that driver over where that driver was when he first stepped into a race car.

As competitors and spectators, we thrive on the action, the incredible car-control possessed by drivers, the un-imaginable capabilities and endurance of the race-vehicles, wheel to wheel competition, and the near misses over the catastrophes. This is what brings us all to love motorsports. The thought of limiting this adrenalin rush excitement and pure joy by limiting what drivers can and cannot drive is unarguably a difficult concept to accept. But in reality, this concept has proven to provide a better experience for the fans and competitors over drivers being allowed to jump-in with both feet into a vehicle which not only is more capable than the driver, but unsafe for the driver and spectators as well. We have all gotten in over our heads at one time or another, mostly a result of overconfidence in our own capabilities or the vehicles capabilities.

The greater CON’s to having a minimum qualification requirement to compete in the faster classes are for the most part circled around the idea of limiting the excitement for the fans and for the driver. Another major argument is the additional time and cost required to obtain a goal of competing in the faster and more prestigious classes. We are a “Now” society and if I can afford, then I should be allowed to drive it. Fact is, a driver will experience greater joy throughout his driving career if he starts in a class just slightly above his capabilities and works his way up as his experience and capabilities improve. For a true racer, there is little fun in being the slowest vehicle on the track. And, there is no fun in spending your time and dollars in a vehicle of which you spend the majority of the time trying to save you’re a$$ from a yard sale.

The greater PRO’s to having a minimum qualification is it brings more competitors and better competition to all classes within the sport, and breeds wiser and more likely safer driver to the faster classes within the sport. Why does this bring more competitors, this is because if all drivers are required to start in lower classes, this will add to the car count of the lower classes. Adding to the car count will increase the number of persons who decide to invest in a race car and start racing. Few persons are willing to spend their hard earned extra change on a race program when they only compete against a few other competitors. But if persons know they can actually jump-in with their limited extra funds, and bang wheels with 20-30-40 other guys over just 2-3, in a class they don’t have to sell their first born to afford, more persons will invest in the racing experience. The increase in number of competitors brings greater money into the sport for the businesses, and adds greater value to all the vehicles sitting in garages and under tarps that people have forgotten about because few persons race those classes anymore. As the more financially capable drivers improve their skills and decide they need to drive a vehicle that provides a greater adrenalin rush or more prestige, then they can move up at that time.

History has proven time and time again, there are few persons if anyone capable of stepping into any form of performance vehicle, race or street, and drive it at its fullest potential without being a safety risk to themselves and anyone not completely protected from that vehicle. The inexperience, lack of respect for the vehicle’s capability, lack of respect for safety, lack of capable reaction time, poor judgement, and for no better word, “ignorance”, is what causes most accidents. Reality is, the vast majority of accidents are preventable if those involved had more forethought in their actions leading up to the accident. This is why the vast majority of motorsports sanctioning bodies require some form of driving competency and/or ladder system to compete in the higher classes. This experience will hopefully bring better capabilities and wiser judgement on the part of drivers and crews.

As for the spectators, the concept of corralling spectators over a 200+ mile loop race or point to point race is simply impractical and unobtainable in a place like Mexico. The greatest practical thing sanctioning bodies can do to protect the spectators is to provide public awareness of the hazards which come with spectating a motorsports event in an uncontrolled arena such as Baja or the open desert. This can be done through many different avenues. Ideas include incorporating public awareness messages into the TV and print advertisements. Work with community leaders including churches and activity centers to inform members and the community of the safe and not-so-safe methods of spectating the race. This can be done through exciting and education print and/or videos. Contingency and the party which ensues is a great platform to educate the locals. Run 30sec Spanish Speaking video info messages over and over throughout the entirety of contingency and the party, educating those in attendance of the hazards of standing in the wrong place. The 30-sec spots can be fun, exciting and education all at the same time. Create several videos each with a different character/atmosphere eliminating redundancy and boredom. These are only a few ideas and through more thought and consideration, I’m quite sure the Off-Road Racing community can positively contribute more and better suggestions. But if we keep the status quo, the Off-Road community and its reputation will continue to experience more heartbreak like we experienced this past weekend in Baja.

Us as a whole, the motorsports industry, knows better than any other industry, to improve, changes must be maid. If a vehicle has a mechanical failure, do you simply replace that component with a like component for the next race? No, you analyze the failure and make improvements to help insure you do not experience that same failure in the future. If we finish outside of 1st, do we go home, do nothing more than wash and wax the vehicle for the next event? No, we spend every waking moment re-designing, changing, testing, etc., whatever it takes to improve our equipment and our practices for the next event. In this industry more than any other, we understand the necessity to continually make improvements to our equipment and practices if we wish to experience improved results and success in the future. For those who choose to do nothing, their success will continue to elude them on an even greater scale as time goes on. If we ignore this past weekends failures, our future successes are in serious jeopardy. There are only a few persons/teams who should be celebrating post this past 500. The community as a whole should be striving toward improving our failures, not wash and waxing our failures.

Just my 2-cents…..

Thanks for bearing with me through this long and tedious post.
 
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Jorge Rodriguez

50% tortoise 50% hare
How about a way to limit spectator attendance?

Maybe start extremely early, before all the hungover people and early drinkers head out.

Maybe start at an undisclosed location/time.




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Jorge Rodriguez

50% tortoise 50% hare
Finally, does the Baja 1000 which starts on Thursday or Friday have less people in attendance at the wash?

This might be an option as well


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Peter Alesi Jr.

Well-Known Member
I don't think you need someone who thinks they know it all to sign off on any driver. I think if there is enough complaints about a certain driver the promoter should take charge, As far as spectators maybe SCORE should take a page from BITD as far as safety and speed limits.
 
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