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fiat22turbo SuperDork
10/6/08 5:45 p.m.

Bryce, I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Thanks, Stefan

P71 Reader
10/6/08 5:47 p.m.

Agreed 100% Bryce.

kreb Dork
10/6/08 6:19 p.m.

One other WTF: Roll cages aren't exempt from the $1k limit? Anybody see something wrong with that?

Nashco SuperDork
10/6/08 6:35 p.m.
kreb wrote: One other WTF: Roll cages aren't exempt from the $1k limit? Anybody see something wrong with that?

Same as the GRM $200X...

The following safety gear can be installed on the Challenge vehicle or used by the driver without counting toward the Challenge Budget: seat belts or safety harnesss and their mounting hardware, window nets and their mounting hardware, arm restraints, fire extinguishers or fire extinguishing systems, SFI-rated scattershields, helmets, drivers suits, shoes and other personal safety gear. The items may only be used as intended for safety purposes and have no performance advantage. It is recommended that you purchase your safety gear from our sponsors.
P71 Reader
10/6/08 7:57 p.m.

I dunno, a cage can have a significant performance advantage on a wobbily chassis, like a fox-body Mustang...

Lugnut Reader
10/6/08 8:23 p.m.

I am sure that there are folks around the country, myself included, who would be happy to join the crew and set up Challenge events. If we want to bring one to Chicago, let's bring one to Chicago.

Does it really have to be once a year? We could have Regional Challenges. :)

David_Chong New Reader
10/6/08 8:36 p.m.

David Chong here of the GRM San Diego Grand Challenge 2009.

I sympathize with those who are feeling the sting of disappointment. If you were hoping for a $2009 Challenge Southwest, the GRM SDGC is no satisfaction unless you happen to live down here. I think the ongoing griping will end when people realize and accept that the GRM Grand Challenge is not meant to be a stand-in or "almost as good" boobie prize for West Coast fans.

The $200X Challenge is not happening on the West Coast in 2009; we can be butt-hurt about that without also complaining that the SDGC was somehow supposed to be a bone in its place. It ain't, and it wouldn't be a good replacement as many have opined.

What the GRM Grand Challenge does offer is a related, but fundamentally different type of low budget challenge to people in the Southern California area. The very nature of the season-long format makes it totally unattractive and unreasonable as a national draw event. To try and fit it in that box makes no sense.

However, if it happened to be in your backyard, you'd probably be jumping on the ceiling about now. Here you have a legitimate racing series in which you can spend $1000 on a build, and get an entire summer's worth of action out of it. Plus you have to rope in some schmuck to split the already-low costs with you, since you need at least two drivers to compete. That is the ultimate in low-budget regional racing.

But with that regional focus and value comes the sacrifice of feasibility for non-locals. It just ain't feasible, and it ain't meant to be. Hopefully, you can start to see the Grand Challenge for what it is, because in that capacity I think it has a whole bunch of promise.

And hey, wouldn't it be neat if it got a strong response, and we could step back and say with sound financial authority, "hey, there's a lot of potential for Challenge events out here on the Left Coast..."

BTW, nobody told us what to do with our rules! Bryce, you're making me out to be some kind of palm-hugging yokel.

SVreX SuperDork
10/6/08 8:39 p.m.


I suggest you stop bitching and start building. The only way to justify a bigger GRM West Coast event is to make this one a success.

While it may not be what you had hoped, it IS a step in the right direction.

San Diego is on the west coast. It's pretty far south, but I heard mention of both Phoenix and Portland earlier, which would have had the exact same distance issues for someone.

There have been Challengers brought to FL from Canada. This year, someone drove 2200 (IIRC) miles one way in their Challenger. Why so many sorry excuses?

The "momentum" GRM is building has very little to do with the Hongs. It has to do with familiarity with the host track, hotel, local officials, and all the related restaurants, etc. for both the staff and the participants. I think you are being pretty hard on the staff and giving them very little effort for trying.

Don't forget- the purpose of the event is to generate editorial content. Let's consider what could have happened. GRM goes full out with a West Coast event only. They decide on Phoenix, and half of you start bitching that it's too far. Problems arise because of distance issues- contract negotiations, unfamiliarity with the area, whatever. Net results, 20 cars show up, many of whom give a half effort. This would have been devastating to the magazine and everything related to it.

So it's not what you want. There's a lot of stuff about the Challenge that's not what I want. I've debated several issues for years and made no headway. But I still participate, I still encourage, I still build stuff, pay entry fees, and go. I've been there for 5 years, and I'll go as long as they hold it. I'd have gone to the West Coast if it was only there.

So you decide. The West Coast GRM Challenge will be what you make of it. I won't be there. Most of the people who have been making the Challenge what it is will not be there. You decide. Will it be a flop or a success? Will you let the East Coast entrants whoop your butt, or will you show us what you can do? Make lemonade, or keep bitching. You decide.

SVreX SuperDork
10/6/08 8:42 p.m.

Thank you David. I wish we had something like the SDGC here. I'd be all over it.

MitchellC Reader
10/6/08 9:53 p.m.

I completely agree SVreX. I have only been to the Challenge two years in a row, but the familiarity between everyone would be a lot harder to replicate if the event was moved around. There are a lot of bonds that would be broken by making it an alternating event, and really, it's the people that make it so noteworthy.

The SDGC isn't set up in the same fashion, sure, but once you try it out, the guys running it are going to listen to your suggestions in how to improve it. It's a pain to drive multiple times, but how about creating teams so that multiple people can chip in towards the gas bill? Working on cars is a lot more fun in groups, anyway.

Don't forget that Gainesville is only convenient for a few of us, but we get a lot of competitors all through the eastern seaboard.

dyintorace HalfDork
10/6/08 10:13 p.m.

Another option would be to stage a $2009 Challenge-type event in a location that is convenient to you. Portland International Raceway was mentioned when the notion of a West coast Challenge first surfaced. They have a drag strip, a track and probably a paddock that would support the auto-x portion. If there is that much pent-up demand out West for a Challenge event, put one on. Why wait for someone else to do it? The event isn't rocket science, just a lot of organizational work.

Also, GRM has now demonstrated the willingness to partner with others that are doing GRM-minded events. If you get an event started and grow it, I'd bet GRM would be interested in joining forces with you. And then there would be a West coast Challenge! Who knows, maybe then an event gets started in somewhere like Kansas and it's the "championship" Challenge event.

Or, if everyone is that angry, start an event, grow it and then thumb your nose at GRM.

Either way, you end up with a $2009 Challenge-type event in your backyard, which is what you want.

10/6/08 11:12 p.m.

I would gladly support a western "Event", seeing as I have already spent about $1,800 on a $2009 car. I'm in western Canada and started this project last spring. I'm pretty dissapointed with the rug being pulled out from under us.

I would have gone to San Diego, or pretty much anywhere in the west for the real deal, but like everyone else, that's just too far for a regional series.

I can go to the oval track that's a mile from my house for some cheap racing or autocross with the local clubs. I'm sure most people have similar opportunities, but like David Chong says about the SDGC it's certainly not the $200X challenge.


fiat22turbo SuperDork
10/6/08 11:32 p.m.

The problem isn't that the Challenge is on the East-coast, really. Yes, it sucks thanks to logistical issues, but if they had held to that then we'd still grumble but would be more understandable, but it is that we feel that we were led on. GRM hinted that there would be a more westerly challenge, instead we were told, "Nah, we're gonna stay where we are. So instead here's a 7-event series for $1000 vehicles that if you live outside of the San Diego area you can't really afford to attend."

For the record, David mentioned Portland and I rebutted with that being silly as it would be about as far away from Florida as one could get in the continental US. Instead I suggested something more central.

At the end of the day, if someone from GRM would have said "Sorry" then it may not have been as big a deal. Instead it was a rather glib statement about keeping the event in Gainesville and in their apparent comfort zone.

P71 Reader
10/7/08 12:07 a.m.

Yes, my whole point is they led us on with promises of a west coast Challenge, and are now touting the SDGC as a replacement, which it is not. Had a real $200x Challenge been held in San Diego, I would most definitely assemble the project and attend. However building a $1000 car (with a $1000 set of tires) and then attending seven races in SoCal is not "budget friendly". There are plenty of local dirt tracks that offer Hornet racing or I can continue just racing in whatever local event that comes along and set my own budget as I have been doing.

As for the "make Lemonade", well sure it's easy to talk about manning up and hauling to G-Ville anyways, but we do have real life to continue. I can't speak for everybody, but it is a little hard to justify to the better half that taking all of my work vacation to spend thousands of dollars on gas/fees/hotels/etc to drag a $2000 car to Florida for two days.

So at the end of the day we're left feeling cold over being led-on, but unless we do something about it we won't get a Challenge. Maybe putting one on ourselves isn't a half-bad idea...

fiat22turbo SuperDork
10/7/08 12:42 a.m.

people holding their own Challenge has been talked about, GRM mentioned that they would not be happy if someone did that.

MitchellC Reader
10/7/08 12:49 a.m.

Well, one of the staff members at the Challenge mentioned that an alternating schedule was very seriously being considered. It was abandoned (or at least postponed) because it is still a very challenging logistical issue: All but one of their staffers was at the Challenge this year. That's not a huge deal when they're about 150 miles from the office, but being 3000 miles away makes it much more difficult if something weird comes up back at the base.

It sounds like a lot of people think that they were hoodwinked. I really don't think this is the case.

Strizzo Dork
10/7/08 5:02 a.m.

wanna know why the utcc wasn't well attended? nobody berkleying knew about it. when i got this month's issue i said "what? when was there a utcc?" i didn't hear anything about it on the board or on the grm main page. don't blame the low turn out on the west coast folk because an event wasn't as well publicized as the first one.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/7/08 5:52 a.m.

I am not ignoring you either. I am at a rally in Kentucky. Was trying to sort of take a day or two off, but realize that in this business that is not possible.

Everything David Wallens has said is absolutely true. Has any of you watched the news lately. Things in life do change. This is not exactly the right time to go ask sponsors for a bunch more money to hold a much more expensive event.

I have run this magazine and these events for 25 years now and am absolutely not going to bring this whole thing crashing down by making major bad decisions.

We looked at everything, especially the response we got to the UTCC and other events in California, the economy in California and thought this idea was a very reasonable baby step type way to make everyone happy. If you respond and try this event, and it is successful, we will go further with this idea in 2010 and let it progress naturally. If you poo poo it, we won't.

David Chong, who is running the Grand Challenge has already been responsive to making his event more like ours. If you ask (nicely) he may even make a class for $2000 cars.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
10/7/08 6:41 a.m.

While I would LOVE to see a Challenge in Mason, Mi (I kid) I WOULD like to see three challenges per year.

1: The Florida Challenge

2: The Grand

3: The put up or shut up challenge. (You know the one where you deal with it and just build your car and get it to Florida or San Diego before the economy makes this type of fun impossible)

Tim, thank you for supporting these events.

If there is going to be a change of location at all I will again suggest Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas as the best geographical location for the Challenge. No one except Alaskans and Hawiians can bitch about the mileage driven.

SVreX SuperDork
10/7/08 6:51 a.m.

I challenge anyone to show where any promises were made. Everything I read said things like "We're considering", or "perhaps".

If you've already spent money on a $200X car, that was probably foolish, until the plans were made.

No, it's not the Challenge. But it is a step in the right direction.

Isn't it obvious an effort is being made?

There is one sure fire way to insure there will never be a West Coast Challenge- don't support it when efforts are made.

z31maniac HalfDork
10/7/08 7:05 a.m.

Just think if there was no internet, none of these nancies could get on here and bitch and moan about every little thing.

Great job on the 'zine AND the events, keep it up.

Strizzo Dork
10/7/08 7:37 a.m.

i dont see why it has to be "either" florida or california. most of the left-coasters were merely hoping for a "more western" challenge, not one necessarily in their backyard. what about having it in topeka (as was mentioned)? or, Ennis, Texas has a world class drag racing facility and plenty of parking area to run around cones on. actually, there are great venues in San Antonio (san antonio raceway actually hosts spokes(ausin region) autoX events, although they're an IHRA track, iirc). you also already have andy hollis close by in austin to be the hired hotshoe in the autox event. Then there's Houston Raceway park out in Baytown that hosts the O'Reilly Spring Nationals, and also has lots of parking lot/cone dodging space.

i understand that all of this won't happen overnight, but people want to see that an effort is being made. if the economy, etc. in california isn't right for the challenge, then how about someplace maybe less affected by the housing nonsense?

patgizz Dork
10/7/08 7:41 a.m.


i understand they were thinking out loud toying with the out west idea (maybe the staff could have thought out not loud to not get some people's hopes up) but it's their event and they are based in florida. it'd be like the local SCCA region here in ohio deciding to have their final event of the year out in nevada. why would a 7 foot tall wookie live on a planet with a bunch of little ewoks? it does not make sense.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
10/7/08 7:52 a.m.
patgizz wrote: why would a 7 foot tall wookie live on a planet with a bunch of little ewoks?

Baseline protection...

P71 Reader
10/7/08 8:30 a.m.

So we're a bunch of whining ninnies now? Wow, that takes big brass ones!

Screw it then. If anybody west of the Mississippi isn't welcome then we'll just not go. Don't want to upset the sandbox and be called an internet whiner after the magazine staff kept saying "out west".

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