Well this quickly became the GRC event that wasn’t. After spending a bit of time this morning writing up a somewhat lengthy intro for the GRC X-Games Barcelona event, I sat down in front of the TV to watch the action unfold. What greeted me wasn’t roaring 600HP rally cars, but instead a rain delay. Excuse me? Did they really just say that? Rally cars were sidelined because of rain? Okay, even a rally stage can be cancelled because rain can be so heavy that emergency crews wouldn’t be as effective, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Well, I did…until I saw pictures of the stadium having a drizzle, but not nearly a hard enough rain for the masses of fans out there wanting to see Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Carlos Sainz, etc. to be willing to go leave. The track obviously had issues though as it couldn’t properly drain, making giant puddles of slippery muck. Hours later after I left the house to do some errands I see a Tweet from the GRC saying that the event was cancelled due to rain. I had to read the tweet 3 or 4 times to believe it. A rally event where they show off the amazing traction of 4wd rally cars was cancelled due to rain!
Either the geniuses that are creating the X-Games GRC tracks don’t have any clue about the cars that are going to run on them, or the teams with the cars don’t have a clue as to what the track will look like as the cars are not suited for running on them. Instead of a bulldozed corn field like the Brazil track, Barcelona had truck loads of similar clay like dirt brought into a stadium. Apparently they didn’t learn from the last time as the track design looked pretty much the same as the dust disaster in Brazil with a single 100 yard long concrete start / finish slab followed by a 100% dirt track with a table-top jump. Dust was of course not the issue here, but instead it was mud as slick as the glare ice at Sno*Drift.
Someone at GRC needs to seriously catch a clue. Tarmac rallycross tires do NOT work on dirt very well, and certainly don’t work in mud! Sure you can use dirt on a track to make some slippery bits and add some difficulty, but don’t make the entire track dirt unless the cars get proper dirt tires! I personally prefer having more dirt and even like the entire track being dirt like they are doing now. However it can’t be driven on without the proper setup. Someone needs to decide very quickly if they want to change the car configurations or the track configurations.
The entire Global Rallycross Championship is starting to look like it is run by a bunch of idiots right now after cancelling this event. The teams and sponsors had to spend a LOT of money getting their vehicles and drivers to Barcelona and prep for the event. Aren’t there contingency plans for something like this? The least they could do is postpone it vs. cancelling it. As it is right now, GRC is as limited by the weather as a NASCAR race which is completely pathetic!
Quite honestly few people want the GRC to succeed as much as I do. If you read my Op-Ed piece earlier this year, I spoke about how I think Global Rallycross can help draw attention to stage rally. GRC has such a huge opportunity right now to bring televised rally cars into millions of homes in america. This is a big deal! Unfortunately the current decision makers are turning the GRC into the laughing stock of motorsports.
After the cancellation announcement I saw hundreds of Twitter messages and Facebook comments that were quite damning. GRC is losing the respect of rally fans, motorsports fans, and most importantly the X-Games younger generation they all want so badly to impress. Global Rallycross, you need to fix this and you need to fix this FAST. I know you can’t control mother nature, but you can create contingency plans and you can create better race courses that tolerate changing weather conditions.