By Patrick Rall
If you missed the 2013 Global RallyCross event this past weekend that was scheduled to run in conjunction with the X Games stop in Barcelona, Spain, you didn’t miss much. Hard rain forced the event organizers to postpone, then cancel the race altogether. The decision to cancel the race sent ripples through the rally racing world as critics of the GRC – particularly European rally and rallycross fans – questioned the emerging sport in relation to other forms of rally motorsports around the world.
Facebook and Twitter were both ripe with complaints posted by both GRC fans and critics with comments boasting that European rally racers compete regardless of the weather conditions. Social media users pointed out that the Global RallyCross cars have treaded tires and windshield wipers so they should (in theory) be able to race and when you think about it – those people seem to have a pretty strong case. Hell, at some of the races last season, the GRC had special areas on the track that were continuously watered down so if they can race on an intentionally watered down track- why can’t they race in the rain? I will admit that I was disappointed and a little annoyed at the decision to cancel the event altogether until I read a Facebook post by Ken Block.
Block pointed out that the Global RallyCross cars don’t have treaded tires like you or I have on our daily drivers or even like the tires used by rally racers who compete in all sorts of weather conditions. Instead, the GRC teams all use the exact same tire and it is a slick tire that has been specially grooved to offer supreme grip on the paved surfaces and better traction in dirt or mud than a racing slick. These tires, combined with the fact that the GRC track designed for last weekend’s race was built on a flat surface with no provision for drainage, would have made the racing terrible according to Ken Block. Block also posted some images of the track during and after the hard rains with the racing surface looking more like a lake than a race track. The cars wouldn’t have been able to get any traction at all so it wouldn’t have been a race so much as it would have been a very expensive demolition derby. While Block and the rest of the GRC drivers were disappointed to have made the trip to Spain only to have the race cancelled – Block’s rationalization of why the race was cancelled helps to show that it was the best decision.
The good news is that early this morning, the Global RallyCross organizers issued an official statement that the cancelled event in Spain would be made up at a new event to be added as the season goes on. Very little information was offered as to when or where but it seems that the GRC intends to make sure that fans and racers get their fill of competition for the 2013 season.
“Due to heavy rain and the resulting adverse course conditions, the Global Rallycross competition at X Games Barcelona was cancelled,” said Colin Dyne, Global Rallycross CEO. “Global Rallycross will announce the addition of another race as a makeup race on the calendar shortly.”
While the rationale makes perfect sense, as a fan I am still upset that the race was cancelled due to rain. I understand the financial advantages to requiring every team to run the exact same tire but perhaps it is time to ask the tire provider to come up with a tire that teams can use in the event of hard rain or other adverse weather conditions that other forms of rally racing would compete in without a second thought.
In any case, the next stop on the 2013 Global RallyCross schedule is set for yet another X Games venue – this time stopping in Munich, Germany on June 29th.
Unless it rains.