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Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Greg:

Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Greg:

Postby that 31 car » December 14th, 2014, 9:40 pm

Ok Dave and Greg:
Here's how it is, and you can quote me, just so there is no misunderstanding, I stand by what I say. When the TLR cup decided that they wanted and needed vintage to be a full show, it was presented to the major events first.
At that meeting was Ironwood, the 525, Fire on Ice was invited but could not attend, they were to be on a conference call for the meeting, they did not participate due to schedule conflicts with the major players in the Fire on Ice program key people. Alex was on line but not in person, they attended with a conference call.
All promoters agreed that the blend of vintage and late model was a good blend. Also all promoters agreed it would be a a major change in operation. The 525 had concerns because they had already signed with PVR to put on a vintage event the week after their normally scheduled USSA event. ISR and TLR Cup agreed that that due to the signing of the event before the announcement, Ralph's contract would be honored, all other events were requested to honor each others date. Ralph's group indicated they would try their best in the future to not schedule against a TLR event. Ralph who was always a man of his word, will do what is needed in the future, but right now he is committed by obligation to the TLR Cup event and his vintage event.
Secondly, after the discussion and scheduling of the of the TLR events, unfortunately, the insurance offered to ISR in the past met with a non renewal situation. This was not due to any one race or any one discipline, it was due to the tremendous load of claims on the insurance company due to medical claims. More from certain high injury disciplines not as demanding as ovals, but still the industry looks at it as snowmobile racing in general. This factor led to what we are experiencing now. After much research Todd( ISR) found a policy that would do two things, one, cover the promoters with good liability at a good price, and two, increase the dollar amount of coverage to the drivers and crew if indeed they were hurt, racing or in the pits.
Reality is did he want this to happen, NO! He just bought a company that depended on snowmobile racing of all kinds, secondly the guiding principle of ISR was protection for both promoters and racers. He needed it to survive, but being a person of integrity, he chose what is best for the industry, not whats best for him. (realize here he needs to make a living. I seen some of the deals he was offered, he could have made a lot of money going other ways, but he chose the best for snowmobile racing) He found a policy that offered a reduced true cost of liability to the promoter, and passed on the cost of the medical to the driver. A good deal for everyone, no. BUT frankly the best deal available for all. I have been around snowmobile racing since 1972 and it is truly amazing how many big name guys did not have personal health insurance to cover them. They depended on the $3000 or $5000 medical to cover them. Well reality is the $3000 don't pay for the ambulance ride. So with that said, I find it strange after all my years, that one can buy 50 foot haulers, strange skis for vintage that are really solid front ends. Special trick clothing just cause its cool, but forget about what it costs for simple protection for your family or yourself.
Think a little, how many racers do you know who have had serious traumatic injuries in the last 8-10 years. We can all get together and do charity fund raisers for them but frankly it don't cut it. Reality is $50,000 don't cut it either, but its a lot better than $3000. Next deal is we had promoters who could no longer afford paying the big fee's for sanction insurance, now they can, and we actually added races. So to me with all it's problems, it was all good in the end. At least you got races.
As to the rest of it, why did USSA go with the reduced membership for vintage guys, strictly business. One, USSA right or wrong has always been deemed as against vintage, in the old days maybe, when they brought a bunch of sleds they swept the sparrow poop off of , ran two laps and broke, (check with Socwell, he had a post sometime back how he convinced Ted Otto to let his group race at Merrill, and the deal was they needed to be professional, reality is they most had issues, and came off on the leash, advance ten years and of course the vintage stuff runs well. (Socwells a honest man, he will tell you how Teddy glared at him when he came in on the tow board.) As days went on, they got better, but frankly still loaded the show. If it wasn't for Todd Miller, Charlie Vance, and Purvis, putting all they had into it, the whole deal still wouldn't be much.
Advance a few years, now we got vintage guys dumping as much as a Champ into the sled and asking everyone to feel sorry for them, because they are vintage guys and are in it just for fun and nostalgia, I call bullshit. Reality is it a takes as much to get a race track ready for them as much as anybody else. To Greg's point this part is equal. However, as to the price difference, USSA still wants to control their own destiny, full USSA members get to vote, full USSA members get to suggest and offer operational guidance for the future. We were told vintage guys would never pay a full membership and will at best go for half price, our dealings in the past with adding vintage shows proved that out, we always argued with Bill over the cost of operation, and don't get me wrong Bill's good people, but it's just the way it was. So reality is that's why the split price, half price, no vote, no Pro Star, no USSA award. If this is worth something to you, join at the late model price, but remember this we (USSA board) was told be nice to the vintage guys, help them out, they don't think you like them and they don't like to spend a lot on racing,. So we said ok, half price for vintage guys, they get the TLR deal and we work with whats left. Frankly if USSA had it's way, when the negotiations went on, we probably would have pushed for more TLR classes for late model and nothing for the rest, but we went the Christian way, and involved everybody. Now we are the bad guys and everybody else is pretty close to the Pope or whatever you believe in. Reality is guys, you got 4 TLR races in USSA events since USSA stepped up. Some organizations like vintage, some cater to it, that's all good, but reality is none of you guys are racing a true vintage sled, you got them so tricked up, Deckers, Useldinger, Eastman, Coltom, Lofton, Lindblad , Adema, or Duhamel, or anybody else in the "day" wouldn't recognize them. And don't contest this, cause I was there in the "day", and frankly no matter what the brand, they were shit boxes by today's standards. Most of the vintage crowd now was either watching or still Sh--ting yellow when it all went on. If you want to step up, the TLR deal is there. If you rather do other races, they are there too, ran by good people. BUT the simple reality is, this is the test, if you want the deal, race with us, if you don't, race where you want. It's all good. The next part of reality is , you got a issue with how it's done, don't bitch at Lisa, she is doing the best she can, and donating a ton. You don't like it call me or Len our President. My number is 920-732-3563, if I can't take it when you call, I will call back. At 66 years of age doing what I do I talked to a lot of pissed off people over the years. I'll take your call. You just got to get in line. By the way Todd approved this, he is at 262-335-2401, if you don't feel what he is doing is right. Reality is he is doing the best he can.PLUS
And as for Ironwood, no matter what side you are on in this deal, respect those people, they brought you the "legend" back. They do and try extremely hard, and are genuine people. They are doing what they do best. You want to bitch, call me or Todd, not them. Funny how they were hero's about two years ago. Now not so much.
Special thanks to GPR F-500 for the best F-500 series in racing, thanks to V-Force for the Pro Lite class, thanks to all USSA members who support the program, thanks to the 12 member board who approved it, thanks to ISR for doing what it takes to save racing as we know it. And special thanks to Tommy Lipar for the series. You folks got to realize he operates from a true love for the sport, and really don't want to see what is really going on right now. Don't screw it up. Most peoples net worth isn't what he gives away in a year.
Remember the number to call is 920-732-3563. It's a lot better than hiding behind the key board. If you don't like what I said, get a hold of USSA, they can fire me. If you see there are two sides, cool. All the best to you no matter what you do.
I like the internet, but frankly, I liked the old way better, we met face to face and discussed it. Now we post comments and kinda just hide. It ain't right!
All the best for your personal race effort in 2015 no matter where you race.
that 31 car
Posts: 82
Joined: February 15th, 2002, 9:06 am
Location: Next to the big swamp. Menchalville, WI.

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby Greg Bihner » December 15th, 2014, 8:22 am

Jerry thanks for the honesty and the WHOLE story. First off I think the ISR insurance thing is good we are paying more but in turn are getting more. I don't have any problem with that. But here is the deal when you pay the same or more than the racer that has an older sled and get less that is the problem. It is what it is. That is my opinion only. Thanks for the explanation now the whole world knows how the big wheel goes around. Thank you and all the promoters for giving us a place to race. Greg
Greg Bihner
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Location: Oakdale MN

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby race fan Dave » December 15th, 2014, 5:40 pm


There seems to be a misunderstanding. What you, Todd, ISR, Tommy Lipar and MANY others have done, and continue to do, is incredible and I believe is truly in the best interest of the sport. Todd took a raw insurance deal, and made it better for the racers, who like you said, would rather spend money of fancy clothes and expensive parts that MIGHT make them go a little faster. You and Todd and many others are getting the closest it's been to finally having 1 set of rules than there's ever been, again helping the racers. As you've also said many times in the past, racers do not always make the best decisions, so key people such as yourselves make them for the racers. I'm still scratching my head my Todd would want to buy a headache, all I can guess is his passion to help the sport far exceeds anyone else's out there.

The issue I (and Greg) have is the preferred treatment of vintage racers. I agree with you 100% that there have been issues in the past having the 2 groups race together, but that is the past and you can't change it. Excluding them then is comparable to charging the modern guys double now - it's a lose/lose. I agree with you 100% for wanting to keep control of USSA, as you (and many others) have put in decades of work making it happen, but I think the better option would have been to give the late model guys the option of the reduced rate/reduced benefit membership. The money itself doesn't matter, it's the principle behind it.

As far as emailing instead of calling, we will have to disagree on that. If it is written down where everyone can see, is not personally attacking, and has your name on it, I don't consider that 'hiding behind a keyboard'. There are many who post either with no name or fake name, where mine has always been posted. One of the benefits of posting online is many others see it, and usually answers their questions at the same time instead of you answering the same question over and over and over. I believe it also holds you accountable, as once it is online, it is always online, so you better think before you post.

If you, or anyone else has any questions, feel free to call me as well. 1-204-485-5346.

Dave Cole
race fan Dave
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Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby tonyave » December 15th, 2014, 10:36 pm


I dont know how you keep doing it buddy. Almost 30 years since I met you through both your Ryerson job during the week calling on my familys store and tearing down my Ski-Doos in the tech tent on the weekends, and your still at it. These people dont know how hard you've worked to keep the racing going.

I noticed there were only 6 Champ sleds at Beausejour.....a place where we used to have to run eliminations for two days to get down to a 12 man final. These guys should be looking at ways to spend more money to keep the sport going, not trying to save every dollar.

Im sure they all mean well in their comments, but I 'll say this, anybody whos been flown out of a racetrack like i have and put through 6 months of hell wouldnt even blink at a $150 insurance bill......

Tony Ave
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Location: Mooresville, NC

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby kriegs » December 15th, 2014, 11:25 pm

Ave your still kicking? It kills you to not be out there doesn't it? Good to hear your comments and yes agreed that 150 is a cheap price to pay for 50 k of coverage. Jerry great post cannot wait to be up in Ironwood and work with you on that race. Going to be the best of the best there and fun to watch. Tony fly in and come join us! Guys inregards to special treatment don't forget also that the late model sleds have more rounds of track time Very fair deal from what I see and I'm not racing anymore so I'm an outsider looking in and trying to help promote ice oval racing so it can be around for many years to come
Thanks to every one and I look forward to seeing all of you in Ironwood

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Joined: November 10th, 2013, 9:34 am

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby fast dad » December 16th, 2014, 6:39 am


I agree with Tony Ave you have the patience of a saint!!!And have done to for so long too!! With out guys like you and Todd there would be no racing!!! Period....

If guys who think that $150.00 is to expensive to race then you probably should not be racing, it that breaks the bank...or get a smaller truck or hauler???

[b]fast dad[/b]
fast dad
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Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby that 31 car » December 16th, 2014, 12:26 pm

Tony and TJ:
Thanks for the kind words.
Tony,the real challenge was selling Polaris's to the guy who won the WC and managed the "key" Ski Doo team of the time. Steve was always great, straight up, honest, man of his word, but selling to him was a no BS deal. Demanded honesty, and respected it.
Mom was always a class act at the dealership, she knew the system, programs, and policy. Never got flustered or rattled. Jim was a great sales manager, and Tom still one of the best tech's in the industry.
Good memories. I do have one special memory talking to you in tear down as a young man, some monumental issue of the day was going on, and your Dad had given me his "take" on the deal. As typical Steve, explicit, factual and with great eloquence. When he left the tent, you in all seriousness, looked at me and said "Jerry' you gotta understand, Dad doesn't speak, "he lectures"!! Remember it like it was last night.

TJ: Back in the day, when you were racing and working on sleds at night, Randy and I although some age difference used to visit at night with the rest of the "Chicago" crowd in more relaxing settings. He was always good for insight, and opinion. A good man, enjoyed him.

Regards, and Merry Christmas to both your families and yourselves.
Only guy who hasn't commented on my still doing this is Berg, but I know he's watching and waiting for the right time. After all the years like Zernia, he knows how to measure my frustration level and interjects at just the opportune moment. Tim's making so much money with his new deal, probably wondering why he didn't do it sooner. All the best to him too!
that 31 car
Posts: 82
Joined: February 15th, 2002, 9:06 am
Location: Next to the big swamp. Menchalville, WI.

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby Flatout » December 16th, 2014, 9:37 pm

For the cost of a tank of gas in my pickup I can get insurance coverage for a year i think it is a good deal. In our sport it will make you money eventually.
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Joined: November 20th, 2001, 5:05 am
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Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby tberg » December 19th, 2014, 12:03 pm


Oh yes, I have been watching--but doing a bit of travel over the past few days and unable to connect. All I can say is the sport never seems to get out of it's own way--and it's history just continues to repeat itself. It does not seem to matter what the issue is---New classes (F-500, Outlaw and now the new Champ endeavor) are created but the rules always become an issue a short time into it's development and then everyone comes out of the woodwork to fight for what they have in their garage. Now there is bickering about the insurance costs and coverages---well, I have sat in many a meeting with carriers back as early 80's and I an assure all---This is not something the snowmobile group has a lot of "stroke" in. The participation numbers are simply to allow any carrier to offer excellent coverage at a low price. What Todd A has done for the snowmobile racing community and the insurance that is now offered---Todd himself deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, certainly not some complaining about what little it costs.
But life goes on---and if there are no major changes in how people present themselves within the sport, it will always be what it is. Small.
On a brighter note--now that JK has finally sort of retired--we will save a spot on the sand for him in SWFL. I can assure you we will not discuss rules, sanctioning, insurance issues or even how thick the ice is. We will however spend some time determining if you want one or two umbrellas in your next toddy.
Merry Christmas all---and have a great 2015!

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Joined: March 28th, 2014, 9:36 am

Re: Vintage/USSA/TLR/ Insurance and questions by Dave and Gr

Postby Spy-Guy 74 » December 20th, 2014, 7:14 am

Tim I think it's about time you come back up north for a race too. Eagle River would work out, lots of folks would enjoy seeing you again for sure. How about if I get NUMBER 30 to throw his leg over one of my F-500's, would you come and watch?Don't have a purple sno-pro built yet, but I've started on one. lol You'd like the Wausau 525 too, if Eagle doesn't work for you!!

Take Care and Merry Christmas to you and your family
Spy-Guy 74
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Location: Almost in Canada, MN


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