To begin, I appreciate that there isn't a National Sol/Sky organization to oversee events and of course for that reason we rely on individuals and small groups to come together to "host" a national event. Generally this seems to work pretty well - IMHO (keep in mind that I am a relatively recent participant). There are some of you who have been involved in these events for quite a few years - does anyone keep information that would help a group wanting to host the National event? Are there people with the talent and past experience who would be willing to assist with setting up registration, web site...etc - those things that every event needs? has there been a review of the past events to identify what works well and what could be improved. There is no shortage of great places (or at least interesting places) in this country (and Canada), so what makes a great location for a National event? If a new group steps up and wants to host the National are they completely on their own?
The short answer is ... partially. I got good advice from several past organizers, some of which applied and some of which didn't. Also, some of it worked, and some of it didn't. There is no substitute for experience however, and no amount of coaching will cover all of the issues, or maybe even most of them. Also, areas are different enough that a straight cookbook won't work. Perversely, the things that I "recycled" from past events caused the most problems, and some of the things that shouldn't have worked went like clockwork.
I will give whatever remote assistance I can to whoever asks for it. I can tell you how I did things, and what I would do differently if I did it again, but at the end of the day the organizer is going to face unique challenges.
Mike made a pretty good list of "requirements", even if he was less than diplomatic in some of his comments:
1) Event facilities capable of handling up to 300 people
2) Multiple hotels in close proximity to maximize people's choices
3) Flexible hotel and event sit management that understand you are an amateur and will cater to a car group
4) Good roads with interesting destinations in close proximity to the main site
5) Easy access to those roads without a long trek down the highway or travel through a congested area
6) Food and relief facilities located in appropriate locations along the routes
7) Enough people to lead runs, run registration, organize activities, stage cars for runs, and set up things like the car show
8) If you are the main organizer, don't plan to do any of the runs. The go-to person has to be on site to answer questions and make decisions
9) Enough people close enough to drive all of the routes multiple times. Mapping can initially be done remotely, but testing has to be done in person, and every single edit has to be tested
?) All of the other little things that you won't know until you don't have them