The Wishbone Alley Gazette
ANOTHER DARING ESCAPE BY THE AMPUP RALLY FUGITIVES
But what else would you expect by a team
composed of a lawyer and a car dealer? The 2000 Thunderbird was to be AlCan practice for
this latest iteration of Team ARF -- for the Pup to learn to use a Timewise, and Steve
Norman to see if he could stand more than half a day in a car with the ever-yapping
The T'Bird has become Big Time -- One of the best of the "brisk" TSDs in
North America. This year the organizers, Paul Westwick, Tony Latham, the Mahwinneys, and
their dedicated crew who have spent 13 years polishing and perfecting their
rally-production skills, were rewarded with the largest field yet for one of the
"modern" T'birds -- 45 cars! The measurements were accurate, the route was
interesting, grueling, and well-paced, the scoring quick and accurate, and some
substantial sponsorships with very nice prizes. The route from Cache Creek via Jesmond,
Rail Lake, Beaver Valley, the shorty under the railroad tracks that Jerry always uses, and
Meldrum took us to the overnight at Williams Lake. We were elated to find ourselves in
second with 18 points over 20 controls, behind the unflappable Fouse and Wendy with only
9, but closely followed by Nispel/Nolte at 20, and then three more experienced teams
between 21 and 28, including the Breazles with 26.
While most agreed that Saturday's speeds had been a bit conservative, we knew that Paul
had a reputation for stepping it up a bit on Sunday to allow the field to spread out. Just
a little too late we saw Ted Wilkinson with a video camera high on a snowbank above a
downhill right then left, and gave him something to shoot when we plowed into the soft
snowbank on the navigator's side. While we were frantically shoveling out, a small SUV
stuffed even deeper over the bank behind us, generating more entertaining footage. Twenty
minutes of frenzied digging, assisted by a push from Ted after he used up all his tape,
got us back on the road, and we hoped to catch up by skipping the 15 minute gas stop at
Lac La Hache, some 45 km ahead.
We were making good time about 3 km further on when we saw a warning triangle at the
end of a long straight, and Steve began slowing, as we could not see what was over the
little downhill lefthander. As we crested, we noticed that the road had become very, very
shiny, extremely shiny, with greatly reduced traction. We also saw a red Mazda GTX halfway
off on the right, and a nice young couple looking round-eyed at our sideways car sliding
directly toward them. The quick reactions of the driver saved the day, as he got it
straightened out and pointed directly at the four-foot snowbank to the right, launching us
in a truly beautiful yump, snow flying over the windows, and two big THUMPs coming from
below. We landed clear of the Mazda, well clear of it -- and better than 40 feet off the
road. Congratulations were exchanged all around, no underwear had been damaged, and we
quickly dug out the Mazda and had them back on the road in five minutes.
However, the Sweep crew were still involved with SUV extrication back up the route, so
we worked on our tans, skated back and forth on the icy slope, assuring ourselves that we
had indeed been deceived by a tricky patch, and poked a bit more at the snow under the car
to uncover some sizeable logs and one very solid stump (the louder of the THUMPs, I
suppose). Two hours later the Mahwinneys rolled up in the Sweep truck, with some friends
in another rig. Our heavy-duty 25-foot tow strap didn't come anywhere near the road, and a
second strap positioned the truck to attempt a reverse jerk up the nasty little slope. A
dozen or so increasingly firm tugs finally got our car out of the deep stuff, with a
heartening lack of tell-tale stains in the pure white, well-packed snow it left so
reluctantly. The only damage appeared to be a bent front rim, and after a tire change we
were on our way back to Cache Creek.
We fell in with the rally on the way, and briefly (0.0005 min) considered joining them
for the final regularity, an ice race on a frozen lake (at least I assumed it was frozen),
but loyalty to our good friends Satch and Russ, and morbid curiosity about rumors of a
blown engine in their car, compelled us to seek shelter at the Wander Inn, almost an hour
ahead of the rest of the jolly adventurers. We had our tales well-rehearsed by the time
they began straggling in with reports of the front runners becoming stuck in a ditch when
they politely moved over to allow the lads from Down East to pass them. As the full import
of this amazing set of circumstances dawned on us (Oh, No! Iffa, coulda, shoulda, . . . !
) we became increasingly philosophical, with mutual assurances that we had accomplished
our truly paramount goals of developing team procedures, computer skills, shoveling
muscles, knowledge that the jack is stored under the second of the spares, etc, etc. We
slunk away before final scores were posted, so we really don't know much more at the time
of this scrivening.
A quick check with the vehicle's owner this morning yielded the information that a seam
in the belly pan had separated (the revenge of the stump), and was being welded as we
spoke. A few other detail items, and Red Dog will be ready for the longest, coldest,
toughest winter rally in the world. I hope we are.
By - the American Pup
(The Thunderbird Rally attracted 45 entries over the February 5/6 weekend.)
JOURNEY TO ANOTHER PLANET
Prudhoe Bay in February is probably as
close to being on another planet as an earthling could ever experience, at least in this
lifetime. The 2000 edition of the Alcan 5000 gave us an excuse to make the journey, which
I donıt think any of us would have attempted on our own, nor are any of us likely to do
again, at least in the winter.
Once we crested Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range, the only color we saw was WHITE. Not a
tree, not a bush, not a solitary twig, not a blade of dried grass, not even a stone broke
the surface of the rather shallow layer of snow that covered everything. The peaks were
sharply chiseled of pure, solid white ice, snow, or rock, it didnıt matter it was
white. There was a full moon of brilliant white gleaming in a whitish blue sky. And this
was still mid-afternoon. The thin rays of the sun cast a clear, white light. The road was
white. It was well plowed: in fact an Alaska-sized road grader/snowplow was grooming the
already smooth, level surface. The blade turned up a pure white berm perhaps a foot high,
and if you looked closely, you might detect a faint, bluish-white shadow to mark the edge
of the road, where just enough depth lurked to suck in any errant wheel that dared to
stray from the trackless path.
As we descended from the Brooks Range onto the North Slope, we saw precisely why it is
so named. The land, or what we presumed to be land, rapidly leveled out, and became gently
rolling very gently rolling. Sort of like the country north of Waterville that weıve
seen on ES 1000s, only totally, blindingly, numbingly WHITE. All of it. Everything.
Our convoy tightened up without any prodding from Redneck John, the wagonmaster. Nobody
wanted to disappear along here. Surprisingly, there were 3 or 4 sideroads marked by STOP
signs, and I think two of them were plowed. One went a short distance to some kind of
industrial-looking collection of structures. Another disappeared over the horizon to God
only knows where. We werenıt about to go checking out alternate routes. Several times
Steve asked for help in discerning the right-hand margin of safety, especially in the
proximity of one of the BIG trucks that carry the freight in Alaska.
Johnıs voice came over the radio, warning us of two big rigs descending "the Ice
Cut." Discretion, and our previous experience with these hairy mammoths caused us to
wait quite docilely at the bottom of the grade for the juggernauts to pick their way down.
The equally slow descent of dusk in the far North kept light in the sky much later than we
expected, but by the time we approached Deadhorse, the "town" that serves the
oilfields of Prudhoe Bay, the only lights visible were those of our caravan and the
unexpectedly numerous strings of glowing points that marked human attempts at existence in
this unforgiving environment. The road appeared to be built about four feet above a
pancake-flat plain, covered by a shifting layer of blowing ice crystals.
But the food was good and the rooms were warm at the Oilfield Motel, and the next
morningıs tour of the industrial complex that makes up Deadhorse/Prudhoe was fascinating.
The view of the Arctic Ocean was a bit disappointing, however. No whales or seals or even
polar bears, just a whiteness over the rail of demarcation that was otherwise
indistinguishable from the whiteness on our side. Five minutes exposure to 20 degrees F
with a wind chill of -50 made my exposed forehead ache, giving me fear for the underlying
brain cells, if any. A stop for fuel at one of the two stations serving the region (motto
of drivers in the North: Never Pass Gas!), and we were on our way to Fairbanks, 500 miles
to the temperate South.
A bulletin in the motel and Johnıs warning over our radios predicted a Class 1 Blow.
This means all vehicles travel in convoy with lights on. As the lights of the BMW
sport-ute ahead of us began to disappear, along with the outline of the vehicle, we heard
concern expressed about the laggards still in Deadhorse. The Class 1 was rapidly becoming
a Class 2, and we were advised that in a Class 3 you stop -- wherever you may be, no
excuses, not quite in the ditch but as safely off the road as possible. When we could no
longer raise Deadhorse on the radio, Sweep was dispatched to go back and round up the
Isuzus, presumed to be off on a photography mission. For the next hour we thought about
the smallness of our little convoy on the Arctic plain, and squinted our eyes against the
blowing snow as we hoped the boxy shadow ahead of us was following another shadow that was
still on the road. We were much relieved when we drew closer to the Brooks Range, whose
icy peaks now looked like old friends against the blue sky. The blow had abated, the tail
end of the wagon train had closed up, and we were treated to glorious views in all
We had made it! We had conquered the Frozen North, had dreamt our Arctic Dreams, and
emerged, if not quite back in civilization, at least well along its road. Twigs, brush,
even tiny trees reappeared, and moose were sighted in the thickets along the frozen river.
By - the American Pup
(The Winter Alcan went from Kirkland to Anchorage,
February 11>19, 22 Entrants, all finished)
DNR did not come through with permission to use the Capitol
Forest roads, so Saturdayıs competition is on the roads in the ORV Park. Since the Park
is closed, the entire park can be closed to compose the route. The concession stands will
be open and there will be a break of about 1.5 hours between the second and third runs.
Doo Wop III and IIIV :
Sundayıs run will use the gravel roads on non-DNR property.
11:00 MTC 1 PDE
11:23 ATC 1 ORV
12:06 ATC 2 ORV 2
14:09 ATC 3 ORV 3
14:52 ATC 4 ORV 4
15:35 ATC 5 ORV 5
16:35 MTC 2
9:30 MTC 1 Montesano
9:53 ATC 1 PICO L
11:16 ATC 2 PICO R
12:59 ATC 3 NUKE SITE
14:12 ATC 4 Brooklyn W
14:55 ATC 5 Smith Creek W
15:58 ATC 6 Smith Creek E
16:41 ATC 7 Brooklyn E
17:21 MTC 2 Oakville Grange
Steve Richards was forced to cancel his
Thunderbird and Alcan Plans due to quicker than expected joint reconstruction on his left
hip and ankle.
The hip is a replacement for a total hip that was done in 1980 and had loosened and the
ankle is a new prosthesis made possible due to recent technology advancements in ankle
joint replacement. Surgery was done on February 10, and Steve is currently home
recovering. He hopes to return to work by mid April, and be rallying again soon after. He
said the old titanium hip joint which was removed will make a nice short throw shifter for
Carey Wright made the John L. Scott "Presidents Award" list, with his picture
in the January 30th (Sunday) Seattle Times. We usually canıt see his face when heıs at
the wheel of his PRO-Rally Dodge Colt. He works out of the North Bend office.
Rally driver born:
Letter from one of our Members:
Future renowned rally driver Zachary Davis Shelton was born on February 24, 2000. To thew
proud parents, Amy Wolf & Pete Shelton watch for him in the years to come. 9 lbs.,
7oz, 19 inches. Baby & mom OK.
Well, another year rolls around and I'm still getting my FREE WAG in the mail! Gee,
aren't these rich racecar folks nice! Hmmm, what's this I see? The WAG is $10 smackers a
year? Golly, I'll bet some generous person is hoping I'll pay for this rag someday. Maybe
I'll just send in enough for the subscription. Whoooa! What's this I read? Something about
"diminished club membership"? Well, I'll just have to do my part and make a
check for $27.00. Sorry it's not more, but I am using your hard earned tax-dollars to
write this check!
For those of you who know me, hello from Japan! The wife and I were given our marching
orders and now reside at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni Japan. 'Tis a lovely place with
much to do. I have seen more Mitsu Evo's parked at the mall than I care to admit. We
picked up an '89 Nissan Cedrick. Has a delightful 2.5 litre turbo to push it around.
The locals love to meet near Hiroshima, at midnight, each Saturday. They drive some of
the wildest little rides you can imagine. Full blown EVO's, Supra's, Skyline GT*, and the
occasional American Muscle. The '79 Trans Am, that showed up a few weekends ago, wins
"MOST OUT OF PLACE" award. Some of these little rockets are unbelievable in the
performance department. Unfortunately, most of the egghead drivers leave much to be
desired. If this local version of a drag race isn't exciting enough, your next option is
something they call "Drifting". Yep, you guessed it, take your Japanese
Quad-Turbo-Wonder as fast as you can through skinny mountain pass roads. This bit of fun
has proven to be my personal favorite. The constabulary tends to look the other way as
long as you don't leave any auto/human body parts lying about.
For those of you who don't know me, I was the idiot who passed you seven or eight times
at last years' Armageddon. We all known that the only excuse is that I was constantly
lost! I'll never forget the look on the face of the guys in the Porsche bout my 3rd time
by.... "Dumb Sonofa..." Oh well, I never claimed to be real bright, but I sure
had oodles of fun! And considering I did the first hour by myself!
I hope the RASC remains an active organization. You are the ONLY folks I could find
when I began my search for a club to "hang" with. Thanks to Mark Nolte and the
rest of the gang for keeping me in the Loop.
Tell Jerry Hines I'm available to fly home for Alcan if he needs a replacement
co-driver!!! NO, really, I'll be on my BESTEST behavior!
Best Wishes for the New Year,
Dave Folker has a "running" truck for
For Sale: ı90 Camaro RS, blue, auto,V6, T-top, CD, alarm, $3500. Pete Shelton (206)
Mazda Parts: RX3 &7 parts, header, wheels, headlights & Taillight assemblies,
engine part, plus complete ı82 RX7 parts car. Pete Shelton (206) 365-4173
The Wishbone Alley Gazette is published for the members and
friends of the Rainier Auto Sports Club. Subscription prices $10 per year. The editor is
Terry Simons, phone 425-806-1741. Contribution and paid / unpaid ad eagerly received at
4029 228th St Se Bothell, WA
Membership dues are:
Single Membership $17.00
Family Membership $20.00
WAG Subscription $10.00