RASC Snowflake

Rainier Auto Sports Club  

The Wishbone Alley Gazette



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 creature.

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.)



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 directions.

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. Life prevailed!

By - the American Pup

(The Winter Alcan went from Kirkland to Anchorage, February 11>19,  22 Entrants, all finished)

Doo Wop III and IIIV :

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.

Sundayıs run will use the gravel roads on non-DNR property.

Saturday 3/11/00

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


Sunday 3/12/00

9:30 MTC 1 Montesano
9:53 ATC 1 PICO L
11:16 ATC 2 PICO R
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 the Toyota.

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:
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.

Letter from one of our Members:

Dear RASC,

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,

Jim Streicher


For Sale:

Dave Folker has a "running" truck for sale- $500.

For Sale: ı90 Camaro RS, blue, auto,V6, T-top, CD, alarm, $3500. Pete Shelton (206) 365-4173

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
T-Shirts $12.00



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