Saturday morning – snowing? We saw the
storm cell over the Cascade Crest as we approached from the West. So far we’d just seen rain, but I knew it
had snowed at the summit two days earlier.
We entered the parking lot still in rain, but the talk at registration
was the just-ended snow shower.
Registration and Tech Inspection (under cover) went smoothly and most
competitors had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast and for pre-rally
stories and mock-intimidation, and for study of the route book. The pencil and paper crews began the long division
and speed calculations. Interesting
work when sitting at adjoining tables.
The Odo Check
quickly sent the rally past Cle Elum on I-90 and SR 970, then south on SR 97,
to a right onto the gravel. We were
still running the little Subaru “SportWagon” but with the Performance Rally
RX’s gravel tires, our correction factors were new for this event, so we took
some time here to decide on which numbers to use.
A short TSD over
the ridge dropped into the Kittitas Valley at Thorp and a brisk paved hill
climb, back to east bound I-90 at Elk Heights.
After a Transit to the Ryegrass Rest Area the rally got off to its fast
pace with a “change speed to 69mph” instruction. This wasn’t too tough on the downhill but local knowledge
foretold the wind and the Wild Horse hill climb after the bridge at Vantage. As expected, there was a checkpoint at the
top of the hill. With careful planning,
teams zeroed the leg, without planning or power they were late here. Exit the freeway at George, run the alfalfa,
onion, and potato fields past Quincy to the next gravel climbs and descents
through green wheat and thunderstorms to Soap Lake.
(A note here to all rallyists, novice and
veteran, if you disassemble your dash and bump the fuel gauge, run the tank
down to “E” and refill before the rally to calibrate the needle. Ours apparently stuck for a time, as we left
the start with nearly a full tank. The
warning low-fuel light came on as we started the gravel. Having the needle suddenly drop is pretty
disconcerting, but wondering if you can make 36 miles on a brisk rally with 2.4
gallons causes you to change to “fuel economy mode”. We pumped 15.652 gallons into a 15.9-gallon tank at Soap Lake!)
Fuel and rest
stops completed, we head north and east for a few checkpoints on some brisk and
twisty gravel, prior to the (provided) lunch at Summer Falls State Park. A storm cell had just settled the dust and
scattered the picnickers in time for the rally to take over the Park, set in
one of the Central Basin’s basalt coulees, carved by glacial action over
afternoon brought brisk paved sections, interrupted by brisk twisty gravel, in
and out of coulees, across scablands, and past rolling hills of wheat. One brisk and roller coaster section found
our Subaru “catching some air” (all the while under the speed limit).
A long transit
into Spokane brought us to Rally Headquarters and the Buffet Dinner at Bayou
Brewery. Rally stories began in earnest
as soon as the dinner began. Scores
were posted and we were in second in SOP by only 12 seconds (117 vs. 129, for
some unknown reason this was later changed from 93 to 116, a gap of 23).
Sunday found all
the crews awaiting the driver’s meeting and discussing such details as how many
pages they used to calculate the days speeds (the eventual class winner claimed
over 100 sheets – too much like work for us!).
We left the Start
and ran an Odo Check toward Cheney and beyond.
Of course, the factor was different, but we decided to make the
correction as “Real SOP”, on the needle and the odo wheel, as opposed to
recalculating the whole day. We
probably should have recalculated!
(Another note here for all “Paper” rallyists: Do the calculations before the brewery! I did the calcs for day two after the beer and later found
two different one-minute errors.)
The first TSD
section was 37.78 miles and contained 6 scored checkpoints including one at
Cast 8mph, in a tunnel, after a pause of 10 seconds. Two speed changes and a pause, with two controls in a quarter mile. We probably should have expected quick
controls after Saturday’s back-to-back quick controls, but to pause before a
hazard, then clear the hazard into a control was pretty cheap. One of the basic tenants of rallying with
regard to “PAUSE” is to clear the hazard, or the signaled intersection, or
crossing a highway, or left turning traffic, or one-lane bridges, or one lane tunnels, then take the pause
where it is safe. This is part of every
Novice Driver’s meeting. The control
burned some; some did it the way the rally master wanted some just lucked out. It was definitely the topic of discussion
between cars waiting at the end of each of the following transits. A very successful Unlimited driver (R. Dale
Kraushaar) held the opinion that “whoever did that control right” (meaning same
as rally master right) “would probably win the event", apparently he was
correct in his prediction. It also
prompted a scrawled note in large red ink in our route book…”Lame A..ed
Control!!” I’m not sure how a SOP car
Casts 8 mph: 7.5 min/mile=. 75min/10th=45sec
every 528 feet, while the needle doesn’t register, the odo wheel barely moves,
or if digital you just guess when it will click over a tenth!
The next TSD took
the rally from Harrington toward Odessa with three checkpoints on brisk gravel
sections over 22 miles. A 25-mile
Transit to Marlin and the next TSD began with pavement and Cast 39. Cast 58, Cast 42, and end pavement, through
a checkpoint and off into the scablands to the Water Crossing (Photo Op) and
into Ephrata. Another climb over
Monument Hill and brisk gravel through some of Saturday’s wheat and then the
downhill into Palisades and Billingsley Ranch where speeds were very slow to
appease the owner (who came up to the control and thanked them for a good job,
great PR, guys!)
A rather long and
tedious section was followed by the famous Rock Island Grade hillclimb. Narrow roads, no guardrails, big exposures,
several switchbacks, and maintain 33mph!
As expected, there was a checkpoint at the top. Continuing on gravel through several
controls and then over Waterville Ski Hill and down Badger Canyon to the finish
at East Wenatchee.
We traveled 326
miles on Saturday, 300 Sunday, 54 to the start and 152 to get home…=833
miles. We were scored as finishing
second in SOP. We had to leave early to
get navigator to the airport and San Francisco, so we don’t get to participate
in the after-rally “fun” and couldn't verify our scores.
We normally have an opportunity to
reconcile the scores, the control locations and the number of controls (we
counted 4 on one leg, they scored 5… We
counted 7 on another leg, they scored 6) so that we might improve from our
mistakes. We weren’t able to do so this
Overall/First Classic Unlimited: Satch
Carlson/Russ Kraushaar (Saab Sonnet) 38 seconds
- First Unlimited: Rebecca Rocks/John
Kisela (Subaru) 57
- First Equipped: Mike Daily/Steve Pfau (Jetta) 159
First Seat-of-Pants:: Dan and Stuart Fealks (Subaru) 190
First Novice: Peter Hadfield/Max Vaysburd (Subaru) 365
First Classic SOP: Steve Brown/David Glassman (Porsche 914) 541
information see www.rainierautosports.com
no alibi rally 2001
Ron Sorem & Josh Sorem; Subaru RX Rally Team 10835 SE 170th
Street, Renton WA 98055
RASC stage went fine. It was touch-and-go to round up enough workers- Hey, it's
been a very, very busy spring!
was, Kirk and Terry Simons introduced us to their new kids. Finishing the first
week of the "houseful" by going out in the woods to live in a trailer
is tough; Kirk decided to take the following Monday off with various degrees of
crew also included Roy Ward (doing HAM duty to free up Hams for other tasks),
Debbie Sjodin, Jarvis, and Ron Sorem. It was Ron's first experience at a
control. Dave Folker and Jay Shukla
parked up the road from the ATC/STOP location to start cars and/or do Flying
to see all these people learning how to deal with the rain: Vince looked at
clear skies, discussed removing his storm clothing, but knew that once removed,
the rain would resume. "Yeah, it looks goofy, but as long as I leave it
on, it won't rain."
was a different crowd, with Kirk and Terry manning one end, with brother Mark
helping. Answering my pleas (panic…), Jerry Hines brought out at least two
boys, and Ed Storer seems to have run the Flying Finish all by himself.
had Rod Chelgren, Sue Calvert and Jarvis doing all the work while Nolte built
dull: Joe Noyes' Celica took out a little tree, then landed on another. The
"landing" poked a hole under the co-driver's left, uh, cheek. A
simple tug by sweep didn't get the impaled vehicle off the stump, so a crew of
burly, motivated fellows went in, between stages, and lifter the car out of the
bushes- and the car was driven out.
delivery of burgers, no one thought to stop a car from entering the
"cold" stage. This could cause a great deal of trouble, but it turned
out to be spectators badly lost.
idea (for us) - Nolte put a big, round, $10 kitchen clock on a tripod, and used
it as the Start clock. The intention was to keep the workers a bit further from
the fury of the starting cars. The other advantage is that the driver can see
the clock, too. It would have been a roaring success, except some of the teams
waited a moment to make sure they weren't going to be flagged off. It took a
(painful) moment for them to realize that the crew was standing there, watching
the clock, too.
Call the NWRC Hotline (206)
256-9627 for latest info on Puget Sound TSD events.