RASC Snowflake

Rainier Auto Sports Club  

The Wishbone Alley Gazette

December, 2001

Club Meeting

  • Sunday, 3PM: Mike and Gretchen Jones will host RASC at their Kirkland home.  Gretchen chaired the "consumables committee", and expects to visit Costco for all the fixing's. The beverage of the day will be non-alcoholic punch.  Families are expected, kids 'n' all.

    32" TV- Mike has his own primo collection of rally tapes, but if you have a good 'un… share it.

    No gift exchange, you don't have to bring anything.

    Getting there: North on I-405, Take Exit 20B, then through the tunnel to Totem Lake Blvd. L at that Signal, parallel 405 for 3/4 mile, then L at Signal (132nd).   This will lead you to the critical intersection of 100th, where you go Straight, passing Albertson's on your right. Up the hill to the 4-way STOP, to turn right.

    Right second opportunity (92nd), and make your way to 133rd. The address is 9305 NE 133rd. If you find yourself in Vancouver or on Juanita Drive, call (425) 823-8329 to join the group.

Rally News

  • TOTEM 2001, By S. Richards

P, R, N, D, one, two, three

P, R, N, D, one, two, three

D to R and woe is me.

This was to be the first rally in my new Subaru Outback Sport and first rally ever with an automatic.  The D to R scenario was certainly in the back of my mind throughout the event but the one time we needed the R in a hurry, I couldn't find it. My navigator, Gary Reid, gave me plenty of warning for the upcoming acute right, "very tight," he said, and when I couldn't negotiate it cleanly and when it was much too late for a handbrake turn, my only option was to back and fill. My praises of the neatly gated gear selector lever on the Sube turned to curses as it took me an agonizing 10 seconds to find the reverse slot.

The Totem has traditionally been an all gravel rally but, due to conflicts with other events, has been held in late November for the past two years.  The weather can take many turns in BC this time of year, especially as far north as Merritt, the starting point. I had two sets of tires from which to choose.  The unstudded Cooper Weathermaster S/T, which I bought for gravel use and the studded Hakkapeliitta 10s.  I wanted to save the Hakkas for the Thunderbird in February, but a last minute change in the weather up north, prompted me to go with them for Totem.  This turned out to be the best choice by far.

There was an unbelievable amount of snow covering about 90% of the regularity sections.  Only a week before, Route Master Paul Westwick said that most of the route was bare gravel with a bit of ice on some of the higher sections.  But for the weekend of the rally,  cnn.com/weather was indicating subfreezing temperatures overnight with snow.  As usual, the speeds were very brisk.  In some places we were making fresh tracks in eight inches of fresh snow and in other places two or three inches of snow was covering solid ice.  On several occasions while on steep downhill sections with hairpins I was sure we weren't going to make it but with the anti-skid thumping away we somehow got around the corner.

Finally I got to find out what left foot braking is all about.   I was never quite coordinated enough to pull it off with a standard transmission.

Gary and I have run numerous Totem Rallies in my '82 Toyota Starlet with varying success. The lack of power in that car prompted me to try to run early most of the time as the crafty Canadians are wont to put the controls at the top of unclimbable hill climbs or at the end of a series of unstraightenable hairpins.  With 165 hp, however, the Outback has enough power to make up a 20 second deficit in fairly short order.

Unfortunately I was mentally still driving the Starlet and, as Gary felt obliged to point out at the end of the rally, I had collected three times as many early points as late.  It was just such a thrill to be capable of being early for once. 

Nevertheless we kept the car on the road and solidly in second place to John Fouse and Dennis Wende in John's Subaru SVX after the first ten hours on day 1.  On Sunday, my early syndrome continued to haunt me while John and Dennis turned in a remarkable 17 score for all of Sunday.  They finished first overall, first computer with 65 points (with unstudded Hakkas no less); Gary and I hung on to second overall / first in calculator class with 106 points.  Special note: The third place finishers, Novice class Subaru 2.5RS of Sid Kendall and Mikael Heidrich with 195 points and running only the stock odometer. Definitely a team to watch in the future.

A few other entries of note among the 35 starters were Bob Chandler and Mark Clemmons in Bob's ancient and tired old 240Z.  They were solidly in third, nipping at our heels Saturday night but had lost 3rd gear late in the day and decided not to start Sunday.  Roy Lima and John Rapson in Roy's Subaru Legacy Turbo had many offs and much difficulty maintaining the speeds due to choosing to run on gravel stage rally tires -which were not much better than slicks, according to Roy.  They decided to work checkpoints on Sunday.  Satch Carlson and Russ Kraushaar probably would have won it all in Satch's SAAB Sonnet II V4, consistently turning in some incredibly low scores, but suffered a broken throttle linkage on Saturday and missed a section as a result.  They ended up 3rd Historic and 12th over-all.

The Totem and Thunderbird are two rallies I look forward to every year and again I was not disappointed at this years Totem.  The challenging and well run events, friendly organizers and diehard checkpoint crews make these must-make events.  We're now eagerly looking forward to Thunderbird in February.

  • 2001 Totem Rally by Ron Sorem © 2001

Merritt, BC.  November 24 & 25, 2001.

Ken Kwong is conducting the Novice meeting and unfortunately I’m not paying close enough attention…  after all, it is the Novice Meeting.  Ken has asked the veterans in the crowd to impart some words of wisdom on the neophytes and I distinctly hear several phrases along the lines of “stay on the road, stay on course, and then stay on time…" Excellent advice to all.

Then there was the admonition to be really prepared for the weather, surviving a BC Winter Rally, the eventuality that you may go off and have to wait quite some time for help.  Have water, juice, food, warm clothing, and something to start a fire.  “Start a FIRE” ???  He suggests buying a local paper and a lighter or matches.  Good advice… too bad we didn’t heed it…

Rally Master Paul Westwick directs the Driver’s Meeting with further comments from experienced BC Winter drivers as to how to finish…  “First you have to finish…Stay on the course…Then worry about your score…”   Seems to be a recurring theme here.  Well, we tried, but we didn’t succeed.

We passed tech with the RX but we were still plagued by a small coolant leak.  The first car is out and we are car two.  Time to go.  The first transit is 39km out to Brookmere Road.  We hit the cattle guard in a cloud of steam, and zero the odo.  The steam seems to have come from coolant puddled up somewhere and falling out onto the exhaust—still unable to find the leak, even with a crowd of onlookers and varying suggestions.  I’m guessing it is the weep hole in the water pump.

We’re running in Calculator this event, instead of Paper, and the AlfaPRO is working great.  We have it set for km’s and it’s cranking out to three decimal places—right on.

The first Regularity is Highway 5 to Tulameen via Boss Davis Lakes and Otter Valley.  After starting late we take a 19, then three 0’s, a 1, and a 0 into Princeton.  Third in class.  We’re feeling really good about the change in class and it looks as though the coolant leak has lessened to a cup of antifreeze every 100km.  It’ll hold, I hope.

The second Regularity starts at Hembrie Mountain Road and is to go through to Missezula Lake.  Then Kentucky-Alleyne Park, Sunset (with a caution at the start: “Very Icy”), Westbank, Beaver Lake, Big White Ski Area, and McCulloch.

We start our portion of this Regularity with the verbal instruction from sweep that there has been fresh snowfall, with no traffic, at about 14km.  The distance is about right and the Subaru SVX in front of us is plowing snow with the belly pan.  The road is just an outline with only John Fouse’s tracks to follow.  We’re 7 late at the first control, zero at the second, and 6 late at the third.  Not too bad…  The Hakkapelliitas are holding well.  We are third in class by only 5 seconds.  We are right on time at the CG at 30.34km, then at 32.296km we missed a corner and found a rock.

The road was about a 1km straight, rolling downhill.  The corner was flat to off-camber and in the sun.  Absolutely sheer ice, with fresh snow covering it.  I braked early from 68km/h (42.3mph), maybe as low as 30km/h, turned the wheel…  car continued straight!  Brake.  Power.  Left foot brake and power.  Sawing at the steering wheel but just no contact with the road surface.  2:30PM.  Tracks show the rear end was starting to come around, just not soon enough. (We just have to convert to a rear E-brake!)  Car 1 had made it OK, we were car 2 and after dinner Saturday night several competitors said our triangles probably saved them from the same fate on that corner.  We could hear them slowing, tires skid, recover, and proceed very slowly around the corner.

--This now became the Primeval Rally, the Survival Rally--

While we are now stopped, high centered on a four-foot diameter rock under the radiator, both front tires hanging in air, and a three-foot rock holding the driver’s door shut.  We have ample time to look at Vinson Lake, not too far further off our front bumper, and listen to the geese.  The only other sound is the occasional rally car continuing past.  It seems like there are substantially fewer than the 35 starters.  Sweep confirms our guess.  There are quite a few “offs” behind us, and the extrications have put sweep very late.  The tow strap is out and a couple of tugs only succeed in shining up more of the corner as all four wheels of the truck spin in vain.  They said second sweep was only about 15 minutes behind…  Forty-five minutes later a caravan of 4x4’s and rally cars show up.  All the cameras come out to document the recovery.  We position one truck down the road to keep us from rolling over left, and one truck straight back to pull us up and out.  Five minutes talking it through and a minute and a half later we’re on the road.  Unfortunately it is deemed too dangerous to tow us out to the highway, or Kelowna.  What was it they said at the Novice meeting?

4:00PM.  Our recovery has the road blocked and a logging crew behind us offers to call for a tow truck.  40km from Merritt, 12km into the woods.  Should take a little over an hour.  It is getting dark quickly.  We can’t find any matches so we borrow a lighter from Ken.  They leave… asking a dozen times if we’ll be OK here.  Five minutes later we have a warming fire growing, in a copse of trees near the road.  We watch the moon rise over the trees and try to gather more dry firewood.  Do you know how to start a fire without paper, in the snow, with wet wood…?  If you plan on a BC Winter Rally, you should learn.  Also learn what to take as a survival kit, overnight, snow, below freezing.

Only one car passes, doesn’t even come to a full stop.  6:00PM, the tow arrives.  He’d been stuck twice on the way up the hill to get us.  The driver say’s he’d prefer to disconnect the driveline rather than to dolly the car, so while I do that, Josh douses the fire.  We’re all hooked up and ready to go.  Only four hours, could have been a lot worse.  We’ve been told that there is a Subaru dealer in Kelowna so we tow there, drop the car, and arrive at the MTC at the hotel in time to check in, two-minutes-early. 

The initial plan was to see if Subaru could pull out the front air dam and sheet metal, replace the radiator and fan, within a day or so.  Plan B was discussed at length at the pub during the Blue-Gray game, and evolved into trailering the car home.  Fixing it at leisure with existing spare parts.

Monday morning we called Subaru to explain why they had a wrecked rally car, and found the parts manager was an ex-FIA rallyist, very interested in our plight, the rally, and as to who had participated.  Finally, a call to the rental people.  We have to go to Penticton to get a “one-way rental to the States”.  Down and back to Anthony Subaru.  The ex-rally guy helps us load up.  We’re headed for the border–-the long way.  To avoid bad weather on the Coquihalla and 97C, we choose 97 South, Wenatchee and Snoqualmie Pass.  This was an hour or so longer, but the Border took about two minutes, so we figured it was about even, and on dry roads!

We had a great start, the middle wasn’t as planned, and the experience in the snowy woods was quite the little adventure!  Even with the adversities we had a great time.  And we came away with a new list of things to take along on BC Winter Rallies.

By the way, pay attention at the Driver’s Meetings…

Subaru RX Rally Team
10835 SE 170th Street, Renton, WA  98055   ronsorem@hotmail.com

(Editor's Note: Brian Palidar's Sirocco went off so bad that it wasn't worth hauling back to the States.)

From the 2001 President:

I can't believe how fast this year has passed. My tenure as president is up. (Hurray!)

Thanks to all the Board members for their great work this past year and their support for the club. We had another great year of Rallying with Raindrop, No Alibi, Friday Nighter, and the Pro Rally's Special Stages. Thanks to all individuals that supported, worked the events, and those who competed.

We have yet another challenging year of Rallying ahead of us and I'm sure our new Board will guide us through it with ease. The actual Board positions haven't been determined as of yet, but will be this upcoming Sunday.

Sunday (Dec. 9). is going to be Rainier's Christmas party/meeting for December. It is going to be at Mike and Gretchen Jone's place at 3:00 PM. Families are welcome. If you are going to show up, please give the Jones a call to let them know you're coming.

Well, that's all I have to say. Thanks again for another great year and not making me work too hard as the President. Hope to see you at the party and have a safe and happy holiday.


RASC Calendar

  • Call the NWRC Hotline (206) 256-9627 for latest info on Puget Sound TSD events
  • Jan 26th, 2002 - Rally Workers Party, Fort Lewis Golf Club, 6-midnight.
  • Aug 16-24, 2002 - Alcan 5000 see http://www.alcan5000.com/
  • Oregon 2002 events
    • 3/9- CSCC Rally school
    • 4/19- April Friday Nighter CSCC
    • 5/17- May Fri Niter CSCC
    • 5/18- Beaver Cleaver (SCCA Nat'l)
    • 5/19- Barlow Trail  (SCCA Nat'l)
    • 6/21- June Fri Niter CSCC
    • 6/29- Oregon Trailblazer CSCC
    • 7/19- July Fri Niter CSCC
    • 7/20- Mountain to the Sea CSCC
    • 8/10- TRNT, central Oregon
    • 8/16- August Fri Niter CSCC
    • 9/20- Sept Fri Niter CSCC
    • 10/18- Oct Fri Niter CSCC
    • 10/26-Ghouls Gambol XXXVI CSCC


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