The Wishbone Alley Gazette
Thunderbird Rally 2002
“Since 1957… The ultimate winter rally challenge”
A year ago we were in Cache Creek (BC) with the news of 57 starters, a tie for the record number, and everyone encouraging others to enter for 2002… Be careful what you wish for.
Thunderbird 2002 moved to the NicolaInn at MerrittBC and closed entries more than a week before the event with seventy entries and five provisional entries. Saturday morning’s start saw a record seventy-three cars start the event. There were two withdrawals and the provisional starters were allowed to run as well.
Central British Columbia can have bitter cold snow or bright blue sunny skies. This year we were treated to both. The first half of Day One was run in bright sun over gravel, which could unexpectedly turn to shallow drifting snow or absolutely polished ice over the next crest. Later in the day an overcast sky cut the glare but some of the white snow and ice had turned to grayish-brown melting roads, then to dry gravel regularities and paved transits, becoming hub deep powder into the night.
Our Day One started with the news we had moved up from car 14 to car 13, perhaps a bit unsettling, but we’ve all had to be car 13 at least once in our rally lives… I had enlisted the services of long-time rally navigator, and fellow WCRA member, John Rapson (who by-the-way garnered First Place Calculator honors for the 2001 Season with driver Roy Lima). Roy and I run the same AlfaPro so everything looked good in the beginning. The mileage was cleared to zero, we leave the start, and John asks, “Shouldn’t we be building numbers here?” The odo had quit! A few cursory checks revealed nothing so we retraced to the start and cleared the Subaru’s stock odo. John immediately began the whole calc thing again in Miles (he’d just done it in Kilometers). A great start to the day, but we’re running so close to rally mileages that the factor is fine. I tell John the mileage and he tells me the time… It’s working as best we can hope.
The course is east from Merritt through Nicola and Quilchena to Pennask Lake, regularities at Minnie Lake, Douglas Lake, Twig Creek, Monte Lake, and Duck Range. A transit to Pritchard, then Pinantan Lake regularity and the transit into our full-fledged attended gas stop at Salish Road Esso (hurried attendants, windows cleaned, gas pumped, free coffee and treats, plus a care package for all the cars). Through Kamloops and north along the Thompson River for the Westsyde Road-to-Barriere regularity. This was 14 miles of fun with a big Caution at 11.59 and at 12.58 the instruction was “Hairpin L, into Long Hairpin R, into Hairpin L, into Long R, continues…” and it did. All this in full dark, with a questionable odo, but it was great fun! Regularities at Adams (Family) Lake, Adams River and Eileen Lake read like page after page of “Hairpin” and “Cattle Guard” with speed ranging up to 36 mph, 38.5, and 40.4, before dropping to 37.3 (60 km/h), a cattle guard and bear left onto snow!!, still 37.3 mph. In three miles we’re caught by Lee and Rod Sorenson of Sacramento in a Subie 2.5 RS. I’m losing time on every hairpin uphill, and not enough straightaway to gain it back. They pass, and then quickly drop speed… I pass and slowly open the gap. I was told later that they had passed just before a drop in rally speed and since I was still late I didn’t hear about it until we’d made it back to on time, just before a left into a small opening and drop to 21.7 mph. This oversized snowmobile trail was cut through knee-deep snow just over a car wide, and loose and twisty for several miles. The track widens a bit and we’re asked to do 26.1, then 28.6, but in the snow it’s plenty fast. A transit to the Comfort Inn Hotel in Kamloops, and the ABC Country Restaurant’s Private Party, just for Thunderbird. 277.33 miles in 9 hours 30 minutes.
Day Two opens with a typical Murphy’s Law rally event. I pull on the hood release to check the oil… it comes out about a foot and the hood is still closed!! We’re fed, fueled, and ready to leave but we can’t get under the hood. The good news is the Alfa starts clicking off kilometers at the first intersection. We now have accurate distances for John to caress into zeros at every control. Sounded good.
The warm-up takes the rally out Highway 5 to a short but snowy section to test if the drivers forgot everything from Day One. Anyone? Another quick regularity, then back through Kamloops to the start of the long one: 115.84 km, or 71.98 miles for the rest of us!
As I pull away from the start I’m passed by a local at speed! Hmm! We run up the hill on dry and dusty, over a crest and it’s winter roads again. At about 15km the speed changes up from 34 to 42, at the bottom of a hill, of course, and shortly into the hill we have smoke, lots and lots of smoke. Gauges all seem OK but the stench is now noticeable inside the car. Top of the hill I pull into a wide spot and start beating the ---- out of the plastic grille so as to attempt to get under the hood. For ten minutes I attempt to get under the hood. At eleven minutes whatever was burning ran out of combustibles and the smoke cleared. Tools back in place, cuts and punctures wiped clean, we’re belted in and car 26 passes. We’re 13 minutes down! But we’ve got over a hundred km to make it up. My sincere thanks to cars 26 down through 14 who recognized the fact that I had caught them at roughly double the rally speed and found places for me to pass. Red Lake regularity went by in a hurry except for the “Triple Caution Hard Right, with Big Exposure Straight Ahead…” I asked John to please point that out before I came to it. Great View!
At the fuel break in Cache Creek I have time to remove more of the grille, remove the hood latch, open the hood, look for whatever burned away, jerry-rig a hood pull and proceed back out to the rally. About one kilometer out of Cache Creek, we have smoke again and this time the water temp is climbing rapidly. A roadside check reveals a coolant leak under the turbo!
While the rally runs out Deadman and Battle Creek, then Tunkwa Lake and into the finish at Merritt, we are on the shoulder of the road, in the mud, removing a turbo and exhaust and air induction to replace a six inch hose, which I had in the spares box! Good as new, we shortcut to the finish and begin the celebrations. 203.47 rally miles in 6 hours 30 minutes.
Seventy-three starters, sixty-nine finishers. Subaru was well represented with 23 starters including five WRX and eleven 2.5 RS.
Congratulations to: First Calculator and First Overall, Roy Lima and Andrew Dobric in a Subaru Legacy Turbo (26pts); First Historic Equipped/Second Overall, Satch Carlson and Russ Kraushaar in a Saab Sonett II V4 (27); First Unlimited/Third Overall (tie37), John Fouse and Dennis Wende WRX (1st) & Lee Sorenson and Rod Sorenson 2.5 RS (2nd) tie broken by most zeros; First Novice/Seventh Overall, Peter Parsonage and Owen Parsonage in a Subaru 2.5 RS (109); First Historic/Ninth Overall, Gil Stuart and Arnie Lang in a Volvo 123GT (113); First Paper/Sixteenth Overall, Dan Fealk and Stuart Fealk in a Subaru XT6 (181). Six Subies in the top ten.
West Coast Rally Association, at www.rallybc.com put together a great event, great accommodations, with media coverage by TV and Cable, Radio and Print. A Video is being prepared for release by Oversteer Productions.
There may not have been as much snow and ice as in some past events, but I’ve heard there was more than enough to get some into trouble. Get your entry sheet filled out in advance, 2003 is apt to be just as good or firstname.lastname@example.org
Doo Wop 2002
The event came off very well, helped along by great weather. The Saturday sections, up by Quinaut Indian lands, went smoothly, although the workers were strained to get everything done.
Sunday went smooth with 40 entrants all making it to the grange, and most finishing stages to get there. The Safety people showed up at the Start of Brooklyn about the same time the first car was to start, but the ensuing delay didn’t ruin anyone’s day.
February meeting notes
Old Business: Discussion of February 8th NWRC Friday Niter. RASC worked two controls (Kirk, Joel; Mark, Mike). Lots of entrants, elk, police and hovering helicopter.
New Business * Email from Kelly Smith. An ad-hoc NWRC meeting is being coming up to work out revisions to the NWRC bylaws. Other clubs are supplying two members each to that endeavor. Does RASC want to supply anybody? Nobody jumped up. Unresolved?
* Insurance for 2002 will go up, pushing $100 per event. Nothing to be done about it. Kelly will give us an official cost when it's available.
* Club Membership: Do we have strong feelings about drawing in more members even if they prove to be inactive members? Vince raised the issue of quorum at general club meeting. We don't want a huge number of inactive members. We'd like to offer a "join now" option for Raindrop registration (online and day-of-event.) Steve Willey read the membership section of the bylaws notably the stipulation that membership offer must be "extended" by an existing member. That's not a big issue. More members makes the WAG mailing effort bigger. Maybe an electronic only version could be used. A motion was made regarding the encouragement of new membership, a second motion was made and voted to accept. A posthumous opposition was raised by the WAG staff over increased mailing labor but opposition was beat back.
* Raindrop Report: More Raindrop survey was completed over the last two weekends. Start will be at Tacoma Community College Park-N-Ride. Budget in revision process. Discussion of raising price to $25 and other fee issues bounced around the table for a while before being left to the rallymaster to decide. Pete quietly offered to bring resources to bear on trophy creation. Commendation was put forth for Steve's "creative and unique" save-the-date cards passed out at the Friday Niter.
* Doo Wop Pro Rally: Mark Nolte sent signup sheet around for worker positions.
* No Alibi Report: Kirk Simons reported handing out 25 flyers at the February 8th Friday Niter. Flyers were well received. Registration opens March 25th. Budget in review. Route will be very close to last year with revisions to the Cascade portion (Saturday morning sections.) Kirk will be providing tentative times, info for web page really soon, now that we're handing out flyers.
* Update to RASC Touring General Instructions still underway and are homing in tighter each pass. Done soon.
* Introductions: Secretary introduced Kim Prater although everybody seemed to know her. She joined club and also provided membership fee for new member Michael Garvais, her rally partner. Secretary proceeded to introduce Jim Hogan who is also planning to join RASC. After the meeting Jim showed pictures of his trip the WRC Monte Carlo last month.
* VHF radio already tuned to 151.625 MHz. This frequency is used on long distance rallies and is a requirement for Alcan. GE MASTR radio. 60 watts, ex-police radio. Control head and trunk mounted radio. 4 channels. Very powerful. Used twice on Lost Patrol. $75.00
No antenna. (Installation assistance negotiable)
Peter Linde. E-Mail email@example.com or leave message at 253-804-7465.
* Mike Jones still has the collection of parts in his garage that could make somebody a dandy Fire Arrow. Make an offer. (425) 823-8329
*Colleen wants a convertible. The
pearl white (with white 17" wheels and new tires) '89 Corvette is offered
Call Jerry or Colleen at (206) 227-6343 or (425) 823-6343.
’84 BMW 318, rebuilt head, etc, Inc. studded tires (unmounted) $2500 Contact Pete Shelton (206)783-5681
* Mary Hillman has a Jaguar Vanden Plas. Mark said he was just being nice to her, but I suspect she refuses to get into his trusty, dusty VW Fox. He claims he’ll retire it after it hit 300K.
NW Rallyists’ Calendar
• Call the NWRC Hotline (206) 256-9627 for latest info on Puget Sound TSD events.