RASC Snowflake

Rainier Auto Sports Club  

The Wishbone Alley Gazette

April, 2002

Rally News

Downloaded from the Rally list: This article appeared in the Sunday March 24th Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Unhappy Trails, By Ward Gossett, Assistant Sports Editor

A squabble between the Cherokee Trails International Rally organizers and the U.S. Forestry Service could end the automobile race's three-year run in Chattanooga, organizers say.

“There is definitely a squabble," said Kurt Spitzner, a national director with Sports Car Club of America, one of the race's sanctioning bodies. "It is obvious the U.S. Forestry service does not want us in CherokeeNational Forest."

The conflict involves the racers' use of logging roads in CherokeeNational Forest, the environmental impact of cars and spectators, and manpower problems in and financial reimbursement to the Forestry Service.

The CherokeeNational Forest has one ranger and six law enforcement officers, according to CherokeeNational Forest public relations officer Terry McDonald, who said the service is concerned about its ability to handle the rally while maintaining its day-to-day duties.

“The forest is 640,000 acres, and we felt we needed eight officers for this event and had to pull in some. We have to look at it --the impact on work force, environmental impacts," he said. "As far as coming right out and saying we don't want (the rally), we haven't said that."

The Cherokee Trails sports car race is a 287-mile event held in stages, mostly in the CherokeeNational Forest in PolkCounty, with the winners determined by elapsed time. This year's race was run from dawn to dusk on March 16, and the last of eight stages was canceled at the request of the forest service.

Spitzner cannot move the race, but he can be instrumental in lifting the event's SCCA sanction. He said he had seen enough races run in national forests to know whether the races are wanted.

“The forestry service, by government charge, has to make the forest available to all," Spitzner said, "but the (forestry) mindset is, 'If there are people we don't want in the forest, we can make their lives pretty miserable.'

"It is in our interest to make sure we are going places that we are wanted, and the situation is not invisible to myself, the national office, or the (automobile) manufacturers involved."

The forest service says its primary concerns are the strain on a small staff, and on the environment. “This is a pretty big impact on us," said McDonald. "Our work force has been reduced by 30 percent. We're trying to evaluate and see if we can take this on again."

Rally organizers complaints range from rapidly escalating fees to poor treatment of the race's fans.

Three years ago in its first year of existence, the Cherokee Trails rally paid about $2,000 for post-rally road repairs in the forest. According to rally organizer Kendall Russell, the next year's fee was "about $2,300."

“This past year, we received a bill for $12,000, and it was not itemized," Russell said. "And in the meantime, we had submitted our request for 2002 permits, which was ignored.

Don Kinnerson, the CherokeeNational Forest ranger responsible for the southern district where the race is held, transferred in late last year. "I don't know where that $2,300 figure comes from, but prior to the event last year they paid a base permit fee with full knowledge that there would be additional assessments for law enforcement and road maintenance. Last year and again this year the roads were very wet," he said. "There is an impact. All we're trying to get is fair compensation."

Several spectators have written to complain about spectator areas because of their lack of viewing opportunities and the fact that they were not allowed freedom of movement from one spectator area to another.

Spectator Scott Mathis wrote and said, "I and many others will not be returning to this rally ... The ridiculous restrictions of designating spectator areas was absurd."

He also pointed out that the areas were limited in size, too far from the actual racing, and that visibility was poor.

“The ticket I purchased clearly says that I attend this event at my own risk, as any event ticket does. But as a slap in the face, you make us watch the race from such a distance that the only thing dangerous is the squirrel sitting on a nearby tree ... No other rally in the world does this," Mathis wrote.

Kinnerson said there was a potential environmental impact. “We had a concern that a concentration of people could be detrimental to sensitive plants that may -- or may not, for that matter -- have been in the area," he said. "I felt the appropriate thing to do was to restrict them to old road beds. I'm hearing that a lot of people were disappointed with what they could view from those roadbeds.

"Without having the opportunity for a botanist to look at those areas then and even now -- if I erred, I wanted to err on the side of caution."

# # #

Of specific interest to the Pacific NW is that the National Forest people communicate via e-mail, besides the usual methods. What goes on the Tennessee could be cited when we want to use our local lands. –MN

  • More Doo Wop (March 2-3): Reports from the workers I contacted were all happy. The weather was about perfect, with only the exposed spot on top of the ridge getting dust on the Simon’s (Kirk’s Birthday party). Pete Shelton says his son, Zack, is accepting the rally training “real well”.

Jarvis heard “target practice” in the forest near him, and moved to block the road he suspected the shooters were on. Then he wasn’t so sure. He was nervous for the whole rally, but the shooters never moved. He graduated himself from CB to a GMS/FRS radio, but had the same problem- out of range.

Tom Palidar was Chief for the Brooklyn end. A county cop visited, then stayed. The signage closing the road apparently didn’t get up. Tom explained to someone that the road was closed, but they were having none of it, gunned the engine, and pulled forward to enter the closed stage. The friendly officer unsnapped his gun and stood in the way. Brakes, some urgent talk in the car; it turned around and left.

Tom left out the name, but mentioned to me that someone who should know better insisted on entering, after Tom closed it while Advance was on the Stage.

Tom always brings along a feast of sandwich fixin’s. Kevin Needham showed up rather exasperated (extracting wayward cars at Montesano took too long, and he knew he HAD to be at Brooklyn on time). Tom offered him some food and drink, gladly accepted. We must remember to be nice to the Sweep’s, since they have a tight schedule, and food/drink is a low priority when packing their rigs. –MN

  • Raindrop, April 28:From Rallymaster Steve Wiley: “A relaxing Sunday TSD Touring Rally running entirely on paved roads. Perfect for any car and any skill level.

“This year we'll be visiting the Kitsap Peninsula.  Come with us and visit exotic locales such as Purdy, Dewatto, and Gig Harbor. Approximately 4 hours of rally fun. Exciting scenery for competitor and worker alike. With views of a handful of Puget Sound waterways including Tacoma Narrows, Hood Canal, and Rich Passage.

“With the start on the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge, parts of the territory that we'll be visiting will see increasing growth in the coming decade. 

And, of course, all of the details are out on the website:


Steve fails to point out that this is a very rare opportunity to do a Sunday-afternoon rally (Daylight!), and he is making sure that everyone finishes happy. A unique chance to see what this rally stuff is all about. Its also simply a nice tour of an area we seldom get to.

He’s inviting the workers to “guinea pig” the thing on Sunday, April 14. –MN

  • No Alibi (June 1/2)- From Rallymaster Kirk Simons: Terry and I have just finished mailing out about 130 postcards. The hotel rooms are filling up quickly and I'm going to look into another hotel as a back up.

First course measurement is going to be done on the April 13. Hopefully the snow pack in the mountains is diminishing so we can measure those roads. All rally info can be found on the web site.

Made reservations this morning with the hotel in Spokane for Saturday night, June 1st. Out of a block of 30 rooms, only 14 rooms are left! Make your reservations now (See info below) to avoid disappointment and obtain the special Rainier Auto Sports Club rate.

The Bayou Brewery, which hosted us the last few years, has gone out of business.   We've setup this years Saturday buffet of stories, rally lore, tall tales and food with the Ram Restaurant. Buffet cost is $19.00 per person, tax and gratuity are included, drinks are not.  To reserve a spot at dinner please register early and indicate you'll be dining with us.

The official overnight hotel in Spokane for Saturday night June 1 is the Best Western Thunderbird Inn <http://www.travelweb.com/booker/AppLogic+booker.hotel.info.Start?brand=BW&pid=48018&iid=BW> , West 120 3rd Avenue, Spokane, WA.  We have blocked 30 rooms (10 King, 20 Doubles) at a rate of $55 + tax.  The hotel can be reached at 509-747-2011.  Indicate you are with Rainier Auto Sports Club and the No Alibi Rally.

For those who would like to stay at Snoqualmie Summit the night before the rally, the official hotel is the Best Western Summit Inn, which is connected to the Family Pancake House.  The Summit Inn has offered us special rates of $55 + tax for a king room and $69 + tax for a double room.  To get these rates you must call and talk to Joanie Fischer and indicate that you are with Rainier Auto Sports Club and the No Alibi Rally.  The hotel can be reached at 425-434-6300.

  • Friday Niter note: Tom Palidar had to chop the length of his April 14 event. More entrants mean that the rallys last too long.

"We had 28 teams last Friday & of those folk, 17 or 18 were Novices”. Tom is administering a “Novice championship”, and feels that there are 4-5 teams that want the award.

  • Shitepoke/Dryad Quest (June 15-16)  - only rumors and hopes at this point. Consider 4 roads for the two days, eight stages on Saturday, the rest on Sunday.

In our “real” world, making sure the world is safe for rallying requires that somebody either closes/secures the roads at dawn, we get enough RM’s to cover each and every side road, or somebody investigates each and every one of those treacherous, sometimes long, little sideroads before running the rally cars. We go with a 4th option, a compromise, and try to close our roads as early as someone from, say, Lynnwood, can arrive. Hence a very, very (yeah, ridiculously) early FCO.

Nolte will be struggling to find coverage on Saturday, if you’re reading this, you’re a candidate! Sunday might be mildly easier to cover.

  • Oregon Trail SCCA National: John Nispel is leading the Washington contingent. We will have stages 2, 4 and 6 on Saturday.

Even though the venue is now Hillsborough rather than Tillamook, the roads will be in the same forest.

Club News

Notes from the March Meeting: It was a slow night, and Billy McHale’s moved our show to the main dining room. The club members were generally well behaved.

Dave Smith visited. He has worked some of our events over the years, and takes his Ham work seriously.

Old Business: Eric still hasn't gotten around to writing up a web hosting proposal for the Board to study. General Instructions rewrite: Comment period ends March 11 and comments are welcomed.  Ed wondered about Vintage Equipped class.  Discussion followed with to main points: being an expert on vintage equipment is challenging, and the Generals don't preclude a rallymaster from adding that class if they desire.

Raindrop: Steve drove around some more and will be approaching individuals about tasks that need doing.  Pete will do trophy work and Mike will order dash plaques.

No Alibi: Kirk reported the hosting arrangements he’s made. Terry will do pictures and picture trophies. We might do Tee shirts.

Alcan: (Jerry Hines) A guy called from LA that does film and a contract was signed for an eight year film option on Alcan. Kyle Miller films rallies and may hook up with the LA film guy.

Garry Sowerby, famous around the world driver, is signed up to run. Jim Elder is handling press again

Got ten worker crews

John Corser has online video of 2000 Alcan at corser.com

Other: Vince mentioned that the Alfa Club is having lapping day at Bremerton on Friday, March 15.  Anybody with a Snell 85 helmet, eye protection and leather gloves is welcome.

 “What’s going on with the Web Site?”: The web site is hanging in there.  Overall hits are higher than same period last year so somebody must be looking at it. Lots of people checking out the Raindrop and No Alibi stuff.  We have online registration again this year and Paypal to take their money. All in all things seem to be working. - Eric Horst


* Petter Solberg is coming to the US to run some demo stages at Rim of the World rally.  He will run in 00 car and will not be timed.  This should up the buzz a bit. (- Paul Timmerman, Spectator Chief- Rim of the World 2002)

* CATV’s “Speed” Channel (formerly “Speedvision”) has the rally community all abuzz. The revised channel line up hinted that it’d be mostly NASCAR, and, like most channels, there is good reason to ignore most of the schedule. But if you don’t get it, it may be worth $5/month extra to get “Speed”.

The WRC (rally) coverage is restricted to the manufacturer’s teams (“What? You mean there are 100 other cars? How come they never show even one?”), but there seem to be at least 2 in-car cameras on each of these 12-15 cars. If you didn’t get to watch the segment from Sainz’s bumper cam, with Moya jabbering at 100mph in Spanish, you really did miss some exciting footage. They also managed to catch Solberg’s crash, where he spun the car and the camera was aimed backwards for a view of backing into the rock.

I don’t know how the programs are constructed. I assume that Speed buys a “feed” from the FIA, which must have the requisite “semi filled with radios and editing gear” nearby. Then Speed does it’s own editing and voice-overs. The Speed Channel voice-over guy has a ways to go, but gets better every show. (I’d love to hear the Aussie version) There is a Thursday pre-event show, which for Catalunya allowed Moya to dress up in cowboy garb and talk about himself. Sounds silly, but it was pretty good.

Then there are three hour-long “race reports” over the weekend. In-car footage, cameras in helicopter(s), on the road, in the trees, at Service, in the harbor…everywhere. Very few incidents aren’t caught and included. (Sainz caught a badly parked spectator’s car at Catalunya, and the look on the Moya’s face was memorable. It looked just as bad from outside the car.) They even bleeped a Skoda co-driver’s very precise and accurate description of the condition of the worn-out tires (one word…), but it balanced the reportage.

There are (the apparently obligatory) interviews, where the response to questions is sadly predictable. Maybe someone is coaching the teams. I don’t recall reading anything about FIA putting their muscle behind the shows, but somebody has taken a page from NASCAR and turned the WRC coverage into something great.

This may be a historic moment. Somebody is finally covering a sport, with cameras, vastly better than “being there”. In our case, its delicious rallying. Lucky us. –MN

* Pacific Raceways is developing from the base that Seattle International Raceway provided. The lower track remains the same, while the upper area may be unrecognizable. Various descriptions have contradicted themselves, but the location of the Start/Finish line is up in the air. The “hot pits’ along the old straightaway are now superceded by the new straightaway…and there aren’t any hot pits in this new setup. If, indeed, the whole straightaway is lined with jersey barriers,  the hot pits may be at the closer to Turn 1 than anyone wants to walk to.

If the newer, “avoid the VHT on the dragstrip” transition from Turn 8 to Turn 9 is shorter, then the straightaway may be faster. With a decided kink at the end where it rejoins the old track (Turn 1), everybody has to lift, not just the guys with cars more powerful than, say, an old Cortina.

 No report on the all-important restrooms, just that (TahDah) “they’ll be better”. -MN


* Mike Jones’ has the parts to make a good stage rally car, in this case a Fire Arrow (2.6 ltr. Motor.) It’s been in the garage, no new rust. Make an offer. (425) 823-8329

* ’84 BMW 318, orange. Includes studded tires (unmounted) $2500 

ALSO: Single axle car trailer, electric brakes. Too small for some tasks, great for a rally car. (Looking for a tandem axle trailer, suitable for a collector-grade BelAir). $1200 OBO (less….Ed) Contact Pete Shelton (206) 783-5681

NW Rallyists’ Calendar

• Call the NWRC Hotline (206) 256-9627 for latest info on Puget Sound TSD events.

*British Columbia dates updated: Heart of Darkness moved up a week to Apr. 13-14. Coast to Coast plopped itself down opposite Oregon Trailblazer TSD (June 29)

* Added 6 Rallycrosses in Oregon. All at County Fairgrounds. And a stage event at Hood River on November 9.

* Still pileups on May 18 and July 20.

  • Apr 12              Friday Nighter    TS
  • Apr 13-14         Heart of Darkness,TSD, BC
  • Apr 19              Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • Apr 19-21         Oregon Trail SCCA Nat’l PRORally, Hillsboro, OR             
  • Apr 28             Raindrop, TSD, RASC
  • May 5               RallyCross, Oregon
  • May 10             Friday Nighter    ORCA
  • May 17             Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • May 18?           NWR- Mini Rally (stage) Shelton
  • May 18-19       CARS Nat  Big Horn (stage)
  • May 18             Beaver Cleaver (SCCA Nat'l), Oregon
  • May 19             Barlow Trail  (SCCA Nat'l), Oregon
  • May 25-26       Rocky Mt (stage) AB
  • June 1-2          No Alibi by RASC                                     Snoqualmie Pass-Spokane-Wenatchee
  • June 8/9           Mt Trials, BC (stage)
  • June 14             Friday Nighter            ORCA
  • June 15-16       Dryad/Shitepoke (stage) Shelton
  • June 21             Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • June 23             RallyCross, Oregon
  • June 29-30       Coast to Coast, B.C.
  • June 29             Oregon Trailblazer TSD (Oregon)
  • July 12              Friday Nighter  NWRC
  • July 19              Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • July 20              Mountain to the Sea,TSD,  Oregon
  • July 20-21        Gold Digger, TSD, BC
  • July 20              Monte Carlo Rally,TSD,                                Bellingham
  • July 28              Rallycross. Oregon
  • Aug 3-4            ORV Rallysprints       McCleary
  • Aug 9               Friday Nighter            ORCA
  • Aug 10             TRNT, central Oregon
  • Aug 16             Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • Aug 13-22 Alcan 5000 :
  •       http://www.alcan5000.com/
  • Sept. 1            Rallycross, Oregon
  • Sept 10             Kananaskis Rally AB, (stage)
  • Sept 13             Friday Nighter     TS
  • Sept 14             Fri Niter (Portland)
  • Sept 20             Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • Sept. 29            Rallycross, Oregon
  • Oct 5                 Night On Bald Mtn TSD, ORCA
  • Oct 5-6             Reno Rally (stage)  NV
  • Oct 5-6             Pacific Forest Rally (stage)  BC
  • Oct 11              Friday Nighter     RASC
  • Oct 18               Friday Nighter (Portland)
  • Oct 26               Ghouls Gambol XXXVI,TSD, Oregon
  • Oct 26-27         Midnight Rally,TSD, BC
  • Oct. 27              Rallycross, Oregon
  • Nov 2               Armageddon XXI,TSD, Bellingham
  • Nov 9               Mt Hood Div-Pro, Hood River, OR
  • Nov 16-17        Totem Rally, TSD, BC


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