The Wishbone Alley GazetteSeptember, 2003
Wild West (September 6/7)
The unthinkable happened on Tuesday before the rally- the state Department of Natural Resources upped the fire danger to level 3 in the rally area. The woods are closed from 1 until 8 PM.
Thus began the ugly task of redoing the schedule. Reams of paper to be recycled. Rain would solve a lot of problems, since the Sunday schedule isn’t changed pending forecasted rain.
The schedule at http://www.wildwestrally.com/03schedule.html
s probably as good as any. Note that most Service Activity happens at the Mason County Fairgrounds, north of Shelton on Highway 101.
It’s all very unfortunate, especially after getting shafted by SCCA for the Dryad Quest/Shitepoke club rallys. Very little came of SCCA’s cancellation. There is very little loyalty to the Pro-rally Board in the northwest as result. Murmurs of changes, as usual, abound.
But night stages are cool! During my pre-run, the “strobe effect” of light dappling the road through the trees wasn’t pleasant. It’s safer for other reasons, too. The workers can deal with darkness via flashlights and camp lanterns.
Nolte is still looking for workers- call him at
425-652-3578. There are the usual T-shirts, and even a ‘goody bag” for the volunteers.- MN
Rainier Auto Sports Club hosts the September Friday Niter rally.
Dan Comden has apparently put together a “trainer’ course, not too devilish. His description:
The rally is called "Briar Patch." I think I have some new roads for folks. At least, they're new to me in terms of the Friday Nighters I've been doing for the last three or so years. I chose the route with tons of help from Mr. Horst. Also assisting greatly were Mr. Hogan and Mr. Willey, along with all the helpful folks from the club who are coming out to work the event.
“First car should be finished at 9:35 at the Alfy's in Monroe. There are no off-course controls. We will be using at least two off-course markers.”
The Road Not Taken 2003
Back Into the Night… Ron Sorem © 2003 Subaru RX Rally Team
Grande Ronde, Oregon. Spirit Mountain Resort, August 8 & 9, Full Moon.
The Twisty Roads Rally Group returned to the original all-night format for the 2003 running of The Road Not Taken rally, after last year’s well-attended daylight running of the event, in the Siuslaw National Forest of western Oregon’s Coast Range. The Road Not Taken is a National Touring TSD Road Rally for the Sports Car Club of America, and this year is again part of the Pacific Coast Challenge Rally Series, combining events in Washington, Oregon, Vancouver Island, and Mainland British Columbia.
Thirty teams registered for the start, two could not compete for outside reasons and the twenty eight remaining would see over 170 miles of twisty gravel and moderate speed asphalt, with virtually no traffic during the night. Weather has been very dry, and fire danger was extreme, so all cars were required to carry fire extinguishers, and admonished not to smoke in the woods. The dry weather brought dusty conditions for all but the first car on the road, the Black BMW 325 of Stu Helfer and Bill Jonesi up from California for a run through Robert Frost’s famed yellowed wood, on a road less traveled, the Road Not Taken.
Further back in the field were all of last year’s three-way first place tie, Mike Daily and Steve Pfau, from Seattle, in the venerable 1984 Jetta; Bob Morseburg from Seattle, and Monte Saager, from Hillsboro, in a Rally Rental Escape; and Ron Johnstonbaugh and Jack VonKaenel in a Rally Rental Subaru Outback Wagon, making the trek again from SCCA’s NE Ohio Region to run this challenging Oregon Region event.
Also in the pack was this year’s “Rally Ironman” Russ Kraushaar from Battle Ground WA, navigating for rally scribe, rally co-driver, rally organizer, Ben Bradley from Portland. Russ’s idea of a rally weekend began with driving an Austin Healey in the Monte Shelton NW Classics rally on Saturday morning, then navigating TRNT, then planning on returning for Sunday’s finish of the NW Classic. (I suppose attending the Friday Nighter series in Seattle the previous evening was too much to ask… although many of the teams did run the Friday Nighter and then drove to TRNT).
The rally began with a short transit section out to the woods, followed by a gravel warm-up for odo calculation on the loose surfaces. During this first gravel section, our position in car 38 encountered what we believed to be a “local” traveling ahead of us at a speed slower than rally traffic. First impressions in this case are usually along the lines of “Oh Great. How are we going to get around him?” In this instance, the full-size white pick-up found a wide spot and pulled over to let us pass. As I waved a “thank you” I noticed the insignia on the door: Oregon State Police… Now the thought was “Oh Great. What’s the speed limit on gravel? Can we maintain rally speed and not get pulled over?” At the end of the section the Trooper parked behind us, got out, came up to the window… as our out time is counting down from half a minute. Not to fear, as always the organizers had notified all the proper authorities, had all the necessary permits, with copies for every car, and the Oregon State Police just wanted to know how we were doing, and about how many more cars he’d have to let pass. Pretty cool, don’t you think!
At this point the teams are into the steep ascents and falls of the Coast Range with instructions calling out “Cautions” and “Exposures” at nearly every turn, with examples like “Triple Caution. Tightens. Loose. Exposure. Big ‘ol pothole right smack on the inside of the corner”… and there was every bit of that! Followed a bit later by “Caution. Tight, loose surface, downhill. Open exposure next half mile.” Teams were afforded spectacular views under the full moon light, but truthfully most had their attention elsewhere… stay on the road!
The mid-point break, around midnight, brought the rally back to the resort to recharge team batteries, get fuel, for car and crew, and possibly time for a “power nap” before heading back out into the night.
Rally Master Bob Wakehouse arranged to have teams full awake very early into the gravel with a big “esse” turn… “Double Caution. Tight Corners, loose surfaces, and deep exposure to next instruction.” Everyone awake now?! Just in time for a spectator corner, noted in the route book for flash bulbs, not noted however was the full moon (both definitions) encountered by some teams. Hospitals can recount statistics about behavior on the night of a full moon.
A recurring element of Twisty Roads rallies and TRNT in particular is the somewhat twisted humor of the route book. Throughout the instructions, section headings and explanations of the reasons for cautions, the ‘gravity’ of a particular section (Section 11 named: 32FT/SEC2) and the ‘weighty’ nature of paying attention, to keep from ‘falling’ off the road. The humor may only be there for the navigators, as a means to stay awake, but the drivers should get a chance to see the route book too.
This year’s running of TRNT ended with a double caution “Quite tight. Wicked hidden exposure at road edge” into a checkpoint. Teams then returned to the pavement and a short run back to the resort for rally stories and a little one-upmanship before the results. There was one DNF for mechanical reasons; a couple of tire failures; some close encounters with deer, rabbits, and an owl or two. No serious contact, and generally smiles all around at the finish (through the fatigue of an all-nighter).
“Ironman” Russ Kraushaar guided Ben Bradley to the first place Equipped honors with 18 points ( .18min=10.8sec) over the nearly 170 miles of rally-after-dark. The boys with the rally computers were very competitive: Daily/Pfau 2nd with 21, Johnstonbaugh/VonKaenel 3rd with 22, Morseburg/Saager 4th with 31, Sorem/Vaysburd 5th with 33… in fact the first seven places were covered by only a quarter of a minute!
Limited class went to Jeff McMillan and Marvin Crippen of Seattle.
Stock class (SOP) went to Steven R. Perret of Bellingham and Kathryn Hansen of Friday Harbor WA.
The Robert Frost poem ends: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by – And that has made all the difference.” The Road Not Taken is one that every rally team should take at some time.
Alcan News Its (Less than 6 months away)
1) Patricia Murphy's 2002 Alcan 5000 story took a national first place for KUOW! This was awarded by PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Inc) in the documentary category. To quote Patricia, "It's the Oscars of our geeky public radio world". For details see:
A 12-minute abbreviated version of this story also ran on NPR's "Savvy Traveler", check their archive at:
2) We have e-mail confirmation of four factory entries for 2004...
SUBARU: Two cars, a Turbo Forester and a Baja. Team manager is 2000 Alcan winner R Dale Kraushaar
MITSUBISHI: Two cars, both Lancer EVO's. Teams will be identical to the 1996 Olds Bravada entries: Jim & Sue Elder will drive one vehicle, Doug Kott & Andy Bornhop from Road & Track will drive the other. Remember their ice track performance in 1996? This will be great fun! Check the June 1996 Road & Track for more... (www.alcan5000.com/JPG/rtrack96.jpg)
3) Want to run but no time to deal with vehicles & logistics? Challenge Driving Events is now offering FULL turn-key packages for the 2004 Alcan.
For details click the "Alcan All-Inclusive Package" link at
4) A semi-final draft of 2004 rules will be posted this week, watch
BC Rally News
The fourth round of the Yokohoma British Columbia Rally Championship (TSD) was Tsunami Rally on Vancouver Island. The August 23/24 event was all-paved. Fouse/Wende won with 41 points. There were 11 finishers.
The Gold Digger rally, postponed in June, hasn’t reappeared on the schedule.
From Autosport (British) July 31, issue
“Watkins in rallying call”
Formula 1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins attended the German WRC event to offer his views on the safety levels for the sport’s cars and drivers.
Watkins spent time with most of the teams during the pre-rally shakedown. He looked at the safety equipment in several cars, and will now report back to motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, on his findings.
Peugeot driver Richard Burns welcomed Watkins’ input and admitted that more could be done to improve safety in the World Rally Cars. Burns said: “There are ways to improve safety: relatively simple things like altering the roll cage. There’s no reason why we couldn’t take the innards out of the doors and have the roll cage out there- the way they do in NASCAR, creating more space between the cage and the crew.”
Burns and Peter Solberg both tried on the Formula1-style Head and Neck Support (HANS) device. Both said they would want to try it during a test, with a view to using it in the future.
Meeting minutes: unavailable at press time (April, May, June, July).
FOR SALE / Wanted:
NW Rallys- TSD & stage