RASC Snowflake

Rainier Auto Sports Club  

The Wishbone Alley Gazette

May, 2004

Rally News

* Raindrop Rally 2004 by Ron Sorem © 2004

Silverdale , Washington .  April 18, 2004.  The view from 8 minutes back, beginning at the beautiful but breezy Silverdale Waterfront Park. 

What would be Raindrop without rain?  We nearly found out…  About a mile into the Odo check the rally passed under a thundercloud and a rain-hail mix for 4.5 miles on the freeway.  Exit the freeway and end the rain, transition into brilliant blue skies with a few puffy white cumulus here and there for contrast.  The Odo check ended at the Undersea Warfare Museum in Keyport, next to the sail of retired US submarine number 637.  The sail (conning tower) is impressive, about two car lengths long, maybe two car lengths tall, and maybe a whole car width wide.  Very slippery in the water and surreal on land.

Just under ten miles later, in just over 18 minutes, Section One is behind us.  We have a one second penalty (we think we have zero).  We are fairly happy so far.  The Transit to the Peninsula is next, and as we approach the freeway interchange we had left earlier, there are wet roads to the South, dry roads to the North.  Raindrop goes North, to cross the Hood Canal Floating Bridge and enter the Olympic Peninsula where no rally as gone before, well… not for decades.

  Rallymaster Steve Willey put together an out of the way route through Port Ludlow, Mats Mats Bay (where checkpoint worker Jim Hogan could have sailed from Shilshole to the boat moorage just a few feet behind him—although it would have limited his mobility).  Continuing past Oak Bay, the Indian Island Naval Munitions Depot, and onto Marrowstone Island to our first of many well scheduled breaks with views, at Fort Flagler State Park.  Fort Flagler is one of several gunnery or mortar batteries in the area built to defend the entrance to Puget Sound from enemy warships a long time ago.  The rest stop overlooks Port Townsend, west to the historic city of the same name.

Exiting Fort Flagler and Marrowstone and Indian islands, Raindrop re-enters the North American continent to explore more of the peninsula.  Briskly past Anderson Road, Lake, and State Park in that order.  Speed 49, into Acute Right, speed 19, on a narrow twisting downhill, into a checkpoint.  Loads of fun for drivers; loads of instructions in short miles for navigators.  Probably several folks early at this one on the shores of Discovery Bay!  Out onto Hwy 20 and 101-south, then a twisty little section through farmland to 101-north toward Sequim. 

So far there have been sightings of bison, cows, very wooly sheep, llamas, trolls, big trolls, and a castle.  Now a route book caution for deer (one of which wandered across our route just on cue).  Where does Rainier find these things?  Eric Horst was introduced as the “Worker Wrangler” but no one took credit for deer wrangler, or “Beast Master”.  Raindrop would later get reports of a covey of quail, and at least one Ring-necked Pheasant.

A scenic tour of Diamond Point followed, with a very well hidden checkpoint, including a phantom decoy checkpoint car.  Parked in the control’s logical spot, the decoy caused check-pointer Mark Nolte to “hide in plain sight”.  I’m not certain yet as to whether anyone saw him, but he saw all of us.  Back onto the Olympic Loop Highway, halfway home, skirting the south end of Discovery Bay one more time, with surprisingly sparse traffic for such a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The last TSD (timed section) begins at speed 54, dropping to 39 for a short distance then up to 49 for the long and winding road past Dabob Bay, Camp Discovery, Thorndyke Bay, South Point, and Shine.  We think we have all zeroes (we will be penalized two seconds).  We are pretty happy.

The last two sections are Transits, one ending with a Main Time Control with a declared arrival time (everyone who checks in early or on-time is awarded a zero).  More cows, some goats, ostriches, and with “one lump or two”, a pair of humpty backed camels.  But sadly no unicorns... 

To the finish and awards in Poulsbo.  A 4-hour rally, 32 cars, 19 scored controls, covering 164 miles.

Accommodations for the finish party were “comfy” but afforded excellent fare presented by comely lasses, and camaraderie was great, new friends and old, teens and retirees.  Dan Comden and Marvin Crippen brought scoring forth in a timely manner, putting a pleasant cap on a fun rally.

“Something that never happens” on a Rainier event is a tie score…  We (Ron Sorem and Max Vaysburd, in car 8) were looking at First Unlimited, in the Turbo Legacy  …until Pat Biggar and Jack Heppes, in the blue WRX wagon, car 4, pointed out a ten-minute error on their score, and catapulted right onto our score… a tie!   After a brief discussion, a quick solution:  The tiebreaker was chosen as the greater number of zeroes…  Congratulations Pat and Jack with 37 points, ten zeroes-- only 5 seconds behind First Overall/First Equipped, Esko Mannisto and Peter Mannisto in their white WRX wagon, car 17, with 32 points.  This is the second year in a row that Raindrop has been won by Equipped Class, over the rally computer Unlimited Class. 

First SOP, seat-of-pants, no equipment at all, went to Paul Cho and Greg Leege in their 2003 GTI.  First Master SOP, a new NWRC class for the touring championship series, that allows the use of an auxiliary odometer, was won by the masters in Car 1, John Humphrey and Derris Humphrey in their Volvo S60, running strictly SOP without the additional odo.  First Novice, out of eight cars in the class, went to Kenneth Lindsey and Michel Lindsey in their 2003 350Z.  Finally, Vintage was won by Dan Morley and Quinn Morley in an orange 1974 SAAB Sonett 2, complete with “For Sale” sign.  A proven rally winner!

Raindrop was well planned, well attended, well reviewed, and maintained its growing reputation as an excellent tour in the Pacific Northwest.

Full results, detailed scores, and stories at www.RainierAutoSports.com


*Oregon Trail (April 24-25) – by MN

RASC members Ron Sorem and Mark Nolte volunteered to work the Oregon Trail National SCCA Pro Rally (presented by Hot Wheels). We got T-Shirts and a baggie of goodies, including a rain poncho. Didn’t need the poncho- the weather was perfect.

On Saturday, workers were cruelly expected to meet at a wide spot (MP 31) on Hiway 26 sometime in the wee hours of the morning (Portland is probably MP 80 or so). Much to my surprise, people actually showed up, a lot of them, some even awake.

The exotic Heuer timing system once again failed. Steve Perret and Kathryn Hansen (of Honda Civic fame) spent 45 minutes trying to get the timing lights to talk to the clock, but it wasn’t going to happen. This is supposed to allow the clock to be at the STOP Control, connected magically by radio. The magic wasn’t there. Kathryn volunteered to hide behind a tree and use FRS radio to get the Flying Finish times to the STOP, which worked. She only got showered with gravel 4-5 times.

Our carefully laid out Finish (this was the first Saturday stage) gave rise to panic as the first 4 cars didn’t slow down at the FF sign, one overshooting clear to the “End of Control” sign. Still haven’t figured that out, since the sign was apparently visible to the rest.

So when a few teams wanted to look their cars over just past the timing crew, they probably thought us rude to shoo them away.

We finished 58 or so cars for Stage 4, and became starters for Stages 7 & 9.

An exciting evolution of the scoring system was the introduction (to me at least) of a single page scorecard. Laid out like a spreadsheet, the cardstock had all the “blanks” laid out in logical order. No awkward little pages to fill out, no trying to flip pages with damp hands, and no filling in the !@#@#! Car number on each little page.  No doubt a gutsy scorer, somewhere, offended someone by muttering unrepeatable words while flipping those pages. No doubt, NWR will adopt this system within the next year or two.

The Rally America scoring crew was sorting the cars at the Service breaks; these breaks at least bunched up the competitors so no one was lagging behind “the pack”.

Nothing “ugly” happened for the whole weekend, just attrition normal for thrashing in the woods. But it happens to everyone- one of the Pace cars stayed on-stage when he ran out of gas.

Oregon has great roads. The forest roads seem to have a crown, perhaps a buildup of years of laying new gravel. To keep the rallyists from ditchhooking, hay bales were placed, with yellow pieplates to remind them to stay on the gravel surface. Cleaning up the stage took even longer with dozens of yellow pieplates to remove as well as normal signage and bagsful of bannerguard. I saw at least two seriously battered hay bales. A side trip to pick up the spectator signage took a long time, what with arrows and 3’x3’ signs that got the mob(s) to the best viewing locations.


After the sadly early meeting time on Saturday, the workers gathered even earlier (!) at a rest area further (!) west for Sunday. And sure enough, a lot of workers showed up, some even cheerful.

I was a midpoint HAM, along with about 7 emergency vehicles. Fortunately, the EMT’s got to see a good show, and do little else.

Only 4.4 miles into the stage, my watch showed that the first 4 cars were a solid minute faster than everyone else. The spread got wider until the 48th car was almost two minutes slower than Seamus Burke, the EVO driver who was putting together one top time after another.

Only 43 cars started our last stage, with two stages to go- from 60 starters to 41 finishers for the weekend.

One poor car only made it two miles before “the engine management system quit”. Ron Sorem threw out his cable and started to tow them to the end of the stage with his Subaru wagon. When he encountered a hill and couldn’t get enough traction to pull it, the Perret/Hansen Subaru wagon had a towrope to attach to Ron’s car. I think that adds up to a twin-turbo, 3.6 liter, eight-wheel drive combination. Steve and Ron were talking on the HAM radios, and the co-driver, at the end of the procession, was talking into a FRS radio to “call the corners”. Fortunately, they reached the top of the hill before they all died of laughter, and the rally car coasted to the finish. Where a designated Sweep took over.

While there isn’t a TV package this year, Doug Plummer was collecting video shots. I wouldn’t have known this, except everyone was giving John Nispel a bad time about backing Doug’s rental into something.


* May 1/2, Heart of Darkness (all night) TSD in British Columbia drew 13 cars. The Carrolls’ won with 19 pts, Fouse /Wende had 20, and Esko/Peter Mannisto had 22 for 3rd.


* Dryad Quest/Shitepoke (June 5/6) – Yet more new roads, or variations on the one’s we thought we knew. Trying hard to meet SCCA guidelines for a National-level event, the various plans and permits are coming together.

RASC has been asked to supply workers for one stage on each day. The Saturday stage supposedly needs only a couple of Road Marshals, and the Sunday stage probably needs 12. Call Nolte to volunteer: 425-652-3578.


* Golden West 2004:

Yes, it will be a zeroing contest, but that's the general nature of the sport anyway, right? And there will be enough PC's that everyone will probably get caught out at least a couple of points on at least a couple of controls.

There is still some discussion whether to run the two days as separate events for purposes of scoring two divisional SCCA rallies, but have the two combined for purposes of PCC points, or just make the whole weekend one rally for both series.

In either case, the event timing will run roughly along the lines of Saturday start about 12:00 noon and run till about 11 or midnight, then Sunday starting about 9 and finishing with a lunch BBQ probably around 1-2PM, so hopefully anyone from WA, OR, or Northern Cal can leave for Yreka Friday evening, do the whole weekend and be back at work on Monday without having to use any vacation time.

We hope to have the HQ hotel selected and a web page put up- probably a week
or two after Rim of the World. I sure hope you'll be able to join us. - Pete Soper


* No Alibi


  • Dan Comden acquired a Saab 900 turbo. His new sled was result of hours of careful shopping, and the dandy ride has a lot of nice features. One of the nicer ones is the ability to park anywhere and not worry about body damage.
  • On the return from Oregon, Nolte and Sorem chatted on their HAM radios. A bright red Impala was parked on the shoulder and Ron observed that the “windows are smoked too dark. That guy’s above the law.”
    The car joined us as we suddenly concentrated on driving as legally as possible. A silver Porsche passed, expertly working his way through traffic. The red Impala wasn’t noticed, but also expertly worked it’s way through traffic. As luck would have it, the Porsche got into the far right lane right ahead of the car with darkly tinted windows. From the rear, I only saw a moment of flashing blue/red strobes- maybe the fronts were on for longer. All very nicely done, almost sweet.
  • The ongoing story of Mike Jone’s Firearrow may be coming to an end. Steve Nowicki, a stage rallyist from the 80’s called to say he definitely wants it.

FOR SALE / Wanted:

* Future Classic: TSD rally-ready 1983 Audi Turbo Quattro Coupe.  Mars red.  170K miles.  Lots of goodies, well maintained by owner (retired mechanic) $ 7,500.00). E-mail Peter Linde at pjnconn@yahoo.com.

* “Just came across a set of die-cut vinyl letters "MOPARSUSHI".  2-1/2 inches high, white. Free.” Ed Storer edstorer@comcast.net , 206-282-3145

  • June 5/6- Dryad Quest/Shitepoke, Shelton, WA

  • July 24-25- Rally Café, Bremerton, WA

  • July 31- ORV Sprint 1, McCleary, WA 

  • Aug 1- ORV Sprint 2, McCleary, WA 

  • Sept 11- Sou'Wester, Olympia, WA

  • Sept 12- Simpson Stages, Shelton, WA 


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