The Wishbone Alley GazetteAugust, 2004
* Alcan: The July 20 Entrant List had only motorcycles. No cars, SUV’s, or pickup trucks. So much has changed since the inaugural event of 1984.
* Rallycross: July 17- The Pacific Raceways track became rutted and rough. John Forespring’s Starlet was the vehicle of choice for many drivers until a strut gave out. August 1- About 38 entrants at the Brooklyn Bash. The track became rutted and rough.
* Stage Rally – Claiming it was no fun anymore, Nolte told SCCA’s Chief of Controls, John Nispel that he wouldn’t be a Stage Captain anymore.
Golden West 2004, by Marvin Crippen
When announced, there was controversy over the format of Golden West, the so-called “Colorado Monte Carlo”. I had some doubts about it but wanted to give it a chance, and thoughts of PCC points lured us down. Also the thought of going a full 4 months (instead of 3) till the next good gravel rally was just too much.
The trip down took a bit over 8 hours, with a food stop in Vancouver. Traffic bunched up a bit at a few construction spots in Washington and also slowed considerably going through Portland. Tons of construction in southern Oregon, although according to some RASC members most of those spots have been under construction for at least 5 years now.
The first gas stop in California (the first possible gas stop after crossing the border even) proved we were indeed in California.
Reasonably priced liquor available at a gas station/restaurant/minimart! I noted the location for a stop on the return trip, although as it turns out this would be one of our gas stops in the afternoon on Day One.
It was hot when we got there, even late in the evening. At least hot by Seattle standards, it was easily in the mid-to-upper 90's for most of the trip. Even though the rally had a late start (to allow southern Californians to drive up the morning of) we decided to swap to gravel tires that night. Or rather Jeff swapped tires, I discussed strategies with competitors and tried to figure out the best approach.
This Monte Carlo format identified all the possible checkpoints with mileage and car zero arrival time, but did not identify if it was a phantom checkpoint or real checkpoint. The balking/creeping rules were set to going less that 5 MPH within 100 ft of the control, at a penalty of 10 points. Also slightly unusual were “no fault time allowances” in .25-minute increments (no whole minutes) up to a max of 19.75 minutes. The main two strategies seemed to be 1) calculate an average speed between checkpoints and treat it like a standard TSD rally or 2) get to the checkpoint ahead of time, wait out extra time up the road, and coast in on time.
Upon arrival, we were still the only Limited (Equipped) class car registered. The rallymaster did convince a few SOP cars to switch over so he wouldn't have extra trophies left over.
Routebooks (with both Day One and Two) were handed out in a timely fashion, along with a few corrections for Day One. With the limit of 6 instructions per page and no need for a CAST column the instructions were large and easy to read. Additionally the bottom of each page noted the distance to the first instruction on the next page.
It quickly became apparent that most of the controls wouldn't be manned (the finally tally was around 200 possible checkpoints, 38 of which were manned over two days) and some were fairly close together.
So we opted for the calculate cast and treat it like a standard TSD method.
Combining that with some extra count up information at each checkpoint seemed to work well for us. Each manned checkpoint had a reflective checkpoint sign marking the timing point and many of the phantom checkpoints had tape markers up, identifying where the timing point (and mileage) was, making it easy to reset the odo whenever it drifted too much.
Because we worked with average speeds we had to deal with CASTs of 32.778 and the speeds tended to be a bit slower in many sections than we would have preferred, along with bits where it was a challenge to maintain that speed.
The first half of Day One brought some extremely challenging sections that claimed a few tires and the muffler of a rally-ready Porsche (they withdrew but had a blast anyway). The day was spent in the Siskiyous, heading across the border into Oregon, stopping for a good photo opportunity in the Mt. Ashland Ski Resort parking lot, and then back into California. The day also had some absolutely stunning views of Mt. Shasta.
Breaks were plentiful throughout the rally, and volunteers from a HAM group and a portable repeater meant scoring information was often available at the food breaks.
At the end of Day One 1st overall (and 1st Equipped/Unlimited) had 52 points and we had 2nd overall (1st Limited/Equipped) with 58.
Several corrections for Day Two were needed. They included a few new times to remedy some sections with average speeds of 70 and 80 (the Pauses really do need to be included with the calculated times!).
Visions of 1st overall tantalized us until early in the 1st section on Day Two when we overtook the car in front of us (Hightowers) and were quickly passed again after they found their calculation error.
Unfortunately this happened before a manned checkpoint and even with a time allowance we picked up an extra 10 points. Given a healthy lead over the next Limited/Equipped car we decided to just relax and not worry about 1st overall.
Day Two also brought the best roads of the rally, lots of fun, twisty, challenging roads along with some more great photo opportunities. Although at one of them the only place to pull over was a sandy patch, causing a moment of concern before the front wheels finally got enough traction to stop the rear wheels from spinning.
The BBQ at the end was nicely done and quick scoring helped out the whole event.
1st overall and 1st Equipped/Unlimited went to Jason Webster and Brandon Harer of Portland Oregon, who had a lot of experience with the Monte Carlo format, with total of 71 points. Jeff and I took 2nd
Overall and 1st Limited/Equipped with 102 points. 3rd overall and 2nd Equipped/Unlimited went to the Sorensons with 130 points. 4th overall and 2nd Limited/Equipped went to Mark & Devika Pace, from Seattle WA, with 512 points. Incidentally, Mark & Devika's first rally was No Alibi back in June.
So, given the format and the ensuing PCC controversy would I go back again with the same format? Yes, with a few tweaks I think the Colorado Monte Carlo format would work well and I like the variety. And if it becomes a standard TSD format I could handle that too. Rallymaster Pete Soper did a good job
Full scoring is at
Photos from Car #8 are at
* Gold Digger (British Columbia) – 9 Entrants, Brian Wende drove with Dennis working the Timewise for 4 total pts. Second was a Calculator class car, 3rd a Novice. No SOP class entrants
* Subaru Rally and Car Show (July 24) Ron Sorem joined a group of 30 or so Subaru owners for the first such event sponsored by the local dealer network. His RX was the most “decaled”(and probably oldest).
Advertised as a Poker Run/TSD, he immediately noticed some format errors, such as the lack of an odometer check. While there were checkpoints, the time slip didn’t always include an Out Time. So much for his and Max’s formidable rally skills. They didn’t draw a good poker hand, either.
On the other hand, it was a decent route (dealer to dealer, what else?), and the group was pretty mellow.
He ended up with enough swag (a Subaru pocket knife?) to make back the entry fee, which went to charity anyway. -MN
* Jim Hogan moved. Phone changed to 206-225-7726. He still has the boat. He got a “Cobb Tuner” for his WRX, and noticed some improvements (more grunt in third gear), but hasn’t had time to further explore the device that cleans up some ECU programming.
* Steve Richards and Gary Reid won the Seattle Classic Motor Rally the week after No Alibi. The Monte Shelton classic car event is August 5-8, and they’ll team up for it for the first time (both have done well in the past, with other drivers.)
* Nolte “did” Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire the last week of July. If you consider a vacation there, July probably isn’t the best time. From the looks of it, the winters must be brutal.
The Hertz Camry came with the Magellen “Nevr Lost” GPS unit. Pretty cool and highly recommended. The NE states don’t have a lot of freeways- think Hwy 108 or 9. So plotting an east-west route was much easier by programming the GPS and it’s vast disc-based memory. Trying to find my motel by accessing it’s “Yellow Pages” feature didn’t work, since the motel wasn’t listed! But it was easier to scroll through all the motels intending to find one near mine than to actually get out a paper map. It turned out that my motel had recently changed names, so I highlighted the one with the correct address and didn’t a make a wrong turn to get there.
Did the Mt. Washington road. This is the highest mountain in NE, at 6389 feet or so. After doing Pikes Peak last year, I’d say it’s a good 1/2 scale version of the 14,000 ft Colorado hillclimb.
Drove through Rumford, ME three days before the Maine Forest Rally. Of all things, it reminded me of Shelton!
* Mike Jones claims the Arrow is just a trailer-ride away from a new home in the mid-west.
FOR SALE / Wanted:
Starting in June: The construction at the “upper” lot is over, and the rallys will resume their traditional location under overpass.