We had 24 start and 23 finish, a fair turnout for October. Chatter at the finish seemed to indicate that everybody had a good time and the complaint department didn't get any visitors. That's a first for me.
Once again the 'on the wall' scoring system worked great. We simply post the scorecards on the wall as is and only check math on the trophy places. It makes things so much more relaxing for workers at the finish and creates a focal point and conversation starter for competitors.
Results are posted along with a brief summary on the website:
October 14 & 15, 2005. Merritt, British Columbia. The West Coast Rally Association (WCRA), organized Round 5 of the 2005 Canadian Rally Championship, centered in Merritt. The city contributed greatly to the support of the rally and provided the in-town cooperation making the street section possible. The rally is a big event there.
Ken Lingbloom and I volunteered to be Course Car #0, making sure each stage was ready for the rallyists. A few of our Washington State rallyists also competed.
Friday was spent getting teched and previewing the course. The Pacific Forest Rally is a "Recce" event. The "reconnaissance" gives teams a chance to see the roads at slower speed and develop their notes for every corner, straight, crest and dip, rough or slippery detail of the route.
One section had seven instructions in the route book. We wrote forty notes, only to find that Course Cars had a detailed stage book available with sixty notes.
Merritt's downtown Railyard Mall was the site of the in-town Spectator Stage and Parade. The ceremonial start was conducted by Mayor David Laird under bright TV lights and accompanied by Merritt Police, RCMP, Merritt Fire (who had wet down the street for added excitement), and well attended by the residents of Merritt and surrounds.
SS1 was a timed run over the "Railyard" course, at speed, at one-minute intervals. Car 0 (Ron Sorem and Ken Lingbloom, two long-time drivers, without a co-driver) ran through in 1:52 with lights and siren to alert the spectators that the rally was starting. Car 2, eventual winners Antoine L'Estage and Yanick Napert in the 1997 Hyundai Tiburon AWD from John Buffum's Libra Racing, ran the same course in 0:54; less than half the time. (This fact weighed heavily in Car 0 out-times for subsequent stages. We'd leave early enough to clear the stage and not delay competitors starting, yet close enough to keep the stage "hot".) All was well with the City. RCMP and Fire both asked why we don't use more of the downtown next time!
SS2 was "Comstock North", about 10km south on Hwy 5. An uphill start, then down through puddles, covering the windshield with mud. An acute left with a rough uphill approach turned the rally west again through gentle bends rising and falling before dropping through a medium right onto pavement where top cars have been "heard" against their revlimiters in top gear on past runnings of the stage. The stage ran 5.83km; we'd joked earlier we'd take 8 minutes, they'd take 6… We took under 7; they took under 4. We'd have to do better to stay ahead of the rally!
The rally transited into Merritt for SS3 "Railyard" again, and Service, before returning to "Comstock" for SS4 where nearly every car was faster and the cows were further away from the road. One car, also further away from the road, into a tree, was retrieved by Fast Sweep and continued on, although quite late.
Next up, east of Merritt, was "Princeton Cut-off", for SS5, a 9.23km twisting goat trail of a road climbing steadily along the west slope of Sugarloaf Mountain with chicanes through the miniature canyons at every point where water runs off the hill. An occasional straight then more exposure, then dip. Fast time for the stage was 7:07. Two teams ran very late, but there were no retirements.
The rally ran "Comstock" again as SS6. Car 1, Patrick Richard and sister Nathalie Richard, had earlier been experiencing electrical problems and their Open class 1999 WRX Sti lurched to a stop just 100m before Flying Finish with a blown Turbo. SS7 saw the return to "Princeton Cut-off", climbing out of the valley to near Hwy 5A overlooking Merritt by night. Again, nearly all cars ran the stage quicker and there were no retirements.
The final transit brought everyone to the Civic Center for MTC shortly after 11pm.
Day Two began with early morning rain. However, by the start of the Spectator Stage at Active Mountain Raceway (AMR), skies and spirits had both brightened. A good crowd packed the hillside to watch the rally slide around about 2.5km of roads within the AMR site. Grip ranged from wet gravel to "a bit muddy". Scott Trinder and Bill Westhead suffered a spin along the flat section, struck (and dislodged for later competitors) a large rock, breaking the rear suspension, continuing in "3 wheel drive" and leaving their 1995 WRX-RA bumper at the last corner before Flying Finish as they exited the stage, game-over.
The rally turned east through Merritt and began the 30km climb to Helmer Lake for SS9. "Helmer" was 22.87km long, the longest stage of the rally, and would be run three times during the day. The start was downhill, easy right dropping, medium right into easy left, rough uphill easy right (passed VIP spectating at Camp Yokohama). This stage had several "over crest" corners and became more "slippy" with each running. The first run was enough for Warren Currie and Robin Chapelsky from Edmonton in their 1991 Eagle Talon TSI. Changing surfaces, first grippy then slippy, caught them "just inches out of line" and prompted a BIG off "three and a half with a twist" with no injuries, attesting to a great cage. Helmer would see other "offs": Chad Manley and Jaclyn Schofield stuffed their 1985 VW Golf GTI and would later retire; Colin and Teresa Armstrong were a bit less "off" in their 1991 VW Golf and were able to finish.
Stopping on SS9 to secure some downed banner guard (and leaving all lights on at idle) taxed Car 0 electrical to where the alternator apparently needed to take a "time out". Running only on battery (and not noticing that) we arrived at AMR for SS10, rolled up to Start Control and with less than one minute to go, the car quit--no juice--too dead to call in on the radio! Luckily Car 00, Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junilla, was still on AMR and able to jump in, take over, and open the course while we sat just inside the stage and tried in vain to restart the car; eventually to be towed out.
After our alternator, now well rested, received a jolt from the equivalent of cardio-paddles—"Clear! Zot!"-- it ran. We checked in at Service and the consensus was "don't use all your lights". Thank you. We announced to Net Control we were back, and transited to Nicola Lake SS13, sadly by-passing the 2nd and 3rd run on Helmer.
"Nicola Lake" SS13 was 7.13km, smooth, rock based with fine light colored crushed stone with very few ruts or holes and relatively level. There were a couple of twists and a flat-5-left with only a big tree to protect the exposure. A quick R-6 into Turn-L-6 gives a group of Marshals a great view. Uphill, to Flying Finish and a big dip before Stop. Car 2 will take only 4:09 over 7.13km. That calc's out to over 103km/h average! And, the fastest stage was still to come.
The Transit section was rough, with varying depths of dips and cross-ditches. We were allowed 20 minutes to cover 7.29km and to save the suspensions most cars took all 20 minutes.
SS14 covered Sheep Lake – Mab Lake road. Starting uphill into easy right, twisting, "Mab Lake" was the fastest stage of the day, with two areas of top speed, smooth wide mainline separated by sections of medium lefts, rights and a 90-left with a water-splash. The 13.82km stage saw fastest time of 7:31, calc'ing out to over 110km/h average (68 mph). Antoine L'Estage drove the Open class Tiburon past the speed gun at 93mph! The stage ended on a long flat right passed Spectator into an easy left to Stop, perhaps a bit short for run-out for the top cars.
The rally made a quick trip into Merritt for Service and Re-Group, giving crews a chance to mount light pods and prepare for the night, then back to Nicola Lake SS15 and Mab Lake SS16. No real surprises, most everyone adjusted to the darkness for Nicola Lake. Everyone took 12 to 40 seconds longer on Mab Lake, with one exception: Car 24 went off, only 2km from the finish, on its roof, 20 to 30 feet down a cliff, and although the crew was fine, it would take more than Sweep to retrieve the bright Orange WRX Wagon of Seattleites Colby Boles and Wayne Hickey.
Banquet and Awards convened at Merritt's Civic Center. Top honors in the Yokohama Pacific Forest Rally National to Antoine L'Estage and Yanick Napert from Quebec. 2nd in National to Americans Matt Iorio and Ole Holter in their 2002 Mitsubishi EVO VII. Third place to Norm LeBlanc, Pemberton BC, and Keith Morison, Calgary AB, in their 2002 WRX.
Top Regional awards in "Merritt by Night" went to Scott Trinder and Bill Westhead. Second to Norm LeBlanc and Keith Morison. Third to Americans Nat Snow, Duvall WA, and Ben Bradley, Gresham OR, in a 2000 Impreza 2.5 RS.
For Sunday's Regional "Helmer by Day", First to Norm LeBlanc and Keith Morison. Second to Nat Snow and Ben Bradley. Third to Gary Cavett, Kirkland WA, and Alan Perry, Bainbridge Island WA, in the Open class 1995 Impreza "WRX".
Complete results, photos and information at http://www.pacificforestrally.com/
By Ken Lingbloom (Courtesy "Howling Transmissions")
I had the opportunity to codrive one of the course opening cars with Ron Sorem on the recent Pacific Forest Rally in Merritt, BC. It was the first time for this usual left-seater to hop into the seat without the wheel and pedals on a performance rally. It was, as they say, to be an adventure.
Friday morning we registered, got our wristbands and route books and set off to do recce, a pre-run of the stages. We felt that we really needed to see the stages that would be run after dark on Friday to try and eliminate some of the "surprises." Ron read "notes" to me as we drove and I copied them as best I could in the bouncing, heaving rally car.
After a preview of the "night" stages, we proceeded to drive the Saturday stages to make a few notes there, as well. Again all went reasonably well, with Ron calling out mileages from his driver's odor along with some of the rocks, dips and swoops that were not mentioned in the route book.
That night, all went very well. I had been concerned about one stage in particular, Princeton Cutoff Road South. Much of the stage was run on a piece of road that snaked along the face of a steep slope. It was an eyeful in the daylight and I wasn't looking forward to it after dark. Ron sensed my concern and held his speed down considerably, much to my relief.
Saturday, we set out for another day in the woods. The second stage of the day, Helmer Lake South, was 22.87 kilometers. The longest stage of the rally, it would be a test of my ability to stay focused on the task at hand. About half way through the stage, we heard car 00 call in that there was some bannerguard missing. 00 reported that they had no bannerguard to tie up at the junction in question and could car 0, Ron and I, take care of the situation. Ron responded on the radio while still traveling down the stage, one handed, at speed.
When we arrived at the junction, car 00 proceeded and Ron began his unsuccessful search for bannerguard in the back seat of the car. After a moment or two, I bailed out of the car to help. It was at that point that, on opening the back door of the car on my side, my small box of cookies that had been nestled in the back seat, fell into the mud. Yes, I lost my cookies, well, most of them, right then and there. We managed to salvage a couple of chocolate chip cookies, my favorite, and two or three of the oatmeal-raisin cookies, Ron's favorite.
The rest of the day found other things to worry about, but overall, my adventure was a good one. I don't think I'll ever be codriver material, but I wouldn't mind trying something like this again.
October 8 & 9, 2005. Wilsonville – Port Orford – Albany, Oregon. The Oregon Rally Group, rally arm of the Oregon Region Sports Car Club of America, presented an SCCA Divisional Touring Road Rally covering two days and 584 miles through, as they point out, "parts of Oregon that most Oregonians don't know exist".
"Nineteen cars took the start, twisting through tree farms, orchards and fields, for the real odometer calibration, "Welcome to the Valley!"
"Rotten Cabbage" was the first TSD section, with the rally climbing steadily before dropping into Kings Valley, where "Goin' South! Transit" did just that, turning slightly east, coming into Alsea, for Lobster Valley.
"Lobster Preaching to the Dead" TSD took the rally along Lobster Creek, Preaching Creek and Deadwood Creek, including sections of hairpins at CAST 37. The forest roads began at CAST 23 on leaf covered pavement, increasing to CAST 26 as the road narrowed, crested a ridge and began the downhill around a "pebble" on the left, roughly 8-foot tall and 8-foot across, with a smaller companion on the right, just enough room for traffic. Another hairpin or two and we were treated to a view of the Deadwood Creek Covered Bridge, one of many on the rally, on our way to lunch in Mapleton.
"Long and Winding Road" TSD followed the Siuslaw river and Esmond Creek, then CAST 34 as the road narrows, twists, and climbs, dropping passed scenic Smith River Falls, then opened to CAST 42 at "Speed Limit 25" (very odd).
Approaching Highway 101 just north of the Umpqua River bridge, Lewis and Clark's journal was quoted: "Ocian in View! O! The Joy!" South of Reedsport we would see the Umpqua Lighthouse and historic Coast Guard Station and actually overlook the "Ocian" at one of the rally's Observation Controls (great spot).
"Slough Zone" TSD was the slow zone along the east shores of Coos Bay, and turning south on Catching Slough. We kept catching slow traffic and eventually took a time allowance. As Navigator Max Vaysburd pointed out, the bad news was there was nowhere to pull off, the good news was there was nowhere for a checkpoint ! At Sumner we climbed rapidly at CAST 36 through a hard right into a hairpin left, a hairpin right uphill, to CP12 in the middle of another hairpin left, and zeroed the control! Whew, very busy!
"Sixes River" Transit took the rally south on 101, to the regroup in Sixes Oregon: One Post Office, one closed store, one mobile home, one big gravel parking lot for catching up on the news of the day as the teams trickled in. It was worth the wait to see the entire rally from Advance Cars to Sweep manage to get onto a deserted 101, a long chain of headlights as the "Port Orford Parade" to a great spaghetti feed and first day awards. Day Two began with all cars headed for 101 and Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The route book stated: "The view alone is worth the cover charge". Yes, it was. Brilliant blue skies overlooking the surf break on rocky pillars.
"Wild River's Coast" TSD was a short six mile wake-up section with eight speed changes beginning with 16mph and ending with 18mph and a checkpoint.
The rally transited north to Bandon. "Lava Lampa" TSD traveled east along the Coquille River, then followed Lampa Creek though pastureland.
"Myrtle Creek" Transit headed east into the mountains to Rock Creek, where "Through the Lookingglass" TSD began easy and flowing, then climbed through a series of switchbacks and fell briefly with MAJOR exposures. The narrow pavement climbed again through more hairpins to another checkpoint, and began the drop toward Reston. Several teams managed to produce a bit of brake smoke on the very brisk, very tight paved hairpins into the valley, to Lookingglass Oregon.
"Roseburg" Transit brought a welcomed break for lunch and fuel before regrouping in Sutherlin for the "Driver Valley" TSD. This 33.67-mile section began briskly on the highway, then dropped to CAST 52 for secondary roads north through Driver Valley, CAST 43 and CAST 46 through Elkhead, climbing steadily, and then dropping to 39-mph for the downhill twists. "London Hill" twisted upward though gravel hairpins, then new pavement before dropping into the Cottage Grove basin.
"Creswell-Marcola" Transit took the rally north on I-5, east through Springfield, and north along the Mohawk River to Marcola, ending at the one-lane Earnest Covered Bridge (great photo op).
"Shotgun Creek" TSD began calmly, and then blasted steeply through a couple of tight corners. "Long hairpin right (stay right and right and right)" preceded a long twisting downhill and slower traffic. No place to pass, no place to pull out for out TA, until a driveway—STOP! Take the half-minute, then immediately find a hidden checkpoint—Very lucky!
"Crawfordsville" Transit began with the notation "Don't miss the covered bridge ahead". We both watched the bridge on our left, and missed our turn on the right… A quick recovery brought us back to the route to start the next TSD without points. However, "Bonus Points" TSD was true to its name. The section was just over 10 miles, with three checkpoints.
Dinner and awards in Albany, at Novak's Hungarian Restaurant, was "worth the price of admission". Add this to your list of places to see, again, and again.
Taking First Overall in SCCA E class (Unlimited) were Monte Saager and Victoria Saager, with 52 points. First in SCCA L (Limited/Equipped) were Johdi Masterman and April Smith, with 143 points. First in SCCA S (Stock/SOP) were veterans Simon Levear and Karen Levear, with 181 points.
Full results at http//www.oregonrally.com/files/GPIPOR_Results.pdf
This year you have two ways to vote. You will be able to vote at the meeting using a paper ballot. Or you can vote online at the Rainier Auto Sports web site. Either way all members are encouraged to vote.
Electronic voting closes November 13th at midnight. (The day before the meeting.) Results of electronic voting will be brought to the November 14th meeting and added to the tally of in-person votes. To read more about the election or vote online, visit the RASC Election Information in the Members Section of the Rainier website:
While slick, it lacks a critical feature- no way to input latitude and longitude to identify things like a CP location. Jim was also able to enter a CP location by longitude and Latitude, and find his NOBM checkpoint last year. This one doesn't do that.
Rainier Auto Sports Club will meet this coming Monday, November 14 at 7:30 PM at Café Veloce at the Totem Lake shopping center. Best way I can think of get there is north on I-405, take the "NE 124th" exit, then keep right under NE 124th and straight at the signal. This puts you on Totem Lake Blvd, not whatever the frontage road is next to I-405. Then right first poss, with the Café on your right at that point. Monthly meetings are the second Monday of each month. Past Members, visitors, and spectators are welcomed.
Agenda: Elections for 2006 Board members. Continued discussions broached at October meeting. Bring your calendar, as decisions for 2006 have to be made before the NWRC scheduling meeting. Roy will probably still have the battery.
The Wishbone Alley Gazette is published for the members and friends of Rainier Auto Sports Club. Subscription price is $10 per year.