What is a Rally?
By Simon Levear
Back in the days before Phone Apps and GPS, there were times when you’d be given directions to get somewhere. Something like, “Head South outta town, till you come to a big red barn, where you turn right and go about 2 miles to turn left on Route 6…” etc. These instructions usually got you where you wanted to go, sometime with the help of a map, and sometime not.
In a Car Rally, a team of a Driver and Navigator follow similar instructions. Car rallies can be categorized into two groups, stage rallies and road rallies. Stage rallies are based on straight forward speed over stretches of road closed to other traffic, whereas road rallies are held on roads open to other traffic, where the emphasis is not on outright speed but on accurate timekeeping and navigation.
A Time, Speed, Distance, (TSD) rally is a road rally where in addition to following instructions, teams are given average speeds to maintain. While following the instructions, to stay “On Course” teams endeavor to be precise in their driving to maintain the average speed and stay “On Time.” At locations along the course, that are usually unknown to the teams, the car is timed to determine if the team has maintained the average speed. Penalty points are assessed for every hundredth of a minute teams arrive early or late.
You might be wondering what challenges a rally team faces. First there’s staying “On Time.” Imagine you’re driving along a road with a 55 mph speed limit, and you’re given an average speed of 47 mph to maintain. Sounds kind of simple and boring, doesn’t it? But now consider that you come across a stop sign. There’s nothing in a rally that allows you to break the law, so you are legally required to stop. However, by stopping you’re no longer maintaining your 47 mph average. After the stop you will need to exceed the 47 mph speed to bring your average speed to 47 mph. But how much do you exceed 47 mph and for how long? So now you’re driving faster than 47 mph to make up for the stop, but you comes across a series of 40 mph corners. Can you safely take the corners at your speed, or do you slow for the corners and then make up the lost time after the corners? The second challenge a team faces is staying on course. This tends to boil down to understanding the rules and the language used in the instructions. For example the instruction LEFT at STOP means to deviate from the main road to the left at an intersection controlled by an official highway stop sign at which the contestant is legally required to stop. However the instruction LEFT at “STOP” means to deviate from the main road to the left at a sign reading STOP. The sign could read “SCHOOL BUS STOP AHEAD” and it is still a sign reading stop. Events that rely on teams having a detailed understanding of the intricacies of the rules and test that understanding are considered “trappy” events, whereas other events have more straightforward instructions designed to see that all teams can easily follow the route.
On May 14th, the Emerald Empire Sports Car Club is presenting the Revival Rally. This event is specifically designed for folks new to TSD rallying. The instructions have been designed to make the route following straightforward leaving the staying “On Time” to be the greatest challenge.
Prior to the event there will be a Rally School to introduce folks to the basic rules and procedures the rally will use. If you haven’t done a TSD rally before, you are encouraged to attend.
If you do come to the event, I’d recommend you bring a time piece that you can set, that has seconds. Also useful is a clipboard, pencils, pens, and highlighters. Make sure your vehicle is ready to go with a full tank of gas.
The event starts with the Novice Rally School at 1pm, and registration also starts at 1pm, both at Willamette High School (1801 Echo Hollow Rd in Eugene). There will be a contestant’s meeting at 1:45 with the first car starting at 2:01. The driving portion of the event will end around 5pm with awards presented around 6pm.
I look forward to seeing you at the event. If you have any questions feel free to email me at RallyChairman@eescc.org.
One Hell of a Fourth of July Weekend
By Mike Mullikin
While preparing for Larison Rock, I got the car finished on Thursday with a rebuilt turbo and got up to the hill on Friday. We set up camp, unloaded the car and I drove up the hill to check to make sure everything was ok and to set the boost pressure. When I saw a plume of blue smoke behind me I knew my weekend was over. So I just came down and loaded the car back on the trailer but decided to stay overnight to help set up the hill in the morning and help all day. When the race was over on SaturdayI asked my wife if we should stay or go home, and we decided it was best to go home to get some chores done around the house the rest of the weekend. That fateful decision averted a hillcIlimb disaster. We got home safely and decided to unload it Sunday morning. At about 9:30 pm I looked out the window and saw that my camper was on fire in the driveway in front of the garage. My wife called 911 and I ran out to try to shut off the propane tanks with my trusty garden hose in hand. I got the tanks shut off with only a couple of minor burns on my arm. Then I ran to get my big fire extinguisher from the shop. By the time I got back I could not get anywhere near it. The fire department arrived a minute later and immediately called a second alarm. Can you imagine if it was sitting in the field at Larison Rock and we were sleeping in it with our 3 dogs?!? Since it was parked under the fir trees, they would catch on fire. Also the fire was so intense it killed every plant growing within 30 yards, totaled my work truck, burnt the soffits on our house above the garage, and melted everything plastic on my wife's car that was parked in the garage. The fire department said we were lucky the house has a tile roof and stucco siding or it would have been worse. Insurance covered everything.
In August, Bob Kramer and I drove up to Tacoma to pick up my new/used truck. When we were coming back towing my wife's car the transmission suddenly dropped into 4 low and destroyed itself and yet again started another fire. Bob Kramer and I got that fire out using water bottles and cans of pop. I have a whole new respect for fire safety and everything I own has an extinguisher in it because even if I don't need it I could help someone else.
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