Basically these are chronological stream-of-consciousness notes made at the event, so don't expect a novel. PLUS, superb pictures by Lorne Trezise are at the end!!!
Warning: I had some extra time before the event started, so I got overly anal and wrote down even the tiniest details, no matter how boring... Once the racing started I had a lot less time to record the tiny details...
Normally I drive by myself or fly to Houghton, but this time I got a ride from Indiana to Houghton via my buddy Jeff Harty (he often does tech with Mike Hurst; he and I rallied together in an MR2 10-15 years ago, mainly Sunriser and Tulip).
So, that means my timing is a little bit different than normal, as I'll be arriving on Wednesday which is earlier than I normally do, and my driver Mark Utecht doesn't arrive until Thursday afternoon.
We get a little bit of a late start as we also had Dave Bruce along, a fellow Sunriser competitor and worker - he hails from the Ohio/Kentucky border. He got delayed; so we left at about 3:30pm Wednesday and got to our room at the Franklin Inn at around 2:30am - I slept on the floor as I was stealing space until tomorrow. Not bad, though - had worse.
Got up, ate breakfast at the Franklin Inn's dining room (up on the 7th floor), and then got to registration before it opened. Jeff and Dave were doing tech along with Mike, so they dropped me off; I was carless and would be stuck at registration until Mark arrived.
At 10:30, registration opened, but Scott Friberg and I picked out our service locations before we even registered - we both got primo spots at Kenton (near the road) and at Copper Harbor (near the fuel depot). Mark and I often competed with Scott and Cary Kendall, but they were there to crew for Zach Babcock, so we wanted to service near each other (good thing we did, as it turned out helpful later).
Noticed that there was no fuel depot for Kenton - will have to check that out.
From 10:30 to 11:00, did the regstration thing (since I got my service location first, the SRT crew was able to get in front of me in the registration line - darn). Got service packet and my packet. Then got my Stage Notes from Mary Shiloff at the R-A table.
11:00 Checked the contents of my packet and the service packet to see what's in there; checked service packet's route pages (looking for missing pages and incorrect sequencing); wrote our Car # & names on service packet, service routebook, route books, and stage notes, and packet envelopes.
11:03 Checked the routebook's page numbers - found page 141 twice; at the same time, Scott Friberg found Passmore stage's pages 6 and 7 in the stagenotes were in the wrong order (7 then 6); checked mine, it was wrong too - first time that happened to me. Traded for a new one with Mary Shiloff, and checked the new pages - all good.
Mark is especially paranoid about missing pages, as a few years ago he was tied for the overall Group N National championship, and a missing page turned out to be a bad crash and the loss of a big check from Subaru - a VERY big check...
11:10 more checking of notes pages: marked the cover of the FRIDAY Notes differently from the SATURDAY Notes cover so I don't accidentally start Day One using Day Two's notes - bad... Read the Notes intro page, as Pete Lahm etc. puts very good information there about rally-specific items and the weather conditions when the rally was measured for the notes. Noticed a new term there, called UNEVEN JUMP - turned out later this was a good phrase to know... Made sure I did not find any other page number issues in notes/route books.
Called James Bialas/RallyMaster (per Negaunee Sue's recommendation) to inform him about page 141 duplication; he checked his book and it had the same problem. Also asked stewards Steve Gingras and Ben Bradley - they had same problem as well). James will issue a bulletin. Overheard that the notice board is not yet up, will arrive soon...
OK, now for further notes prep - folded over the introductory notes pages so I can find Stage 1 quickly - all the leading info pages make the first stage hard to find in a hurry otherwise...
Then basically did some conversations for fun (as distractions from notes page checking): talked with Ben Bradley (Operations Steward) about Pacific Northwest events; talked with Car 12's co-driver about the page 141 duplication.
11:35 Was still checking pages - finally the Friday notes pages were all fine...
11:42 Saturday notes page all checkout fine too...
11:43 Generated a TO DO List on inside front cover of Route Book, which includes discussion topics once driver and crew arrives; part of TO DO list is as follows:
TO DO LIST
Check Page Numbers
Fold or Mark each stage's Page 1
Fold Page Edges
Mark slower turns (1/2/3)
Mark Quickies (0.25 of a mile or less)
Mark up tulips with how I will verbalize each instruction (R @ SR means Right at Side Road, etc...) - I don't like thinking when in a hurry
Mark start of each stage so I can find them quickly
Mark QZs and Speed changes
Get WWV and set watch and rally clock
Get Crew registered
Get Driver registered
Get Car Teched
Discuss Gas Plan
Discuss Light Plan
Discuss timing of Park Exposes
Check Notice Board before leaving at the start on FRIDAY
Do the same on SATURDAY
Check START ORDER before starting FRIDAY (gotta know who we are following!)
Gas Considerations to be discussed:
* SVC1 to Kenton Service - 86 miles (that's fairly tight with the Mustang, as we suck gas on stages)
* Other legs are fine - max of 66 miles total between fuelings
Lights Considerations to be discussed:
* FRIDAY: Need lights at Kenton Service as stage before SVC has FCO at 4:23pm, but stage after SVC has FCO at 7:13pm
* SATURDAY: Need lights at last Copper Harbor service as last stage of the night is at 6:55pm - edge of needing lights but delay will make problems...
* Also mark up my routebook schedule page with LIGHTS notations, and mark the line in the routes where the service occurs with a LIGHTS notation
Reviewed stage maps; on FRI there are 2 stages that repeat in the same direction, but only Brockway repeats in the same direction on Saturday (TO DO item was that I want to discuss in team meeting that we need to take notes on first run through the stage)
Checked the location of Tech for meeting; also check location of Parc Expose (Day #1 = Country Inn & #2=Calumet) as we have to arrive there on-time from possibly far away...
Noticed there are no supplementals in the packets, will need to download (forgot to do before leaving)
Need to make a schedule on inside front cover of main schedule items not in the routebook (leave times and arrival times of Parc Exposes, for instance)
Notice Board is now up - a temporary notce of the Page 141 glitch is up there
12:15 - take a break, eat pretzels
12:40 Wrote those major schedule items in the inside front cover of the routes; reviewed the supps on-line; especially checked for fueling regs and fuel depot areas - notice why there is no refuel depot in Kenton - LSPR got an exemption from the rules and there is no depot for the Kenton service only...
Found some more TO DO items for my list for the MISCELLANOUS section (already added them in above)
Discussed the availability of SUPPS with Steve Gingras; for a National I'm of the opinion it should be in the packet; but mainly it should be consistent amongst all events, as some put it in the packet, and some bind it into the routebook, and LSPR did not have any printed at all - not everyone can print or has internet access handy. He wants to note it in his post-rally review that the stewards write, and he asks me to email him a reminder to write it up...
I find that the notice board has the changes up, including some additional route book/stage changes (initially was worried as Jimmy Brandt asked what was wrong with the one page correction page until we figured out it was a correction for the SERVICE route instead of the competitors route - whew).
13:20 - I do POSTIT flags for the Routebook - on the right side of the pages I flag:
* the SCHEDULE page for easy finding
* each SERVICE (include quickie after last stage)
* the MAPS
* the FUEL DEPOTS and QUICKIE FUEL STOPS
* the SCORE page at the back (I never can find that page in a hurry)
On the TOP of the Routebook I flag
* each STAGE START
* with DAY ONE being a different row and color from DAY TWO
I kinda overdo all this as I have way too much time; now I remember why I never do this, as they all wrinkle and get in the way during the event. I do more page reviews while I'm flagging... (for instance, I mark all the speed changes on the transits).
14:00 Now working on the NOTES:
* I fold each page of a stage (except the last page of the stage); I fold the lower right corner - that way I can reliably turn ONE page (and only ONE page) while going fast and bouncing around a bunch.
* I fold each corner by hand, so they are intentionally different and won't slide nicely into each other (that way they bow out if one page gets caught inside another page's fold - flipping two pages by accident is BAD)
* I don't fold the last page of each stage, that way I quickly know where the end is
* I don't fold the upper corner as that would obscure the page number
14:20 More working on the NOTES:
* I circle all 1's, 2's, and 3's as these are the slower, more nasty turns
* I also circle all major changes in pace, like for a fast stage with all 5's and 6's I mark all 4's as big-deals
* I also mark all TURN and BRAKE instructions
* I mark all cautions and N.C.s
* I mark all bridges and NARrows and LOGS, as we are often sideways which makes them difficult to go through without straightening
* I also put little commas where I want to pause or breathe between instructions
* I read every line, as I've noticed it is easy to miss the instructions at the far right side of a line
* I compare the routebook tulips to the stage notes to add a tulip to the notes where that helps explain a turn
* I mark all exceptionally long straights (good Mustang country)
* I mark all water, as it can cause sudden change of direction esp. when sideways
* I mark "busy reading" areas
* I mark exceptional turns on the far right in big print in case I get lost and need to warn about an upcoming nasty turn
* I mark after the end of each stage what is the next turn and speed (from the routebook), as the driver is always antsy at the end of a stage, and wants to get away in a hurry while I am still doing paperwork - that way I can call out the next instruction without having to switch to the routes and find the correct page while still doing the FTC stuff...
15:05 My driver (Mark) calls to say they are an hour away, and they will meet me at tech if I can find a ride to tech...
15:35 I finish Friday's notes writing... and leave Saturday's notes for later...
16:00 I hitch a ride with Steve Gingras, Ben Bradley, and J.B. Niday who are on their way to tech
16:00 My crew, driver, and car arrives at tech; no issues
17:00 We discuss dinner plans, Crew and driver and I go to registration to get them all signed up; made sure service crew picks up their route changes and they see our service location... Made sure we signed the Jeff Moyle tribute banner.
18:00 OK, everyone is tired - Pizza and Fishbowls at the Ambassador, and we go to bed somewhat early, but I later find out that Mark and the crew sneak off to Perkins late that evening... darn, I missed it!
08:30 - showers, breakast at the Super8; we all do a quick discussion of the timing for this morning's events
10:00 - Get emergency cash at the ATM (for the towhook bait - if I get cash, I never need it; if I don't, I always wish I had)....
10:10 Mark up the routebook tulips with how I will verbalize each instruction (R @ SR, etc.), also put in the corrections from the notice board; also repeat those changes into the notes as well
10:30 Team Meeting:
* Parc Expose timings (when to leave vs when we gotta be there)
* when to put on lights
* when and where is service
* re-fueling timing/distances/requirements, etc.
* Discuss first quickie fuel stop as maps and tulips in service routebook are confusing
* Discover our in-car water bottles are missing - a WalMart run is instigated
12:18 leave for Parc Expose
12:30 Arrived at Parc Expose:
* Parked and yakked with everyone
* checked out the competition; checked out Moyles car
* Jimmy Brandt and I went on a merry goose chase as the time on the Atomic Clock in the Rally America van did not match other people's watches - turned out the R-A clock was wrong
* Driver's meeting - be safe, etc...
* Got start list, wrote down (in route book) the 2 car numbers and names in front of us and the car behind us so I know who were are following in line...
* Waited for notice board to arrive to check for new changes but it did not arrive in time for our start time
On each transit, I do the following:
* Cross off each instruction as I do it
* Calculate the ATC/MTC arrival time and double-check the math
* Have Mark check the math too (major paranoid about getting timing penalties - Buffum or Grimshaw or Grist or someone said: the driver can win the event but the co-driver can lose it)
Before each stage, I do the following:
* Zero the odometers while waiting in line before the ATC, and put the computer into park (probe 0)
* I write down our expected arrival time at the ATC
* I get our card back and check the times are correct
* Write down the actual start time in the notes
* Remember to take computer out of probe 0
* Read out the stage description to Mark so he knows the flavor of the stage
* Mention to Mark if the stage is mainly 5s and 6s so we know we got a fast one
On each stage, I do the following:
* Call out the instructions, what did you think?
* I mention spectator areas (I wonder why I do that? :-)
* I mark where we encounter cars
At the finish I do the following:
* Write in the notes the time on my watch when we pass the finish line (to compare with the timing crew)
* Write in the notes the time we were given by the FTC crew, and compare with my time
* Zero incremental odo
* Tell Mark the distance to next instruction, what is the next turn, and speed (CAST for you TSDers)
* Swap books to the routebook
* Tried to get the score of the car in front of us (to see if we were gaining or not, and/or to see if we needed to negotiate a swap at the next ATC)
Ran Stage 1 fine, Stage 2 was fast - 5th gear for 75% of the time, Stage 3 - suddenly slippery, had an interesting spin, car would not restart easily, so we lost 30 seconds...
Got lost in the notes after we had our spin, and discovered my factor or the computer was way out of whack and I had troubles getting back in sync via mileages - oh well... Turned out I had selected the wrong factor (1500), and my OTHER factor (1400) was the correct one... P.S. factors aren't very accurate in a constantly sliding car, so a round number like 1400 is OK,
At service, I tell Mary our team manager the MTC out time, with some fudge factor time to get on belts etc... I also write it in big letters on the routebook page I leave on the front dash of the car in case anyone forgets the number. Plus, Mary and team have a clipboard and checklist where the number is written down.
At service, I went to the R-A truck to look for scores and reseed results, but the restart order was not posted so I went back to the team to pass on info, and then went back to the R-A truck for the reseed - we were reseeded farther down than we wanted so I filed a scoring inquiry to get us back amongst our similar speed factor cars but we were denied (probably because I did not get it filed quickly enough)
At each service, I was basically checking how we were doing in 2WD/MaxAttack (we had great competition with Shepherd, Wimpey, Burmeister, etc.) and I also was checking how we were doing overall in the Regionals (esp. Krolikowskis) as we did not enter the Nationals. I also compared scores to make sure they got to R-A correctly and everyone else's scores matched with what I thought.
Mark got mad from the spin and the reseed, so we then ran top 5 times for quite a number of stages... Had dust problems on the first runnings of Passmore and Farpoint, but we made 40 seconds on each car in front of us before hitting the wall of dust. Luckily the second runnings of those stages got the extra dust minute added, and we made big time.
In Kenton Service, discussed the notes with Pete Lahm, as he wants the mileage where ACP went off (FarPoint stage #5, 6.51 just after L4 R4+>3+) to see if he needs to change the insrtuction(s) in the notes - he also wants the mileage where we spun, but I was busy then and did not write it down...
We went fast on Herman and Menge Creek, but Menge Creek gave us some moments as the car wanted to swing side to side on the weird bumps - not a Mustang road...
We ended up winning the regional as Henry and Cindy had a flat...
Eat and Sleep...
I finally finish my route and notes marking, then we all drive to Calumet for Parc Expose
Gratiot Lake started out interesting, as it is a fast stage, but new bumps had us doing the full sideways wiggle at high speed causing me to giggle...
Delaware Mine was very fast, but we encountered some new jumps I don't remember before, so we got new air where we never had air before, and we had an interesting sideways slide at 80-90mph heading toward the bank - yo! We beat Shepherd by .1 of a second, hit Steve Gingras in the head with a rock, and left burnout marks on the delta...
Did Burma, did Service, put on pavement tires, skipped the fuel depot.
Brockway - Mark did his line-lock trick and we did burn-out smoke all the way up the hill. We got more air then we ever have done before - fun!
Did Service, skipped fuel depot again; then did the second Brockway where we left more calmly and had a good run until we started getting a fuel-flow issue; we slowed by 5 seconds.
Service - replaced fuel filter, but needed fuel in the tank to test, Mark got permission from J.B. Niday to put some fuel in (with full fire extinquishers nearby) - car started and ran fine. Did fuel depot this time.
Did Delaware #2 (delayed due to Piotr's roll-over), where we did a spin in the delta at EXACTLY the same place as last year - crap! Made me laugh for the rest of the stage, and I lost my place in the notes...
Ran the last two stages but still had fuel flow problems so we limped 'er in despite almost no pressure.
Ended up second in the regional (Henry the K had no flat that time); first in G5. Was second in Max Attack after Doug and Karen... Got champagne in my eye (whine whine)...
Went to party, checked scores (all good), smiled for the camera...
Had way too many Hurricanes and 1812's at the library afterwards, and many lies were told...
Below are the excellent photos from Lorne Trezise