1997 Sno*Fall Rally

December 6, 1997
story by Tim Winker
Photos by Randy Jokela
Irwin/Schmidt slither into a control Only a week before the 1997 Sno*Fall, it looked like the name might have to be changed to "Clear and Dry". But the weather cooperated and a few inches of snow was enough to keep the roads interesting for the five teams that chose to compete. There was a bit of ice in some areas, and everybody managed to stay on the road, but that doesn’t mean there was not drama.

Rallymaster Randy Jokela's course headed north out of Cloquet, took a break in Cotton, wound around that area for awhile then headed back toward Cloquet.

By leg 4, two teams - Tifft/Starr and 1996 Sno*Fall winners Irwin/Schmidt - were tied at 13 points apiece, with Winker/Sargent only three points behind at 16. The other teams - Cich/McConnell and Moorman/Johnson - were both well back at 105 and 121 respectively. A max (60 points) on leg 5 dropped Irwin/Schmidt to a solid 3rd, while Winker/Sargent took a two point lead when Tifft/Starr picked up 5 points going into the midpoint break at Cotton.

Winker/Sargent Saab, before the deer incident. The drama began just after control 6. The Winker/Sargent Saab was first on the road. A couple of miles past the control, as the car crested a small rise, Winker yelled, "Deer!!" and slowed. The solitary deer ran off to the left, but Winker, who has lived in deer country long enough to know that where there is one deer there are likely to be more, looked to the right just in time to see a small buck run into the right front of the car. Damage to the car was minimal, with only a couple of broken lenses and no dented sheet metal. The deer, however, suffered a broken leg and apparently a broken neck. Other teams were flagged down, then sent on, while a passing motorist was able to arrange for the deer’s demise and disposal. Over 40 minutes down, the Saab team was able to make up about 10 minutes over the next 24 miles, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 60 point max. Fortunately, control crews waited for the late arrivals and they were allowed to continue in the rally.

Eventual winners Bill Tifft and Gary Starr. Tifft and Starr continued with their low scores to take the win with 39 points. Winker and Sargent also recovered enough to stay ahead of Irwin and Schmidt for the Class C victory and second overall. Class B went to the only car entered, Moorman and Johnson.

1997 ASCC Sno*Fall - Official Results

Place  Driver / Navigator           Class     Car             Total
1.     Bill Tifft/Gary Starr            A     Honda CRX          39
2.     Tim Winker/Diane Sargent         C     Saab 900T          94
3.     Steve Irwin/Phil Schmidt         C     Subaru Impreza    110
4.     Paul Moorman/Brian Johnson       B     Audi Quattro      159
5.     Ken Cich/Mike McConnell          C     Toyota 4Runner    212
Rallymaster - Randy Jokela
Workers - Mark Strohm, Jay Talarico, Jon Anderson, Bill Taylor

ASCC Winter Rally Series 1997-1998

'98 Minnesota Winter Rallye
'98 Northwoods Drift
'98 Keweenaw Winter Rally
'98 ASCC Winter Rally Series - Final Standings

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