Prepare to hear a tale of hardship, treachery, and woe, whereby one arrowhead, one small, misplaced arrowhead on a tulip diagram caused chaos and consternation, the like that usually ends with an angry lynch mob doing unspeakable things to a poor sap of a rallymaster.
And then there were Eight...
|J.B. Niday (right) & Al Kintigh get comfy in J.B.'s soon-to-be-ornery Fiesta.|
Things went awry on the odometer check. An incorrect Tulip Diagram on the second page of the instructions had the rallyists go straight at an intersection instead of turning left. Gary Starr and Bill Tifft, who had set out first, followed the instructions as best they could, but being on unfamiliar roads, by the time they figured out where the end of the odo check was, they were hopelessly behind schedule and had to give up.
All the other rallyists were bunched up enough to pull over for a meeting of minds. Having a few locals in the group proved helpful, and they were all back on course, albeit several minutes down. Needless to say, the first Leg was thrown.
From here on, it's smooth-- What the?!
|Brenda Corneliusen pours over the route book and gets used to co-driving in a Saab prior to the start.|
Another meeting of minds was convened. A map was brought out, and the competitors were forced to be very clever and find an alternate route. Which they did.
I was unable to act as Car Zero and run the first Legs of the Rally because I had to man that hard-to-find Control near Brimson. Control Three. The one just after the closed road. I was going to hear about this.
|Eventual winners Irwin and Schmidt leave a control.|
Control Four was in Floodwood, just before the first break. It was decided to regroup after the break and send the cars out in order, starting at 5:30 -- 40 minutes after they should have left.
Two-Thirds to Go...
|New Maximum Density Racing Team logo. S.G.R. stands for Scuderia Grosso Ragazzo (Stable of Fat Boys).|
Immediately out of Floodwood the rallyists were confronted with the Hedbom Forest Road, a 15 mile, single lane Slip-N-Slide with eight foot dropoffs on either side and some tight, unexpected curves thrown in at random. Everyone made it.
The rally hit its northwestern terminus at Wawina, one of those places that's just a word on the map. Interesting roads, though. From there, it was back towards Floodwood and break number two. This was shortened to ten minutes to try to make up for lost time.
After the break, it was Paupores, Brimson again, Industrial Township, Hermantown, and back to Duluth from the northwest, ending very near where it should have started if things had gone smoothly oh-so long ago.
Overall winners and first in Class A were - who else - Steve Irwin and Phil Schmidt in the familiar white Impreza. These guys own the Winter Rally Series, I think. Class B honors went to Tim Winker and new co-driver Brenda Corneliusen in Tim's PRO Rally Saab 99. The never-say-die lokel yokel team of Bill Taylor and Mike McConnell captured Class C with flying colors.
Apologies and Disclaimers.
|RM Jon Anderson looks sufficiently weary after the rally. (That's the back of Tim Winker's head, if you must know.)|
That being said, thanks to everyone for showing up. Thanks to the workers, Mssrs. Jokela, Enberg, Strohm, and the Kintighs for staying out a little later than I had planned; thanks to Mark Glad and the staff at C.W.Chips restaurant for all their hospitality, and thank God it's over!
OA Cls Driver / Navigator Car Total 1 A-1 Steve Irwin / Phil Schmidt Subaru Impreza 10 2 B-1 Tim Winker / Brenda Corneliusen Saab 99 63 3 B-2 Matthew Jachimstal / James Bialas Ford Ranger 82 4 C-1 Bill Taylor / Mike McConnell VW Fox Wgn 108 5 B-3 Mark Utecht / Diane Sargent Dodge Omni GLH 113 6 B-4 J.B. Niday / Al Kintigh Ford Fiesta 116 7 B-5 Paul Moorman / John Niemi Audi Quattro 273 8 C-2 Danny Page / Scott Hughes VW Jetta 423 9 A Gary Starr / Bill Tifft Honda CRX DNF Rallymaster Jon Anderson Workers Mark Strohm, Alex and Nick Kintigh, Randy Jokela, Brad Enberg Distance 230 miles