2003 Halloween Rally - Rallymasters Letter

Wow - This rally separated the experts from the experts and we discovered there are some new experts. Unfortunately, it probably scared some novices too. Even other rally masters had trouble but our new ones (or so we hope) won this rally. (Warning: Be very afraid of the Bunny Run.) We heard a lot of complaints before the rally that they needed to be more challenging. Hope this one met that criteria.

Yes - 6 cars finished the rally (almost 7, one car gave up one direction from the end). Two cars were fairly close to on time and got almost all the signs (1st and 2nd place winners). One car pulled into the final check point going the wrong way. (BTW the mid-point and final check point were at the same spot - but in opposite directions. Frank enjoyed staffing the checkpoint. Dave brought us coffee, salad and hot wings. We had comfy chairs and the easy up tent if it started to rain. We could see cars coming from a quarter mile away. The local police visited us only once but they were a little late for the 1st check point, we never saw them come to the finish.

Well for the numbers: 22 cars started the rally, 15 made it to the mid-point check and 6 finished the rally in one way, shape or form.

The allotted mid-point time was 1:07:17 and the 2nd half was 1:22:56 long. We had two cars ace the first half, cars #1 and #6, the Jeep Wrangler and the Red Audi. In addition, a half dozen or so finished the first half within 20 minutes of the scheduled time. Car #7, the Subaru WRX, aced the second half. There were 49 on course signs and 10 off-course signs of which only 5 were recorded by rallyists. A sixth off-course sign was spotted but not recorded. It had the initials of the person who spotted it when they were temporarily off-course, that was funny. BTW - many of the signs have initials of club members on them.

We had a number of people scream bloody murder (we can't print what they actually said) that we were way off mileage in the first mile. A few quantified it - 0.2 of a mile which is exactly how much you'd be off if you counted that forced right (dead end).

BTW - mileage is only a helper. Well, guess what - many of you counted that forced right as the 2nd direction. A number of people did not like formatting of direction #3: "next three lefts at stop". We suspect most of these were the same people who counted that forced right because you were off course. This direction was left at stop, left at stop, left at stop if broken down. We used this same direction later with no complaints, again confirming that it was probably the forced right that was the problem not the directions. Anyway, at least 15 of you figured it out and made it to the first check point.

The helper #5A was in the wrong spot and it helped few. We're sorry about that, but most folks figured out that the helper "right at Y (MBR)" was after the "LOCAL" sign as you came around the corner. There was only 0.3 mile between the directions so it didn't appear to cost anybody any real time figuring it out.

The first 10 miles were close to dead on (Yes, your odometer could have rolled over a tenth) in 3 different cars and a mapping program.

The next direction (#26) that really stumped people was the left - (helper: not bear left). At that intersection the main road curved a bit to the right, there was a near 90 degree. Left, a U-turn around the island and a Bear left. With so many choices, we did not want to lose anyone here. When we had folks cold run it at night, they had no trouble.

The doubly sad part is that we picked this hint up from one of the other expert rally masters who got totally stumped at this one and gave up in disgust.

The next stumper was just out of the mid-point check: the Left after "STOP", direction #37. Gotta remember " " means that it is part of a sign NOT necessarily a red stop sign. All those that made a left at the red stop sign a bit further up the road never found "Barry's". There were two Barry's signs that made it pretty easy for those who didn't fall for this one.

The next big stumper came near the end of the 2nd half: direction #54 "right at T", in the Generals we specially stated "no through traffic" was a new exclusion. If you went straight you were violating traffic laws which we always say supersedes all the general directions in a rally anyway. If you got that far, you had to have excluded a few similar "dead end" signs in counting turns and should have known better!!!! If you went straight here (we were tempted to put up an off-course check point but had to suffice with an off-course sign GK and then XXX if you really went to far - over 3.5 miles). We gave you the helper that 3 miles was the max you should go before turning back. We stressed this many, many times at the drivers meeting, yet many of you insisted on going beyond this to make that fatal "right at T".

All the stuff we thought would be tricky didn't faze the folks who finished, at least not for long. No one commented on the "next 3 rights", which looped you around to where you just came from, that was just for giggles.

A final helper: If a road has a "street sign" of any size, shape or color, it is a legit turn and should be counted that way. Roads into apartments/housing developments, parking lots, etc. (with street signs) are sometimes used as rally roads, don't assume they don't exist. Only when roads say private, dead end, one way (against you), no thru traffic, etc. would they not count or be used as a turn.

A final word to all of you who are still grumbling "I could have written a better rally with my right hand tied behind my back ....". Please, write a rally. There are a number of us who gladly will help.

Pat Slaven and David Trezza