On Sunday, March 14, 2010 NNJR- PCA held its yearly Rally School at the Watchung Exempt Fireman’s Hall in Watchung, NJ. This is the first event of the year on the Rally schedule. The day started rainy, wet and flooded. Weather is always a concern to the program chair as this can tend to hold down attendance. A second concern was the condition of the roads on the practice rally route. Many local roads in the area were closed do to the heavy rains on Saturday causing flooding. This turned out not to be a problem for us as Rally Chair Gary Koupf ran the route prior to the start of the event and reported back all of the roads on the route were open and passable.
It was our intension to be at the Watchung Exempt Fireman’s Hall at the 11:00 AM registration time, however the aforementioned conditions caused us to be much later than anticipated. We twice had to make detours due to flooded roads. When we finally arrived Gary had not yet started the school to allow for late arrivals. This gave us time to have something to eat and do a little socializing. As many in attendance were first time rally participants, we got to meet some members for the first time. We had a great time talking to them, as well as with some more familiar faces.
Next on the agenda was the rally school class held by Gary with assistance from club Rally Meister Peter Schnieder. Gary went over the basics of rallying. He spoke on topics such as rally types, rules of the road, classes, awards, scoring, types of check points and how to follow route instructions. Lastly he did a review of the Terms used in NNJR Rally instructions and how to interpret them. Next up was Peter. He spoke on how to mark your route instructions to aid with staying on time and on route. He recommended the use of three different colored marker pens. One color each to mark Free Zones, changes of speeds (CAS’s) and lastly route instructions which are vey close together. He also spoke on the the various traps and tricks rally writers use, including one of Peters favorites, listing the numbered route instructions out of order.
Now it was time to run the practice Rally. The weather cooperated at last as the sun finally peeked out from the clouds. Eight teams participated. One experienced, two half experienced and half rookie and five all rookie. As we exited the building we immediately noticed two cars were lined up at the wrong exit to the parking lot. We ran over and quickly got them back on track. Unfortunately car number one had already left from the wrong exit before we got to the lot. They did manage to find their way back and in the process finished dead last. The Rally was short and relatively easy by regular NNJR-PCA standards to give the rookies a good feel for rallying without overly complicating the route instructions. The official end of the rally and only check point was at the entrance to Bell Labs, manned by Peter.
At the end of the timed portion of the rally the route instructions directed us back to the Firemen’s Exempt. All teams arrived back in time to for lunch served by Gary. As we enjoyed our lunch Dennis Thoveson using the data supplied by Peter did the scoring. First Place was taken by the team of Rob Whattan and Michael Spiegel with 7 points (4.2 seconds off a perfect score), this despite as noted by Gary having passed the only checkpoint twice ( only the first passing counts). Second place went to the team of Maty Levy and Tom Murray. Third place as also noted by Gary went to the only wholly experienced team of Murray and Akemi Kane. The remaining five positions in order were Michael and Vicki Simpson, Jeff Gornstein and Ken Ernst, Tim and Sue McSwain, Stan Hays & Kerry Barrett and dead last but finished the team of Carol Fox and Jenn Kroll.In an in prompt survey of the new participants all stated we would see them at future rallies.
High Point Insurance, this years Rally Program sponsor, was also in attendance, represented by Jennifer Kelley. Jennifer held a raffle, the prize being one we all could use, a gift card for the purchase of Exxon Mobil gas. Murray Kane was the big winner. On behalf of the entire membership of NNJR-PCA we would like to thank High Point Insurance for there sponsorship of this years Rally Program. Thanks also to Gary Koupf, Peter Schneider and Dennis and Marlys Thoveson for putting the event together and ensuring it ran smoothly.
If you are interested in trying rally, but could not make this event come out to our first official rally at the DRIVE-BI-EVENT, Sunday, May 2, 2010 at Schooley’s Mountain Park in Long Valley, NJ. This event is geared toward newer rally teams and will be one of the easier rallies of the year as they get more difficult as the season progresses. A short rally school will be held before each event. The first judged Concours of the year will be held prior to the rally. You can participate in either one or both events. So wash the Porsche and come join us for both.
If you don’t have a partner, but want to try rally contact Gary Koupf , rally @nnjr-pca.com and he will do his best to find you one.