Pre-event . Getting there.
Sunday, May 21st:
still trying to get there.
Monday, May 22nd:
A start... & a finish?
Tuesday, May 23rd:
Back in the saddle again!
Wednesday, May 24th:
Rain, rain, go away...
Thursday, May 25th:
Friday, May 26th:
Flotsam that I forgot.
Rich & Jean Taylor's
Vintage Rallies website. Color
Finish: Two Minutes, or not two minutes, that is the question.
We get up (still way too early for my Pacific time body clock)
have breakfast, and I head out to get the car ready and into the
queue for the start. Last night, after we arrived at the hotel
the skies cleared and we were treated to a three-star view of
Mount Washington. Today the skies are again growing cloudy, but
since it is clear above us and I am an optimist, I take the top
down. We are going to be leading a friend of my folks named Norm,
in a red ferrari, since he's running without a navigator (Leon
Mandel had to leave early to go cover the Indy 500... you know,
that other car event this week.)
The cars are lining up in the front of the hotel for a start under
the entrance portico. Norm and I are leaving the parking lot when
a woman in a huge pickup truck nearly mows me down. I brake so
hard and so fast that it kills the engine. She doesn't even slow
down! I don't think she even saw me.
Unfortunately I experienced some sort of memory error in my digital
camera around 2pm and lost all the pictures from the first three legs of the day. Sorry. I had some good
ones too, including Rich Taylor's famous flag waving start ritual...
that he saved for the last day of this years rally.
I drive the first leg. We fly along making real good time, only
occasionally getting stuck behind some slow moving car. During
one such passing queue we lose our tail. Norm picked up another
rabbit though. =)
About halfway through the first leg we enter Vermont and it starts
to rain. A lot. And our top is still down. Dad grumbles about
it and berates me for taking it down. I have to wear my (unfortunately
very dark) sunglasses to keep my eyes from being pelted by rain
drops. I have mt leather gloves on and have to use them to wipe
my glasses constantly. I make Dad take a picture of me... I'm
not wearing a jacket, I'm pretty wet, and I'm wearing rain-splattered
glasses... too bad that picture fell into the bitbucket!
We arrive at the checkpoint with enough time to raise the roof,
and luckily hit the finish with another ZERO. =)
We immediately check out for the next leg and go. Today has four
timed segments. Until now there have only been two a day. This
is a change from years past. I think all the wives that are dragged
along bitched so much to Rich and Jean about not having time to
stop & shop at antique shops (and other useless activities) that
they cut out about half of the timed segments. This plus the fact
that half of the speed events were canceled this year due to the
weather... made for a way too easy rally. This left today as our
only challenging day. We don't switch drivers, just turn and burn.
Dad will drive the two legs after lunch. We cook along on a range
of roads, we overtake several of the folks ahead of us, and make
great time. As we near the middle of the segment the sun comes
out and the roads dry out. We zero this stage too. Dad drives
the transit to Grafton for lunch. We stop for gas, check and top
off the oil along the way. At lunch we learn that the Von Gal's
Corvette had a little fender bender with the Ferrari GTB4 at a
Dad drives the leg after lunch, and as we wound up over a notch
the road was drying in the sun and throwing up a tremendous amount
of surreal steam.
I took a bunch of great photos... but... they're gone. Oh well.
I also got some great shots of some of the cars that we had not
seen much of along the way, like that cool Sunbeam Tiger driven
by Stephen Hansen & Richard Reina .... but they're gone too. We
also got stuck behind a truck for what seemed like miles and miles...
and of course, this being Vermont the driver had no concept of
pulling over and allowing the huge line of cars stuck behind him
to pass. No that would be far too courteous! Dad is totally freaked
that we're going to be late because of this delay. He drives like
a man being chased by a monster. We arrive at the checkpoint fine,
switch drivers (I call myself the 9th inning reliever) and collect
another zero. Thankfully, our streak continues.
We take a break and I buy some stuff for home, some Vermont cheese
for Sue and some maple candy for the boys. The sun is now out
any everyone is giving us grief for having the top up. Dad finally
relents under the peer pressure and agrees to drop the lid. We
get our checkout time and Dad takes the wheel for the final timed
segment into Massachusetts. By now we are completely in the groove.
We stop making the little mistakes that cost you so much. We could
have carried on like this for a few more days. Heh, I guess after
running the Cannonball these 1000mile rallies are cake. =)
Left: We're in the zone now.
The only thing that went wrong today (so far) was the camera.
I lost some great pictures. Oh well.
We encounter Toby Anderson at the side of the road looking at
his dead Porsche Speedster. He cooked it while pushing real hard
in a group of older Posches. Soon we catch up to that group of
Porsches that are driving real hard. We are only a few miles from
the finish and it is like the horses can smell the barn. We finally
slow it down and back off when a lunatic motorcylist seems to
be offended by our presence and insists on passing this Jag and
two Porsches going way too fast. He makes two stupid blind passes.
Had anything been coming the other way it would have been gruesome.
He, his rider (most likely screaming at him to slow down!) and
the porsches disappear ahead.
Left: We just passed the Sunbeam Tiger, now the biker passes us
both at about 120mph.
We amble along the last few miles, and then finally wind our way
up the long driveway of the Cranwell resort, pull over and join
the finish queue.
All we have left to do is cross the final checkpoint and relax.
Below: The finish queue at the last checkpoint.
We have the time to walk around and chat with the folks that are
there. David Fischer (right) in his Porsche is there, with his
friend Fred Brubaker:
We also chat for a while with Clark Nicholls (left) and Frank
The Kretchmers and the Nick and Kathleen Blackman pull up behind
And Stephen Hansen & Richard Reina in the Sunbeam Tiger roll up
just in time to make the checkpoint:
Eventually the queue forms up correctly as all the cars arrive
and assume their order. We have calculated our check-in time to
4:22pm. (you can see the math in the route book above. Dad & I
are not mathematical geniuses, and this is not a serious rally
that requires serious math The TSD (Time, Speed, Distance) legs
are easy in that you are provided all the answers, all you have
to do is follow the directions, drive them, then drive a short
distance between two cones. Not tough. This is a fun event, but
since we *are* keeping score, everyone tries their best to get
as little penalty time as possible. No huge prizes await the overall
winner, but everyone wants to be that overall winner. Anyway we
know our time is right and we are queued properly behind the car
that checked out one minute before us, and in front of the one
that checked out one minute behind. I'm behind the wheel and Dad
is holding the watch for the countdown. Four twenty one arrives
and we are waiting at the final of the final segment of the 1000
mile event. We decide that it is a 12 second or so run, and when
4:48 comes I start the roll. I do the slow roll towards the finish
and nail it right on zero for the final time. I stop the car about
20 yards past the finish and wait for the scorer to collect our
card. That is a perfect run of zeros, on nine segments since our
one second on the very first leg. We are quite proud of ourselves
and head off to check in at the hotel.
I attempt a couple of times to dial in to check my email but get
nothing but busy signals, so I give up on uploading anything tonight.
(I'm writing this on the plane somewhere over Montana... I can
copy it to my webserver when I get into the office later today.
No more messing with modems. =)
I put all the week's pictures into a single folder on the drive
and set it to slide show, then walk up to the hotel bar for a
beer before dinner. I set up my powerbook on a table and let the
pictures cycle along. It takes a few minutes before anyone notices,
but once they do a small crowd gathers to watch for images of
themselves, or more importantly their cars.
Dinnertime comes and we all head for the Ballroom. We enjoy a
nice meal with some lively conversation. Mom & Dad are there with
George and Donna Von Gal, Nick and Kathleen Blackman. I'm sitting
between Norm Koglin and the Kretchmers. Keith and Adine will be
moving out to Washington next year, after their house on the Olympic
Peninsula is completed. I give them my phone number and address
and tell them to look me up if they are in the area anytime soon.
Eventually the dinner finishes and over dessert Rich Taylor begins
the awards 'ceremony.' It is far more organized than last years,
which seemed chaotic in comparison. They essentially read everyone's
score from bottom to top, with something to say about the driver,
the car, or the navigator along the way. They cover the speed
events first, and to our huge surprise we end up in the top ten!
Of course there were only two speed events held due to weather,
but we're pleasantly surprised to have done so well. Especially
since the events where we do our best, the hill climb and the
drag race did not happen. We receive a book about Mercedes racing
history for our efforts. I have the one for last year so I give
it to Dad. I was hoping for a big jug of Maple Syrup like in years
past. =) In fact I didn't buy any the day before in anticipation
of getting some for winning our class in the speed events (there
were four cars in our class, the Tiger and two old Corvette Stingrays.
I knew we'd "beaten" them (HINT: The Corvettes skipped the speed events!), but had no idea we'd be in the top ten overall.) Oh well.
As Rich read along the results and handed out rocks (the 'trophy's'
are chunks of Vermont granite from the Rock of Ages Quarry.) we
were completely caught by surprise when he announced our names
with a score of 121 seconds. What?! We both announce that we had a score of ONE. Rich says "Yes I
was surprised to see your names (we had always finished with less
than 10 seconds) with that kind of a score too, so take it up
with Iain. But good luck changing it!" Meaning Iain Tugwell, the
infamously inflexible rallymaster. Dad looks furious and storms
toward the back of the room to have a chat with Ian. Rich carried
on with the ceremonies while Dad and I inquired as to why we suddenly
accumulated so much penalty time.
I swear Dad was going to blow a gasket and keel over dead right
there on the spot. I haven't seen him this ticked off in a *long*
time. He finally says that Iain had better get the score cards
and show him the proof of this two minute penalty and storms off.
I tell Iain that I am positive that we finished in order and at
the right time. So he goes off to retrieve the score sheets.
I head back to the table and Dad and I talk for a bit. He's no
longer looking like he's about to have a heart attack but he is
still really angry. We try and think of some way that we could
have made a two minute error. Knowing the limits of my mathematical
abilities I think there could have been an error, but I have a
good visual memory too, and I distinctly recall the cars that
checked out ahead and behind us and *know* that we finished in
the correct order, so if we have a two minute error, then everyone
else must have one too.
Wayne Brooks, they rally staffer that actually wrote up our final
score card comes over with the rallymaster's sheet and our scorecard.
Sure enough there is a two minute discrepancy between the two.
He made an error on our scorecard and wrote the wrong time. The
master sheet was correct, but the final results were tabulated
from the scorecards. We are vindicated! He apologizes, but that
is not enough for Dad. Dad insists that Rich announce the error
to the group so that everyone knows we were right. Sure enough,
the infamously inflexible Iain Tugwell stands up in front of the
crowd, takes the microphone from Rich Taylor and announces that
we had indeed accumulated only one second of penalty time over
the course of the 1000 miles. I rise to accept yet another rock,
and Dad is satisfied that justice has been served.
Did I mention that Dad was a lawyer before he retired?
A few special awards were then handed out, and then the charity
The ceremonies over we all say our goodbyes and amble off to our
rooms. I have to catch a 6:45am flight in Albany, so I head back
to my room and pack. In my still jet lagged state, I remain awake
until at least 12:30am or so.
Or to the Next day: Friday, going home.