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ROAD RALLY eNews — August 2016 Edition
Your Road Rally Roundup of News, Views, and How-Tos
Northern New Jersey Region Renews RR Program

In 2016, NNJR has decided to step-up it’s road rally program in association with the Motorsports Club of North Jersey. As you may know, over the past 26 years NNJR has been hosting the longest running Charity event with the Annual US Marines Corps Toys for Tots Gimmick/GTA Road Rally. In addition, they have hosted a dozen or so Pine Barrens Express events, which was an evening TSD-rally event in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, great sand roads with mileage to each instructions and closed controls. A zero hero event, if you understand tire slippage in ‘sugar’ sand or water holes.

This year NNJR is hosting five events, all of them Gimmick/GTA road rallies. These events are based on the same principle as the Toys for Tot Rally. 25 points for each incorrect answer to a question and 100 points for each mile over or under the official rally route. The questions are mostly used to determine your knowledge of the General Instruction or to provide additional penalty points for off-course loops.

The On the Road Again Road Rally, which was held of July 24th, started out with a standard Odometer leg, followed by six legs containing five route following traps. The traps included a ‘Straight as Possible’, ‘Onto’, hard-to-see signs and being able understand the difference between a quoted road sign and the actual road itself (Turn Right after “AIRPORT ROAD”).

Using an expanded mailing list (a combination of three local clubs and the SCCA mailing list of three regions) and Facebook ads, there was 28 teams participating in the event. Fifteen Novice teams of which twelve claimed to be first timers to the sport, which provided them with a $10 discount to the $30 entry fee.

The last trap of the rallye was an easy to see “STOP” sign, but you needed to know that since it was a quoted sign and not a STOP intersection, it could be located anywhere along the route, and it happened to be in a side yard of a house along the Delaware River.  Not a single Expert or Intermediate team saw it, makes you wonder.

Our next three events are Charity Rallies on September 10th, October 9th and December 4th. 

Peter Schneider, Rallymaster
All photos are courtesy of the Rallymaster from the On the Road Again Road Rally. Standings can be found here
CHECKPOINT CHAT with Rich Bireta - July 2016
A Solution to a Long-Standing Problem 

In late June I tried an experiment with the Road Rally Board. In our monthly conference calls, it is almost always a struggle to get through all the items on our agenda. Even if we succeed in doing so, I am too usually mentally exhausted after 90 or 105 minutes of keeping us on track to be able to put on my thinking cap and think in long-range, strategic terms.

So in June I did something different.

I scheduled a "members-only" RRB meeting three weeks after the monthly call, but only invited current members of the RRB. There was no Secretary, no BOD Liaisons, no NEC or RDC Committee Chairs, no SCCA Staff, no agenda — and no minutes taken.

We had a wide-ranging discussion that lasted two and a half hours, and we discussed many issues, including several that have defied an easy solution. In the course of our discussions, a light bulb came on.

One issue we discussed was how to get entrants who have attended their first rally to return and become regular contestants. In the Regions that have done a successful job at event promotion and had a field of 20, 30 or even 40 cars, the challenge is to turn those first-timers into regulars.

As stated by another RRB member on our call, one way to get these new entries to return is to express an attitude of gratitude to the new people you see at an event. Make an unsolicited offer to answer questions. Help them score themselves after the event. Answer their questions after the event. Graciously and humbly explain their mistakes. Do as one National competitor did on my event and teach an impromptu rally school at the start. As an organizer, reach out and thank the newcomers for coming and express a personal invitation to your next event.

You as an organizer may already be doing this, but perhaps you, like me, are overwhelmed on rally day. I encourage you all to remember that enthusiasm when we attended our first rally events. What was it that brought us back for the second, and ultimately finds many of us here three to fifty-five years later? Perhaps reminding ourselves of that early excitement, encouragement and enthusiasm is the best way to get the new entrants back too. Some things don't change – we all want to feel wanted, and our participation is appreciated.

As always, I welcome your questions or comments to rbireta@gmail.com.

Rich Bireta, RRB Chairman

The Passing of a Rallymaster
Theodore "Ted" Goddard
We are saddened to report that Ted passed away on July 22nd, shortly after his 80th birthday. An SCCA Member since April 30, 1957, you can be sure Ted worked almost every position within his Regions programs. Scott Beliveau had sent me scans for Pit Talk, the NER  newsletter, and we share them as a tribute-through-time of his activities. We have also included a link to his obituary on the SCCA website. Godspeed  Ted...                                               

Scans of a Life Through Pit Talk

USRRC is Still a Go!

Come join New England Region of SCCA as it celebrates 50 years of Ted Goddard and Covered Bridges and the roads less traveled. Covered Bridge 50 weekend will be headquartered at Mount Snow Resort, West Dover, VT on the weekend of November 4-6, 2016.   

RReNews spoke with Scott Beliveau last week, and he hopes to have the Registration up within the next few weeks. A race photo in RReNews? Ted on left on a race day in New England; we liked it as an "era" photo from his life's work in motorsports!

Southland Targa - Georgia Mountains Road Rally

As you may have heard, the SCCA National Experiential Department has developed a new program – SCCA Targa.

The first of these events, Targa Southland, will be a four day event that will take place August 11-14. This event will take place in the Southeast, starting at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a Welcome Party/Check-in Thursday evening before starting bright and early Friday morning for an Autocross at zMAX Dragway. After the Autocross, participants will head over to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack before packing up and heading to Dawsonville, Georgia that evening.

On Saturday morning there is a Time Trial at Atlanta Motorsports Park, followed by a Road Rally through the mountains of northern Georgia (home of pig races/racing ziplines and dueling banjos) before a Cook-Out/Car Show in Chattanooga followed by an early Sunday morning Autocross at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky, then a TrackCross at the same venue.  A trophy presentation will conclude the event.

That comes to six events spread across four states and four days with over 550 miles between venues.

The Rally will be a combination of a simple Time Speed Distance (TSD) rally using Monte Carlo controls and a Question and Answer Gimmick/GTA rally. The route instructions will list the mileage to each timing control and the official key time for car zero. All the contestants have to do is get to the controls ‘on time’.  The TSD portion of the event only takes about 14 minutes, before the teams have to start focusing on a series of multiple choice questions which are listed in the route instructions for which the answers to the questions can be found along the rally route. The Rallymasters, Bruce Gezon and Peter Schneider, have designed twenty-one questions to be an equal mix of tricky (based on the definitions in the General Instruction), Hard to See (to reward the observant) and easy questions (to make sure everyone gets some correct).

The event was put together over three days (July 26-28), with the majority of the first day exploring the roads and back-tracking the route to eliminate any unpaved or otherwise unsuitable roads for the event.  Over the next 48 hours, they ran the event four times.  After each of the five runs they updated the route and printed fresh set of Instructions using a portable printer and a laptop.

The Generals and Route Instructions were forwarded to Mark Johnson in Atlanta who as the Safety Steward, and he pre-checked the rally on Sunday, July 31 and suppled input which the Rallymasters acted upon.

So if you are reading this and live in the Atlanta/Chattanooga area and want to be part of the fun, contact Peter Schneider via email and help work one of the three controls during the afternoon of August 13th.

Registration and Overview

Click the photo of Randy Pobst, above, to read his thoughts on the Southland Targa. When asked, "What aspect of Targa is the do-it-all most excited for?" he responded: “There’s a rally element and neither Jason nor I know anything about that,” Pobst said. “We’ll just try to wing it and see what happens there. It’s going to be an adventure and a challenge. It’s going to be difficult because we’re doing it in little car with minimal creature comforts.”

In Your Words, Henderson Archive, and a Request!

With several thousand SCCA members taking part in numerous events in any given week, there could literally be thousands of great stories that come out of Club activities. So if you have a good tale to tell, why not share it with everyone at SCCA.com! Simply type up a short story describing your experience and email it to media@scca.com

Submissions don’t even have to be about competition.  If something funny happened on the way to or from an event, write it up! Articles don’t have to be long or Shakespearean in quality, and we’ll clean up spalling, and punktuasions on are end.

Be sure to also include a relevant photo, and we’ll try to get it all up at the SCCA homepage!

From RReNews — We received a request from John Burchardt, our new Membership Communications Manager, with these words, "I’m trying to keep a balance in representing all aspects of the SCCA. Unfortunately I don’t really have anything current about Road Rally on the SCCA website. Would you mind sharing this idea with others? Even if someone doesn’t feel like they can write well enough, our writer Jim can work with them. He can turn sentences into paragraphs! It would be great if some Road Rally stuff made it through so I could use it for newsletters!"

We are delighted to have the opportunity to share this news with the Road Rally Community, and do hope many of you send in your contributions to this effort. We can't grouse we don't have coverage — if we don't supply the copy! RReNews

Cheryl Lynn Sent In her first Road Rally "In Your Words" Submission August 1st

With the request from Mark Henderson to the Road Rally Community to learn the names of teammates to his father back in the day, I took time to look at some of the archive work being done by Randy Graves and Brian McMahon.

Gene's words, beginning shortly into the clip — I could have said (and have) many times during my 28-year SCCA Membership. So, with the request to have some Road Rally submisisons for the new In Your Words Series, I sent the link to the video and these words:

I would like to submit this video and my copy to go along with it. I had written this some time ago, “Direct from Brock Yates, Sports Illustrated 1973, 'Last year a similar vehicle, driven by a jocular Dearborn policeman named Gene Henderson, appeared on the POR for the first time and won easily—much to the noisy dismay of the sports-car purists. They maintained the rally was intended for conventional automobiles, not burly bog-jumpers like the Jeep, and predicted the rally would turn into a northwoods version of the Baja 1000 off-road race if the four-wheel-drive cars were allowed. But the Jeeps were properly qualified under the international rules that govern the POR. In fact, while no Jeeps have been successful in other world championship rallies, they bring unique strength to the POR, where their mountain-goat traction in the mud and sand often sets the speed and nimbleness of the competition.’"

Cheryl Babbe wrote, “This is the spirit of many SCCA members I have met in my 28-years as a member of SCCA. Many of us have questioned the "why aren’t we doing this," and we see that programs are developed on our ideas, events are started, and traditions continued. We step forward and show that we have a vehicle and can compete—Anytime, anywhere!” Gene has been gone many years now, yet this recently digitized footage has words that I could still use today.

To those reading and posting the #mySCCAlife, I am not sure how fast we are going to have Road Rally submissions coming in. I am putting it in Road Rally eNews in August. Yet, until they come in, I believe this one is worthy!

Safe travels,
Cheryl Lynn
SCCA Member #38
Arctic Alaska Region Founder

PS: Side note. When the Alcan5000 traveled to Alaska in it’s early years, Gene was a good sport and came out with many of the Alcan5000 teams to run the SPAM Pro-Am Road Rally. A little local rally I Rallymastered to pit the Pro’s against our local Amateur’s. Great fun!
Sharing Historical Rally Work Online
Yes, we know RReNews is geared toward TSD, yet often many of those in the early years sought other adventures as well. Randy Graves and Brian McMahon are working to gather this history of rallying early years through scans and a website.

We want to make you aware of their project to build this archive of “Rallye History” from back in the day! Should you recall Gene Henderson, Scott Harvey, Press on Regardless, and Monte Carlo rallying of old — you will enjoy these links! Not heard of those references? You are still going to enjoy these links!

RReNews’ Cheryl Lynn values having motorsports history being gathered, scanned, and documented, lest it ends up in a waste bin by someone who may not know how many would value it. She looks forward to the SCCA Archives getting their due home and the ability to have access to the SCCA Road Rally archives gathered through the years in the near future! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these links and being transported to another era of rallying — in America and Abroad!

Henderson Request for Rally Names
Mark Henderson, son of Gene Henderson, wrote us asking for your help on the project, as well as this request:
My father put together a National Rallye Car Team in 1969 with 5 Ford Mustang Mach 1’s (3-351 Cid’s) and (2-428 with pulsating hood scoops). Their jobs were to win many of the National Rallies at the time in different locals around the country. 

Everyone bought there own cars but competed as a team. My kid-like mind can’t remember all the team members. Since we are now involved with scanning much of my fathers stuff and pics, it would  be great to actually know who the regular Team Members were at most of the events of that year.

Is there anyone associated SCCA National that can help our project determine the names of the teammates, results from National events that ran in 1969? The events, as I know them, were high level trap-style TSD events run around the country. No cages were needed and these were not the PRO barn-burner fast events. They were navigational TSD nightmares as I remember my dad talking about them.

Thank you to RReNews for helping us get the word out about our project and I am hoping that one of you may know the Team Member names, or maybe you were a part of the Team and can share your stories! You may reach me via email.          Mark Henderson
Text RoadRally to 22828
Road Rally eNews Needs YOU!
Please choose to increase awareness of your events via calendaring when you have the date, to writing pre-event and post event articles to invite and entice folks to come rally with you.

Just this week I was asked "don't use that photo as it is not an SCCA event" — RReNews is intended to bring awareness to Road Rally across North America. Yes, I am a part of the SCCA Road Rally Community, yet John F Kennedy's quote, “The rising tide lifts all the boats.” applies to Road Rally as well! More awareness leads to more participation, more enthusiasm, more Rallymasters, and stronger Road Rally programs across America!

We have have Thompson with NEC News, the My First Road Rally column (are YOU writing yours?), Nemeth-Johannes with rally development ideas, Bireta addressing the SCCA Road Rally Community, Rally APP Developers, and support from Emmons with updated SCCA Series Standings, English providing the Planning Calendar and RRB Minutes, and Rowlands' Words from the Wheel.

We very much appreciate Rallymasters and Organizers who submit their information and follow-up with post-event stories! From  independent clubs, SCCA, PCA, BMW, British or other marque club – you are all invited to support Road Rally and bring awareness.

Please, pass along the text-2-join information above at your next Road Rally! It truly takes less than 45-seconds and two texts to complete!

Rallymasters, Organizers and those of you who handle your clubs' webpages or  Facebook  matters —  we can provide you a link to send out in a Facebook post, place on your Website, or via an email directly to your competitiors — help us gain exposure for  RReNews in 2016!
My First Road Rally by Rick Myers

Road Rally – Seat of the pants, or wing and a prayer…

It all started out innocent enough; newly minted Regional Executive feels the need to experience all aspects of the club to have a better understanding of each program. You know, the usual stuff, how events work, what it takes to make it successful, etc. What I didn't expect was to spend a year having a grand adventure, in part due to the nature of the sport and in part to the nature in which we approached it.

Participation in a road rally is simple enough; road-worthy vehicle and a partner that you can communicate with, no questions asked. The second part is tougher than you think; unless you have already passed the spousal tests of canoeing and wallpapering together, I suggest that you might want to look outside your current arrangements in selecting said rally partner! But I digress…

Our weapon of choice was a thrown together '86 Mustang GT, complete with a six-point roll bar. It was quickly discovered that the roll bar provided more entertainment than we ever imagined. The car was either side of 20 years old, clean and in great shape and running order. What could go wrong?

Event One started off easy enough; meet at a restaurant to enter, get instructions and be assigned our starting position. We were equipped with the above weapon, a clipboard, a few pencils and our cell phones. Then someone mentioned the need for a watch…problem solved; cell phone (more on that later). Understand that we had never been to a road rally event; never taken a school and had little expectations of the outcome. But we had a love for motoring, and that was enough.  

Things were looking good until we reached our first checkpoint. We were early; like "there is the car in front of us, aren't we supposed to be a minute behind" early. Fair enough. Room for improvement. On to the next…wait "what is BTZ?" "ETZ is which sign?" "Oh, that must be it.." When are we supposed to leave? I guess now… 

We eventually started to get the hang of it, and now we understood what everyone was doing at the restaurant…they were making a plan. We improved over the next couple checkpoints, and then all of the sudden we had cars behind us and one passed us. How did that happen? We followed the instructions to the "t." Why are they passing us? Much later we realized that our cell phones had switched towers and were off by exactly one minute. Future events included a proper watch for keeping time!

Somewhere after dark, our headlights stopped working…not altogether, but enough that it was becoming unsafe. The solution we conjured up was to have our wives meet us at the first break, a McDonald's not far from where we lived. I would direct wire the headlights to the battery.  About the time my navigator was making the call, we came upon a "t" in the road with significant potholes (it is Michigan after all). We couldn't avoid them (see no lights above) and they upset the car, causing us to leave the road. Being one to understand that we needed to maintain speed to stay on time, I remained in the throttle — narrowly missing the road sign at the "t".  Not a word was said, and the call to our wives was not interrupted. 

The remainder of the event went on, with varying degrees of success and we even scored in the single digits once. After turning in our results, we regaled at the experience and what we had learned, vowing that we were hooked.

The next event we were better equipped; lights fixed, pencil, calculator, watch in hand, and we were certain that we could score much better. And we had a plan. It was working pretty well, scoring just outside of single digits at almost every checkpoint. Until we came across water in the road, from heavy rain…looked like everyone was crossing it as we saw no other way to pass. That is what we must do. It was deep for a '86 Mustang, but we seemed to have made it without incident. Until the next checkpoint…"Hey, the car is overheating…" Our solution was to turn it off when we stopped. Later we found that the water passing had caused the electric fan to shed a few blades and fail. The rest of the event was uneventful; stories were told and we looked forward to the next.

Next up; an all nighter. We need better lighting! On went the two Hella lights to assist. We scored pretty well thru 2/3 of the event. Then came the three stop signs and railroad tracks. We were lost. Somehow we managed to get back on course at some point, but it was too late, the event was a complete disaster. And to add to the suffering, I had tunnel vision for about 48 hours from driving all night with a narrow path of bright lighting.

Well into winter now, we maintained the Mustang as our weapon of choice. It served us well, and we only got stuck once in deep snow when we missed a turn.

Our last event in the Mustang was a frigid evening with temps at or below 0°F. "Hey, it's not very warm in here." "It just needs to warm up."  It didn't. Later we discovered that not only was the thermostat stuck open it was non-existent. Imagine, driving 200+ miles, trying to focus on course instructions and stay on time, all the while absolutely frozen to the bone. We aren't quitters! Gloves, blankets, and changing on and off getting out of the car at checkpoints got us through. We didn't score well, but war stories were told and another great time was had.

It was at that point we decided that maybe our luck would change if we changed vehicles and our positions in said vehicle. 

For our last event, we selected a Ford Ranger and myself as Navigator. At the end of this event, it was determined that; 

  • a. The Ranger was much more comfortable and reliable
  • b. Driving caused much less motion sickness for my friend
  • c. I was better at giving instruction than receiving them. 

We were better equipped as well, having borrowed a rally clock. We scored in the single digits in all but two checkpoints and the event had a couple "1's".

Unfortunately, the season came to a close with that event and life took us in different directions.  The memories are still vivid.  We managed to make Road Rally some of the most challenging automotive competition we had ever experienced, all below posted speeds! 

SCCA Regional RoadRally Development
by Jay Nemeth-Johannes
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Promoting Your Rallye

So, you have committed to putting on a rally for your Region. How do you get the word out in a way that brings in droves of entries? It is never fun to spend months setting up an event and then only have two teams show up. This article attempts to show ways of promoting your event to increase your audience and to match the audience with the events' philosophy.

The first step is defining your rally —
Are you writing a course-style rally for the National audience, or a gimmick that is part of the Region's picnic? This will define your audience and that will define your publicity effort. A National Course Rally is likely going to appeal only to those few remaining teams that run the National Series for points. You might get a few locals out that used to run, but your novices are likely to be intimidated and will stay away. You probably don't want Novices anyway as the event will likely overwhelm them and they won't return. In this case, the strategy is to get on the SCCA calendar early and limit the publicity to the yahoo list, flyers at other National events and personal invitations.

A National Tour is a bit different. Since it does not have traps, you can create an event that appeals to your local audience. I suggest you create two sets of publicity here. One set is for the National audience and emphasizes the precision, speeds, projected score, etc. Distribute it the same as for the Course Rally. For the Badger Burrow Rally, I don't reference that this is a National at all. I talk about a 5-6 hour event and how it runs through interesting countryside, has some attractions, discuss the speeds and the roads and sell it as entertainment, while de-emphasizing the competition.

If it is a local rally, the same sort of publicity applies. I make sure I am accurate, but I sell the event as entertainment.

The next question is where and how to publicize the event? 
You can never put out too much publicity, so this is limited only by your energy and imagination. Here are some things we have been doing successfully. The first line of promotion for us is social media. We created a Facebook Group (WIRE – Wisconsin Illinois Rally Enthusiasts), and we solicit members from the TSD, Stage Rally, Solo and general enthusiasts. WIRE currently has over 250 members and is growing steadily. This allows us to create Events attached to the Group and automatically have all members be invited. The Event page is a key element as it contains the details, pointer to the registration site (motorsportreg.com) and is a focus for discussion from potential competitors. We branch out from there to sharing the Event page on other known Facebook Groups, such as the Subaru folks, a general interest auto enthusiasts group, our Region's Solo group, etc.  There are other sites we will work with as well. For example, the meetup.com site is a good place to advertise to singles social groups.
Going beyond social media, we have had success placing flyers in new-car dealers and auto parts stores. We created a tri-fold flyer that talks about the event, but also explains rallying and shows the annual schedule. Amazon sells an inexpensive clear plastic holder for the flyers that makes for an attractive display that doesn't clutter up the dealer counter space. A key here is to periodically go back and refresh the folders. We also try to engage the people at the Dealerships. There are potential sponsor deals here, and some shops have gone as far as setting up a mini-competition among their customers.

Of course, you need to continue to promote to your past competitors. Keep a mailing list and send out publicity at least twice for each event. The first should arrive several months before the event and a follow-up a couple of weeks ahead. I also send out flyers to the entire SCCA Milwaukee Region mailing list and the motorsportsreg.com list of anyone who has entered a Region event.

Expect to put out a lot of publicity for a small percentage of return. I can't tell you what will work, or point to any one item that is successful. I have noticed that a venue that was successful will become less so over time. That means you need to keep rotating and finding new places. The sports car dealer will generate better results than the American sedan dealer.  

So what can you expect from all this?
Your experienced teams may be your comfort zone, but if you focus too much on them, you will see a steady decline in attendance. Priorities change as do interests. I have found that when I have a healthy program, around 50% of my entrants are first timers, and another 30% have run no more than 3 events. That shows that you need to keep finding new blood to stay healthy.

So, give it a shot. Hopefully, you will find that the events are better attended and thus more fun to organize. And don't give up if it doesn't work right away. Publicity is magic and it builds over time. People who see the publicity and don't come the first time may come to a later event. It may take several events before the publicity in a venue starts having results. 
Best of luck, and zeros - Jay
Jay Nemeth-Johannes is Chairman for the SCCA Regional RoadRally Development Committee. Click here to send him to send him your comments and input for promotion used with your Region, Club, or a Road Rally you attended because of their unique advertising! 

Send your comments to Road Rally eNews by clicking here and we'll run them next month — choose to share with fellow rallyists across North America (and beyond)!
On the National Scene
with NEC Chairman Mike Thompson   
After a summer hiatus, the road to the National Championship is open and traffic is beginning to flow. 
  • August 17th we have Clear Blue Sky, a National GTA Rally in Dallas, Texas.
  • September 17th we move to La Crosse, Wisconsin with Oktoberally National Course Rally and 
  • September 18th Badger Trails National Tour
  • After that things move west to Northern California with: October 15th at Carrera de Sierra National Course Rally and
  • October 16th Golden West National Course Rally, with the headquarters for both in Folsom, California.
  • October 22 it's off to Southern California with Highway Robbery, which is headquartered in Mission Hills. 
Topping that, there are plenty of Championship Divisional Road Rally events on the schedule. Here we go...
  • August 18thAugust Can Be Awesome Course / Tour / GTA – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • August 27 &  28Route 66 Ramble and Scenic Byways Tours, St Louis, Missouri
  • September 11thPress On Regardless Tour – West Branch, MI
  • October 1thClare Color Tour – Clare, MI
  • October 30thCovered Bridges Tour – Conneaut, OH
  • November 5thCovered Bridges 50th Anniversary USRRC – West Dover, VT
Not quite a plethora, but there are quite a few Championship events of all ilks, upcoming. From not-so-easy course rallies like Oktoberally to the challenging driving event in Michigan. If there is an event in your neighborhood, I encourage you to give it a try. For more information on any of the events check the SCCA.com website. Reach me by email here. Mike
Road Rally eNews is produced in association with the Sports Car Club of America
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