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ROAD RALLY eNews — January 2017 Edition
Your Road Rally Roundup of News, Views, and How-Tos
Checkpoint Chat
with Rich Bireta, RRB Chair

Welcome to 2017 and best wishes for the New Year. I’ve got several pieces of news that I am genuinely excited to share with you.

Road Rally Program Grows 26% in 2016!
   The participation in SCCA Road Rally Events in 2016 grew by 26%! This data comes from the audit forms that Event Organizers submit after the event. In 2016 we had a total of 1,842 cars entered in rally events compared to 1,458 in 2015.

We have data that goes back 10 years now. Since 2009 entry counts have been holding steady at around 1,500 cars per year. The entry count from 2016 breaks that trend in a positive direction.

This growth came from several sources.  Some SCCA Regions showed significant growth in their existing Road Rally programs. These Regions include:

  • New England Region
  • Finger Lakes Region
  • Milwaukee Region
  • Northern New Jersey Region
  • Philadelphia Region
  • Chicago Region
  • Glen Region

Some growth came from SCCA Regions that held Rally events in 2016 for the first time in recent history. These Regions include: 

  • Allegheny Highlands Region
  • Continental Divide Region
  • San Francisco Region
  • Oregon Region
  • Des Moines Valley Region
  • Western Ohio Region
  • Oklahoma Region

Road Rallys were held in 33 of the 115 SCCA Regions last year, up 2 from 2015. There is a road rally program in 28% of the Regions

It was a good year for Road Rally in 2016.

Road Rally Landing Page at SCCA.com Improved for 2017
Over the past several weeks significant changes have been made to improve the usability and content of the Road Rally landing page at www.scca.com.

You should no longer have to go to the Download Page to find documents related to rallying. Everything from the Rulebook to Event Calendar is accessible from this single page. We also added links to current and past issues of the Road Rally eNews.

There is content there for existing programs as well as a repository of information for those thinking of starting a program. Check it out and let me know what you think.

I would like to thank those involved in getting this portion of the web site enhanced. Thank you Jon Krolewicz of the SCCA staff and Jim Crittenden from the Milwaukee Region for your key roles in this project. I also need to acknowledge the support we received our Liaisons from the SCCA Board of Directors: Lee Hill, Terry Hanusheck and Bob Dowie, and SCCA Staff Members Howard Duncan, Heyward Wagner, Deena Rowland and Jamie Mullin.

As always, I look forward to your comments on this or any other item of interest or concern regarding the SCCA road rally program. You may reach me at rbireta@gmail.com.
Rich Bireta
SCCA RRB Chairman  

2016 Behind the Scenes Contributions to the Road Rally Community
   It takes many volunteers working behind to scenes to keep the SCCA road rally program in operation. Their contributions are valuable yet invisible so I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate them.

Jeanne English (Cal Club) completed her seventh year on the RoadRally Board at the end of 2015 and stayed on to serve as the Board’s Secretary. Jeanne produces clear minutes that serve as the institutional memory for the RRB and communicates to the broader rally community the decisions and opinions of the RRB. Jeanne ensures that the RRB minutes are completed in time for publication in FasTrack and the Road Rally eNews each month.

Bruce Gezon (Allegheny Highlands) served as Editor of the Road Rally Rulebook in 2016 and the 2017. RRRs are now available for download from the SCCA web site. Bruce also keeps track of the Lifetime Points that are listed in Appendix C of the RRRs and handles the ordering and delivery of the SCCA Road Rally Championship Trophies each year. They are ordered and in the mail. 

Cheryl Babbe (Arctic Alaska) has been the Publisher and Editor of Road Rally eNews since its inception. Each month we can look forward to news from the SCCA and non-SCCA rally communities. This newsletter would not exist and would not have been published for so long without her energy and persistence.

John Emmons (Land O Lakes) has served as the National Championship Poinstskeeper in 2016. Each month at the RRB meeting John has reported that the points are up-to-date and the current version in on the SCCA web site. Issues and questions are resolved promptly and fairly.

Mike Thompson (Land ’O Lakes) served as Chair of the RRB’s National Events Committee responsible for the actions of the NEC. The NEC handles the administrative tasks for National and Divisional events ensuring that Liaisons are appointed for each National Road Rally and resolving issues promptly and fairly. The NEC also serves as the first level of review for rules changes and other Championship matters before they get to the full RRB.

Jay Nemeth-Johannes (Milwaukee) served as Chair of the RRB’s Regional Development Committee in 2016. Jay wrote and delivered several well received presentations at the 2016 SCCA conventions, contributed multiple articles for new organizers of events to Road Rally eNews and continues to develop new intellectual property supporting the formation of new Regional Road Rally programs. Results in 2016: A 26% increase in Road Rally entries and six new SCCA Regions offering SCCA sanctioned road rallys.

Jim Crittenden (Milwaukee) served his first-year as a member of the RoadRally Board and eschews recognition for his contributions (and they are many). One example:  You’ll soon be able to order a hardcopy version of the RRRs from Amazon thanks to Jim’s efforts. There are many others.

Terry Hanuscheck and Lee Hill have served as SCCA Board of Director Liaisons to the RoadRally Board. Many of their contributions are publicly visible but they have also acted behind the scenes to the benefit of the rally program. Sadly, Terry was not reelected last fall and Lee has been kicked upstairs and will serve as Chairman of the SCCA Board of Directors this year.

If and when you see Jeanne, Bruce, Cheryl, John, Mike, Jay, Jim, Terry and Lee please take a moment and express your appreciation for their contributions to our sport.

2016 Road Rally National Champions
SCCA RoadRally Logo
The SCCA RoadRally National Championship fared well in 2016. The Tour Rally Series had 24 Championship rallies across the country and the Course Series had 14 Championship rallies. The GTA series had 13 Championship rallies.  
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 SCCA RoadRally National Championship.  They are:

GTA Series

  • John Poulos of Lewisville, Texas

Tour Series

  • Bruce Gezon of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, Class E
  • Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza of Ewing, New Jersey, Class L
  • J Toney of Woodland, California, Class S

Course Series

  • Steve Gaddy of New Market, Maryland, Class E
  • Jeanne English of Hermosa Beach, California, Class L
  • Jim Wakemen, Sr. of Turnersville, New Jersey, Class S

Care and Feeding of the Intermediate Rallyists
by Jay Nemeth-Johannes
Once you have been putting on events for awhile, you start to notice a drop-off in attendance of people who have been to several events. I am going to talk about this and what can be done about it.

First, I am not talking about people who come out once and never return. Many organizers have discovered that a healthy rally program has 1/3 to ½ of the field as first timers. Not everyone is going to like our strange sport. Some are looking for illegal speeds and Smokey and the Bandit stunts. Others like a wide variety of activities and once they have experienced a rally, they are off to the next thrill. I actually worry when the number of first timers drops off. It means there is something wrong with the event, the scheduling or the publicity.

No, I am talking about the folks who have now run 3-5 events and are starting to look a bit bored. They have gotten reasonably good and are trying to get to the next level. These are the people that organizers need to cultivate because in addition to being our core, they are also the future Rallymasters and Organizers. These are the folks we want to join the Club.

My first thought is to mix it up a bit on format. If we keep folks a bit off balance, they don’t become overly familiar and every event is a new challenge. If your main format is TSD, try doing some gimmick events. Try some variation of TSD formats, such as Monte Carlo. The Monte Carlo format gives contestants the location and time to be at a control, but does not give them a speed to drive. It requires a whole new strategy to do well at these sorts of events, so your intermediate is learning new techniques in an event that is still friendly to the first timer.

Add some basic traps to the TSD, but be sure to use restraint. It is always easier to write a trap than to try and figure one out. We used to do Friday night events. They were all about the main road rule, and each event would add one determinant. The first event would be a tour. The next would add protection, then ONTO and finally curve arrows.
Eventually the intermediate rallyist is going to look at those crusty old timers with their fancy computers and they are going to want to chase those single digit scores (like zeros). We encourage first timers to throw away apps and concentrate on staying on course. After a couple of events, I introduce the rally GPS odometer. This allows them to have accurate mileages, but still is mostly seat of the pants rallying. Once they get comfortable with the odometer, get them familiar with the applications that do the rally computer. I suggest placing folks who use GPS odometers and calculating or computer apps in the limited class. The odometers are not quite good enough to compete with wheel driven computers, so they need a class where they don’t get discouraged.
The big driver here is cost. The  Championship folks frequently use the Timewise 798. It is one heck of a device that is fine-tuned to win National rallys, but it is not cheap. Expect to pay $1600 to over $2000 for a complete Timewise setup. Alfa is available at a somewhat lower cost, but the Alfa boxes are less capable and not quite as accurate. You will still pay between $900 and $1500 depending on options and sensor configuration.

An App is pretty much free in comparison. Most everyone owns a smartphone and/or a tablet these days. The Apps themselves generally cost between $5-20. You can move into this for very minimal investment. Once you get started, you can buy a dedicated tablet for under $100 which will do it all. There is considerable work being done by the App Developers to make these apps easier to use while still being reliable. Look at Rich Biretta’s Simplified Rally Computer App, which is to be reviewed in the February RReNews. The final step is to move up to an external GPS receiver. The Dual 160 GPS will improve your accuracy and reduce odometer drift considerably.

The bottom line is still to mix it up. Keep it light hearted, keep it fun. Even if you are primarily a “damned serious” TSD Region, put on the occasional gimmick. Write variations on TSD. And never forget that what we primarily provide is ENTERTAINMENT, not competition. 
Words from the Wheel - Important News for SCCA Road Rally Organizers
Spring Cleaning Comes EARLY for SCCA Road Rally Organizers

Our old familiar SCCA MS-1 Adult Waivers and MS-2A Minor Waivers are needing to head to the nearest waste bin immediately! While we were able to use up old stock of those forms through December 31, 2016 — all events in 2017 must utilize the appropriate Adult and Minor forms found on the Waiver Chart, which you can download here

To find the forms on the scca.com — there is an easy path of About SCCA to Downloads to Insurance Forms. It is stated on the website, yet will stress again that these must be printed in color and two-sided pdf-files need to be printed as one page

Yes! These forms may be ordered through your Region from the SCCA National Office; this is not a move to have Regions print their own. Yet should you find yourself not yet supplied — it is wonderful to have this resource online! Further, those parents needing to get Minor Waivers notarized prior to events have access to this resource for our younger Rallyists.

For those of you active and dedicated to our Road Rally program, I would encourage you to obtain an SCCA Adult Annual Waiver in 2017. It will require you to visit a Notary, yet you will find it a timesaver for events. 

Janet Farwell, our friend and support in Member Services who serves the Club Racing program was helpful to me in providing for our Words from the Wheel column. It was important to me to get this news out-on-the-streets to my fellow rally compatriots as we Welcome in 2017! Thank you, Janet, for filling in this month, and I hope I have represented this correctly to my fellow SCCA Rallyist! Cheryl Lynn, RReNews

Looking for a Few (Good) Rallymasters
Actually the good part is optional. What the Regional Development Committee is looking for is a few enthusiastic people who would like to learn the ropes on organizing a rally. We are looking in particular for folks without previous experience in order to test some of our teaching material and hopefully let you write a successful event.

Rallymaster looks like a lot of work from the outside, but it actually is a lot of fun. The contestants get to run the course once, and on the roads the Rallymaster selects. The Rallymaster gets to run it many times and gets to see lots of potential roads while choosing the best ones. Adding to that is the satisfaction you get in creating something and letting others enjoy your effort.

If this interests you at all, contact me at jay.johannes@smartsensorsystems.com or (970) 290-9797. I can promise you discussion and review every step of the way. I can help provide ideas for whatever format works best for you. And I can promise that someone will be available in person to make sure it all goes smoothly. Jay

SCCA Matters —
Minutes, Planning Calendar, Championship Points
From the Home Office —  Road Rally eNews
The 'ol Trusty Subaru Legacy out on another road rally recon — so much better than an autocross! Competition for an entire event that eight hours spent for 3-minutes of competition! We're taking a break to clean the headlights as we depart Silvertip Station.
We gave up! We had our moose-goggles on traveling back from the KP (Kenai Peninsula) late in the evening, yet my driver stopped to clean the headlights again! Too much road grime, yet that should not be a problem in September 2017!

The photo of for this months' header won't be as snow-covered on the USRRC, yet we should see a nice reflection across the Turnagain Arm just the same!
Does your Club, Region, Chamber of Commerce or a neighbor town have events planned this year?
Please send RReNews the date, the event details, and the contact information. Email them to RReNews@comeroadrallywith.us for our North American Road Rally calendar. This online calendar is for all marque clubs, independent car clubs and SCCA Regions, as well as community events in your hometowns! 

We want to help you bring awareness to your events and the sport of Road Rally across North America. We are trying to make your initial input smoother too. Send your pre-event and/or post-event write-ups of your rallies to promote them and special events? Send the event photo(s) to us for sharing the event with fellow Rallyists as well.

Share your enthusiasm and success!
Here's to a Healthy New Year to my fellow Road Rally enthusiasts!
With the holiday weekends, seemingly since the end of November, family here in our home for the holidays and social engagements — life has been full!

Gail Engblom and I have spent three days and two nights out on recon for the North to Alaska Road Rally Adventure, the September 15-17th, 2017 United States Road Rally Challenge, during December. The high was 11° and the low -16°, yet in her trusty Honda-CRV we were toasty warm! I took advantage of the three-day New Years weekend and was out for another three days with Bill Demming in my 'ol Subaru Legacy.

Given the travel of three hours to get to most of the roads we'll be traveling on for the USRRC, each of our treks has a minimum 300-mile roundtrip in addition to those highways, byways and trails we have been exploring.

Given the amount of transit on the way down to the Kenai Peninsula, we will be lodging in Seward on Friday eve and Homer on Saturday evening. Many teams on the 2016 USRRC went jamming to airports three hours or more drive from the end, and we have chosen to end on the Kenai Peninsula vs. a three-hour transit back to Anchorage. There just are not the roads to rally back into Anchorage! We only have two airports with direct flights to America and the other is nine hours away! A team could fly out of Kenai should they wish to take a small commuter plane into Anchorage.

We truly hope those traveling from "Outside" will take a few days to see Alaska pre-or-post USRRC! We are looking into lodging on the KP for those who want to relax after the rally and depart out on their own Alaska adventures on Monday. 

Peter Schneider, Northern New Jersey Region, will be our Pre-Checker and with his trip planned for the first of June, our time is limited! Much time has gone into the September 15-17th, 2017 event — recon, plans for lodging and meals, fundraising requirements, registration, purchasing of trophies, approvals from the NEC — and we don't even know if any rallyists are traveling up for the 150th Sesquicentennial of Alaska and the 2017 USRRC! That said, I shall hope to give you an update in the February RReNews!

Thank you to those in the SCCA who find value in our efforts since December 12, 2012 with RReNews. I am delighted to share that archive files are being place on the new www.scca.com webpage under our Road Rally program! I was stunned as I sent the links to Jamie Mullen — we've covered alot of territory over these past four years! Your support through reading, sharing awareness and contributions to copy have been greatly appreciated.
Here's to the year ahead, Cheryl Lynn and Crew
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