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

The SCCA National Convention, held in January, is the one opportunity of the year for the Rally Board to meet in person for an extended period – over 10 hours in total. This past January, all the RRB members stayed an extra day to discuss our joint goals and priorities for 2017.  

Following this January meeting, the remainder of the work of the RRB needs to be completed in 22 hours, 11 2-hour monthly conference calls. That is not a great deal of time in which to complete the mandatory and optional work of this board.

During our meeting, we decided that there are three main areas where we want to focus this year:
  1. Regional Road Rally program growth
  2. The Road Rally Safety Steward licensing program
  3. Communications inside and outside of the SCCA RoadRally program

After naming the major areas of focus, we spent several hours identifying specific tasks and activities that needed to be done to make significant progress in each of them. I was very pleased to see each RRB Member step forward and volunteer to lead the effort for these tasks, and the scope tasks is such that they will not take multiple years to complete. Look for significant progress in each of these areas in the first half of 2017. You can see the specific items we are undertaking, and track our progress and completions in the minutes of the RRB published each month in Road Rally eNews and the SCCA FastTrack publication. 

Party at the Park Set for August

On a local level, I have some interesting news to report from the Kansas City Region and Kansas Region. Heartland Park Topeka, the race track just a few miles south of SCCA Headquarters is under new management, and their outreach to the local SCCA community has led to a unique event planned for this summer.

Heartland Park, former home of the SCCA RunOffs and SCCA Solo Nationals, opened a new section of their property to SCCA Rallycross in 2016. The racing surface has been completely repaved, opening the way for SCCA Club Racing to resume at the track. The solo pad has been in use by the local Regions over the past few years.

These developments have created a buzz of excitement in the local SCCA Regions. A group of members is planning to offer their version of the SCCA Targa event this summer in August. Instead of traveling to multiple racing venues, however, this weekend will provide four forms of SCCA activities all headquartered at Heartland Park, Topeka.

Each of the SCCA competition groups would offer their event over the weekend. There would be a weekend of Club Racing that would include a PDX. There would be two full days of Solo and Rallycross events as well. I am pleased to report that I was asked to stage a Road Rally or two over the same weekend, starting and ending at the race track.

The intent is to draw in non-SCCA members and offer them the opportunity to compete in four different forms of SCCA competitions/activities along with time for a party Saturday night. The events are still in the planning phase, but all indications are positive. Stay tuned for more progress on the SCCA Party at the Park.

As always, I look forward to your comments on this or any other item of interest or concern regarding the SCCA RoadRally program.

USRRC Ticket for Fundraiser Offer Ends Soon

USRRC Fly "North to Alaska" for Free Ends March 28th

Option One — As we have written for over six months, the Alaska Airlines credit card awards 30K miles and a Companion Ticket offer when approved. We have no control over this option, yet...

Option Two — A former rallyist has donated 100K miles, which will be used to purchase the tickets and reward the first four individuals who raise $2500 for the Rallying to Preserve our Historic SCCA Rally Archives fundraising campaign by March 28th, 2017, if there are such. And, the miles offer is valid for those residing in Alaska too! The date was established six months ago to be assured good availabilty of seats! Should we not need them, the event is confident they will be made available for other worthy motorsport efforts down the road.

Fundraising Support NOT Just for Those in the USRRC — All Rallyists Can Support the Effort for our Sport!
Should you be interested in setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign as an active rallyist or one who may be in those archives — you can do so without even entering the USRRC!

All donations are welcome, and you learn about our efforts to raise funds for the International Motor Racing Research Center through the SCCA Foundation here: http://bit.ly/FoundationUSRRC link .

Facebook Outreach
With advertising falling to the USRRC host, we gave a Facebook advertisement a try and spent money we didn't have, ha! Will we gain a team from it? We don't know! Was it an interesting insight to potential rally interest areas across America? Absolutely! Did you see our ad in your Facebook feed?

Should we hear from a dozen of you, we'll write about it in an upcoming edition of RReNews!
Online Registration — Are YOU Using dlbracing, myautoevents, or motorsportreg? We “need to talk”!

Or, perhaps there are other online registration systems out there Rally organizers are using? We are working on a piece about the online options and the value to all enthusiasts of Road Rally in using them for events.

Please let us know if you are using online registration, and take a moment to answer some questions for us. Click here to send an email to today; we are hoping to run this in our April RReNews .

For those of you who are on Facebook, you may have seen the USRRC Map and updates in February! We are please to have teams registered from Tennessee, Alaska, West Virginia, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina. We have heard from others, yet their registrations have not come through yet! Will your State be the next on the map?

In This Issue —
RReNews March 2017
Road Rally Across North America
• Checkpoint Chat by RRB Bireta
• 21st Annual Lucas Flamethrower, March 4th
• SoWeLa Road Rally, March 12th
• The Magic Mile Road Rally, April 1st
• USRRC Updates, Rallying to Preserve the SCCA Rally Archives and Fundraising!
• Building Timing Lines for Checkpoints

SCCA Contributions this Month
• NEC Thompson on the 2017 Season
• SCCA Road Rally Calendar by English
• Minutes from the Feb 9th RRB Meeting
• Standings for SCCA RoadRally Championship
Words from the Wheel by Mullin
• SCCA 2017 Championship Points

RReNews Requests
• Please click the Update Profile at bottom of this email for your Annual Update. Thank you!
• Remember to send in your upcoming rally dates 'n details for all Clubs across North America.
• And, too, to share the post-event rally wrap-up of the events and photos too!
A reminder that RReNews succeeds through the support of contributions for our fellow Rallyists!
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Two Regions Reclaim Their Rally Programs — Cheers to Atlanta Region and SoWeLa Regions!
Where I Am,
and How I Got There!
by Mark Johnson, Rallymaster

Every rally has four basic parts: a format, a route, workers and competitors. Depending on where you are will determine how you piece those together into an event.

If you’re in an area with a long history of rallies, a new event probably has three of those four items worked out. Find a new route and you’re off.

But what if you’re in a Region that hasn’t had an event in, well … decades? With no competitors, workers or traditions in place, you have to start somewhere.

The Sports Car Club of America's Atlanta Region is in that boat. Or, more accurately, I’m in that boat. After years of not writing events and minimal running, I decided last year that if I wanted to rally, someone had to start writing events.

Format and route are easily changeable items. Workers are a little trickier, but you can design your event around a minimal number of them. The one thing that’s a must-have are competitors.

A few years back, a couple of local guys started a monthly cars and coffee event. The first Saturday of each month, they gathered at their garage and put on a pot of coffee. Sometimes someone would bring donuts. There was no theme, there was no cost. Roll up and talk cars.

And the cars that rolled up were … eclectic. Oddball Ferraris, one gorgeous TR7 and the largest collection of VW MicroBuses and EuroVans I’ve ever seen. My 1966 Mustang looked rather plebeian.

I listened a lot as the others spoke of favorite drives, limits on their time and concerns about wandering too far. Some of them spoke of fast drives, but most just wanted to enjoy their cars with some friends.

So there was some guidance: scenic, easy on the cars, not a big time commitment and keep it close to town. Bonus: I knew where I could find a bunch of people on the first Saturday of every month.

Most of them have no experience with a traditional time-speed-distance rally, so starting there didn’t make a lot of sense. The GTA format gave me a lot of flexibility – I could have an easy course to follow with questions and answers of varying difficulty and maybe toss in a little bit of timing to give them a taste of it.

The Magic Mile Rally will start at our local Jittery Joe’s Roaster (where the cars and coffee event moved to when it grew too large) at Noon. The course is about 100 miles long, never going further than 25 miles from the city and ends at a pub a few miles away from the start. I have three checkpoints on the route, one on the only place where the course overlaps, so I only need two checkpoint crews.

Will it work? Well, a month out I have eight teams registered and paid. I’m getting lots of emails and I’ll have the final flier at the March cars and coffee. (I made a little postcard-like flier in January and had it printed at a local drug store when they did a $0.09 sale – 100 postcards for $9. Every time I see a neat car, I slip it under the wipers.)

If you’re near Athens, Georgia, on April 1, come on out for the Magic Mile Rally – click here for more info! For questions or information on how to register, contact me at rallygeorgia@gmail.com or visit the Atlanta Region’s web site at www.AtlantaSCCA.org!

Southwest Louisiana Hits the Road
The Sports Car Club of America's Southwest Louisiana Region has their first rally March 12th, with Registration opening at Noon and the first car out at 1:15PM.

The start is the Chennault Air Park , Mallard Cove Street, Lake Charles, LA. I know there has been interest there for sometime, and I am delighted to share news of their first event!! Checkout their flyer here and if you are in the area — go and support their event too!
Building a Road Rally Checkpoint Timing Line
by Jay Nemeth-Johannes

Over the years, we had tried a number of different ways of timing cars when they crossed the timing line of the control. We have tried a person at the line with a whistle, mirror boxes, rope across the road and even simple observation. All of these methods have similar issues. You need a person at the control dedicated to determining when the car has entered the control. In addition, these methods don’t work well at night. To fix this, we decided it was time to build an automatic line that would trigger the clock when the car passed.

We initially considered a wireless solution and built prototypes. However, we could not reach reliability goals. Too many entries were missed, too many times the lines failed to link, etc. At that point, we decided that simple was better and we settled on a wired solution. The basic system we use has three major pieces. They consist of a timing hose and switch, a spool of 250’ of wire and the timing clock. We use the Timewise 650 clock for timing, but the Alfa Checkpoint/Club or any other clock that has a remote trip can be used.

Component 1 – The Timing Line: We get everything for the timing line itself from a company called Northshore Commercial Door. 

The hose itself is the material from this link. We use 15’ for each of our lines as we found 10’ to be too short.

We place a weighted anchor at the far end, and this seems to work well and prevents the line from flopping around as cars pass over it. It also works well when setting up because you can just throw the anchor across the road and you are in business. Connect one end of the hose to the anchor and secure with a ½” hose clamp. The anchor is at this link or click the anchor below!

The next component is the switch box. Choose one that is designed to work with treadle hose and which is normally closed. The Northshore item is found at this link. Connect the other end of the hose to the air connection at the top and secure with a clamp. Inside the cover of the box are a pair of wires.

You will need to connect these to an external plug to be able to plug into your wire spool. I recommend soldering for a robust connection and using a standard junction box clamp (included with the box to provide strain relief. I found it best to use a 3.5 mm female socket here. We will be using the sleeve and the ring connections because of the configuration of the Timewise clock.

You can buy the plugs and sockets, but I found the job easier if I bought a stereo headset extension cord, cut it in half and then spliced the loose wires to make the connections. The connections on the actual plugs and sockets are very small and don’t really fit the larger gauge wire needed. If you do the splice technique, be sure to either wrap the connections with tape or better still, use heat shrink tubing that will make a tight and rugged covering. The extension cables we use are found here.


Component 2 – The Wire Spool:  The wire spool consists of three pieces — the spool itself, the wire and a 3.5 mm male plug on each end.

The wire should be 18/2 Gauge speaker wire. Choose a wire that is rated for outdoor or in-wall use as this will have a rugged outer jacket. Use 250 feet of wire for each timing line. This is necessary to get the timing car a safe distance from the in line. Click here for a good wire reference.

I recommend the following for the spool. I know that there are cheaper ones on the market, but the one we chose has a ball bearing hub, a convenient handle and enough space to quickly deploy and stow the cable. The spool we used is available at Amazon at this link.

Each end should be a 3.5mm male plug as shown above. Solder each end of the cable to ½ of a male patch cable, using the ring and sleeve contacts. The tip should remain unconnected. Be sure to tape or use shrink wrap (preferred). Wind the wire onto the reel. I suggest leaving about a foot loose on the inner end and wrap this through the holes in the side of the wire spool.


Operation: When you get to the control location, determine the location of the in line and the timing car. Set the checkpoint sign at the line and throw the hose out on the road. Leave the switch off the road by the sign. Secure the loose end of the wire to the car with a bit to spare. Run the reel out to the in line and connect the switch box to the end still connected to the reel. Walk back to the car and connect the loose end to the remote socket on the Timewise. Test the setup by stomping on the line. You are now set to time cars.

When you are done, disconnect the clock and throw the loose wire on the ground. Go back to the line, disconnect the switch and reel in the cord. Gather the sign, the hose and the wire and you are off to the next location.

Note: Our group has acquired some canvas bags that hold the hose and other control equipment.  Makes it easy to gather it up and have it handy.

Words from the Wheel with Jamie Mullin
Greetings from the National Office!

As of February 27th, we have 38 RoadRally’s sanctioned for 2017! Thirteen have already taken place in January and February. The four January RoadRally events had 123 total participants/entries!
Please send in your sanction requests as soon as you know the dates, so we can get them listed in the Upcoming RoadRally Events at SCCA.com and listed in SportsCar Magazine.
DID YOU KNOW?? We can attach fliers to the SCCA website Event Page for each sanctioned Rally to help promote your events, so please send the pdf-file/URL flier for your event along with the sanction. Should your flier not complete at the time of submitting your sanction, do not delay sending the sanction. You can provide the flier separately at your earliest convenience. 
Post-Event - Close it out within the week by sending Deena Rowland your audit. The current numbers will be reported the following month in Road Rally eNews.
You can now order RoadRally Checkpoint Signs and SCCA Car Number Decals from the SCCA National Office. Click this link where you will find a Member Merchandise Form and a Region Merchandise Order form, which can be  mailed, e-mailed or faxed to the SCCA National Office (see transmittal information on pg. 2 of the forms). You can also call SCCA Member Services at 800-770-2055 x215 to place an order if you have your Region's permission. Please note, the linked page on SCCA.com, referenced above, also includes links to information about other Rally supplies and equipment, including but not limited to clocks, odometers and Rally Computers.     

Should you have any general RoadRally questions, I invite you to check out the newly revamped RoadRally section on our website here or contact me via e-mail or telephone M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CDT at 800-770-2055 x371. Please continue to direct any Event, Sanction, and Insurance related items or inquiries to Deena Rowland 800-770-2055 x 331 M-F 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CDT. 

The National Scene AZICIT
with NEC Chairman Mike Thompson
Well, here I am spouting off again. Cheryl called me last evening (yeah it was midafternoon Alaska time) and gently reminded me that I had promised to contribute something for the March newsletter. So here goes.

2018 Road Rally Rules
Last month I stated that the changes for 2018 appeared to be minimal. Since then I ran across a letter from Jay Johannes pointing out a bunch of things that need to be clarified. It seems to me that years of benign neglect have left us with artifacts that do not reflect current practices. For those of you that are seriously bored, take a few minutes (or hours) to peruse the latest version of the RRRs and see what artifacts you can find. Let me know via email.

One thing the NEC is currently working on is a definition for Delta (a.k.a. Grassy Triangle). It is the opinion of the NEC such intersection configurations be clarified as being a single intersection.

Classes - Will The Subject Ever End?
Until the mid-80s, which was before some of you were born, there were two National Championship Classes, A and B. Then someone on the RRB, whose name I have no idea, came up with the idea of a new ‘entry level' class. Back then it was called Class C. Both equipment and experience were seriously constrained in this class, and if you won more than two year end awards you were no longer eligible to compete in Class C. It was a TREMENDOUS success, if you call attracting names like Morseburg, VonKanel, Johannes, Thompson, Heckler, and Starr a success. That was a long, long time ago in a place not that far away. Your thoughts?

March 1, 2017
Mike Thompson
NEC Chairman
SCCA Matters —
Minutes, Planning Calendar, Championship Points
From the Home Office —  Road Rally eNews

The days are getting longer and I am loving me this soul-ar energy! Batteries are being recharged with the five minutes-plus added each day! Yes! We know that more snow will fall, yet the signs are here — Spring is on the way! Thank you to those who sent their contributions this month, we are here because of you!

Safe travels, Cheryl Lynn, Road Rally eNews

Road Rally eNews is produced in association with the Sports Car Club of America
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