For more information, contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P. O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Web site: http://www.WidgetRacing.com
In-car training focused on individual specialties. Drivers took over the Desert Empire Fairgrounds for a series of exercises in the dirt. First they covered basic driving techniques on skid pad and figure eight courses. They learned the value of the late apex on a blind turn, why sliding sideways can be a faster way through a corner, and why braking on dirt is better than you might expect. As students progressed, they even learned advanced techniques like left foot braking and handbrake turns. Differences between front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive were also discussed and demonstrated.
Meanwhile, the co-drivers took to the roads of Ridgecrest. Paula Gibeault laid out three routes on public roads (no speeding of course). Gibeault, Sue Robinson, and yours truly each drove a car with a rally odometer ("odo") installed. The students took turns navigating the course with a route book while working the odo and calling instructions to the driver and counting down the corners. For example, "In 20, hairpin left, single caution; in 10 hairpin left, single caution; hairpin left now." Two of the courses were fairly slow, but the third put the students on a wide open stretch of highway with a 65 MPH speed limit. At higher speeds, the instructions come up a lot quicker but the students rose to the challenge. As drivers, we sometimes acted like "real" rally drivers. After being told about a left turn three or four times, we'd ask again, "which way?" then set up to go right. Nonplussed, the students kept their cool and kept us on course.
The curriculum is extensive enough that graduates of the school are eligible to receive a National ProRally competition license. Only one entrant, Jim LaTour of Colorado, opted for the advanced license. In fact, several people asked if they should consider the extra costs of the National ProRally (vs. a Divisional ClubRally) license. The answer is, "it depends." A ProRally license costs $120, not $60, but includes one set of graphics for your car. With a ProRally license you're eligible to compete for National points and you get a better starting position on the road. (Rally cars are released on one, two, or three minute intervals, not all at once.) In practically all cases, the Divisional rallyists get the same amount of seat time (hours upon hours per event) as the National guys. For most Divisional competitors, the difference in road position is not significant enough to justify the extra cost unless you are competing for a National title. (Note: you can actually earn a National ClubRally championship by finishing first or second in your Divisional series, then going to a run off-style championship event near the end of the year.)
The list of graduates includes veteran road racer Paul Dube and son Doug, SoPac ClubRally Safety Steward John Shults, several seasoned rally workers like Bill McDuffee, Mike and Tony Dicks, Brian Noonan, and Jay Deacon, and motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey and his wife Shae. Even active competitors like William and Julie Yates recognized the value of the program by attending. Other graduates included: Virgina, Gordon, and Carl Azevedo, Randy Ankeny, Bill Barfoot, Jimmy Bell, Shenandoah Bennett, Sonya and Robert Brinkhurst, Richard Byford, Eduardo and Andy Cardenas, Angus Chassels, Sandra Chavez, Dave Coleman, Mark Conte, Johan Ekstrom, Joel Gat, George Hambrecht, Josh Jacquot, Daman Johnson, Jason Lane, Janice Lilley, Andrea Lipman, Ricardo Lozada, Debbie and Marc Massey, Julian Masters, Bob Moe, Mark Montgomery, Miles Noe, Sean Otto, Shiv Pathak, Clay Payton, Sean Rigmaiden, Gonzalo Sanchez, Barbara Shabell, Kirk Sloan, Noel Staunton, David and Victoria Van Horn, Steve Vukas, Marshall Walker, Stephanie and Keith Wheeler, Doug Whited, Felix Wong, Eugene Wong, Ian Hudson, Daniel Nicholos, Eric Parsons, Brian Hudson, J. Whorton, Jim Latour, Jason Richards, and Ken Lazarus.
Several of the graduates stayed over Sunday for a RallyCross at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds to practice what they'd learned. A RallyCross is kind of like an autocross without asphalt, meaning that even street cars can compete. (In fact, street cars are encouraged; it's a great, inexpensive way to enjoy our sport.)
Each driver ran four runs (two in each direction) and could take passengers with them if they wished. For some, an instructor in the car was just the ticket to go faster. For others, their passenger was a family or crew member so they could share the excitement of the sport. Everyone left with big smiles and few took away trophies as well. Tony Chavez demonstrated to everyone why he's a master instructor by finishing first overall in an Open 4WD-classed Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. Carl Jardevall drove his Volvo 740T to a Group 2/5 win, while Josh Jacquot demonstrated the strength of a Mazda 323 with a 4WD Street Stock victory. Other class winners included Leon Styles (Mazda RX-7) in Performance Stock, Ian Hudson (Toyota Corolla) in Street Stock and Joel Gat (Pontiac Sunfire--yes, a rental car!) in 2WD Street Modified.
The courses, each about a half mile long, were challenging, but as with all racing, smoothness was rewarded. Kengo Takahashi showed that smooth driving works even in monster trucks as he put his turbo diesel Dodge Ram through its paces. The afternoon stage was especially challenging in the back corner. In fact, the layout was changed slightly to better avoid Horse Dung Mountain. Happily, everyone got through the course okay, though a few of the cones are still quivering from their near-squash experience!
With an outstanding school completed (and with beautiful weather to boot), and a RallyCross under their belts, a whole new pack of rallyists is ready to tackle the rough and tough roads of Rim of the World, the next full SoPac rally. Fortunately, they don't have to wait until May to race again. The Las Vegas Region is hosting a St. Patrick's Day RallySprint/Rallycross in Pahrump, March 18/19 and, for those willing to travel, there are a pair of events in Washington and Oregon in the next couple of months.
If you've never been to rally or rallycross, come on out. It's a ton of fun with an extra ton of excitement and friends. Rally on!
Ridgecrest RallyCross - Final Results Feb 6, 2000 Time Driver Car Seconds Place Class 1 Tony Chavez Galant VR-4 185.48 1 Open 4wd 2 Lon Peterson Subaru Impreza 188.57 2 Open 4wd 3 Lincoln Woodard Subaru Impreza 191.97 3 Open 4wd 4 Shiv Pathak Subaru Impreza 192.29 4 Open 4wd 5 Anton Musev Audi Quattro 192.34 5 Open 4wd 6 Carl Jardevall Volvo 740T 194.24 1 Group 2 / 5 7 Bruce Brown Mazda 323 195.51 6 Open 4wd 8 Josh Jacquot Mazda 323 197.67 1 4wd Street Stock 9 Jonathan Ryther Subaru Impreza 198.39 7 Open 4wd 10 Ray Hocker Galant VR-4 199.16 2 4wd Street Stock 11 Matt Sweeney Toyota Pickup 199.34 2 Group 2 / 5 12 Leon Styles Mazda RX-7 203.17 1 Performance Stock 13 Jason Richards Subaru Impreza 204.71 3 4wd Street Stock 14 Doug Whited VW Golf GTI 206.00 2 Performance Stock 15 Topi Hynynen Volvo 142 206.51 3 Performance Stock 16 Angus Chassels Subaru Impreza 207.28 4 4wd Street Stock 17 John Moore Toyota Celica 208.18 3 Group 2 / 5 18 Bill McDuffee Toyota Celica 208.32 5 4wd Street Stock 19 Ian Hudson Toyota Corolla 208.75 1 Street Stock 20 Richard Byford BMW 2002 209.32 4 Group 2 / 5 21 Robert Brinkhust Subaru Impreza 209.62 6 4wd Street Stock 22 Dennis Sheean Mazda RX-7 210.19 4 Performance Stock 23 Noel Staunton Volvo 740T 211.05 5 Group 2 / 5 24 Gary English Alpha Romeo 211.06 5 Performance Stock 25 Johan Ekstrom Volvo 740T 211.20 6 Group 2 / 5 26 Jim Bell Subaru Impreza 211.30 7 4wd Street Stock 27 Mark Conte Toyota Celica 211.65 7 Group 2 / 5 28 Lucinda Strub Toyota Pickup 213.00 8 Group 2 / 5 29 Joel Gat Sunfire 213.27 1 2wd Street Modified 30 Colin Deere Subaru Impreza 213.33 8 4wd Street Stock 31 Thomas Ryther Subaru Impreza 213.86 9 4wd Street Stock 32 John Shults Stratos 214.63 2 2wd Street Modified 33 Brian Noonan VW Golf GTI 215.58 6 Performance Stock 34 Jay Deacon Datsun 510 216.56 3 2wd Street Modified 35 Dave VanHorn Legacy 216.72 4 2wd Street Modified 36 Steve Vukas Daihatsu 217.20 2 Street Stock 37 Levi Cox Honda Civic 217.65 3 Street Stock 38 Roger Allison Alpha Romeo 219.81 7 Performance Stock 39 Robert Wigley Toyota Pickup 219.85 8 Performance Stock 40 Victoria VanHorn Legacy 220.35 5 2wd Street Modified 41 Rey Laureano Toyota Celica 220.56 9 Performance Stock 42 Eric Parsons Daihatsu 220.82 4 Street Stock 43 Dean Danganan Plymouth Neon 221.39 5 Street Stock 44 Bill Barfoot Toyota Corolla 222.90 6 Street Stock 45 Tony Dela Cuesta Toyota Corolla 222.98 10 Performance Stock 46 Dave Coleman Datsun 510 224.47 9 Group 2 / 5 47 Sean Rigmander Scirocco 226.45 6 2wd Street Modified 48 Clayton Payton Scirocco 229.91 7 2wd Street Modified 49 Hakan Okcuoglu Fiat 230.37 7 Street Stock 50 Murat Okcuoglu Conquest 231.13 10 Group 2 / 5 51 Ihsan Balat Fiat 231.43 8 Street Stock 52 Don Shreyer Honda Civic 232.30 11 Performance Stock 53 Kengo Takahashi Dodge Ram 233.45 8 2wd Street Modified 54 Shenandoah Bennett Nissan Sentra 235.08 9 Street Stock 55 Keith Wheeler Mazda RX-7 244.79 9 2wd Street Modified 56 Stephanie Wheeler Mazda RX-7 262.31 10 2wd Street Modified 57 Sean Otto Mazda DNF 10 Street Stock 58 William Yates Toyota MR-2 DNF 11 Group 2 / 5