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by: Russ Garvey, Board Member
This was the Chapter’s first rally in a number of years. It was hard to predict the level of expertise, so we tried for something in the middle. Alan Barnes, our regular Rally Master for many years, provided valuable assistance. We made use of ideas and rally instructions from a variety of sources including past FSC events, various other rally organizers and my own experience from rallies in the Baltimore area in the 1970s. In fact, the use of terms like “Flip Flop” and “Jog” instructions go back to my time in Maryland. Three cars did well and took the top three positions. Fourth, fifth and sixth did reasonably well missing a few turns resulting in under-mileage. Overall, most people had a good time and took the challenge in stride resulting in lots of laughs and comparisons. Unfortunately, I forgot to record the order of finish for the rest of the field before handing back the scoring sheets to the participants, but the top six are listed below. We will tweak the instructions a bit before the next event next year and will probably split the entries into a Pro division and Beginner division. Same instructions – same route, but the “Pro” instructions will use something similar to what was used for the Flip-Flop Rally just concluded while the latter will use the same sheet of instructions but with additional confirmations and hints to ease the difficulty factor. Obviously, two sets of awards will be necessary, but that’s easier than trying to anticipate the level of experience of the entries – and everybody has more fun. FSC did conduct a rally lesson and quiz at the August monthly meeting. I can’t recreate the lesson and quiz here (maybe for another time and another article), but in the meantime, for those of you who manned one of the 20 cars to participate in the rally with us, here are some of the questions that caused most of the errors out on the course:

  • Most people had a problem in the next few turns after #18, R 6th RAG (RAG is a stoplight).
  • Turning right at # 18 would have put you on St Lawrence Dr.;
  • 19. Right at Internet Shopping = R on Amazon Rd.;
  • 20. Right 2/10 mile after California Capital = 2/10 after Sacramento, Right turn at Ocklawaha Ln.
  • 21. Jog Right After this turn – a right followed by a left – participants were expected to make a non-commanded left turn onto a new named road because going straight was marked “Dead End” and is not allowed in paragraph 12 in the rules. Further along, the road changed names at a no-choice left turn – also un-commanded – and covered in paragraph 22 in the rules. This Command really threw some folks!
  • 23. Flip-Flop Left 2nd OPPO (Opportunity). I’m guessing most people lost count of the turns while in the middle of the maneuver and ended up executing #24 – Right – instead of the third turn of # 23, a left turn (a Flip Flop is comprised of three successive alternating turns). Making a “Right turn” at the exit of #23 means they missed check point #2 – literally several hundred yards up the road after the correct LEFT turn. Lots of people did this, but they seemed to find their way (somehow?!) to Northbound Starkey Rd, which came after #25.

There were two other areas that were difficult and all dealt with a careful reading, interpretation and application of paragraph 22 in the rules. The first at #28 (after the left turn at “Oaks”), and the next after #51 (Right ONTO Bryan). There were seven turn commands after “Bryan” with no supporting confirmation, which made this section the most difficult of the rally. But it was close to home and most participants should have found their way back to the main road and the entrance to the park without opening the multi-point-penalty “Easter egg.” Full disclosure! The rally team did make one error on the question sheet. “R ONTO Bryan after 4th RAG” should have read “5th RAG.” Ironically, this was the last thing that was confirmed on the last drive through (of many, many drive throughs over many, many months), and we corrected it for 5 traffic lights, but the revision never made it onto the final draft. Finally, there was a bit of confusion over what constituted “helpful hints” and information that was considered part of a turn. This is “implied” in the rules rather than spelled out. Helpful hints always appear after the full instruction and are contained in (parentheses) or <diamond points> and are pertinent only after executing the maneuver (or at the point of the turn) to which they are attached – they are not part of nor do they precede the maneuver, nor are they necessary to complete the maneuver. Helpful, yes; necessary no. Examples of helpful hints as they appeared in the Rally are:

  • 11. L (Old Keystone);
  • 28. L 2nd OPPO <Careful, watch speed…go slowly >; and,
  • 38. R (RELAX!).

All of these turns could have been accomplished without the additional information contained within the parentheses or diamond points. Information that is considered part of the turn would include language such as “L after 2nd Rag,” or “R 3rd OPPO.” In these cases, information is contained in the command which must be counted and applied before reaching the turn and is, in fact, necessary to complete the task. Some instructions include both hints and information such as #28 above and 20. R 2/10 mile AFTER California Capital <Careful! >. In #20, California Capital helps define the turn and is part of the instruction, <Careful! > is not. Creating this rally was fun. But it was also a long process. Early in 2014, Dave Bild (former co-worker and PCA member) and I started mapping out a rather long rally route. In fact we found it necessary to cut the route in two (the other part is already waiting for a start and finish and will comprise the route for a rally next year) and concentrate on polishing the first half into a complete rally course. We finished the route with a start and finish for Dave’s use for another social group. No, not PCA! Dave and I put the project to bed for several months, and then, unfortunately, he was forced to cancel his rally in January of this year. Shortly thereafter, Bill Caldwell and I restarted the project and finished the route for an FSC start and finish and a rally scheduled for April – cancelled again! Finally, with the Flip-Flop Rally back on the schedule and filling with registrants, Bill, with Mary, joined James Koss and I and we re-polished and measured the rally over several days in October for our November 1st rally and picnic. Dave, Bill, Mary, James and I would like to thank everyone for attending the rally and picnic and making all the hard work worthwhile. We all had fun and we hope all of you did, too! Look for another rally on the FSC schedule for the fall of 2016.

The top six finishers of the Flip-Flop Rally:

1. Car # 9 Duane Daiker, Jeff Gawel
2. Car # 1 Ashley Gandees, Christopher Gandees
3. Car #12 Stan Dale, Janet Carpenter
4. Car #7 Donny Gribble, Amber Szedlar
5. Car #4 David Barcza, Terri Barcza
6. Car #11 Dennis Johnston, Kathleen Johnston

Places 1 through 6 all received awards and the points scored ranged from 20 to 182. Second place missed one item that cost them 100 points, otherwise there would have been a two-way tie for first place. Sixth place, car #11, finished a single point behind fifth place! Only one other participant finished within 100 points of the top six places. Bill Caldwell manned the grill for some most excellent Hamburgers, Hotdogs and Brats. After a great day behind the wheel of the Bimmers, we enjoyed a great picnic out by the lake. It just doesn’t get any better than this! Plan to join us for our next Rally…. see you there!

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