In mid June, Angela and I went to St. Louis, MO, to compete in the SCCA “Wilderness Trail” National Tour RoadRally. We were disappointed at registration to find we would be running unopposed in the Limited Equipment class. In spite of no direct competition, we gave it our best effort. While we made a few little mistakes which cost us a handful of points here and there, we made no major ones and finished with a fairly good score of 44 points on 19 scored legs. That put is in 6th place overall, ahead of at least two cars from the class above.
Family obligations for Angela forced me to find a different driver for the July “Hoosier Hills” and “Hoosier Hollers” SCCA Double-National Tour Road RoadRally Weekend in Southwest Indiana. Through a rally message board, I found that Jay Nemeth-Johannes of Milwaukee was also looking for a partner as his registered navigator had been hospitalized. We exchanged a few emails and decided to pair up; Jay would drive and I would navigate. We chose to use my car because his car lacked the proper hook-ups for my particular navigation equipment. As in St Louis, we were unopposed in the Limited Equipment class. We struggled quite a bit on Saturday, finishing last overall. I made a huge calculation error on a “Do It Yourself” leg which should have been an easy 0-point score. Instead my mistake resulted in us taking the maximum penalty for the leg, 100 points. We also struggled a little with team communication and delegation of duties. A couple of missed “Pauses” cost us 98 points at another checkpoint. Sunday we fared a little better in a more challenging rally. We swallowed an unfortunate 100 on an early leg due to a crisis of confidence; we were on the correct route, but weren’t sure and turned back. Had we gone another 100 yards, we would have seen the checkpoint. We recovered from there to do reasonably well, but that early unforced error ended up costing the overall victory. Jay and I finished second with 205 points against the winning teams tally of 157.
While Jay is a good rally competitor, easily the equal of Angela or I (if not better), the weekend really drove home how valuable team interaction is. Angela and I communicate effortlessly and intrinsically understand what our individual roles are as a driver/navigator team. We also understand each others weaknesses and are able to anticipate errors the other might make. So while we’re capable rally competitors individually, our real strength lies in our experience and compatibility as a team. Jay is every bit as good a driver as Angela, but together Jay and I together weren’t as good as Angela and I together.
Over the three rallies l earned 16 “Lifetime Points” (based on overall finish positions) which officially moved me into the “Senior” LTP Category. Only 172 more to go and I will be considered a RoadRally “Grand Master,” whatever that is! More importantly, the three class wins gave me 60 points towards the season SCCA Tour RoadRally National Championship. With the 10 points I earned at the “Badger Burrow” event earlier in the year I’m sitting with 70 total points. I will run two more Regional RoadRallies in Indianapolis in the coming months. Assuming I can earn a class win at both of them, I’ll be at 90-for-90. I can get the last 10 I need to secure a perfect 100-point season score and guarantee myself at least a share of the Championship just by organizing a Regional RoadRally, something I plan to do in early October. Given the relative lack of competition I’ve had to face along the way, I’m not sure I would feel particularly proud to cal myself a “Champion” if I win this year. That said, I haven’t dodged any competition. I’m showing up for the events hoping to have somebody in Limited Equipment to run against. If you think its been too easy for me, by all means come out and make me work for it! SCCA RoadRally could use some more participation at all levels, including National events.