MMR Blog

The Last Supper

Posted on May 29, 2014 Comments (0)

by Denise McCluggage

The Brits call it a recce, short for the pre-rally reconnaissance run teams do to make the pace notes that the navigator reads to the driver—“crest, straight, max; 30 yards blind-left, max.” etc. (I once had a look at Timo Makinen’s pace notes. Everything was “max.”)

After their recce for the Liege-Sofia-Liege several rally duos met by chance at a restaurant near the Yugoslav border and joined for dinner. As one of the group told me later the intent of all was to spend as much of the local cash they could. It turned worthless at the border and they were forbidden to take it out of the country anyway.

Eat up, everyone. And they did. But they still had wads of the currency left after the bill was paid. Everyone cleaned out his pockets. They called the waiter over and presented it all to him as his eyes widened. He left and came back with his boss. The rally guys assured the proprietor that it was all for the waiter, they were leaving the country and could not take it.

As they were finishing their coffee one nudged another and all followed his look. Their waiter was removing his apron, took his jacket off the hook and shrugged his way into it as he headed for the door. My informant told me there was even a spring in the old guy’s normal waiter’s shuffle and a prideful finality in the way the door closed behind him. One of the rally guys whispered: “Cor. How much do you suppose that lot was worth?”

Liege Sofia Liege


My Word: The Lotus-Etc I Left Behind

Posted on May 22, 2014 Comments (2)

By Denise McCluggage

There were two of them on a recent cover of the British magazine Octane. I smiled. Two mid-‘60s two-door sedans, simple and appealing, with narrow racing green stripes leaking from the side of the headlights to fill a little channel in their swelling sweep—door-handle high—aft to the taillights. Surely you’ve seen pictures. Imagine a wheel in the air, maybe two, with Jimmy Clark placidly sweeping his way to a saloon car championship (to go with his Formula 1 pair).

Jim Clark

Three names involved—Ford, Lotus, Cortina—used variously in differing order. My smile was in memory of these toothpaste-fresh cars and the fact that I walked off and left one in Yugoslavia. That was in 1963. It’s still in Titograd as far as I know except that Titograd is gone. They call it Podgorica now. As they had for centuries before.

I was one of few American drivers who got involved in rallies at the works-team level in the 1960s. Mixing rallies and races was common in Europe but American rallies were then, as the saying went, run by watchmakers and mathematicians. Racing folk were not drawn to them. European rallies were races with check points. I was to drive a number of them for BMC, Rover, Ford America, Ford of England and a few privateers.

In 1963 I was asked to share a Ford Cortina in the incredible Liege-Sofia-Liege with Anne Hall, one of England’s great rally drivers. The event really started at Spa, the race course, near Liege, aimed generally eastward over various routes including some famous rally sections and thence into the Balkans and on to Bulgaria’s capital—Sofia. There we had our first official rest stop.

En route we slept while the other driver was at the wheel or grabbed clumps of minutes if we managed to be early at a check point. But in Sofia we were each provided a hotel room in a grand but weary old hotel for a lie-down sleep of one full hour. You think Edison was a proponent of sleep-deprivation, try rallies. Then it was back toward the west, out of Iron Curtain countries, headed “home” to Belgium. Or so ran the plan.

The Cortina Lotus, Ford Cortina or even ‘Tina—call it what you will—arose out of cooperation between Colin Chapman of Lotus and Walter Hayes, a British journalist brought into the Ford public relations department to perk things up. He did. Delightful guy. The car with its assorted quirks—Chapman was involved after all—proved to be a newsworthy project and the various manifestations of the car made their mark on race courses and rally routes wherever they appeared. One of those chance happenings in car development that enliven the sidebars to history.

The rally had once been the Liege-Rome-Liege but the increasing traffic in Europe on roads straining to meet post-war demands was making it clear that open-road rallies were in for some restrictions. The destination was switched from Rome to Sofia to use the less-trafficked Eastern Europe.

Switzerland had already banned many such events from crossing its borders or imposed strictly enforced limitations. The organizers of the Liege-Sofia-Liege had placated the Swiss authorities by showing them the rules and route book which specified truly moderate average speeds in the high 20s at most. Ah, but there was a hidden catch, as we drivers were to discover. Maybe 20-something mph was the average called for on a certain leg, but not so obvious was another rule: the specification of a time range for each car in which each check point would be considered “open” for that car. As progress was made eastward those time ranges constricted like a boa until there was one “open” moment to check in. And that demanded the fastest motoring you were capable of. It was “whew” time in spades. Sorry Switzerland. (They must have caught on. The rally lasted just one more year.)

Anne and I had a great time pushing the Cortina to its max and getting a willing response. We made all the check-points in time, the car’s sides heaving appropriately as were our own. We pulled into Sofia for our lie-down rest still error-free. Maybe ten others were similarly clean.

Back across Yugoslavia. It is said when God made the universe He dumped all the leftover rocks in the mountains there. I’m sure of it. We laced our way up and over in long slightly tilted traverses with hairpins at the end. Children were at roadside selling fist-clumped flowers and waving. Many minutes later was another bunch of grinning kids. It took three such clusters before we realized they were the same damn kids! They climbed up the steep, rocky but short way and easily beat us to the next level.

Titograd, capital of Montenegro, was a major service spot for us. The station wagons loaded with parts, tires, oil and whatever else a rally car or crew might need took shorter routes when they existed or started earlier and drove like the clappers. Whatever, they were always parked and ready for us near the check point. We had a latish starting time out of Titograd and watched the service guys pack up and sweep off northward toward Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast. We would catch up with them beyond that. Ha!

Why our start time was so late I don’t know but we began our climb out of Montenegro following the crowd and feeling great. “Anne,” I said, “We’re going to win this.” She was horrified. As though I had uttered a forbidden name in a sacred place. “Don’t say that! You’ll jinx us!” Maybe I had gone through childhood carefully avoiding putting a foot on a sidewalk crack thus protecting my mother’s back from a break, but superstitions did not plague me. I shrugged and shut up.

Was it five or fifteen minutes later that the engine quit? Not a rarity among early Cortinas particularly, but a brutal shock to this rally team. Anne, to her credit, never even cast an accusing look in my direction. I flagged down a motorcyclist heading back toward Titograd and hopped on behind in the buddy seat. Maybe a Ford service vehicle was taking a late start. I’d look. Or I’d send a tow truck for Anne and the Cortina.

Nothing is so ended as a motor competition when the car dies. It’s as if it never existed. Zap. Total erasure. Passing-through becomes stuck here. And were we ever stuck. Nothing related to Ford was left. Nothing connected to the rally was in evidence.

Yugoslavia had several religions, a handful of languages and two quite different alphabets but somehow through all this I got someone to fetch Anne and the car. I also found a place to stay the night (plus plus plus as it turned out) and started looking for a way to get out of there.

Yugoslavia had strict rules as one might expect for a Communist country, particularly for one which wasn’t trusted any more by the Soviet Union than it was by the western nations. Tito was sui generis and I admired him for that. We were allowed to come in but we were expected to get out. And we signed promises to take everything—cars, jewelry, art, fur coats—we brought in with us out with us. Everything except money. We had to leave any unspent Yugoslav currency behind.

So how do you get a disabled Cortina, struck into immobility while as far from a permissible border as possible out to the world known as free?

Hire a tow car? Put it on a boat? Order a new engine? All costly and beyond our pay level to authorize. Remember, too, the world was technologically deprived in the early ‘60s. No computers or internet. No cell phones. Even land lines were sparse, particularly where we were. The fact that we didn’t show up for the next check point was the first indication that we had met with something untoward.

I don’t remember how we communicated with the folks on their way back to Belgium. Maybe Anne did that some way. Some moments are very clear from those Stranded in Titograd days. More have eddied away outside of memory.

I recall we had only the clothes on our backs so mine were dunked in a sudsy bathroom basin nightly. Fast-drying nylon was with us and my bright blue pants, styled in the then fashionable manner of ski pants complete with elastic stirrup that hooked under one’s heel, were of that fabric. Rinsed and dripping, I hung them in my open window to hasten drying until one morning I found them whipping in the wind about to take flight at tree top height. I hated to think what the crisis of being pant-less as well as car-less would be like so I took to completing the drying cycle with body warmth.

And, happily, we did have some great good luck as well: two Brits had suffered the same fate de la route we had. Their car, a Reliant Sabre 6, had also been towed lifeless into Titograd but they did not seem as concerned as I did that our names had been scrawled on a piece of paper with a wax seal that we had come with a car and would take one with us. Their Reliant was already in someone’s home garage as he rubbed his hands in glee.

The driver of the Reliant was no less than Raymond Baxter, former RAF pilot who now had one of the best and best known voices on the BBC. I had met him several times before and liked him a lot. His co-driver was Douglass Wilson-Spratt. Can one get more British? They were delightful companions and Titograd became almost a resort. We watched the nightly courting scene around the plaza as the young men strolled in one direction and the young women in the other in that universal manner of ignoring with rapt attention. It was good theater if rather plotless.

I don’t know why the task fell to me but on the first morning I went to see a state official about the car and how we could repatriate it. I had little experience conferring with officials of Communist states in their lair. What to expect? Most certainly not what I got. Immediately as I entered the office a thought simply presented itself as the most sensible thing to do: I should stay in Titograd with the car until Ford figured out some plan. And maybe with luck they never would. This guy who stood, smiled and gestured me to a chair was the singularly most attractive man I had ever seen. I did a quick check to make sure my mouth was not hanging open, smiled, nodded and sat.

I’m not sure what language carried our ensuing conversation. Maybe the Cyrillic alphabet was involved. But I got a quick impression this lovely man was less interested in what happened to the car than I was. Or rather than I had been. We did discuss the wounded car and the important signed papers but the sub-text was airier, more important and more fun. It was charming. But it ended.

I did leave with a decision about the car which could be summed up with so what? The Brits weren’t concerned about their Reliant, and as I later discovered lots of rally cars were left behind in strange garages in distant countries. And given the cost of recovery, why not?

I can’t say for sure how the now-four-of-us stranded rally drivers left Titograd except for a brief scene in the Zagreb airport involving not enough seats. Worked itself out I suspect because we were soon in London. I was more drifting in my recently richened fantasy life than paying attention.

Cortina

No one said much about the lost Cortina. Eugen Bohringer, a Stuttgart innkeeper who really knew what roads were for and how to direct a Pagoda Mercedes 230 SL over them, won the rally. Indeed, he did it twice.

The next January—1964—Anne and I kept a Ford Falcon running (and I never uttered the word “win”) and won the Ladies Cup in the Monte Carlo. We left the Falcon in Monte Carlo but with the Ford America people.

Speaking of fantasies, which I was somewhere, I like to imagine that the darling Communist in Titograd and the Ford-Lotus-Cortina we left there somehow found each other.

Well, it’s something.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on April 11, 2014 Comments (0)

F1

Just when we were expecting the worst, a fine race broke out. This was certainly one of the best races F1 has produced in recent memory. Bahrain is still a Mickey Mouse track but it would have been impossible to duplicate this kind of close racing at Spa. Why do TV racing producers feel compelled to keep the cars racing for the win off of our screens? This is not the first race this year where we are treated to the gripping battle for fifth while the battle for the win is ignored. Meanwhile, Ferrari and Renault need a new plan soon or heads will roll.

Denise McCluggage and Anne Hall in Ford Falcon -- Monte Carlo Rally

But Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It is the 50th Anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk’s Monte Carlo win and our lead image is of Denise McCluggage and co-driver Anne Hall blasting thru the Alps to win the Lady’s Cup and, more important, their class in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally! Denise also raced and won for Ford in The Shell 4000 Rally in Canada. Read on.

Winter Courting in Quebec

We never really took Summer rallying seriously. We just wanted to drive fast for an hour, find a secluded beach with a campfire and warm beer and neck. Ah necking! It was a far different time.

Winter rallies were different, we would bounce our little AH Sprites at breakneck speeds over snow packed and deeply rutted side roads in the Quebec countryside to finish in some warm little restaurant where we would learn that the winning team, generally driving a Volkswagen Beetle equipped with functional windshield wipers, a heater and a calculator, (The unfair advantage?) had finished an hour ahead of us and we had never even been on the same roads. Then we would fall back into our little cars, race all the way back to St. Jean with one eye glued to a five inch half circle of clear windshield. It is amazing that we lived. Girls wouldn’t come with us on these adventures because, one, they took place on Sunday mornings and they had to go to church, and two, the rallies were stupid and they weren’t. Besides they never necked on Sunday. It was their day off.

Uncommon Classifieds

This week’s classifieds are exceptional. Take a moment to buy one.

Alfas Everywhere!

S. Scott Callan shared images and a vignette about Enzo Ferrari and his days with Alfa—from his book Alfa Romeo: View From the Mouth of the Dragon. This week’s brilliant image of our favorite car (which resides at the Simeone Foundation Museum) is from Michael Furman’s book The Spirit of Competition.

Michael Furman photo

Have a great weekend. Don’t forget to share this with a friend.

Peter Bourassa


My Word: Fifty Years Ago Paddy Won

Posted on April 9, 2014 Comments (1)

But So Did We, With a Falcon!

By Denise McCluggage

The invitation read that fifty years ago Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini Cooper S. To honor that accomplishment there would be a gathering at one of my favorite places, the Candy Store in Burlingame, California. Alas, I sent regrets. Broke a bone the previous month and I’m still hobbling.

It was Paddy’s 80th birthday, too.

I'd been on the BMC (British Motor Corp) rally team along with the incredible Paddy in the early 1960s. Americans on British works teams were rare. Actually nonexistent except for me when it comes to that. Besides BMC I drove for Ford of England and for Rover. And for a couple of American factory teams too—General Motors and Ford. Didn't know they did that sort of thing, did you?

Which brings to mind the year that Paddy took the Mini to victory in the Monte—1964—I also had a bit of a success in that winter dash about the snow-bandaged Alps. In a Ford Falcon no less with Anne Hall, a.k.a. the Flying Yorkshirewoman. Outcome: we won the Lady's Cup and our class. Hey, Ford, remember that? Fifty years ago. The Monte Carlo!

Denise McCluggage and Anne Hall in the Ford Falcon -- Monte Carlo Rally

Well-l-l, never mind the roses. I got a lot of flowers when I broke that bone.

At that time rallies did exist in America but differed greatly from those in Europe. The European rallies were thinly-veiled road races lasting for days. American fans of today’s televised World Rally Championship would not recognize the sedate, intellectually-themed constructs that were American rallies then. Constrained by speed limits and no cultural history, American rallies were mathematical exercises. Time-distance events that depended less on high-performance driving skills and more on the ability for quick calculations, attention to detail, ability to follow instructions and not mess up.

In those contests check points were often unexpected, some even hidden, so adhering to the called-for speed—something like 22.7 mph changing for a few miles to 29.3 then to 30.6 and back—meant being at the correct speed always or risking penalties. Being early could cost even more than being late. Precision mattered and the navigator called the shots.

In Europe, on the other hand, we tried to be as early as possible to the next check point so we could have time for servicing the rally car from the support vehicles, usually station wagons that were driven shorter routes and/or driven as hard as competitors to stake out a spot near the approach to the check point to tend to our needs. Tire changes maybe, headlight aiming, etc. Arriving early was also the only way we could grab a few minutes of sleep or a quick bite of something.

In America the time-distance experts used what technology was available to aid their calculations. The latest thing was a dandy gadget called a Curta calculator. The Curta looked for all the world like a pepper mill right down to its little crank. It was a new twist on the slide rule and used by the brainiacs until computers—not long from being the size of the boy’s gym in junior high—shrank to passenger-seat use. The navigator adept with a Curta was in demand.

Still we scornful philistines who just wanted to drive as unrestrained as possible had figured out the secret to having fun in an American rally. Simply get gloriously lost early on and spend the rest of the event really hanging it out to more or less catch up.

Actually time-distance events are an art form of their own. And fun in their heady way. Some rally proponents, like Satch Carlson, are close to addiction in their devotion to them. I simply prefer the present WRC or the old European model. Didn’t a Harvard president take lots of heat for implying girls weren’t good at math? Sadly, he was right-on in my case. And I missed out on music, too. (I’ll blow a door off if you like.)

The Monte Carlo designated a number of European cities as starting points with all roads aimed for the Alpes-Maritimes, the favored neighborhood for most continental rallies. The teams I drove for seemed to favor Paris for a bon start. All entrants were doing the same transition routes and special stages as we got closer to Monte Carlo.

Studded tires were new about this time and were supposed to be the hot ticket. Studs were obviously best for traction on packed snow. Any further art had not developed to a fine state. The studs in the tires mounted on the Falcon were too long and on the hard ice and the frequent bare pavement they had nothing to dig into. It was like wearing golf shoes on a tile floor. Even worse because the studs were long enough to bend over. The car was all over the place with little rubber ever touching the road surface.

Anne was up to the task as weird as it was and good thing too. We had no time to change tires, even if we could find our support as we plunged down to the Mediterranean. Anne kept on top of the slithers and slides of the Falcon as we hair-pinned the last stretch into Monte Carlo.

The next day with new tires and the studs gone she might have had an easier time going for speed on the course of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix—solo in the car—but Anne’s forte was in the flying elbows of the rallyist of the day. She was a tiger on every turn. Looked fantastic.

So as Paddy and the Mini won the whole thing we took our little part of it, too.

Congratulations to all deserving. And, Happy Birthday Mr. Hopkirk.


Sandy on Assignment: Northwest Classic Rally… The Perfect First

Posted on August 8, 2013 Comments (0)

by Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

There could not have been a more perfect rally to be my first… the Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally. All I can say to every classic car enthusiast is, “Get out and rally!”

Flagged on by the March of Dimes family, the rally started in downtown Portland. Photo courtesy of Joe Cantrell

Flagged on by the March of Dimes family, the rally started in downtown Portland.
Photo courtesy of Joe Cantrell

Organized by the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Oregon with the Monte Shelton Motor Company as its long standing presenting sponsor, this is the oldest, still running, classic rally in America. Celebrating its 25th year, this true time, speed, distance rally (TSD) drew a record 102 entries for the four day event, starting out of Portland, Oregon the last weekend in July.

Never far behind, the Healey joins the Benz for a pit stop.

Never far behind, the Healey joins the Benz for a pit stop. 
Photo courtesy of Bring-A-Trailer

I was to be the navigator for veteran ralliest, Ralf Berthiez, so I knew I would be in good hands. Having done the NW Classic twice before with his Dad, Ralf graciously agreed to drive his beautiful light blue metallic 1975 Mercedes 450 SL down from Anacortes, Washington to Portland, before shipping it back home to Virginia.

Entered as vintage we were one of three classes; touring, vintage, and standard. The distinction—special interest cars manufactured before 1981 were within the vintage and standard classes with vintage restricted to the use of original equipment—speedometer and odometer. Touring vehicles, without any age restrictions, simply ran the route without time restraints in a follow-the-leader scenic tour, leaving before the other two classes.

Thursday evening street gathering the night before take off.

Thursday evening street gathering the night before take off.

The weekend started Thursday evening in downtown Portland, with a mix of classic cars lining the streets in front of the Monte Shelton Jaguar dealership. We picked up our registration packets then gathered around Rally Chairman Reid Trummel, and Rally Master Simon Levear for instructions. A show of hands for number of years in attendance was impressive—many 5, 10, 15 year veterans with two having rallied the Classic for 25 years!

This year, participants were given their spiral bound general instructions and rally route books, the night before. Rally book in hand, I headed off to rally school—yes, there is such a thing! The first priority for participants, we were told, is to always remain on course. Sounds simple enough, yet I discovered there is an art to reading the instructions, which are in a sort of rally code. Just one slip-up throws everything off.

I shot my hand up during the Q & A, asking, “How does the navigator communicate all the instructions to the driver, at once?” A fair question, since there were often five pieces of information per route instruction—keeping in mind the TSD format—along with an average of 12 instructions per timed section, or regularity, as it’s called. I knew if I were driving, I would probably forget what was said in a nanosecond. “It’s up to the driver and navigator to get in sync”, was the short answer. After school, I asked Ralf how he would call out the instructions, if he was the navigator—he rattled off the pieces of information he needed to drive the rally… not everything at once… almost like repeating verses in a song… bingo, I knew we would be in sync!

Under the watchful eye of the BOSS, the Benz is ready for an early morning start. Photo courtesy of Bring- A- Trailer

Under the watchful eye of the BOSS, the Benz is ready for an early morning start.
Photo courtesy of Bring-A-Trailer

We tucked the Benz into the Westin Hotel garage for the night. The next morning we discovered a sharp looking orange 1970 Mustang BOSS 302 with a front window sticker, Bring-A-Trailer, behind the Benz almost watching over it. How cool was that, I thought!

Ready and poised for my first rally!

Ready and poised for my first rally!

We all headed off to the Monte Shelton dealership, the start line of the rally. I had my post-its on the dash for quick rally lingo translation! Being car #52, we left at 8:26am the first day, using the rally time formula, although our rally start time was 8:00am in the rally book. Needless to say, we had two watches to keep everything straight! Cars left in 30-second increments at the start, then one minute apart for the rest of the rally… enough space so we didn’t pile up on each other, if we got ourselves into a timing jam!

The Drive Away Cancer Car #51 was our beacon, stealing the hearts of everyone.

The Drive Away Cancer Car #51 was our beacon, stealing the hearts of everyone.

I was so excited! We were off… sandwiched in between a strange looking 1965 Triumph TR4A in front, with names written all over the car in Sharpie and a coordinating sleek blue 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 MKIII behind us. It wasn’t until the final dinner on Saturday evening that I learned the touching story behind John Nikas and his Drive Away Cancer cars… teary eyed, I took the Sharpie and added my parents’ names to the car.

Day 2, the touring group sets off from the Oregon Garden Resort.

Day 2, the touring group sets off from the Oregon Garden Resort.

Sandy joins friends Cindy Banzer and Sue Halton of Portland, for a photo next to their 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider 2000.

Sandy joins friends Cindy Banzer and Sue Halton of Portland, for a photo next to their 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider 2000.

Much of both rally days was spent driving, with a stop for lunch, which gave us a chance to begin meeting the enthusiasts and their cars. The eclectic mix of cars included a 1935 Bentley, 1953 Allard J2X, 1958 Peerless GT and a plethora of Jaguar E-Types, 356 Porsches and of course many Alfas from the 60s and 70s.

Ralf and Sandy join rally chairman Reid Trummel and guest speakers John Nikas and Denise McCluggage.

Ralf and Sandy join rally chairman Reid Trummel and guest speakers John Nikas and Denise McCluggage.

Friday evening, we heard from Tom Kreger about setting land-speed records in his Saab on the Bonneville Salt Flats… quite a venue, to say the least! Ever entertaining, Denise McCluggage shared her competitive rally stories with us Saturday evening, making me think we were on track when it came to getting ourselves out of our own rally jams!

What a beautiful setting to run out of gas.

What a beautiful setting to run out of gas.

This was my first trip to Oregon, another reason why rallies are the perfect vacation for classic car enthusiasts. If it hadn’t been for the rally, I doubt I would have ventured into this beautiful state. The rally, culminating at our final destination only 45 miles out of Portland at the Oregon Garden Resort, took us over a contrast of farmlands and vineyards onto the fringes of the breathtaking Cascade mountain range.

Even though we passed the B-A-T team at this point, they managed to make up time with a fantastic 23rd place finish in the vintage class. Photo courtesy of Bring-A-Trailer.

Even though we passed the B-A-T team at this point, they managed to make up time with a fantastic 23rd place finish in the vintage class. Photo courtesy of Bring-A-Trailer.

The rally book gave the exact time (to the second) and mileage that we should be at every designated turn, sign or landmark. Every timed stage had a mystery check point where two volunteers would record the exact time we passed a certain location. The idea is not to be early or late, to the second. Early on, we missed the SOL (sign on left) for a turn. We circled and circled, looking for it. Finally finding it, we floored the Benz, Denise style, and got back on track. We stumped ourselves again, this time trying to figure out what, “Observe Stop OR Right @ 105th” meant. What it did not mean was to make a right at the stop sign! Thank goodness for the Benz, again. As we were flooring it, we noticed other cars doubling back, with a feeling of relief we weren’t the only ones off course! Day 2 found us in a slight dilemma. After a quick right then left turn from the instructions, we high tailed it down a street that looked like the next instruction, except for an additional word inserted onto the street sign… again, we put the Benz to the test to get us back on course! Fun? You bet!

Teams and cars celebrated with a beer wash at the end of the rally. Photo courtesy of Jim Cantrell

Teams and cars celebrated with a beer wash at the end of the rally.
Photo courtesy of Jim Cantrell

With 80 registrants already signed up for 2014, it’s easy to see why participants look forward to returning year after year. Registration is reasonable, $650 per car which includes the Thursday Welcome Reception, two days of rallying and meals, Saturday Afternoon Beer Wash, along with a Sunday Awards Brunch… all for two! Lodging, gas and travel to the event are additional. I would say there were a handful of participants, from other parts of the country, mostly there because they had a reason to be in the area. All others were from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Not to say that this should deter anyone from attending. Supporting the March of Dimes, this rally is another motorsports gem I highly recommend.

The Duster! NW Classics first American car rally winner.

The Duster! NW Classics first American car rally winner. 
Photo courtesy of Jim Cantrell

Both in sync after two days of fun and rallying!

Both in sync after two days of fun and rallying!

The overall winning rally car was a 1974 Plymouth Duster, with a score of only 42 penalty seconds… compared to over 40 penalty minutes for the last car! It goes to show it takes three to win a rally—driver, navigator and car… all in sync! Just how I felt after two full days on the road… all in sync, having had a blast on my first rally!