WCRA website promoting Stage and TSD Rally Sport in British Columbia
The Totem Rally- “since 1962”
November 17-18, 2007
Presented by West Coast Rally Association

Totem Rally 2007
Ron Sorem © 11/20/2007

Cattle drive from CP shortcut, rally view is much different! (See Eric Horst's pix)

Cache Creek to Clearwater BC, November 17-18, 2007.

The West Coast Rally Association presented Totem Rally 2007 , the 25th year for Totem, and the final round of the 2007 BC TSD Championship and the Pacific Coast Challenge.

In a departure from their regular duties, Ron Sorem and Max Vaysburd swapped sides of the car (and swapped cars for that matter). Max did alright in his first competitive drive on snow. We were Checkpoint Crew "C" and along with five other crews we were charged with timing cars in one spot, then leap-frogging the rally to be able to time the same cars somewhere further down the course. Several times. Accomplished though rapid shortcuts with no "Sweep" to retrieve us if necessary.

Car 9 - Jason Webster and Brandon Harer, First Overall (first time on studded tires)

Car 1 - Glenn Wallace and R.Dale Kraushaar, 2nd overall.

All of Max's track time doesn't help in gravel rallies. He had a little bit of a steep curve getting used to the Hakkapeliittas on gravel -- with several reminders that they have soft sidewalls -- "don't cut", "try to stay away from sharp chunky rocks", etc. Fellow Checkpointer Steve Brown, with Alex Shubel in the right seat, cut another Hakka, but fortunately brought two spares -- although the second spare was a summer tire. Once we got to the snow, the first couple of corners were a bit squirrelly, and the braking, versus engine braking, was a bit rough with the automatic. The Subie locked up the tires a couple of times in safe spots. I haven't driven an automatic in snow competition so I don't know if I'd have done any better -- it seems like the car wants to be in the "wrong gear" for what we do with the manual tranny. (Although Gary Webb doesn't seem to have any trouble with the automatic in John Kisela's Subie, or "Esse" Richards in his Outback Sport.)

After our stint on the first Regularity, we transited with the rally to Clinton, then our first shortcut was to run counter-course into Jesmond. One problem: Cattle. Lots of cattle, and horsemen, and pickups, all driving cattle down the Pavilion-Clinton road. We inched our way quietly through the bovine chicanes (BC) and continued to our next CP location. Our trip through the herd went easily -- the rally was another story -- 30-minute delay at Clinton.

Our first big "oh sh**" moment was on Jesmond Road, at probably 60km/h, through a chicane with a beaver pond off of his side, which we nearly explored... He was a bit more cautious after that.
I held up pretty well actually, as a "novice navvie". I think my biggest frustration was trying to keep us on time, without accurate odometer input (my "rental car" adapter for the EZ-Pulse didn't arrive) so we were on the stock odo with short tires -- big deviations -- or on the GPS which didn't hold signal well enough to be reliable. Our worst scenario was on the checkpoint workers shortcut instructions that started out with "go about 20km" and then some further instructions to re-enter the route. I was adding correction factors, then updating the drift, then trying to add/subtract from the routebook odo. Km's for the GPS, and miles for the car odo... If we'd just been following the route -- we were just SOPing anyway -- but the shortcuts, and the shortness of time to do it, with a cautious driver, made my navvie stint a bit nerve wracking... but not the driving, just the timing. Max does OK in the snow, and with another few days of this kind of thing he'll be fine for Alcan -- where that will happen is still the mystery. Driving to Cache Creek to practice isn't likely to happen, and the roads that are getting snow down here won't be plowed out for "practice driving".

Car 4 - Satch Carlson and Russ Kraushaar, 3rd overall

Car 11 - Richards/Reid, First Calculator
There was one bad corner, which was not on the checkpoint shortcut, early in Exeter TSD -- so, I don't know where, exactly, it collected the three cars. Car 21, David Ryce and Timothy Ryce, (Dad was in Sweep) stuffed and recovered, suffering some underbody-to-drivetrain "rubbing", which was inspected at the end of the Regularity, and repaired overnight. The old Beetle (Savonia) stuffed, and was pulled out by Sweep (Peter Ryce and Paul Hyam) and continued. The Orange Beetle stuffed, probably avoiding the first Beetle and went off on the opposite side, rolled and permanently punched in the roof -- minor cuts, bruised, and embarrassed, but OK. Not extractable by Sweep so they became passengers.
Exeter was plagued by blown down trees, and as the checkpoint cars encountered each they would attempt to clear enough, so as to get by, and get to their locations. This soon became too time consuming, and the trees too big, to simply break off a few branches. The rally caught four of us, including Rally Master Paul Westwick and Tony Latham, as Course Opening, as we were sawing an 8-inch tree and pulling it away. The Stage-prepped Audi CP car had hit it at speed and wasn't able to stop so went under most of it and continued to his spot. The rest of us led the rally from tree to tree, then eventually got to 100 Mile House. That's why there was only one control in a 70km TSD.

Following the gas and grub break, we got to a logging road that was all new snow, maybe 6-inches deep. One or two tracks out front. After we caught Paul at our CP he left us, breaking new snow -- with snow falling fairly vigorously. The Car 16 STi, locked brakes on a very slippery downhill-medium-right, and punched a new exit to the outside of the corner... They dug and coaxed with no luck. The Checkpoint AWD Audi tried the strap but couldn't budge them, just spinning his tires. Sweep came up and used the bungee method, and succeeded in breaking the snatch strap. The STi was solidly high centered and the crew became additional passengers in the Land Rover.

The rally, and by now all the CP cars, had advanced to Clearwater and were now out of radio range. ALL of us had HT radios with roof mount antennas, and 5-watts just doesn't cut it. Any car with a proper Mobile Radio would have been able to keep in touch. So then the concern became "where was Sweep". Very faint contact confirmed they were slowly making their way through the course. They all got to the motel, and a tow truck was lined up for the Subie and the Bug.

Competition was very tight for the first day: Three cars at 3 -- Satch Carslon/Russ Kraushaar, RJ Carroll/Michele Mah, and Jason Webster/Brandon Harer; one at 4 -- Glenn Wallace/R.Dale Kraushaar; two at 6 -- Esko Mannisto/Michael Workman, and Marinus Damm/Renee Damm; and two at 9 -- Gary Webb/John Kisela, and Dan Comden/Hans Adomeit. First Calculator Steve Richards and Gary Reid, tied at 11 with First Historic Gil Stuart and Brian Carriere.

Car 17 - Perret/Hansen, First Paper

Car 17 - Stuart/Carriere, First Historic
Day two was very cold with plenty of ice but not much snow until Bridge Lake. We lost the 1971 Alfa Romeo early, temporarily, to electrical demons (fixed and rejoined the rally, skipping the first regularity) and one car went home to Alberta, after the first regularity (but it wasn't until everybody got to the finish that the whole story came to light) -- they had made contact with rally officials, but had been missing as far as workers knew, since the first break in Little Fort.
In typical Paul fashion, with precise choreography, the CP crews were expected to pass the entire rally during the last part of a TSD and a short transit -- in deep snow -- to get to their next locations. Max did OK. We made our CP locations before first car, but not by much. In one case the CP car was still backing into it's spot when I hit the timer for Car 1. Having done that once, we were all called upon to do it again for the next regularity. Five of the six CP cars made it (except the Jeep) with the help of having HAMs in the first three competitive cars, maintaining radio contact, and coordinating the passing. Max drifted nicely through a corner, ending the section, hit the odo reset on the fly, and didn't even spray rocks on the cars all parked there -- just in time to see Glenn Wallace and R.Dale Kraushaar in Car 1, leaving the front of the line... Much to the delight of Steve Perret and Kathryn Hansen, who issued a "well done Max" over the radio.

The "most scary thing" of the event was after the last control, in the convoy out, behind the rally on some spiffy roads in powder snow when a six-point buck jumped out in front of Max -- must have been REAL close!!! I was looking down at the time, and just heard an exclamation, when the car nosedived as best it could with the slippery surfaces. I looked up to see "just deer" in the windshield. It all worked but I didn't get a picture -- no one else saw the deer, just the car behind us saw the brake lights through the powder.

Results: Oregon's Jason Webster and Brandon Harer held on with a great second day 5, breaking all the ties, with a total of 8 in First Overall. Second with 10, Glenn Wallace (WA) and R.Dale Kraushaar (AZ); Third with 11, Satch Carlson (CA) and Russ Kraushaar (WA). First Calculator to Steve Richards (WA) and Gary Reid (WA) with 18. First Historic to Gil Stuart (BC) and Brian Carriere (BC) with 35. First Paper was Steve Perret (WA) and Kathryn Hansen (WA) with 146. And First Novice, in the Stage Prepared Impreza, Gavin Aitken (BC) and Todd Dunlop (BC).

Border was 30 seconds or less... Nice. Ya shoulda been there! We missed ya.
Full detailed results at www.rallybc.com

Carr 22 - Aitken/Dunlop, First Novice
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