Photos From The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

The following are some random photos that I took at the 2014 Pumpkin Run rally that was put on by the Northeast Rally Club on October 17, 19, & 20, 2014 in Millsboro, Delaware.


The Rally Attracts A Wide Range Of Vehicles – A 1916 Hudson, A 1966 Mustang, And My 2003 Mercedes-Benz

The picture below of myself and Harald von Langsdorff was taken near the start of the practice rally on Friday afternoon.  It was nice to be able to rally with the top down.


Myself & Harald von Langsdorff With Our Mercedes-Benz

The car below is the Bitterman family’s 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook.  This has been a sad year for the Bitterman family as they lost a wife and mother when Mary Bitterman died earlier this year.  The Bitterman family have competed in many Northeast Rally Club events over the years.


The Bitterman’s 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook

The Mercedes-Benz shown below was clearly the fastest car in the event.  The 2014 all wheel drive Mercedes-Benz wagon had the factory AMG treatment with the owner noting that the engine had 580 horsepower!


2014 Mercedes-Benz Bi-Turbo AMG Wagon


Pro Class Fourth Place Finisher Haverty/Pusey 1937 Ford Coupe

The 1969 Saab 96 shown below was crewed by the team of Bill Holmes/Steve Keller.  They had very good results especially taking into account that this was the first rally that Bill had driven in.  Steve Keller is a very competent navigator with considerable Great Race and similar event experience.  I had met Steve before at several of the Northeast Rally Club rallies and Harald & I have always enjoy his company.


1969 Saab 96

The lovely Camaro SS396 shown below was entered the Marcus boys.  They are shown standing behind the Camaro.  They also competed in this year’s Great Race.  These are great guys and they had an excellent rally finishing second in the SOP Class.


1968 Camaro SS396 Convertible

The 1916 Hudson Hillclimber shown below is a perennial top finisher in the hands of the Sharp family.  In this year’s Pumpkin Run rally they finished second in the Pro Class.


1916 Hudson Hillclimber

It is always nice to see the mid-1960s full-size Fords.  It seems to me that these cars were not preserved in large numbers.  The number of remaining mid-1960s full-size Fords seems far less than the full-size Chevys of the same age.


1966 Ford Galaxy

The Sunbeam Tiger shown below was entered by a Hagerty insurance executive with Jeff Stumb, one of the key Great Race staff members as the navigator.  During the rally they had some problem with the fuel system, but they were able to get it repaired.


1966 Sunbeam Tiger


1932 Chevrolet Sedan

The 1966 Dodge Charger shown below is another of the Bitterman cars.  This car sounded great with the big Chrysler V8 engine.


1966 Dodge Charger

As you can see from these few photos, there was a wide variety of cars entered in the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  Harald and I enjoyed being part of this rally.

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Success At The Final Day Of The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald von Langsdorff and I had a very successful final day at the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  We scored another Ace by having a perfect score on one of today’s legs.  Again, we were the only Seat Of The Pants Class car to score an Ace.  And more importantly we won the SOP Class for the full today rally by a comfortable margin.  We also got a trophy for winning the SOP Class at practice rally on Friday.


Our Pumpkin Run Rally Awards

I will have more on the rally later this week, but right now I’m a little tired after having navigated in the rally in the morning and then driving the car home.  It was a very enjoyable rally.

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Day 2 At The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald von Langsdorff and I had another successful day at the 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally.  Today was the first day of the official rally.  There were nine controls today and we had very good scores on seven of the controls.  In fact, we are leading the SOP Class or “Seat of the Pants” which means that we can only use the car’s stock speedometer.  Harald is getting used to driving my car and we are working well together with  course following and timing.

Also we were the only SOP Class car to score an Ace today, which means that we had a perfect score of zero on a leg.  We had a number of leg scores less that 4 seconds, so we believe that we have many of the rally issues sorted out.

Tomorrow is the final day, so we need to continue our current pace.  The rally starts at 7:00AM, so we need to get a good night’s sleep.

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Day 1 At The 2014 Pumpkin Run Rally

From the point of view of Harald von Langsdorff and myself the first day of the Pumpkin Run Rally was quite successful.  Today they held a practice rally and we won the SOP Class and were 7th Overall.  Our car ran well and we were able to get rust off for Time-Speed rallies as it has been about 6 years since we competed together in these types of rallies.

We had good fun and the Northeast Rally Club put on a great lunch and dinner.   We were able to renew some friendships and make new ones.  Tomorrow should be even better.


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Last Minute Change For Us At The Pumpkin Run Rally

Harald Von Langsdorff and I have arrived in Millsboro, Delaware for the start of the Pumpkin Run Rally.  Late this morning while getting ready to prepare our Performance Chart for the rally, we discovered that the water pump on Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 300 6.3 is on its last legs.  I drove my Mercedes-Benz 230SLK down to Millsboro to meet Harald, so now our plan is to drive my car in the SOP Class as I don’t have a wheel sensor to use on the my Mercedes, therefore we cannot compete in the Pro Class using the calibratable speedometer.  I have wheel sensors to fit other cars that I have navigated in, but not my own.

We just returned from doing some timing measurements to set up a Performance Chart for my Mercedes-Benz.  While we started thinking that it was rather late to be setting up the Performance Chart with our original plan, this problem with Harald’s car just makes things a little more challenging for us.

The good news for Harald is that Star Motors in Endicott, NY, about 300 miles from here on Harald’s way back to Ontario, has some parts and will be able to work on Harald’s car on Monday.  By replenishing the coolant water, it is thought that Harald will be able to make it to Star Motors.  I have been to the Star Motors shop in Endicott, NY and they are very helpful and capable of fixing older Mercedes-Benz cars.

I will provide an update on our progress after the practice rally tomorrow.


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Brooklands Museum

This past Sunday I got some photos from Jim Blumenfeld of his recent visit to the Brooklands Museum in England.  Brooklands, one of the first purpose-built race tracks in the world, was built in 1907.  This was a 2.75 miles long concrete track (Outside Track) that had three turns.

Brooklands Circuit Layout

Brooklands Race Track

The track featured 30 degree banking which allowed for some very high speeds.  The track must have been quite rough.  Most of the photos that I have seen of the racing at Brooklands show airborne cars where cars should not be airborne.

John Cobb Brooklands

John Cobb At Brooklands

Racing ended at Brooklands in 1939.  From that time portions of the track began to disappear and the remaining track has deteriorated.  The photo below shows some of the Brooklands banking these days.

Brooklands Today

Brooklands Today

There is a Brooklands Museum near the remains of the track.  Jim Blumenfeld of Massachusetts recently visited the Museum and he sent me the following photos.  When Jim sent the photos to me, Jim did not identify the cars, so I have attempted to identify the cars.  I hope that I have correctly done so.  Please let me know of any corrections needed.

Alvis Special 1953

1953 Alvis Special

As I looked at these pictures, I could not help but notice that the museum has a lot of cars.  In many cases, the cars are stored wheel to wheel with little room between them.

Austin Seven

An Austin Seven

The photo below shows some of the buildings that make up the Brooklands Museum.  I don’t know if these buildings were originally on site or if they have been relocated to the Brooklands Museum.


A Bentley

Cooper T72 Formula 3

Car #10 Is A Cooper T72 Formula 3 Racer

Leyand Thomas Special

Leyland Thomas Special

Ridley Special 1931

1931 Ridley Special

The modern MG V8 shown in the photo below is an interesting car.  I don’t think that these cars were ever available in North America.



The Brooklands Museum seems like an interesting place to visit, but it looks like you should allow yourself plenty of time to look around.

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Comparing SCCA Rally Results Versus Great Race Rally Results At The Coker Tire Challenge

In September of this year the Coker Tire Challenge was held in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.  This rally, put on by the Coker Tire folks, typically has been a Time-Speed rally with many experienced “Great Race” competitors.  This year the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) decided to hold their premier rally event, the United States Road Rally Championship, in association with the Coker Tire Challenge.  The combined event would be run over the same course, using the same instructions, and the same timing controls and methods.  This provides as unique opportunity to compare the results and skills of the two groups.

When the combined event was being planned, it was decided to start the SCCA rally field behind the Great Race rally field to prevent the Great Race field from “hacking” off the SCCA competitors.  Hacking is a rally method whereby a trailing competitor will observe a competitor ahead of them and then adjust their time to be at the same location 1 minute later than the competitor who is running ahead of them.  As the cars usually start 1 minute apart, hacking, when possible, is sometimes used as a desperation method if the following car has messed up their timing.  Hacking is the antithesis to the old rally axiom – “Run your own rally.”

Before the rally started there was the belief that the SCCA competitors, all being able to use odometers and many using rally computers, would be able to run closer to the perfect times than the Great Race competitors who are limited to a one analog time-of-day clock, one stopwatch, and a calibratable speedometer.  In addition, many of the Great Race are competing in antique cars.  The actual results produced the opposite results as the top Great Race competitors outshone the top SCCA competitors.

The table below shows the results of the SCCA competitors.  The vast majority of the competitors are among the top SCCA competitors who compete in “national” events.  Class E competitors can use sophisticated rally computers, while Class S competitors are restricted to using standard vehicle odometers and hand-held calculators.

Coker Challenge Scan10001

Results Of The SCCA Competitors In The 2014 Coker Tire Challenge

Note that the two top SCCA teams had a total time penalty of 36 seconds for the three days.  There is a noticeable drop off with the third and fourth place teams having a total scores of about  1 minute 30 seconds.

Below are the results of the Great Race competitors.

Coker Challenge Scan10002

Results Of The Great Race Competitors In The 2014 Coker Tire Challenge

Looking at the Great Race results, the top five competitors had total timing errors (compare the “Total” column in the Great Race results with the “Score” column in the SCCA results) better than the winning SCCA teams.  The third place SCCA team would have placed 13th in the Great Race field!

Howard Sharp Coker Tire Winner 2014

Howard & Doug Sharp On Their Way To Winning The 2014 Coker Tire Challenge In A 1916 Hudson (1)

Given the widespread better performance from the Great Race competitors, using inferior rally equipment and much older cars, as compared to the SCCA competitors, in a head-to-head competition at the Coker Tire Challenge, it seems that the Great Race competitors have very high rally skills.

(1) Photo by Tommy Lee Byrd

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