The 2018 running of the Winter Challenge car rally will be held on the afternoon, evening, and night of February 10, 2018. The rally will start and end in Barre, VT which is located in the northern part of Vermont. That is the hilly, snowy, and crooked road part of Vermont. It will start about 4:00PM on Saturday afternoon and end about 2:00AM Sunday morning. I have competed in this rally a number of times and won it once.
Typically Frank Beyer from Syracuse, NY will compete in rallies in the northeast USA with Mike Mazoway, but as Mike is unavailable, Frank asked me to be his navigator for this event. I have competed in several rallies with Frank and I like this rally, so this was an easy “yes”.
The Winter Challenge is typically broken down into three distinct parts. The first part of the rally is a lightly trapped section where you have to pay very close attention to what you are doing. As it is getting dark it requires a little extra effort. Below is a sample of what can be expected in Section 1. Note that the speeds are in miles per hour and the timing is in 1/100 minute. For example, in Route Instruction 54 “Pause 10” means to add 0.10 minutes or 6 seconds to your perfect time calculations at that location. “Take 4.5 min” means to take 4 minutes 30 seconds to perform the route instruction.
In the above example I recall Route Instruction 54. It turned out that Webster Road was a crescent-shaped road. The first time we came to Webster Road it was about 0.7 miles after Route Instruction 53. I remember telling my surprised driver to keep going and not to turn right on this Webster Road, hoping that there was a Webster Road at a distance of 0.9 miles. Thankfully there was.
The second portion of the rally is the map section. The average speeds in this map section are higher than in the first section. The map provided is usually a photocopy of an older map to a scale that is unknown and is usually to some scale that is not at any commercially available measuring devices. Often there are several maps and they are not always to the same scale. As I said, the maps are old – everything on the maps is correct, but not everything is shown on the map. There may be other roads not shown. One of the many reasons that the rally is called the Winter Challenge.
Section 2 Example
In the above example “BTZ” means begin transit zone and “ETZ” means end transit zone. By the way, in this rally you have to be on time all of the time and the timing controls are hidden. Times are measured to the 1/100 minute. “CAS” means either continue average speed or change average speed. The numeric points on the map refer to the written route instructions below.
The third part of the Winter Challenge is quite brisk. The instructions are provided mainly by tulip diagrams with some additional helper information. Mileage is given to most turns and there are fewer speed changes. Section 3 is not a navigator’s section, it’s a driver’s section. This section will likely take place after midnight when traffic on the rural roads is minimal.
It is important that competitors dim or shut off their rally lights in residential areas. Having rally lights sweep through someone’s bedroom window at 1:00AM is no way to make friends!
Section 3 Example
This is quite a popular rally and many people who only compete in a few rallies per year will especially take part on this rally. There are two classes – those who have rally odometers/computers and those who just use the car’s stock speedometer/odometer. Most of the cars are four-wheel drive (ie Subaru WRX and the like) and a scoring handicap is provided for two-wheel drive cars in an attempt to equalize things, but road conditions can be quite variable in the hills and valleys in Vermont winter conditions.
I am looking forward to this rally and to rallying once more with Frank Beyer. For more information, check out the event website at the following address:
If you have any comments or questions about this post please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net