2017 Penn-York Rally Was Quite Successful

Last weekend the Northeast Rally Club held the Penn-York Rally in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.  This time-speed rally is called the Penn-York Rally because Beach Lake, Pennsylvania is located just over the border between Pennsylvania and New York states.  Portions of the rally took place in both states.  The rally was a “shakedown” rally for Harald von Langsdorff’s newly built 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC.  In a few weeks Harald von Langsdorff and I will be competing, using this car, in the 9-day long Great Race rally from Jacksonville, Florida to Traverse City, Michigan and therefore we wanted to determine if the car was ready for that long, multi-day rally.  Even the 400-500 miles drive from Toronto, Ontario to Beach Lake was helpful as a fan failure occurred on the way to the rally.  It is much better to have things like this occur now rather than during the Great Race.

A Frequent View Of The Mercedes-Benz 350SLC During The Penn-York Rally Weekend

Much of our weekend was spent in the parking lot of the Central House in Beach Lake working on the car.  There were some issues that we knew had to be completed, in addition to the surprises that came up over the rally weekend.  The Central House was the place were most of the rally competitors stayed and it certainly was a very pleasant, friendly place to stay.

Central House Hotel In Beach Lake, PA

One of the things that we discovered during our pre-rally testing was that our speedometer drive/pulse generator was not working correctly.  It was causing our Timewise 825 speedometer to constantly swing back and forth with a 15 mile per hour amplitude.  In a rally where you can only use a speedometer and a stopwatch, a faulty speedometer set-up is fatal to your chances of success.  We determined that this could not be properly fixed at the rally, therefore we installed an E-Z Pulse external wheel sensor on the rear wheel that Harald had brought along as a backup.  The photo below shows the Mercedes-Benz with the E-Z Pulse wheel sensor installed with the external cable leading inside the car.

The 1972 Mercedes-Benz With The E-Z Pulse Drive Installed

During the weekend the rear sway bar on the car broke which resulted in some strange noises from its rear end.  Harald also added some warning signs for those who follow too close to our rear end.

Note The Caution Signs Added To The Car!

David Wells, who had a lot to do with the re-building of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz came to the Penn-York Rally to continue this assistance and to get an inside look at these time-speed rallies.  He is interested in competing in these events in the future.  The picture below shows Dave and Harald at the Penn-York Rally.  David, who has recent experience in servicing a Ferrari 308 in the East Africa Safari rally, also was able to work on a control timing crew during the Penn-York Rally.  David will also be attending the Great Race to support Harald and I.  We are lucky to have his help.

David Wells And Harald von Langsdorff At The Penn-York Rally

As usual, there were many older cars taking part in the 2017 Penn-York Rally.  And just to keep everyone in order, Jim and Louise Feeney brought along their 1936 Ford police car.  Now we know where Car 54 is!

Jim And Louis Feeney’s 1936 Ford 4-Door Sedan

Due to our problems with the car, Harald and I decided to skip the practice rally that was held on Friday afternoon.  We needed to do more car performance testing rather than take part in a practice rally.  To us, data was more important than rally experience.

On Saturday we took part in the main Penn-York Rally.  The rally roads were quite hilly and interesting.  The rally route took us for a nice lunch stop in a lovely state park were we had a welcome prepared luncheon.  Many of the park visitors were interested in the variety of cars that were taking part in the rally.

Saturday Lunch Time Parking

We finished the nine scored rally legs on Saturday with all of our scores being 4 to 9 seconds late.  This was clearly a pattern which caused us to make an adjustment to our factor in the calibratible Timewise 825 speedometer for the Sunday portion of the rally.

On Sunday morning we had an interesting stop during the rally at Cranker’s Museum Of Mechanical Marvels in Sterling, PA.  From the outside it appears to be a very modest museum, but inside is an interesting collection of high end American cars.

Cranker’s Museum Of Mechanical Marvels Was A Sunday Morning Stop

Inside Cranker’s Museum of Mechanical Marvels is an impressive collection of mostly Lincolns and Cadillacs.  I spoke briefly with the owner’s son who told me that the cars were purchased, not so much for display, but as an investment.  Certainly owning these cars is a lot more interesting than simply having the money earn zero interest in the bank.

Cranker’s Is An Impressive Collection Of Mainly Lincolns And Cadillacs

One of the cars in the collection that I liked best was the 1937 Cadillac Model 62, shown below.  This 2-door coupe had great lines and I especially liked the long hood.  This car was powered by a 346 cubic inch flathead V8 that produced 135 horsepower.  It also had a rumble seat.  I am not a particular fan of rumble seats, as I think that the additional trunk space would be more useful.

1937 Cadillac Model 62

Our scores improved on Sunday and we were even awarded an Ace for scoring a perfect zero on one leg.  We also scored a 2 seconds and 4 seconds on what for us was 4 timed legs.  Our total scored time was off considerably due to some scoring methodologies that are too long to explain and actually are not relevant to the point of this rally for us.

Our Ace Award For Leg 1 On Sunday

Our friends, Brian Blood and Steve Keller finished third overall in the Champion Class in their 1969 Saab 96.  They did very well in a class with very highly skilled competitors.

Brian Blood And Steve Keller Flank Corky Rutledge With Their Trophies

Other friends, Rockney Rookey and Larry Tribble, finished second in the Pro Class.  They did very well in Larry’s lovely 1955 Chevrolet.

Rockney Rookey And Larry Tribble Won Second Place In The Championship Class

In addition to having a very productive and informative rally, I also had a meeting on late afternoon on Thursday in the Three Wishes Restaurant in Beach Lake with Simon Arscott who lives in nearby Eldred, NY.  Simon has a very interesting and significant rally car and it looks like we might be doing some Sports Car Club of America rallies together in it later this year.  I will explain this further in the upcoming days.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Penn-York Rally, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Darryl Hurter’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb Adventure

I exchange emails on a fairly regular basis with Darryl Hurter of South Africa.  Among other things, Darryl is the owner of a Triumph Chicane.  Triumph Chicanes are small sedans that had an engine from the Triumph sports cars.  These cars have an interesting rally history, but recently Darryl used his Chicane to compete in the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in Knysna, South Africa.  This is an important motorsport event that even attracted American racer, Randy Pobst.

Darryl sent me his report on the hillclimb which I have added to this post.  Darryl’s report is below:


When Darryl sent me the report, I was able to watch the video noted at the end of Darryl’s report.  Now the video is listed as no longer available.  I guess that the lesson learned here is to post items like this more quickly.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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North American Finishers At The 2017 Mille Miglia

The 2017 Mille Miglia ended this past weekend.  Each year there always a good number of North Americans competing in the Mille Miglia and this year was no exception.  To see how these teams did, I went through the overall standings and picked out the results of the cars with North American participation.  This listing is presented below.

Finishing Order Of The North American Teams At The 2017 Mille Miglia

Finishing         Car Final
Position Driver Navigator Car Year Number Points
36 Oriol Vilanova (E) Shawn Till Chrysler 75 1929 64 50012
71 Richard Lisman Clifton Fink Lagonda M45 Rapide 1935 124 36944
125 Thomas Sargeant Mary Sargeant Lancia Appia GTZ 1957 444 29923
144 Robert Blakemore(CDN) Greg Wood Aston Martin: 2 Litre Speed Model 1936 129 27115
148 Stephen Dixon John Gautrey (CDN) MGA 1955 404 26755
153 Ananda Covindassamy (F) Ranga Covindassamy OSCA MT4 1450 2AD 1953 284 26329
157 David Wells Marian Walecki (GB) SIATA 300 BC 1952 249 25879
170 Donald Behrens Maximilian Behrens Cisotalia 202 S MM Spider 1947 161 22789
173 David Atcherley Richard Poole (GB) Alfa Romeo: Giulietta Sprint Veloce 1956 418 22205
191 John Barrett Lindsay Barrett Fiat 1100/103 Berlina 1953 295 19423
204 Martin Gruss Martin Brogard Alfa Romeo: 6C 1750 Gran Sport 1933 99 16873
209 Guy Gervais (CDN) Louis Grenier (CDN) Citroen DS19 1957 452 15790
211 Jeff Lotman Brian Grozier Lincoln Capri 1954 273 15434
228 Ted Marlow Kent Thirley (GB) Jaguar XK140 SE Drop Head Coupe 1955 274 11971
232 Stephen Bruno Kim Bruno Ferrari 250GT Boano 1956 232 11493
251 Paul Gould Robert Dean Alfa Romeo: 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato 1931 79 8389
254 Balaji Ramamoorthy Ashley Ramaamoorthy Porsche 356 1953 267 7691
275 Luca Pascolini (I) Joseph Bastianich Healey 240 Silverstone E-Type 1950 235 -2755
279 David Graus Scott Richter Frazer Nash Targa Florio 1951 225 -4102
283 Theo Bean, Jr. Ann Bean Ferrari 500 Mondial 1954 320 -8719
300 John Devine Alan Matthews (GB) Ferrari 500 TR Spider Scaglietti 1954 422 -37552
317 Carlo Duci (I) Helio Ascari Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider 1955 309 -78551
321 Spencer Croul Natalie Croul Zagato Fiat 8V 1953 303 -97409
329 John Houghtaling Franco Valobra Jaguar XK120 OTS Lightweight 1952 240 -143025
337 Dirk De Groen (NL) Alexandra De Groen BMW 328 1937 132 -189299
349 William Sheffler Elisabeth Scheffler SIATA Daina GS Stabilimenti Farina 1952 245 -300020
358 Marc Behaegel (B) Lorraine Rosenblum Zagato Fiat 8V 1955 393 -451477
372 Stephen Brauer Camila Brauer Jaguar XK120 OTS Roadster 1950 216 -966509

Congratulations to the top finishing American, Shawn Till, who was navigating in a 1929 Chrysler driven by Oriol Vilanova.  They finished 36th Overall, which was a significant improvement from last year when they finished 48th.  It is very difficult to move up that far in the standings when you are near the front of the field.

The second highest finishing Americans were Lisman/Fink who finished in 71st Overall position in a Lagonda. I noted that they finished in 94th position last year, therefore they have moved up as well.

Car #418 Is The 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Driven By American David Atcherley With British Navigator Richard Poole

For the complete list of all finishers for the 2017 Mille Miglia click on the following file:

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As I have said before, this is a special event and my congratulations go to all of those who were able to participate and finish this very prestigious event.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Mille Miglia, then leave a comment below, or send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Photos From The 2017 Mille Miglia

Over the past few days I have been lucky enough to have a person send me some photos from the 2017 Mille Miglia.  Joe Kovacs is in Italy for the purpose of watching the Mille Miglia.  Joe said that he would send me some photos 0f the Mille Miglia and he certainly has.  The picture below shows Joe, on the right, with former racer Jochen Mass.  Jochen Mass is a frequent Mille Miglia participant with a Mercedes-Benz relationship.

Jochen Mass With Joe Kovacs At The Mille Miglia

In the morning of Wednesday, May 17, Joe was at the Fiera di Brescia where all the cars gather for technical inspection.  This is a great place to see most of the cars in one location.

Scrutineering At The 2017 Mille Miglia

From the photos that Joe sent, it is quite obvious that he is a fan of Alfa Romeo cars.  The picture below shows several Alfa Romeo cars at the Fiera di Brescia.

Alfa Romeo Cars Over The Years

People from all over the world travel to Brescia to watch the Mille Miglia.  It perhaps is the world’s largest and most beautiful rolling car show in addition to being a very demanding car rally.  The photo below shows the cars as they begin to gather in and around the Piazza di Vittoria in Brescia.

Crowds Gather to See The Mille Miglia Cars

Joe made a wise decision to watch the Mille Miglia as the cars came through Mantova on Sunday.  They staked out a table at a cafe right along the street where the cars passed, and Joe wrote to me that the scene was amazing.  Cars were stopping in the little piazza there for coffee or beer along with  local people on their bikes going to church, parents pushing baby strollers, all the while Mille Miglia cars passing through!  Just an incredible experience.  It was very exciting.

Joe Kovacs Certainly Managed To Get A Great View Point For the Mille Miglia

In addition to being a great place to watch the Mille Miglia, Mantova is the home of the famous Italian race car driver, Tazio Nuvolari.  On the Saturday before the cars passed through, Joe Kovacs visited the small, but interesting museum dedicated to Nuvolari in Mantova.

An MG Leads An Alfa Romeo Through Mantova

The picture below shows some of the stopped cars with the crews grabbing a cup of coffee in Mantova.  Obvious this was great place to get a close look at the cars.

Scene From The Piazza In Mantova

Mercedes-Benz is a major sponsor of the event. As a result, there are many Mercedes-Benz museum cars that are brought out to take part in the Mille Miglia.  The gullwing Mercedes-Benz cars shown below are commonly seen in the Mille Miglia.

Many Mercedes-Benz Cars Take Part In The Mille Miglia

Many thanks to Joe Kovacs for sharing these photos.  Joe very much enjoyed going to Mille Miglia to watch this great rally.  The Mille Miglia is probably the most prestigious car rally in the world.  Someday I hope to get there too.

The Lotus Is Being Moved About By People Power

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Mille Miglia, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Remembering The 2008 Targa Newfoundland

Last night my friend Evan Gamblin from Ottawa, Ontario sent me a couple of pictures that he had of the 2008 Targa Newfoundland event that were taken by Robert Ryan.  These pictures brought back a lot of memories of the years when I competed regularly in that event.  Most of the time I was the co-driver for Rick MacLeod in his awesome Mustang.  Rick’s Mustang produced somewhere around 600 horsepower!  When it took off, it took off!  What a ride it was!

Rick MacLeod Sliding His Mustang Around A Corner

Rick was a crowd favorite in Newfoundland, as that Mustang was loud and fast and Rick liked to put his foot on the gas pedal.  While my memories of Targa Newfoundland are pleasant, they will forever be dampened by the early passing of Rick due to cancer.  Rick loved Targa Newfoundland and if he was still with us, we’d be planning on going to Newfoundland this September.

Rick And I In The Mustang

I have some other pictures from Targa Newfoundland 2008 that I thought I would share.  For example the picture below shows Bill Arnold who was a regular competitor at Targa Newfoundland, always in a BMW.  The picture shows Bill with the “thumbs up”, while his co-driver, Alan Ryall, gets some encouragement to return safely.

Bill Arnold With Alan Ryall

Jim Kenzie did not return safely that year as Jim crashed his Mini Cooper very badly.  Jim was understandably a little wobbly after that event ending crash for him.  I think that it happened on the long stage heading south from Leading Tickles.

Jim Kenzie’s Crash At Targa Newfoundland

In 2008 Targa Newfoundland did not end well for Afshin Montazeri and Paul Brown.  At some point they rolled their Nissan Pulsar GTI.  This Japanese market rally car was a little worse for wear.  As you can see below, Paul and Afshin were fine.

Paul Brown And Afshin Montazeri At The End Of Targa Newfoundland

The Paynter brothers, John and Clarke, always did well at Targa Newfoundland and had the support of Subaru Canada.  They were serviced by the CanJam crew who were the best in the business.  All-round great people!

The Paynter Brothers With The CanJam Service Crew

One of the Can Jam crew at the 2008 Targa Newfoundland was Lewis Myers.  Lewis is from the same small village in Canada that I am from.  The picture below shows two Shelburne boys enjoying some adult beverages in the bar in St. John’s after the completion of the 2008 Targa Newfoundland.

Lewis Myers And Myself At The End Of Targa Newfoundland 2008

If you have any questions or comments about this post or Targa Newfoundland in 2008, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2017 Formula E Race At Monaco

Yesterday I got an interesting email message from Dan Allven.  Readers of this website will recognize Dan Allven as the owner/driver of the cars that I navigated in during the last two Rallye Monte Carlo Historique events.  Dan lives in Monaco which hosted a Formula E race last weekend.  Dan had the opportunity to visit the pit and the grid during the race, to see the operation and the race from an inside view and found it to be quite interesting!  Dan sent me the photos used in this post.

It turns out that a fellow who lives in the same building as Dan is the Manager of one of the Formula E teams.  The fellow who is the manager of the Formula E team is Jacky Eeckelaert and he has been in racing all his life.  He knew of Dan’s interest in cars from their casual discussions and he was able to provide Dan with the needed passes for the race.

The Formula E team that Jacky works for is owned by Jay Penske, Roger’s son and the main sponsor is Faraday of Penske’s team, Dragon Racing.

Jacky Eeckelaert On The Monaco Formula E Grid

Jacky Eeckelaert has had quite an interesting career around racing which I found on Wikipedia, much of which I copied for this post.  After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree he spent four years working in Ford’s engine development department, before becoming head of the technical department of Champion’s European wing.

During this time he also competed as a racing driver, competing for privateer teams in Formula Ford and Formula Three. In 1985 he left Champion to become Team Manager of the Keerbergs Transport Racing team, which competed in the German and French F3 series. He moved to the DAMS International Formula 3000 team in 1991 and then to the Danielson team, which ran Peugeot 905 sports cars, a year later.

In 1994, Eeckelaert moved directly into the employ of Peugeot Sport, successfully overseeing the marque’s championship campaign in that year’s French Supertouring Championship with Laurent Aïello. For 1995, he was placed in charge of Peugeot’s Formula One engine testing programme, in which capacity he liaised between the Jordan team and the Peugeot headquarters. For the 1998 season, Peugeot switched to supplying the Prost team, and Eeckelaert joined the outfit as its Chief Engineer, although his role was downgraded to cover only the test team the following year. At the end of 1999, he was offered a similar role at the Sauber team and two years later returned to the Grands Prix as Kimi Räikkönen’s race engineer. In 2002, he was appointed the team’s Head of Track Engineering.

He moved to the Honda team in 2006 as Chief Engineer in the Advanced Research programme. In 2007, he was promoted to Engineering Director, after predecessor Mark Ellis moved to sister team Super Aguri. Eeckelaert himself then moved to Super Aguri, only for the team to shut down after running out money part-way through the 2008 season. After spending a year in sports cars, he returned to F1 in 2010 with the new HRT team, and was placed in charge of the team’s 2012 car. The Hispania F112 was the first F1 car over which Eeckelaert had chief responsibility to design. Before the new car was launched, however, he left the team to work for former Hispania team principal Colin Kolles’s sports car team, which was running Lotus-badged LMP2 cars in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

In November 2012 Eeckelaert moved to the German DTM team Abt Sportsline, where he worked as Technical Director.  He now works with the Penske Formula E team.

These Are Serious Race Cars

Interest in Formula E seems to be growing.  And given the general increase in the acceptability and desirability of electric cars, it seems to me that interest in Formula E will continue to increase.  A number of well-known racers and race teams are part of the Formula E world.  Some of the drivers are Buemi, Di Grassi, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr., and Vergne.  Owners include Penske, Renault, Andretti and ABt Audi.  These are all serious racing people.

The Race Track Through Monaco Is Not Wide

Clearly the Formula E event is not the Formula 1 event, but time might prove the Formula E more enduring.  However any street race through Monaco is still a prestigious event.

The Driver’s Parade Before The Race

As far as the race went, the Penske team didn´t have any luck and ended at the back of the pack due to different problems with software and one car was disqualified due to a problem with regulations.  As Dan noted, this sport is more about computers than oil, pistons and fuel.

Formula E Cars Seem More Aerodynamically Efficient Than Formula 1 Cars

Thanks Dan for sharing these pictures of your Formula E adventure.  Hopefully the next time that you see Jacky Eeckelaert he will be able to tell you about a podium finish in Formula E.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Rally Car

Some time ago, Harald von Langsdorff purchased a Mercedes-Benz 350SLC for the purposes of preparing a rally car in order to compete some time-speed rallies like the Great Race.  That is not to say that the car won’t compete in many other rallies, but it was important that the car would be eligible for the Great Race.  In order to compete in the Great Race the model year must be 1972 or older.  Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC meets this criterion as it is a 1972, the first year of the Mercedes-Benz SLC series.  These cars were not directly imported into North America in 1972 and Harald’s car is no exception.  It was a German market car that was subsequently imported into Canada some years ago by a previous owner.  Over the years quite a few of these cars have found their way into Canada and the United Staes.

Harald’s car is shown below just after a body wrap has been added to the car.  As Harald was still in Germany, Paul Henshall picked the car up from the “wrap shop” and stopped by the local Mercedes-Benz Brampton dealership on the way home.  The Mercedes-Benz Brampton folks kindly let Paul position the car in their shop for some photographs.  These photos were the first glimpse that I’ve had of this car.

Harald von Langsdorff’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Rally Car

There are still a few things to complete on the car.  Just looking at the photo above I can see that the front bumper and the rally lights need to be added.

The livery of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC is modeled after the rally cars that Mercedes-Benz entered in marathon rallies like the Safari and the Ivory Coast rallies in the late 1970s.  I scanned the image below from “The Guinness Book Of Rallying” by John Davenport showing a Mercedes-Benz SLC from that era during a rally in Argentina.

A Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Competing In A Rally In Argentina

The Mercedes-Benz SLC rally car that is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum was crewed by Bjorn Waldegaard/H. Thorselius.  Note that this car has the number “8” as its competition car number.  As a tribute to this car, Harald requested and was permitted to be Car #8 in this summer’s Great Race.

A Mercedes-Benz SLC Rally Car In The Mercedes-Benz Museum

I think that the car looks great!  It looks just the way it should.  I will get to see the car in person in a few days as Harald and I will be competing in this car in the upcoming Penn-York Rally in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.  This is a Northeast Rally Club time-speed rally similar to the Great Race.

Note The Slight Wing On The Rear Deck

Inside the car, the front seats have been replaced by  the same Recaro seats that Harald and I used in his Mini at Targa Newfoundland in 2003.  A roll bar has also been installed inside the car, which we hope never gets used.  A Timewise 825 adjustable speedometer has been placed in the instrument binnacle as it easily fit within the space that was occupied by the original Mercedes-Benz speedometer.  Harald says that he has a good central mount on the dash for my Sawtooth time-of-day clock.

The Car Is Nearing Completion

We will be preparing the Performance Chart for this car next Thursday, the day before the Penn-York Rally weekend begins.  Our real purpose in competing in the Penn-York Rally is to work the bugs out of the car in preparation for the Great Race in June.  We are not particularly concerned about our results in the Penn-York Rally.

If you have any questions about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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