Karl Hughes’ Rally and Ice Racing Weekend

Today I got a report sent to me from Karl Hughes, of New York state, about his past weekend, when he took part in a rally on Saturday night and then did some ice racing on Sunday.  Karl’s report follows: 

As it turned out, the weather did cool off enough for ice racing to take place both on Waneta Lake and Lake George over the weekend.

I left Cazenovia at 11:30 AM on Saturday. The plan was to drive to Corning, drop my son off to spend a couple days with his cousins, continue to Piffard, run the Finger Lakes Region winter rally, the Cabin Fever 2011,  then back to Corning for a few hours sleep before heading to Waneta Lake for ice racing on Sunday.

Well.

Turns out the nastiest driving conditions of the entire weekend occurred in the first 15 miles of the trip, as we tried to get through Pompey. Lost count of the number of cars off, state troopers placing flares, and roads impassable due to wind-blown snow. After several route changes, we finally made it to Lafayette, and onto Route 81 south. By the time we finally arrived in Corning, I was a half hour late in leaving for Piffard. Luckily the car was handling well in the snow, and conditions were far better along 86 and 390 than they had been on Pompey Hill Rd, so I was able to briskly motor on up to the Geneseo area. Mark (Laitenberger) was just starting to get nervous when I rolled in to the parking lot of the Yard of Ale in Piffard. He already had the route packet, so I handed him the time tables, took the registration form and got working on registration and tech. We finished up our respective duties with a few minutes to spare, took a breath, and headed off on the Odometer Check.

We encountered some light snowfall, a few spots of blowing snow and poor visibility, but for the most part the roads were not too treacherous and visibility was good. The road surfaces were lightly snow covered or bare, frozen mud, usually with healthy ruts made during the previous warm days. The ruts were of course made by vehicles slightly wider than the Neon, so we got tossed side to side quite a bit. Lots of yumps too – all the ice racing gear I had stashed in the trunk could be heard whacking the trunk lid once in a while.

We managed to keep our scores fairly low (even had one zero) and got to the end feeling pretty good about our drive, and having only needed one TA. The preliminary scores had us maxed at one checkpoint, which Mark traced to poor handwriting by a worker on our scorecard, which was verified by a cross check of the checkpoint sheet. With that little error corrected, we were second overall and first in limited. Gary Thomas and John Kastenhuber won overall in an upset over Alan Smith and Eric Hobron, who had uncharacteristically made a mistake of some kind. Not to take away from Gary and John’s performance – they did a great job.

So, when everyone packed up and headed out, I drove back to Corning, and arrived at 2:00 AM. Got up at 7:00, hopped in the car and drove up to Waneta Lake, and unloaded everything out of the car (except the Terratrip, because I wanted to measure the track and log all the racing miles.) Ran three races for a total of 31 miles at speed on the ice, before deterioration of the racing surface made it prudent for us to call it a day. (During the last race I was apexing one corner on a growing pothole – just tapping the edge of the hole each time by with my right front wheel. Perhaps that does indicate a mental deficiency of some kind…)

Then, loaded up and headed back to Cazenovia.

Total weekend mileage was 650, about 120 of that on the rally, and 31 on the lake. Amazing how well a $200 car can do!

-Karl

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