America rally legend John Buffum sent me an early announcement about the 2015 Winter Challenge rally. Once again, John will be the rallymaster for this aptly named winter rally. For me and many other northeast USA rally people, this rally is one of the highlights of the winter rally season. In 2015, the Winter Challenge will be held on February 21, 2015. Mark your calendars now.
EVENT: The weekend will consist of a single New England Regional, SCCA rally running from 3pm Saturday until 2am Sunday with 2 breaks. Although no car-breaking roads will be used, the majority of the roads chosen are rural, unpaved roads, which will undoubtedly be snow and ice-covered. The rally will go no further east than St. Johnsbury, VT; no further north than Lyndonville, VT; no further west than Barre, VT; and no further south than Tunbridge, VT.
The route of the rally will be approximately 240 miles, with the maximum distance between gas stops of 80 miles. The break between sections will be approximately 1 hour; there will be approximately 1 control per every 10 miles of rallying.
Much of the rally is run at night on remote back roads. It is essential that you and your vehicle be prepared for backcountry winter driving. This means good winter tires or DOT approved studs, warning triangle, shovels, and tow rope for the vehicle. This means warm clothes, blankets, flashlights, food, and whatever else you deem important. (I would add that you should have very good headlights and/or additional rally lights on your car.)
The Winter Challenge Rally will be broken into 3 sections, each with its own challenges and instruction format.
The first section will be in written instruction format. This section will be TSD rally, lightly-trapped, commiserate with daylight running; some TSD experience important; a good introduction to a challenging rally and winter driving.
The second section will be a map exercise with the route being highlighted on the map for the most part. A separate sheet of speeds and confirmation information will be included.
The third section will be tulip diagrams with mileage to most instructions and brisk speeds.
Overall the Winter Challenge will be a thorough test of competitors’ rally expertise. Since the 2015 edition is a single rally with some daylight running, the TSD section will be easier for the non-rallyists and the brisk section somewhat slower for non-racers.
START/FINISH: The Winter Challenge Rally Weekend will headquartered at The Hollow Inn, 278 So. Main St, Barre, VT [tel: 802-479-9313]. There are some additional lodging options in the area. The Hollow Inn will try to accommodate an early check-in time of 11 am; ask about it when making reservations.
DIRECTIONS: From I-89, take Exit 6 (Rte 63); follow 4 mi. to traffic light. Left on Rte 14, then on right approximately 3/4 mile down the road.
SCCA Member $ 70.00
Non-Member $ 90.00
Class A: Allows full rally computers and/or extra odos.
Class S: Stock Odometer in stock location.
No NER Novice
Registration: 11am – 2pm
School (optional) Noon
RI’s given out 2 pm
Driver’s Meeting: 2:30 pm (mandatory)
First Car Start: 3 pm +
First Car Finish: 2 am (approximately)
Awards/party(?) 3 am ish
- This rally is by pre-registration only. No walk-ins. Entry on website
- The rally entry could be limited (30 cars) – Normally fills up by Mid-January !!
- Entries close [in hand with proper fee]: Friday, 7 February 2014
- Winter equipment is required.
- If you’ve done the event before, you don’t need the ‘school’.
- Rally Generals will not be mailed (posted at http://www.winterchallengerally.com).
- Rally will run regardless of weather.
- Course Following will be by Written Instruction, Map Reading, and Tulips.
- Recommend for map reading: Large Magnifying Glass, Scale, Dividers.
- Start order: Class A (A ‘draw’ will be held for actual start positions); Class S.
- There will be an adjustment factor between 2-wd & 4-wd in Tulip Section 3.
- All information will be on WWW.WINTERCHALLENGERALLY.COM.
- Questions can be addressed via the “Contact” portion of web site (JB).
- Distances in Kilometers are available in the Route Instructions (if asked for).
- This rally tries to emulate the great road rallies of the 60’s.
- The winner will be truly the most versatile and best road rally team !
I am already making plans to take part in this rally. It’s a good one!