The Rally Round The Erie Canal Was A Great Success For Everyone!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking part in the inaugural Rally Round The Erie Canal in Fairport, New York.  By all measures, the rally was a complete success.

I was pleased to be navigating for Harald von Langsdorff in his 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG.  This car is very quick and has excellent handling and stopping capability.


Harald von Langdorff’s 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

The Rally Round The Erie Canal was a Speed-Time rally sanctioned by the Northeast Rally Club.  These rallies are modeled after the well-known Great Race rally.  No odometers of any kind are allowed in this rally.  Any odometers are to be tapped over.  Competitors are given the speeds to travel with numerous speed changes based on time or on-course reference signs.  This was the first rally of this nature held in the Fairport area of New York state, but it was very well received by all and it attracted 52 entrants with 47 starters in the rally.

Harald and I are sometime competitors in the Northeast Rally Club events, but we had done very well in the events in which we had competed.  In the past we had competed in the SOP (Seat Of The Pants) Class in which the cars are restricted to using the speedometer that is the standard speedometer that came with the original car.  A couple of years ago, I purchased a calibratable speedometer made by Timewise.  This speedometer is very accurate and as a result, cars fitted with this speedometer must compete in the Pro Class.  Harald and I thought that we would test ourselves in the Pro Class for this event.


“Caution” Signs Warns Of Sudden Speed Changes

The image below shows the set-up that we had for the Rally Round The Erie Canal.  The round dial on top of Harald’s dash is the Timewise 825 speedometer.  It is a large full circle speedometer with the speed indicated in 1 mph increments.  It is mounted so that Harald can easily read the speedometer while driving the car.  Time-of-day clocks are limited to analog clocks, so we fitted my large Sawtooth Clock with an identifier number beside each second indicator, in the center of the car’s dash.  On a clipboard in front of me, I had the Performance Chart that was prepared in 2014 for my Mercedes-Benz 230SLK, but as we did not have time to prepare a Performance Chart for Harald’s car, we decided to use the one for my car.  I should have noted that we decided to use Harald’s car on the morning of the first day of the rally!  We are allowed to have one stopwatch in the car, which you can see I have mounted mine on the dash along with a simple calculator and a couple of pencils.


Our Set-Up For The Speed-Time Style Of Rallying

Harald and I did surprisingly well at this event. On the first day, Friday, there was a practice rally.  In a field of about 45 cars, we finished in 4th place Overall in this practice rally!  Not a bad debut in the Pro Class!  This was pleasing, but this result could just as well have been blind luck.  On the next day, Saturday, the main rally started and once again we were in 4th position Overall in a field of 47 cars after this first full day of the main part of the Rally Around The Erie Canal.  This was encouraging, as it demonstrated to us that our great Friday result was not blind luck.

These results were satisfying, as we did not have the score reduction factor that the older cars are given (and deserve), so we have to do it on our un-adjusted raw score.  We came slightly down to earth on Sunday as we made a single unknown error, which brought us down to a final finish in 8th Overall in the Rally Round The Erie Canal.  We were very pleased with our results given the last-minute car change, the use of a Performance Chart from another car, and our first venture into the Pro Class using the Timewise 825 speedometer.


The Rally Round The Erie Canal Had A Wide Variety Of Cars Competing

I will have more from the Rally Round The Erie Canal later this week, but other time demands are limiting my available time early this week to post more right now.  The interesting thing about this rally and all of the Northeast Rally Club events is the wide variety of interesting cars that take part in the rally.  It’s like a rolling car show.  It generates interest that attracts more competitors.  I will show more about the other cars in the upcoming days.

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

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3 Responses to The Rally Round The Erie Canal Was A Great Success For Everyone!

  1. Mike Mazoway says:

    It was good to see you and also to meet Harald. I had a great time working the checkpoints and looking at all of the cars. I want to try a time-speed event in the near future.

  2. Fred Gallagher says:

    Hi Steve. Could you explain the concept of this type of rallying and the levels of accuracy needed to do well? It would be good to experiment with this in Europe.

    • Hi Fred,
      I will put together a post that will outline how these rallies work. It is surprising how accurate you can be, if you pay attention to the details. I will be back home after this business trip and I will put together the time-speed rally post.
      I think that this type of rally could be successful in Europe as there are a large number classic and vintage car rally folks in Europe. The scoring system allows the older cars to compete more or less equally with the newer cars. More later!
      Steve McKelvie

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