2018 Trans America Challenge Days 4 Through 7

After a rest day in Nashville we got on the road again.  While in Nashville we took the opportunity to catch up on some needed sleep.  We also took in some local live music and enjoyed some local libations as well.  We left Nashville headed for Memphis on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Natchez Trace Is Like A Tree-Lined Paved Country Road

We stopped for lunch at the Outpost Café.  It was an interesting place.  I highly recommend ordering their “Hog Fries”.

Rally Cars At The Outpost Cafe

The Outpost Café has good food and lots of interesting things to see and purchase.  I also got an idea for all of those unused fishing floats that I have.

Interesting Pepper Shaker

When we left Memphis we passed through Tupelo on the way to Jackson, MS.  In Tupelo we were warmly welcomed at the Tupelo Automotive Museum.  They have a very impressive collection of cars from the very old to some modern cars.  Tupelo is also the birthplace of Elvis Presley and we took a drive past his birthplace.

Some of the cars that we saw in the Tupelo Automotive Museum are shown below.

1939 Graham

The Mustang shown below was a very early 1964 1/2 model.  It was one of the very few Mustangs that I have seen that have a 260 cubic inch V8 engine.  Most of the early Mustangs had the 289 cubic inch V8 engine.

A 1964-1/2 Mustang Convertible

As many who read this will know, the Tucker cars are very rare.  I think that fewer than 50 were built before Tucker succumbed to the pressures of trying to get these cars into production.  These were innovative cars that were ahead of their time.

A Rare Tucker

The museum also had a DeLorean which is a rather infamous, but well-known car.  The gull-wing doors and the stainless steel body are very distinctive.

A DeLorean

Another interesting car at the museum was the 1974 Volkswagen SP-2.  This was a car built in Brazil for the South American market.  As far as I know it was not sold in America.  Too bad!

1974 Volkswagen SP-2

I am at the 2018 Trans-America Challenge as part of the Endurance Rally Association crew that is putting this car rally on.  One of our crew members is Mike Halley, as USA stage rally legend. Legend or not, bugs will still bite you, so Mike was fully prepared to work one of the controls in the deep woods.

Mike Halley Dressed for Action!

At this time we are in New Orleans enjoying another rest day.  Bourbon Street in New Orleans is quite a sight to see.

Heading Across The World’s Longest Freshwater Bridge Into New Orleans For Unknown Adventures

For more information, reports and results check the website of the Endurance Rally Association at the following link:


If you have any comments or questions about this post or the Trans-America Challenge, 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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Trans America Challenge Days 2 And 3 Were Wet And Wild

Days 2 and 3 of the 2018 Trans America Challenge were wet and wild.  Day 2 was quite wet due to Tropical Storm Alberto,  This early season storm carried a lot of rain as it moved north from the Gulf of Mexico.  On Day 2, the rain and the fog/low-lying clouds reduced the opportunities to see the normally great views from the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The rain did reduce the traffic along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A Foggy Trip Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

We then enjoyed a great lunch in the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, NC.  This hotel was very nice and it was nice to dry out a little during lunch.

Great Lunch In The Grand Bohemian Hotel In Asheville, NC

On Day 3, we started out in Highlands, NC and headed deep into the Smokey Mountains.  We had a nice morning stop at the Wolf Creek General Store, who really rolled out the welcome mat for us.  Due to the number of motorcycle riders who ride these crooked mountain roads, the Wolf Creek General Store has a special gasoline fill-up lane just for motorcycles!

The Wolf Creek General Store Folks Were Very Welcoming

In the morning we set up a couple of Regularity Sections that were located just off the scenic and twisty Cherohala Highway.  The start area of one of these Regularity Sections is shown below.  The forest was quite green and dense in this area.

Beginning Of Regularity Section Just Off The Cherohala Highway

Fortunately the rain let up a little as we set of the Regularity Section controls.

Marl Appleton & Gill Cotton Set Up A Regularity Control

We had plans for a special test using the high banks of the Crossville Speedway but the rain made the track unusable for our cars.  We did set up a “rallycross” type test in the parking lot which was also challenging with the slippery surface conditions.

Due To The Muddy Conditions We Did Not Use The Crossville Speedway Track

There were some colorful signs around the race track which you don’t always see.

It’s Pretty Clear Where They Stand On Some Issues

The Special Test At Crossville Speedway

The afternoon of Day 3 ended with a challenging Regularity Section.  The final control was located at the top of a steep hill just after an acute right hand turn.  This proven to be quite a challenge for the teams in general, but several cars had very good scores on this Regularity Section.

The Acute Right Hand Turn At The Bottom Of The Hill

The timing control was set up behind  a church at the top of the hill to try to keep the location of the control hidden.

The Timing Control Behind The Mount Zion Baptist Church

The leaders after Day 3 at James Gately/Tony Brooks in a 1937 Cadillac convertible.  This is an experienced and capable rally team.  I don’t think that they have had the top down much.

Gately/Brooks Lead The Trans America Challenge After Day 3

For more information on the Trans America Challenge and the Endurance Rally Association you can get to their website by clicking on the link below.


If you have any comments or questions about this post or the Trans America Challenge 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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Day 1 Of The Trans America Challenge Leads To Charlotte

The 2018 Trans America Challenge got on the road today as we drove from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC.   Mark Appleton and I were in Car 0.  Our role was to ensure that the controls and other things along the way were properly set up for the rally cars arriving after us.

Setting Up A Regularity Control

It was an interesting day as far as the roads were concerned and for me, it was also interesting as I got a upclose look at the way the Endurance Rally Association sets up and scores a rally.  It is clear that these folks know what they are doing.

Scene At One Of This Afternoon’s Time Controls 

At the end of the day the rally ended at the NASCAR  Hall of Fame in Charlotte.  I did not have too much time to look around, but I did manage to see one of the Fabulous Hudson Hornets.

One Of The Fabulous Hudson Hornets At The NASCAR Hall Of Fame

Tomorrow we are going to Highlands, NC which is getting into the Appalachian Mountains.  I trust  that things will look better during the rally than they did during the recce last September in the aftermath of a hurricane!

Day 1 Provisional Rally Leader: Urbina/Pike In A 1936 Ford Cabriolet

If you have any comments about this post or the Trans America Challenge, 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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The 2018 Trans American Challenge Gets Underway

Today I am in Charleston, South Carolina for the start of the 2018 Trans America Challenge.  The Trans American Challenge is being put on by the Endurance Rally Association, which is based in England.  The Endurance Rally Association puts multi-day rallies all over the world.  This event is of particular interest to me as helped to find the route, did the recce for the route and have been assisting with putting on this event over the last two years.  During this event I am working with Mark Appleton, as the Deputy Clerk of the Course.

The main activities today are the signing on of the rally competitors and the scrutineering of the cars. There are some very nice rally cars entered in this rally.

Anthony & Sonja Verloop Entered A 1973 MGB GT V8

There are a number of late 1930s American cars that have been rebuilt as very serious rally cars.  The 1938 Ford coupe shown below is an example.

John & Nicole Whitelock Entered a 1938 Ford 5-Window Coupe

The some older British cars are entered such as the Alvis shown below.

Alex Vassbotten/Erik Osland ‘s 1933 Alvis Firefly

Tomorrow the rally gets underway as the cars travel to Charlotte, North Carolina from Charleston, South Carolina.

For more information about the Endurance Rally Association or the Trans American Challenge you can check out their website as follows:


If you have any comments or questions about this post, the Trans American Challenge or the ERA, 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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2018 Mille Miglia – Final Standings Of North American Entries

The 2018 Mille Miglia has come to an end.  It is a very prestigious and challenging car rally covering a little more than 1000 miles in 4 days.  Some say that it is the most beautiful car rally in the world.  That claim is difficult to challenge.

The teams that finished at the top of the score sheet are highly skilled at these types of events.  Their minuscule timing errors are very impressive.  The winning team was Juan Tonconogy and Barbara Ruffini from Argentina in their 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C.

Tonconogy/Ruffini Won The 2018 Mille Miglia In A 1933 Alfa Romoe 6C

It is no surprise to me that an Argentina-based team won the Mille Miglia.  Practice is important and there is an event in Argentina, the 1000 Millas, which is very much based on the Mille Miglia and thus great practice for Argentine competitors for the Mille Miglia.

The Wine At The Mille Miglia Finish Line Looks Good

I have been following the North American teams that competed at the 2018 Mille Miglia.  The top finishing America was Shawn Till, who was navigating in a 1929 Chrysler 75 driven by Oriol Vilanova of Spain.  They finished in 31st position overall.  The top all-American team was Gessler/Gessler in a 1927 Bugatti Type 40 who finished 47th Overall.

The following table lists the North American teams that finished in the top half of the 450 car field.

Top Finishing  North American Teams At The 2018 Mille Miglia

Pos Car Num Crew Members Nationality Team Year Points
31 66 VILANOVA Oriol E CHRYSLER 75 1929 53281
47 33 GESSLER Kurt USA BUGATTI T 40 1927 47509
116 79 VILLA Marzio I FORD A 1931 33361
ABELLO Maria Cristina USA
120 269 HOUGHTALING John USA Manual Shift 1952 33080
129 410 SARGEANT Tom USA LANCIA APPIA GTZ 1957 32603
SARGEANT Mary Catherine USA
147 344 EVOLI AGUADO Victor H. MEX JAGUAR XK 140 OTS 1954 30619
149 342 BROOKS Stephen USA OLDSMOBILE SUPER 88 1954 30372
153 404 BEHAEGEL Marc B ZAGATO FIAT 8V 1955 29951
161 419 DIXON Stephen GBM MG A 1955 28549
POOLE Richard GB
169 271 FOUNTAS Christopher USA Manual Shift 1953 27371
171 461 GERVAIS Guy CDN CITROEN DS 19 1957 27250
198 227 HELFRICH James USA JD Classics 1956 23960
205 285 BARBOUR John GB NASH HEALEY SPORTS 4143 cm3 1953 22922
209 355 WASEF Basem USA Mercedes-Benz 1956 22165
223 228 LOTMAN Jeff USA JD Classics 1954 19141

For a complete listing of the final standings of all the North America teams, click on the following Excel file.

Final Overall Standings 2018 (NA Teams Only)

For a complete listing of the overall standings for all of the competitors, then click on the following Excel file.

Final Overall Standings 2018

I’m sure that those who were fortunate enough to have been able to compete in this very prestigious event all had a wonderful adventure and I’m sure that they have enough memories to last a lifetime.

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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The Original Watkins Glen Track

Two weeks ago I took part in the 2018 Rally Round The Erie Canal car rally in upper New York State.  Part of this rally was a lunch stop at the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York.  Glenn Curtiss was one of America’s best engineers at the beginning of the 20th century.  He was a pioneering engineer, builder, and entrepreneur in the motorcycle, airplane, and automotive field.  The Glenn Curtiss Museum certainly covers this man’s varied interests.

While there I purchased a book about the racing at the nearby Watkins Glen race track in Watkins Glen, New York.  The cover of this book which was written by Kirk W. House and Charles R. Mitchell is shown below.

Great Pictoral History Of Racing At Watkins Glen

This book is an easy read consisting of some 130 pages of mostly racing pictures from the 1950s.  It also is a great record of racers and race cars on the east coast of the USA in the 1950s.

The book shows the original configuration of the Watkins Glen race circuit.  The original course was not a closed circuit, but a 6.6 mile route through the village of Watkins Glen and the surrounding countryside.  The illustration of the original course shown below is included in the book.

Sam Corbean’s Sketch Of The Original Watkins Glen Circuit

The countryside nature of the original circuit is shown on the aerial photograph is presented on Page 10 of House and Mitchell’s book.

Aerial Photograph Of The Original Watkins Glen Circuit

The origin of many well known race tracks is based on using public roadways.  But what is surprising to me is the railway crossing, marked as location 5 in the aerial and identified on the Sam Corbean’s sketch.  Imagine a race track with a railway crossing!

An MG TD After Crossing The Railway Track!

Look at the effect on a MG TD after crossing the railway tracks as shown above.  Imagine what this must have been like in the very fast cars!  I am somewhat surprised that racers would bring their cars to a race track that had such a major bump.

Despite the railway crossing, the original Watkins Glen course seems to have been very well supported and many major races took place there in the 1950s.  The photo below shows John Fitch taking part in the 1951 Watkins Glen Grand Prix driving a Cunningham C-2.


John Fitch In A Cunningham C-2 At The 1951 Grand Prix

In 2013 I photographed a Cunningham C-2R at the Lime Rock Historic Festival.  The Cunningham cars are very impressive cars and would have looked very impressive on the rural Watkins Glen circuit.

A Cunningham C-2R

The Watkins Glen circuit evolved and changed significantly into a closed race course over the years and was the location of many Formula 1 Grand Prix races over the years.  Formula 1 races are no longer held at Watkins Glen, but the current dedicated, closed race course is still a busy race venue.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, Watkins Glen, or the Glenn Curtiss Museum, 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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A Post-Baden Classic Sunday Afternoon Drive

As I have posted before, Harald von Langsdorff and I recently competed in the 2018 Baden Classic car rally.  The Sunday after the rally Harald and I along with some friends from Germany went for a very nice Sunday afternoon drive through the German countryside near Baden-Baden.

Harald is a member of a “time share for cars” type of organization that allows him to rent various classic cars during visits to Germany.  This time Harald was able to rent a 1974 Jaguar XKE roadster with the V12 engine.  This rental car is shown below.

Nice Rental Car!

This was a great day for driving a roadster.  The weather was sunny and warm and the leaves had just came out.  The design of the Jaguar XKE was exactly the type of car that matched the day.

The Jaguar XKE With The V12 Engine Was Very Impressive!

We went for a drive through some of the vineyards near Baden-Baden.  Some of these roads were roads that we had traversed the day before while taking part in the 2018 Baden Classic car rally.  In the photo Harald is explaining some issue to Klaus and Thomas about the Jaguar XKE V12.

When You Come To A Fork, Take It!

The most of the local vineyards are on the side of hills which provides a great deal of light and sun for the grape vines.

German Vineyard

Most of the villages and small towns in Germany have a very sharp divide between the farm land and the village area.  In North America, the developed area of a village or town gradually gives way to the rural or farm land as you leave town with the houses becoming fewer and farther apart.  Not in many areas of Germany.  Farm land is farm land and villages are very well defined.

The Vineyards Came Up The The Edge Of The Village

We went to a castle located on a major hill overlooking the Baden area countryside.  The view below is looking toward the Rhine Valley with France in the background.

View Of The German Villages And Vineyards From The Top Of A Castle

From the top of the same castle, when I looked in the other direction, I got a look at the famous Black Forest.  In the far distance we could see people paragliding above the Black Forest.  We could also see another castle where we have stayed at many times during past versions of the Baden Classic.

The Black Forest

Later that day we went into Baden-Baden to look around and enjoy some “spaghetti ice cream” and a coffee in a street cafe.  Baden-Baden has a long history of being a European playground.  There is a major casino in Baden-Baden that is only second to the casino in Monaco in the European casino scene.  It is a very elegant casino where in some of the years that I have competed in the Baden Classic we had a very enjoyable rally dinner in the casino.

The Casino In Baden-Baden

This day was a nice relaxing day after the Baden Classic.  The next day I got up early to go to Frankfurt and return home.

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

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