Off To A Good Start At The Paris To Prague Rally

We have just concluded the second day of the Paris To Prague Rally.  We are now overnighting in St Gallen, Switzerland.  Michael Eatough and I are quite pleased with our progress to date.  We are currently lying 7th Overall and 2nd in our class.  Given the experience of many of the teams in this rally it is a good start.

Lunch Break At A French Lodge

The weather has been quite hot which was quite a change for me based on our long New England spring that we had this year.  The people, the cars, the roads and the rally staff have all been wonderful.  Even the traveling medical staff were helpful to me as the doctor helped me with a nasty cut that I had on my right hand index finger.

Our Mercedes-Benz Has Worked Well

Time does not permit me to go into more details, but things are working out well and we expect to get better.  I look forward to the remaining days of the rally.

http://rallyround.co.uk/the-paris-prague-rally/

 

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At The Paris To Prague Rally Start

We have now arrived at the start of the Paris to Prague Rally.  This has been quite a journey for me.  I flew from Boston to London Heathrow Airport where I was met by Michael Eatough.  From there we drove to Chantily, France for the start of the rally.  As a civil engineer who often works on tunneling projects, I was interested in the tunnel between England and France.  With this trip, we took the train under the English Channel. The picture below shows the approach to the train.

Approach to the Channel Train

The first opening in the train provide access to the second deck on the train, while the second opening is for the main deck.  We were on the main deck, in fact we were the second car loaded onto the train.

The Euro Tunnel Train

The Approach to Entering The Train

We entered the train and drove through the train to the front carrying car.

Driving Through The Train

When you get to the designated parking area the cars are parked nose to tail and the doors between the train cars are closed.  There are no seats available on the train.  You can remain seated in your car or get out and walk about the train car.  We got out of the car and talked to the other people who were in the train car.  The people at the back of the car were motorcycle tourists heading into France.

The Rally Car Parking In the Euro Tunnel Train

The crossing takes about 30 minutes.  The view is terrible, but the service and speed are great with the Eurotunnel .  I would recommend this as a great way to get from England to France. After the crossing we continued to Chantily, France to the Auberg De Jeu De Paume where we were staying for the start of the Paris To Prague Rally.

There Is A Wonderful Turf Horse Racing Track In Chantily, France

The photos above and below show the grandstand building.

Entrance To The Grandstands

Adjacent to the track are very opulent horse stables from the early days.

These Are Horse Stables

Nearby the horse stables is a chateau located on a pond.  This is now a museum, but we did not have the time to tour through the building.

A Chateau On A Lake

Chantily is a wonderful place to visit, but we came here for the car rally.  During the last few days the rally cars have been arriving.  The Bentley below is an example of some of fine rally cars.

A Bentley Preparing in the Paris To Prague Rally

The rally gets underway tomorrow and I will be posting some stories about the rally as the week goes by.

For more information about the Paris to Prague Rally, check out the Rally Round website at the following address:

http://rallyround.co.uk/the-paris-prague-rally/

 

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Paris to Prague Next Week

I am leaving later today for London to start my participation in the Paris To Prague Rally.  I will meet up with Michael Eatough in London, then we will drive to Paris for the start of the rally.

In looking at the entry list, I can see that there are many interesting cars and people entered into this rally.  And the route looks good as well.  I plan on updating this website with some progress reports during the rally.  There are a number of interesting and challenging aspects to this rally for me which I look forward to and want to share with those who might read this website.

For more information on this rally check out the Rally Round Paris To Prague website by clicking on the following link:

http://rallyround.co.uk/the-paris-prague-rally/

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More Wayne Kelly Stories

Several weeks ago I got an email from Denny Quirk who said that he would send me some stories about Wayne Kelly, fine Canadian racer, race car builder, and a Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member. In previous posts over the years, I have included some stories and information about Wayne Kelly, so Denny knew that I would be interested in more Wayne Kelly information.  I was pleased when Denny sent me the promised stories.  I have included Denny’s email as he sent it:

“First, a bit about myself.  I’m a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Communications Electronics specialty.  I was a member of Motorsport Club of Ottawa (MCO) from 1958 to 1973, President in 1971 and 1972.  I raced a Riley 1.5 from 1958 to 1963, and also did quite a bit of rally navigating, including five times in the Shell 4000 (1963, ’65, ’66, ’67 and ’68.  I functioned as a CASC Racing Steward for several years, including at two Formula 1 races in 1969 and 1970.

Wayne Kelly was a GCA Tech (Corporal rank) in the Air Force.  GCA stands for Ground Control Approach.  It is a radar system (now obsolete) which was installed alongside runways at Air Force airfields.  Using it, a ground operator would talk an aircraft down to a safe landing, even in impossibly foul weather.  Wayne was qualified in the repair and maintenance of this system.

Wayne was posted to 2 Fighter Wing, Grostenquin, France in 1957 or 1958.  (This was back when we had four fighter bases in Europe, two in France and two in Germany.)  He must have been about my age, which means he was only 22 or 23 when he was posted there.  As you know, he did some racing, and he spent a lot of his spare time at the Porsche factory.  He became fluent in German.  He was on a first name basis with Ferry Porsche.

He was posted back to Canada, to CFB Trenton or CFB Uplands (I’m not sure which) in 1960 or ’61.  While in France, he had a very close friend by the name of Don Hacker, who was a Flight Sergeant airborne electronics specialty.  Don was commissioned as a Flying Officer in 1961 and posted to Ottawa to an engineering position in Air Materiel Command HQ.  I had been working there since 1958, and the two of us soon became close friends because of our common interest in motorsport.  In fact, Don and I were in the 1963 and ’65 Shell 4000.  More importantly, Don introduced me to Wayne Kelly.

I remember seeing Wayne’s car (the one with the Porsche engine) while under construction some time in the period 1961 – 1963.  You describe it as “based on putting a Porsche engine in a Lotus 23”.  Sorry to have to correct you, but that vehicle never saw the inside of the Lotus factory.  It was built entirely from the ground up by Wayne.  The front half of the car was a more or less faithful copy of the 23, while the rear part, while adhering to Lotus design where possible, was customized to accommodate the Porsche engine.  I know the foregoing is hard to believe.  The fact of the matter is that Wayne was a mechanical genius.  Incidentally the car was known among the cognoscenti as “The Milk Shake Special” because of Wayne’s sponsorship with Dairy Queen.

A word about the Porsche engine.  I very much doubt that Wayne could afford such an engine on a Corporal’s salary.  Do not quote me, but my belief is that Ferry Porsche gave Wayne the engine as a gift.  Getting it across the Atlantic Ocean is another story.  Wayne could charm the tusks off a bull elephant, and I have it on good authority that the Commanding Officer of CFB Trenton was a great fan of his.  As such, he was apparently instrumental in bringing the engine to Canada as an unauthorized piece of cargo on an Air Force North Star aircraft.

My memory is a little shaky, but I have some recollection of Wayne campaigning the Milk Shake Special in the 1963 racing season.  In February 1964, I was posted to a Pinetree radar station at a godforsaken location called Pagwa River, in northern Ontario.  I had heard that Wayne was going to be competing at the Nassau Speed Week in December 1964, and so my then-wife and made plans to be there.  Apparently Wayne had been approached by a racer by the name of Grant Clark, who I knew well since we had gone through high school together.  Grant was well known in the racing world through driving with BMC sponsorship.  Apparently Grant made Wayne an offer.  If Grant was allowed to drive The Milk Shake Special in the feature race at Nassau, Grant would bankroll the transport the car to Nassau and back, and pay for accommodation for Wayne and his wife, not to mention their air fare.  Wayne could compete in a preliminary race.  Wayne insisted on bringing along a buddy technician by the name of Paul Wollner who was a fellow GCA Tech and who was very familiar with the car.  Grant agreed, but would not spring for an extra hotel room, which meant that Wayne, Paul and Wayne’s wife wound up sharing a double bed.  I never did find out what the source of Grant Clark’s funding was. 

Anyway, my then-wife and I showed up at Nassau on schedule, and found Wayne OK.  I got to tow the Milk Shake Special with my rental car on the end of a piece of rope from the barge which transported the race cars to an unused hangar by the race track, and we were able to assist in the pits during the races.  I don’t remember too much about the races – I seem to recall it raining off and on all day.  Wayne didn’t finish well – he may have spun out.  I do recall Grant Clark coming into the pits after about three laps, complaining that he couldn’t get comfortable – he was after all a big man.  We did an instant rebuild of the seat, replacing cushions with pieces of scrap plywood, and sent him out.  He finished the race without further incident and actually did quite well – I think he may have finished third overall.

I can’t leave the subject of the Nassau Speed Week without telling you about a racing incident which was funny beyond belief.  As you may or may not know, the feature race of the event was known as the Grand Prix of Volkswagens.  It was a 20 or 30 lap race of bog stock Volkswagens.  No modification was the rule, enforced by a compulsory teardown of the top three finishers.  This race (and indeed the entire event) used to get a huge amount of publicity in the racing world, and as such, attracted a whole bunch of VIPs.  Entered in the GP of Volkswagens were two very well-known luminaries, namely A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney.  Given the light-hearted atmosphere surrounding the event, everyone wondered what they might be up to.  We soon found out.

During the practice sessions, it soon became apparent that Dan Gurneys car had been “breathed upon” since he was turning laps about 3-4 seconds faster than any other Volkswagen, including Foyt’s.  Came the race, and off they went.  Completing the first lap, Foyt and Gurney were nose to tail, with Foyt in front.  In fact, as we were quick to realize, Gurney was actually PUSHING Foyt down the straight.  This pattern persisted for the entire race, and so it wasn’t too long before the two of them were leading the pack by a wide margin because of Gurney’s extra horses.  Needless to say, Gurney was disqualified on teardown, and the organizers reluctantly had to declare Foyt the winner.  After all, he hadn’t broken any rules.

I was at Mosport when Wayne was killed.  I didn’t see it happen, but a close buddy of mine did.  Early in Wayne’s race, there was an incident on Turn 1 which caused the ambulance to be sent out.  The next lap, Wayne, being Wayne, apparently headed into Turn 1 at close to full speed, even though the white flag must have been showing at the S/F line.  The ambulance was sitting on his line, and he ran right into the back of it and was killed.

A few days later, I visited his wife in Ottawa.  (I’m having trouble with her name – was it Marlene?)  We had become good friends in Nassau.  I was astounded at how placid she appeared.  I had the distinct impression that she had felt for a long time that he wasn’t going to live to a ripe old age, and she felt thankful for the time that they had together.  I would love to see her again – do you know whether she’s alive or dead?  If the former, do you know how to contact her, and if so, could you let me know?

A word about Don Hacker, the guy who introduced me to Wayne.  Don is around 87 years old but still hanging in as far as I know.  He lives in Sidney BC.  If you would like to contact him regarding Wayne’s time in Europe, let me know and I will see if it’s OK with him.

I haven’t proofed the foregoing.  Hope there aren’t too many goofs.

Denny”

Thanks to Denny Quirk for sharing these stories about Wayne Kelly.  Wayne Kelly seems like he was the type of person that everyone would like to know.

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Getting Ready For The Paris To Prague Rally

In less than two weeks I’ll be leaving for London, England to begin my participation in the Paris To Prague rally.  In this rally I will be navigating for Michael Eatough in his 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230S.  I will meet Michael at Heathrow Airport in London and then we’ll drive to Paris for the beginning of the rally.  As an engineer who often works on tunnel projects, I look forward to crossing from England to France via the famous Channel Tunnel.

Michael Eatough’s 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230S

Michael’s Mercedes-Benz has been prepared with endurance rallies in mind.  Many modifications and preparations have been made over the years with an emphasis on reliability and durability.  This car has already successfully completed in several endurance rallies, including the Trans America Challenge in 2012 and 2015.

Because the car is already very well prepared for long distance rallies, I will be enjoying the benefit of not having to finish preparing the car just before the event.  However, I will be bringing along a rally clock and some watches, just to augment the equipment already in the car.

At this time, the car is fitted with two very good rally computers as shown below.  This two-rally-computer approach is an example of Michael’s approach to rally car preparation – strength and redundancy.  The unit on the left in the photo is a Monit G-200 rally computer, while the unit on the right is an up-to-date GaugePilot rally computer with the “Rally” model set up.  I understand that both units are fully functional in the car and they have even been calibrated by Nigel Cousins of GaugePilot.  I also understand that the Monit rally computer has since been relocated to a location that is higher on the dash for better visability and is easier to reach while watching the road, reading the road book, and reading the rally computer data all at the same time.

Rally Computers Installed In Michael Eatough’s Mercedes-Benz

The Monit G-200 rally computer is the top-of-the-line of the Monit product line.  The key feature of this rally computer is that it is driven by a GPS signal with a wheel sensor backup.  The unit can be switched from being GPS driven to be wheel sensor driven by the pushing of a button.

Monit G-200 Rally Computer Displaying The Total And Incremental Distances

The Monit G-200 features include two distance counters, current and maximum speeds, a stopwatch, a time-of-day clock, average speed and fuel management system.  The Monit G-200 is a compact unit, measuring 115mm x 56mm x 20mm, that can be easily added to most cars.  However the compact nature of the Monit rally computer also limits the display capability of the Monit to two pieces of information.  As a result, I will be bringing along my Brantz Rally Timer clock to position beside the Monit rally computer so that I can see the time while also looking at both the total and incremental distances on the Monit rally computer.

The other rally computer in the car is the impressive GaugePilot. There are many display screens available with the GaugePilot.  At this time I believe that the two displays that will be of interest to me are the Twinmaster and the Rallymaster displays.  The Twinmaster display is shown below.

GaugePilot’s Twinmaster Display

In general, the Twinmaster display replicates the information provided by a Halda Twinmaster odometer.  It should be noted that a multi-capacity GaugePilot rally computer in the Rally model probably costs less than an original Halda Twinmaster currently costs.  The Twinmaster display has two odometer displays – total distance and the incremental distance.  In addition, a digital time-of-day display is provided on the same screen.  This display provides the basic information to keep the car on course.  The time-of-day clock makes the timing easier.

Changes and adjustments to the Twinmaster screen are made using the three knobs located across the bottom of the screen.  Changes can be made by rotating the appropriate knob and activated by pushing the knob.

The other display that I am interested in is the Rallymaster screen as shown below.

GaugePilot Rallymaster Display

The Rallymaster display provides the same information as the Twinmaster display plus allows for the entry of a desired average speed and a visual needle display showing how close the car is moving with respect to the perfect time.  The needle display is present when the car is within +/- 20 seconds from the perfect time.

There are several other displays available with the GaugePilot rally computer, but I am not going to allow myself to get overwhelmed by the tremendous capability of the GaugePilot rally computer the first time that I use it.  I am going to initially focus on using these two very useful screens to their maximum capability, then expand to using the additional screens/displays as need and time dictate.  These two screens will provide almost all of the information that I’ll need to do the navigation and timing in the Paris To Prague rally.

I am fortunate to be able to step into a reliable, tested car that is already fitted with such two fine rally computers as the Monit and the GaugePilot.  Having the two independent operating and calibrated rally computers minimizes the potential for rally navigation equipment failures to have a devastating impact on our rally.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Paris To Prague 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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My New Timewise 610 Clock

After several years of looking around, I was finally able to buy a Timewise clock.  These clocks hardly ever seem to be offered for sale, so when recently I had an opportunity to purchase one on an online auction site, I was a willing bidder and subsequently successful bidder.  The clock that I  purchased was a Timewise 61o.  This is an older clock as I believe that the Timewise 610 was first built in 1991.  I expect that my clock is 20 years old or more.  However these clocks are still the most widely used clocks in car rallying in the USA, including in Sports Car Club of America events.  These clocks were also used for the timing controls the Penn-York Rally last weekend as sanctioned by the Northeast Rally Club.  At Timewise, the Timewise 610 clocks were replaced by the newer Timewise 650 clocks.

Timewise 610 Clock

Despite the age of this clock, I knew that the clock would be in good shape because I was easily able to figure out who the seller was and I know him.  He lives 20 to 25 miles from me and he has good rally equipment.

The prime reason for me to buy this clock is that many rallymasters use this model of clock as their official clock with all rally control time clocks being synchronized with that clock.  The SCCA allows competitors to also use direct wire synchronization with the rallymaster’s clock.  And there are secondary synchronization benefits, as competitors with synced Timewise clocks can also wire sync their Timewise rally computers to their Timewise clock.  Now I can do this as well.  I argued against this rule as I thought that it unfairly favored those who were able to acquire (which as I said before is difficult to do) a Timewise clock, but the overwhelming ( I wondered how many of people who voted for this rule already had their own Timewise clocks?) vote was to continue to allow this unfair advantage, so for me it was just a matter of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.  Does this make me a hypocrite? Probably, but at least I’m admitting it and raising the veil on this unfair practice.

The Timewise 610 Is A Simple To Use Clock

The Timewise 610 is a rather straightforward clock to use.  It is a time-of-day clock only, with no stopwatch capabilities.  The Timewise 610 can be set to give the time in seconds or 1/100 minute.  A custom feature that the previous owner had installed was to deactivate the sound that the clock made when the time was split.  The explanation was that when using a Curta calculator to check the pace of a rally car, the required frequent time checks caused many split noises coming from the clock which became annoying.

My Timewise 610 is powered by 4 AA batteries, although there was an option available to be able to power it by a 6 volt remote power source, but this feature is not on my clock.  Apparently the AA batteries will last about one year, or at least should be changed once per year.

The Little Push Button Between the Split and Recall Buttons Will Light Up The Clock Display

The time-of-day display can be temporarily be backlit by pushing the little button between the red Split button and the black Recall button.  The light will remain activated as long as the button is pushed.  Using this light feature however will have a detrimental effect on the AA battery life.

The Timewise 610 is often used as a control clock with a rubber timing line pressure hose connected to the remote split connection on the Timewise 610.  As a result, when a car drives over the rubber hose, the remote split is activated thereby capturing the time.  Up to 10 split times can be stored in the Timewise 610.  I will be assembling my own remote split switch for in-car use.

The clock is rather easy to use in the car as it is only about 4-inches wide and 3-inches high.  Therefore it is easy to find a place on the dash for this clock.

The clock came with an Operators Manual which makes using this clock quite easy.

The Timewise 610 Operators Manual

To see the operating manual for this clock click on the following file:

Timewise 610 Manual

In summary, I am very pleased to have been able to acquire this clock and add it to my navigator’s tool kit.

If you have any comments or questions about this post or the Timewise 610 clock. 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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Interesting Mille Miglia Related Photo From 1964

I always enjoy getting emails from people with car or motorcycle stories.  Last night I got another interesting email from my friend Evan Gamblin of Ottawa, Canada.  Evan was looking at my recent post about the 2017 Mille Miglia, that was based on a bunch of photographs that Joe Kovacs had sent to me while he watched this year’s Mille Miglia.  The photo below was of particular interest to Evan; especially the green Alfa Romeo behind the MG Midget.

Note The Alfa Romeo With English Registration FYE 7 Behind The MG

Evan has been taking car pictures for years and obviously he has a great memory, particularly of cars that interest him.  That photo above of the green Alfa Romeo reminded him of a photo that he took at the Crystal Palace paddock in London, on 18 May 1964 of the very same car!  Evan’s 1964 picture is shown below.  Note that the vehicle registration number, FYE 7, is the same as the car participating in the 2017 Mille Miglia!

This Same Alfa Romeo In London On May 18, 1964

Obviously it is a black & white photo, but Evan thinks that the car color was red at that time, not the green that it currently wears.  Evan must have been very impressed by this car in order to remember a photo that he took of it 53 years ago!

This car is a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza.  In the 2017 Mille Miglia it was entered by Roderick and Elizabeth Jack of England.  If anyone who sees this post knows how to contact the Jacks about this photo, then please do so, as I suspect that they would be very interested in seeing their car as it was 53 years ago.  Maybe the people in the car in 1964 are actually Roderick and Elizabeth Jack!

This is an example where the English vehicle registration system, where the registration number stays with the car, is useful in knowing the history of the older cars.

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

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