Improving My Sawtooth Rally Clock

Next weekend I will be competing in the 2017 Penn-York Rally that will be held in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.  This is a time-speed rally that is held under the auspices of the Northeast Rally Club.  This rally is run according to rules that are very similar to the Great Race.  The rules permit only one analogue time-of-day clock be in the car.  Digital time-of-day clocks are not allowed.  Many competitors will use the large diameter Sawtooth Clocks that were made with this rally application in mind.  I too have used this clock in the past for these rallies and I am planning on using it again in the 2017 Penn-York Rally.  My original Sawtooth Clock is shown below.

The Standard Sawtooth Time-Of-Day Clock

The Sawtooth Clock has a sufficiently large diameter such that it is relatively easy to read the seconds.  The clock also has a continuous sweep second-hand movement rather than a step-wise movement.  My Sawtooth Clock will lose about 1.0 to 1.2 seconds per 24-hour day, so during a 9-hour rally day, the time is sufficiently accurate as the time is read to the second.  I just have to set the clock each day of the rally.  And that is where I have a problem with this clock.

With the Sawtooth Clock the clock movement can only be stopped and started by removing the single battery that is located in the movement on the back of the clock.  This can be clumsy and difficult to get right.  I have been using plastic film to make this easier, but problems remain.   As a result of this, I have found a way to add a stop/start switch to my Sawtooth Clock to make setting the clock much easier and therefore more accurate.  My Sawtooth Clock now looks as shown below.

My Revised Sawtooth Clock Fitted With An On/Off Switch

The on/off switch is shown in the two o’clock position on the perimeter of the clock frame.  I was able to add the stop/start switch by using a remote single AA battery pack that came with a slide on/off switch. This is shown a little more clearly in the photo below.

Closer View Of The On/Off Power Switch On The Single AA Battery Pack

The photo below shows how I was able to replace the single AA battery that normally fits in the Sawtooth Clock movement with the remote battery pack with the on/off switch. I replaced the battery with a non-conducting wooden dowel with screws set at each end of the dowel to connect to the positive and negative wires from the single AA battery pack.

Sawtooth Clock ON/Off Power Switch Wiring

As a rally navigator, I am always looking for ways to do my craft in better ways.  Sometimes these are individually only small improvements, but if you make small improvements a number of times, then significant improvements can result.

If you have any comments are questions about this post, 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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More Photos From The 2017 Baden Classic

I did not take too many pictures during the 2017 Baden Classic Rally.  Most of the time, I was just a little too busy rallying, eating, or drinking.  However, I did take some pictures and I did find some other pictures posted on the Baden Classic’s web site.  A few of these photos are presented in this post.

The Winning Rally Team: Gerhard Spiesberger, Steve McKelvie, Harald von Langsdorff, Rosemarie Singler, Anton Singler, Michael Muller, with Rally Organizer Michael Kraft.  Missing are Michael Bruns and Christian Bruns

Michael Muller has a wonderful Ford Escort rally car.  It is very well prepared and it has a great sound.

Gerhard Spiesberger and Michael Muller With Their 1974 Ford Escort

Michael and Gerhard competed in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique in a Saab 99. During that rally I was able to speak with Michael and Gerhard only very briefly in Langres in the middle of the night.  Another of our team member, Michael Bruns, also competed in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique in the same 1964 Ford Falcon that he drove in the 2017 Baden Classic.  I saw Michael’s car at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, but I had not met him before.  I was pleased to find out that Michael is a regular viewer of my website.

Michael Bruns/Christian Bruns In Their 1964 Ford Falcon

It’s always nice when pictures are available of the car when you are in a rally.  The picture below shows Harald and myself about ready to start the round-the-creek stage in downtown Michelbach.  This stage requires precise timing.  Because we have to blend in with rally cars already going as fast as they can in the loop stage, the cars are flagged off when the road is clear.  The cars are given a target time for 2 1/2 loops that is measured to the 1/100 seconds.  We have to start the stopwatches correctly when we break the starting beam and then when we break the timing light at the finish line hopefully at the perfect time.  We were off by 0.33 seconds, which was not good enough to win the nice Hanhart stopwatch that Prestel+Gemmer had put up as a stage prize.

Harald & I Waiting At The Start Of The Michelbach Round-The-Creek Stage

On Friday night we had a nice dinner at a restaurant which we had the exclusive use of.  The following picture shows a typical scene during the dinner.  It was very enjoyable.

Friday Dinner At A Fully Booked Dining Area

At times during the rally, the weather was nice enough that we were able to take the top down on the car.  The picture below shows us coming downhill from the area of a castle that we used to stay at.

Harald & I Kept The Top Down When We Could

Many times during the rally we had some very nice views, but the timing requirements never seemed to allow us the time to stop to enjoy the view.

The Baden Classic Provided Lots Of Scenic Views

In the end, Harald and I were quite satisfied with our results in the 2017 Baden Classic.

Harald & I With Our First In Class Trophies

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

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We Continued On In The 2017 Baden Classic With Great Results

Harald von Langsdorff’s mother’s health seemed to stabilize overnight and Harald made the decision to continue on with competing in the 2017 Baden Classic rally, but that we would get regular updates and as a result we might withdraw before the rally ended.  Despite all of these significant distractions, we had a good day at the Baden Classic.  In the Classic division, which had about 40 cars, we finished third overall, we won our class, and we were part of the winning rally team.

Our Trophy For Winning First In Our Class

Members of the our winning rally teams were:

  • Michael Muller/Gerhard Spiesberger – 1974 Ford Escort RS 2000
  • Michael Bruns/Christian Bruns – 1964 Ford Falcon
  • Anton Singler/Rosemarie Singler – 1965 Renault R8
  • Harald von Langsdorff/Steve McKelvie – 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

The Baden Classic attracted a wide variety of cars.  By far the oldest car in the rally was the 1931 Buick entered by Thomas Romen.  Mr. Romen is a very good at car rallies and, in addition, is a very nice fellow.  A few years ago, Mr. Romen had Harald and I, along with a couple of other rally fellows, over to his house for some food and wine.  It was very enjoyable.  From what Mr. Romen said steering the big Buick in a day long car rally gives your shoulders quite a work out!

Thomas Romen’s 1931 Buick Was Originally Built In Germany

Being overseas for the Baden Classic gives me an opportunity to see cars that are rarely seen in North America.  One such car is the 1984 Renault Alpine A310 shown below.

1984 Renault Alpine

While those of who competed in the Classic Class were not allowed to use sophisticated rally computers, those who competed in the Sporting Class were able to use a wide variety of rally timing and navigation components.  The Triumph Spitfire shown below is an example of one of the better prepared cars in the Sporting Class. Not only is the timing different in the Sporting Class, the route instructions are a different from the Classic Class and they seem to involve more map reading.  I believe that the timing control locations are the same for both classes.  Cars are timed to the 1/100 second at the controls in all classes.

A Well-Prepared Triumph Spitfire

For the results of the 2017 Baden Classic, reported by class, click on the following file.  Harald von Langsdorff and I were in Class 3 because of the relatively new age of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 560SL.

Class Results KlasseKlassik

To see the overall 2017 Baden Classic results, regardless of class, click on the following file.

Overall Results GesamtKlassik

Harald’s mother’s health continues to improve, but other than that scare, we enjoyed taking part in the 2017 Baden Classic.

If you have any questions or comments on this post or the Baden Class, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

If you have any pictures from this rally that you would like to share with me and others, then please send those along to me at the above address.


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Health Scare Dampens A Good Start To The 2017 Baden Classic Rally

Today was the first day of competition in the 2017 Baden Classic car rally.  But Harald von Langsdorff and myself will probably remember it for the day that Harald’s mother had a mild stroke.  She currently is in a local hospital being well looked after.  Harald got the news this afternoon while we were just starting a rather difficult map section of the rally and obviously this call and the news that was contained in the call were major distractions.  Harald’s mother lives in Germany only a few miles from the rally area.  Our status for continuing in the rally for the second day is still up in the air.

In spite of this rather shocking news, we appeared to have scores today that would make us very competitive with the other cars.

Michael Muller’s Well-Prepared Ford Escort

This morning, before the rally started, Harald and I were pleased to be asked by Michael Muller to join his team for the rally.  Michael has a very well prepared Ford Escort and he has lots of rally experience including taking part in the recent running of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  Another team member is Michael Bruns who is driving a Ford Falcon rally car.  Michael and this car also took part in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  Harald and I don’t want to let the rest of the team down.    Michael’s Ford Falcon is shown below.  It looks good and sounds good as well as it is powered by a 289 cubic inch Ford V8 fed by two 4-barrel carburetors.

Michael Bruns’ Ford Falcon

Today’s afternoon break was at a spectacular restaurant at a castle on top of a great hill.  You could see for miles from our eating table.  While the break was good, Harald spent most of the time on the telephone trying to get updates on his Mom.

View From The Afternoon Break Location

Not only was the view spectacular, the coffee and pastries went over well with the rally competitors.

The Afternoon Break Was A Welcome Stop

At the afternoon break, I got a chance to look a some of the other cars in the rally.  Certainly the Ford GT40 clone, shown below, was quite an attention grabber.

Ford GT40 In The Gulf Livery

One car that caught my attention, as well as Harald’s attention, was the Mercedes-Benz SLC that is shown below.  This car looks very much like the 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC that we will be entering in the upcoming 2017 Great Race.

A Rally Prepared Mercedes-Benz SLC

The weather improved during the day to the point that we took the top down on our Mercedes-Benz 560SL.  It was quite enjoyable, but in some of the high, shady roads in the Black Forest it did get a little cool.

Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 560SL With The Top Down

Our rally plans for tomorrow are still subject to change depending upon the health of Harald’s Mom.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Baden Classic, 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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2017 Baden Classic Rally: Getting Ready For the Rally

Today Harald von Langsdorff and myself were in good shape to be ready for the rally.  We had the car set up yesterday and today all we had to do was to get the car through scrutineering and to get our odometer calibrated.  As a result, we had some time in the morning to do some site seeing.

We went to The Museum of Military History that is housed in the residential palace of Rastatt.

Residential Palace In Rastatt, Germany

In the museum there was a tremendous amount of military things to see.  This area of Germany had been fought over between France and Germany for many years.  Sometimes it was a German area, then other times it was a French area.  As a result, this area was often a battleground with lots of military history.

These Swords Are Typical Of The Hardware On Display

In the afternoon we went to the designated area to have the car scrutineered, but we were the first there, even before the scrutineering crew.  But, so as not to waste time.  Harald and I did our exercises on the available public exercise equipment.

Here Is Harald Doing His Push Ups

Here I Am Doing Some Sort Of Back Exercise, I Think

We eventually got our car scrutineered and everything was just fine.

Our Mercedes-Benz 560SL

After all that exercise and scrutineering, we went the XXL restaurant located at the scrutineering location for nourishment and an adult beverage.  Check out the size of the “small” cheeseburger that I had.

This Small Cheeseburger Was 8-inches In Diameter!

We did some socializing with some other rally competitors that we had met at this event previously.  It was great to trade rallying stories.

After dining, we went to calibrate our odometer.  This was somewhat disappointing.  Our final calibration number was 51.   Rally navigators will know that a low calibration number means that accuracy of the odometer is somewhat off.  And it turned out that the ideal calibration number we needed was 51.52, almost right in the middle either using 51 or 52.  We decided to use 51 as I can always take a little off the reading of the electrical-mechanical Prestel+Gemmer odometer by turning the odometer off for a few meters as needed.  This certainly points out the benefit of using having pulse multipliers to increase the pulses that the odometer sees.  We were using the pulses generated for the electronic speedometer in the Mercedes-Benz 560SL.  Anyway, as they say, it is what it is.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Baden Classic rally, 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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In Germany For The Baden Classic

I arrived in Forch, Germany today through a combination of plane, trains, and automobiles.  Forch is the home town of my frequent rally partner Harald von Langsdorff.  This weekend Harald and I will be competing in the Baden Classic car rally.  When I arrived earlier this morning in Frankfurt, it was dull and overcast, and it even degenerated into rain.

Harald met me at the train station in Baden-Baden, then we went to Forch.  I am staying at the Hotel Krone which not only is the only hotel in Forch, it is a great eating place and doubles as the village pub.

Hotel Krone

After we had lunch (I had a local seasonal cream of asparagus soup) we went to German version of Home Depot to pick up some last minute items for the rally.  In the drizzling rain, partially sheltered in Harald’s garage, we got the Mercedes-Benz 560SL ready for the rally.  The interior of the Mercedes-Benz 560SL is very much like the 300SL that we had in this rally last year, so we knew pretty much where everything should go.  Harald had done some prewiring for the Prestel+Gemmer odometer using the pulse generated by the Mercedes-Benz electronic speedometer, so we had the odometer working properly in about five minutes.  Through the abundant use of Velcro it did not take too long to get everything the way that we wanted it.

In the evening we went into Baden-Baden for dinner and what has become a Baden-Baden tradition for me – a plate of spaghetti ice cream.  For a nightcap, we went back to the Hotel Krone for a glass or two of wine along with some general BS about our upcoming rallies before calling it a night.  Tomorrow is the scrutineering of the cars prior to the meeting.

Things have gone very well so far, but we know to expect the unexpected.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Baden Classic, 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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Car Change At the 2017 Baden Classic Rally

I got an email from Harald von Langsdorff this morning who is already in Germany, in part to compete in next weekend’s Baden Classic car rally.  I will be Harald’s navigator for this event.  Harald’s email stated that there is a problem with the 1951 Mercedes-Benz 220 which we had planned on using to compete in the rally.  This problem might not be fixed in time for its use in the rally.

Rather than have to withdraw from the rally, Harald does have a Mercedes-Benz 560SL that we will be able to use in its place.  As much as I was looking forward to competing in the 1951 Mercedes-Benz 220, the Mercedes-Benz 560SL is a fine car.  Harald & I have competed in a rally with a Mercedes-Benz 560SL before.  The picture below shows us at the 2008 Pumpkin Run rally in Millsboro, Delaware.

Harald von Langsdorff & I At The 2008 Pumpkin Run Rally With His Mercedes-Benz 560SL

The Mercedes-Benz 560SL has much more power and, if the weather is good, then we can take the top down.  This newer car will put us in a different competition class, but we can deal with that.  The only real problem is that we will have to figure out how to connect my Prestel+Gemmer odometer to the electronic speedometer in the Mercedes-Benz 560SL.

My Prestel+Gemmer Basic Odometer

Last year we competed in a borrowed Mercedes-Benz 300SL in this rally.  We (mostly me) watched a mechanic connect my Prestel+Gemmer odometer to the Mercedes-Benz electronic speedometer in that car.  I did not make any wiring notes at that time as it was a one-time navigation seat in that car.  Fortunately I remembered, in general, how it was done and Harald has remembered the same thing, so hopefully we will get this sorted out.

Harald & I In A Mercedes-Benz 300SL In The 2016 Baden Classic

If we have a problem, then we are fortunate to have Klaus Prestel and Michael Gemmer also entered into this rally who can help us out.  They competed in this rally last year as well and Harald & I enjoyed having some adult beverages with them last year at the Friday night dinner.

Harald & I With The Prestel+Gemmer Guys (and Lady Gemmer)

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Baden Classic rally, 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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