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2001 Tbird Stories - Car 14

2001 Tbird HomeSupps (doc)Entry Form (rtf)Flyer (doc)

Results - Day1a, Day 1b, Day2, Totals

Photo's - Photo 1Photo 2Photo 3Photo 4Phto 5Photo 6

Stories - Car 34, Car 23, Car 29, Car 05

Tbird History - SummaryTbird 2000Tbird 1999Tbird 1997

Stories - Car 42, Car 14, Car 35, Car 46

Rally Stories  Car 14

2001 Thunderbird Rally  --  30th Annual Edition

Cache Creek, British Columbia       Performance TSD     February 17 & 18 2001

The Subaru RX Rally Team took the Sport Wagon to Canada to play in the snow at the West Coast Rally Association's 30th annual premier winter rally, the 2001 Thunderbird Rally.  Driver Ron marked the 30th coincidentally, as his first Thunderbird was in 1971.  The Thunderbird has existed for more than the 30 years but this is the "modern era" and has run continuously for the last 30, under the same leadership.

Navigator Josh arrived at Sea-Tac from San Francisco Thursday evening.   We departed from Renton on Friday morning having brushed 7" of new snow off the car in our driveway, and a little apprehensive as to the trip north to the "snow rally".  As nature would have it, the snow diminished the further north we drove until entering Canada was under blue skies and on dry roads.
Registration and Tech Inspection listed 57 starters although only 54 pulled away from the Start under the Mayor's waving flag.  Classes were Unlimited, Calculator, Paper, Historic, and Novice, for the TSD rally traditionally held on snow covered backroads at brisk speeds.  This is Round One of the BC TSD Rally Championship, and Round One of the Pacific Coast Challenge (BC-WA-OR). Competitors from Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, and Maine joined the BC, Washington and Oregon crews anticipating the fun.  Historic entrants included two BMW 2002's (one road-racer, one concours), a Volvo 123GT, a Ford Zephyr Zodiac, a VW Beetle, a VW Karmann-Ghia, a Dodge Colt, a Saab 96, and three Saab Sonetts as well as a Lada Niva which was listed as a starter but elected not to run.  Subaru was well represented with an SVX, two RX, several RS, several Legacy, an Outback Sport, and us in the Sport Wagon.
Day One began at 1100 AM under blue skies (but cold!) at Cache Creek in central BC and ran on dry gravel for much of the first Regularity called "Deadman" (great start), then to snow-covered roads "Bonaparte", "Bridge Lake", "Canim Lake", and "Forest Grove" toward 100 Mile House for the end of Leg One.  Then "Lac La Hache", and "Spokin Lake" via the Luge Run which is just as it sounds, very steep, icy and narrow.  On to "Mountain House", "Soda Creek North", "Meldrum Creek", and "Soda Creek South", where Leg Two's roads vary from broad dry gravel to narrow twisting between-the-trees snow tracks which are now being enhanced by darkness. Excursions along the route include a 323GTX and a 2.5RS sufficiently off to require tow strap assistance by sweep, a Sonett in similar straits assisted by another competitor and a British SUV (which shall remain nameless) that tested the roof rack by slowly putting the entire weight of the vehicle on it then returning to its wheels with only minor metal damage.    After ten hours of challenging roads in great conditions the first car reaches Williams Lake at 900 PM. 
We run just pencil and paper, no rally speed tables, no calculators, just Seat-of-Pants by the driver and any calculations of Time-Speed-Distance being performed in long division, long multiplication, and lots of addition by navigator Josh.  (There is as much black ball-point ink on the back of every page as there is printer's ink on the front!).   We are tied with 59 points with friends in calculator class, and everyone above us is running unlimited with computers for navigation. 
Day Two drivers meeting brings news of a couple of withdrawals in the Historic Class.  The Dodge Colt lost their alternator and decided lights were probably a good idea so they withdrew; the Karmann-Ghia lost all but the E-brake but did arrive at the overnight;  the Range Rover stowed all the bits and pieces and was ready to rally; the rest of the field was ready to go.  While seated at breakfast in the Headquarters Hotel some drivers commented on the lack of snow.  They spoke too soon.  At 730 the snow began, the cars were covered, the streets were covered and the start delayed, one section deleted (not weather related), and crews wondering what lay ahead.  Needn't wonder, it was snowing!  Fifty crews sat along side the snowy track at the end of the morning odo check and watched those ahead disappear into the powder and later near white-out conditions through "Springhouse", "Dog Creek", and the Gang Ranch Suspension Bridge over the frozen river, with notes of Hairpin, Hairpin, Hairpin.  Caution!  Exposure!  Hairpin R, Caution!!! Exposures and hairpins next 3km. Beware of brake fade!  We definitely were to be careful through here.  After a pause at the bridge, we start out for "Meadow Lake" at 50km/h.  31.1 mph doesn't look fast on paper although we see several near "offs" leading to the deep snow on the outside of some corners and we're late at the first control.  The hillclimb hairpins and control were video taped and everyone had the opportunity to critique style points later.  Meadow Lake was the last regularity with seven checkpoints and some very deep snow at pretty brisk speeds.   Several times the speed was 40.4 or 44.7 when only 35 was attainable until some long straight enabled 55 for long enough to catch up.  It has been a custom to end Thunderbird with a few laps on Barnes Lake, this year the lake was not scored so it became just a two lap "fun-run", then stand around and holler and wave to your fellow competitors, then off to the Finish Banquet at Cache Creek.  Another day, another 7 hours of rallying.
We held on to our lead for 1st paper and finished the two-day, 17 hour, 553 mile event with 142 points (2min22sec) total error.  The win is a great start to our defense of the Pacific Coast Challenge Championship overall win for 2000, and the BC TSD Rally Championship class win for 2000.  The RX should be back on the road soon and we may move up to the Calculator class where scores tend to be closer to zero all the time.  Drivers need to concentrate just as intensely, co-drivers get an opportunity to see some scenery instead of just mathematics on the clipboard.
Congratulations to Gary Webb/John Kisela 1st unlim 7; Satch Carlson/Russ Kraushaar 1st hist 30; Roy Lima/John Rapson 1st calc 54; Ron & Josh Sorem 1st paper;  and Dan & Stuart Fealk 1st novice 377. 
The West Coast Rally Association presents some excellent events throughout the year, Thunderbird being the first and longest running TSD.  This year's Thunderbird saw the highest entry, and tied for the highest starters since its inception.  Comments from the competitors after the event indicate most will be back for more, and most will encourage others to come along for the fun.  The organizers are to be congratulated for another premier Canadian event.  Visit on-line at www.rallybc.com 
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For more information on the Subaru RX Rally Team contact: 
Sorem Motorsports   10835 SE 170th STREET,   RENTON,  WA  98055 ronsorem@hotmail 
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