WCRA website promoting Stage and TSD Rally Sport in British Columbia
Page Updated: Monday, July 14, 2003
2002 Coast to Coast Rally
June 29/30, 2002

C2C Supp Regs and Entry Form in pdf format
Final Results, Photos by Peter, Arnie, Roy

Coast to Coast Story by Peter Parsonage

Coast to Coast was a 2 day event on Vancouver Island that counted towards the Pacific North West and BC regional championships. The rally goes back a few years but has not been so popular in recent years. The organizers of this year's event were determined to put on a first class event and succeed.

The rally started in Duncan on Saturday morning and finished in Nanaimo Sunday afternoon around 3:30pm with an overnight rest in Port Alberni. It lived up to its name and led us from coast to coast, east to west and back again.

The island roads are smooth and wide. Lots of shale,gravel and rock. Not so much mud and dust. We were warned at the first driver's briefing that this would be a briskTSD, and they were right. Lots of sections that required an average around the 70kph mark made for some spirited driving. Just one car was lost early on when they left the road and were unable to continue. For the remainder, we finished and each have our stories to tell.

Here's a brief summary of the experiences in car #8. For those of you who don't know, I drive and my 15yo son Owen navigates. I feel the roles will be reversed some time soon.

The first stage was uneventful due mainly to the custom rally computer that Ashton and Eric have been putting together. After months of trial and error, all the functions work, the odo is accurate to the metre and doing everything we need. Until...

During the transit to stage 2, the computer failed and took out the stock speedo and odo. We had nothing but a check engine light to cheer us. We're supposed to drive to perfect time and I cannot find out how fast we're going or have any means to determine how far we've gone. We're out of cell phone range already and there's no way to call Ashton. As we wait for the start of the next stage, I manage to identify the problem, disconnect the computer, reset the ECU and get a working speedo and odo. Unfortunately, the new gravel tires are oversized so now the speedo and odo are never going to be right. Owen gets down to some frantic recalculations and we head off on stage 2.

About 10km into the stage, we round a corner and see a few water bottles across the road. Must have fallen off someone's truck. Next corner, there's a small overnight bag. As each corner passes we encounter, a tow rope, a bucket, spare oil, a leather jacket, the list is long. At some point (I think it was the leather jacket), it dawns on me that the car in front of us has a rear door that must have come open and they are slowly shedding themselves of all their belongings. It's a historic Saab Sonet and the first clue the crew get is that Rebecca is getting sick due to the exhaust fumes coming into the cabin. It's not going to be their rally.

Our times flail between late and early as we chase an odo that drifts massively off target. Add to that the occasional route book inaccuracy and we are pretty much lost (as far as keeping perfect time).

Imagine also, Owen is in the middle of a 10 second countdown. 10...9...8...7... silence. I initially thought he noticed something in the calculations and was distracted. On no. Mr. KnowItAll had stayed up all the previous night playing on his computer. He's asleep. There's no point in trying to keep him awake so I let him sleep for a while. When I ask him if he needs to sleep, he just says "thanks" and beams back into his coma. He's too big to push out of the car while it's moving, so I plan on killing him at the end of stage. I'll have to make my excuses to his mother after the rally so that is not a concern during the rally.

Unfortunately, he cannot sleep all the way. I'm trying to drive and read the route book. But turn left at 60.87km means nothing when my odo reads just 58 something at that point. At 72kph, I fly past an intersection. I have to wake him. His eyes are open, and he's talking, but he's still asleep. Ok, he says, if we meet a bridge in 2km we're right. We don't. Screech, turn, and fly back down to the junction. Now we're moving. We pass car #10 (who should be 2 minutes behind us) sometime later. We should have had this section on video. It was a blast. We made up the time very quickly and thankfully nothing was coming the other way.

Going into the rally we shared the lead in the series with John McLaren and Brian Wende. Brian was absent, and John was wearing a big smile during day 1. Things were going his way. Well, this is rallying, and there's always a BUT. When the scores came in that night, John was not doing as well as he thought. His navigator had used the MPH figure in the route book to do his calculations instead of the KPH. Oh dear, that's a pity. We're leading the novice category after day 1 and John's over 100 points behind us.

After driving most of day 1 being totally dejected, pondering if it was even going to be worthwhile doing most of the remaining events, day 2 dawns and the fight is most definitely on. We now know what equipment we can rely on and with careful planning and lots of work on Owen's part, we can do it.

2nd to the last stage we round a bend to be greeted with an instruction that says "Bear right then over bridge". Well I can bear left and go over a bridge or bear right and hope that around the next bend there is a bridge. Owen's no clue. I choose left. Some of the others choose right and are left high and dry when the bridge fails to appear. Shouldn't happen, but that's rallying.

The last curve ball was a bad instruction that said turn right about 2km before you could turn right. In TSDs you hardly ever see another competitor during a stage. Imagine my surprise to see car #5 come down the road towards me, closely followed by car #1 who is making a sterling effort to break the sound barrier.

The rest of the day is uneventful. We complete the rally and, despite a mistake on my part (while trying to be helpful and do some of the navigator's job) we have had a reasonable day considering the circumstances. The only thing now is to wait for the scores.

No surprise that we are not in contention for first overall. That dream died with the rally computer. The scores are in quickly. We've held on to 1st in class by a whisker. John is 2nd. One more stage and the results would probably be the other way around.

It was an emotional roller coaster of an event. We came away with the result we wanted and overcame so many things. We met lots of great people and enjoyed some of the island's best roads and scenery. There were some sections where we looked across the valley to spectacular mountains and giant waterfalls. It really was picture perfect. If those organizers had factored in some 1 minute pauses for pictures, I could show you just how grand.

If you want to go stage rallying, without a roll cage, I recommend Coast to Coast. It's the closest you'll get on an organized event. There are many summer TSDs that are just not exciting for the driver. This is not one of them. I'll be back next year if they keep those speeds up.
Page Design and Content Copyright © West Coast Rally Association