Over the next several years I was exposed to all types of rallys. Time Speed Distance on the local and national level. Stage Rallys from back East to Canada. In the early 80's with the advent of gas shortages, growing family and a changing guard in rally. Rally took a back seat.
Ten years later my wife wanted to try a simple Friday evening event. We went and had some fun. The transition back into rallying was mind numbing to me. The rules to play the game had changed dramatically. We pushed forward and even won a few in the "Masters" class of Cascade Sports Car Club. During this time my friendship with Bob Wakehouse came to be.
Over the next 10 years Bob and I have rallied together in all types and formats of Rally. Currently we produce the SCCA National Touring Rally "The Road Not Taken". As time and money permits we run as many stage rallys as we can. My love of the rally game has not waned but grown deeper. Now as a official "Old Fart" I push harder for the purity of the sport.
I have finally became a seasoned co-driver in stage rallys, a reasonable navigator for TSD rallys, a pretty good rally organizer and a fair Rallymaster. One might say that it only took 20 plus years to come to appreciate all that Rally has to offer. I don't regret a single day.
Adventure: As defined in Websterís: "Chance; fortune; luck. Risk of jeopardy. The encountering of risks; hazardous enterprise. A bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be met and the issue hangs upon unforeseen events; a daring feat. A remarkable experience. To venture or hazard oneself; as, adventuring upon paths unknown. To take the risk."
So much of the adventure of rally style has left us over the last 20 years. The drop in attendance is evidence of this. When you ask the folks who rallied in the 50ís, 60ís and even as late as the early 70ís why they rallied, the common thread of their answers are: "It was fun." "We had a great excuse to drive in a fashion that was on the edge." "We never knew what to expect." "Our car had to be up to the task." "We knew that no matter what happened to us, if we stuck to it, we would finish when others could notít." "Got to see places we had never seen." "The need to be as precise as humanly possible in driving skill without knowing what was around the next bend." "To bring a buddy so you could both enjoy." "Bragging rights." "A new adventure."
There are few rallies today that fill these needs. Organizers seem to want to fill events with mindless mathematics instead of basic Time-Speed-Distance calculations. They are terrified of using a "spelling trap" or a hidden checkpoint. They are completely unrelenting in creating so many rules that the new person is overwhelmed from the start. They want everyone to be able to "zero" a leg so that precision driving is not needed at all times. They coddle the competitor to the point of being baby-sitters. It is like putting on a bicycle event and then insist that all participants use training wheels so that no one falls. How many competitors would that attract. How many would come back?
I find that many of the competitors, especially novices, do not necessarily run the event to be first in class or first overall. They run the event to say that they finished. They take as much pride in finishing as the party that won the hardware. I, as an organizer, do things to win, and to win with style. I also understand that "finishing" is sometimes more important than placing first. Finishing an "adventure" first or last is unimportant, but finishing is paramount. The "adventure" is why I try. The competitive side lends spice to the adventure. If this attitude is permeated from start to finish by the organizers, it makes the event enjoyable to me. I want to leave feeling that Ií I have experienced one the finest rallies ever.
It has long been a feeling of mine that Rallymasters should be aware that the personality of their event mirrors themselves in organization and philosophy. If they find that they like to play "gimmick" style games, so be it. But donít call it a rally. Donít sell me a rally and give me gimmicks to chase and a road with no character. I believe in this concept and hold to it. I consistently see new people to the sport of rallying and never returning because it just was notít a Rally. It was a moronic trip on a game board. Let me make my opinion very clear: A rally by any other name is NOT still a rally.
I write this not to be confrontational but to possibly point out a differing viewpoint on the woes of rally. A change of focus may be what todayís rally needs. Sometimes, if not always, we can learn from history. If that is notít a help, stop and ask yourself what truly turned your crank on your first rally.