|Driver/Navigator __ Leg||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||Total|
|SEAT OF PANTS CLASS|
Bill Wagner Jr.
|2nd||Russ Bedford, Chris
Bedford & Amaya Gula
|1st||P. J. Hart
On November 6, 2011, 22 participants assembled at Subaru of Champaign County to compete in the Monticello Monte Road Rally. The entrants included 6 veteran teams, 1 novice team with a couple rallies of experience, and 4 Novice teams out for the first time. Shortly after an informal rookie briefing and the standard crew meeting, Route Instructions were handed out and the teams were westbound on the odometer comparison section. Ahead of them were 106 miles of course and 9 checkpoints. For fun, I gave each leg a descriptive title.
The challenging checkpoint locations at “Kinky Finish” and “Hilltop Surprise” caught both Navigational (NAV) teams off guard. They each accumulated more than half their total points in the first two legs. Meanwhile all four Seat Of Pants (SOP) teams were in the hunt for the overall lead. In Novice class the results were, not unexpectedly, a mixed bag. There were a couple single-digit scores, a few more 100s, and quite a few scores in between. Chad Johnson and Kyle Broadrick lost their way between the first and second checkpoints and ended up far off course. Fortunately they kept their optimism and were able to rejoin at the break.
The SOP team of Jerry White and Bill Wagner Jr. scored their second zero of the rally on “Bucks Pond Run” and were leading overall after 3 legs. The NAV class crews of Bob and Marianne DeMeritt and Bob and Karen Townsend were getting dialed in, however, and were 1-2 overall by the end of “Lickskillet Boogie.”
Mike Blackwelder and Jim Hamilton flirted with the SOP lead briefly after leg 4, but fell back on “Quick Stop,” the last leg before the break. The Novice team of Mark Hammar and Paul Grunchich had their best score of the rally on the same leg.
After the break, concern was raised when both NAV cars came in with nearly identical scores that were substantially different from the previously calculated perfect time for “Allerton Loop.” One team noted a mileage discrepancy that was later verified. After recalculations, the SOP team of Russ and Chris Bedford, ably assisted by granddaughter Amaya Gula, had earned a zero and were back in contention. Jonathan Flora and Tom Ingles, who had quietly strung together 6 single-digit leg scores in a row, were in the mix as well. In fact, after 6 legs all four SOP cars were within 14 points. “Allerton Loop” also marked the first time all five Novice teams managed to find the checkpoint within the “max window.”
“Rocky Finish” was the downfall of Blackwelder and Hamilton who failed to recover from a course following error and scored a max-100. Everyone else got through relatively unscathed. The Novice team of Joe Inman and Geoffrey Sneddon impressed with their 4th single-digit leg score of the rally. A pair of 100s, however, kept them from serious contending for the lead.
On the penultimate leg, “Allerton Loop, Reverse,” Novices P.J. Hart and Matt Horne capped an excellent 4-leg run with a zero. For the third leg in a row, all the Novices finished within the “max window” with the teams of Matt Peters/Alec Shoemaker and Johnson/Broadrick earning their best scores of the rally.
The last leg, “Crossin’ Tracks,” included one ambiguous intersection. The veteran teams all managed to negotiate it correctly, but every one of the Novice teams was thrown off course and all scored a max-100.
The teams proceeded to Three Ravens on the Courthouse Square in Monticello for drinks, dinner, and conversation while the Rallymaster took the long way back from checkpoint 9 to investigate the mileage discrepancy on leg 6. Digit transposition error found, he rolled into the finish point about 20 minutes later than planned. He was relieved to walk into a dining room full of rally contestants, workers, and family members who all still seemed to be in a jovial mood. Thanks to a laptop and spreadsheet, leg six was recalculated and scoring was completed in short order. Hart and Horne won convincingly in Novice, White and Wagner finished on top of a hotly contested SOP class, and the DeMeritts eked out a 4-point victory over the Townsends for first in NAV and first overall. Awards were presented before the crowd got restless, and the Rallymaster, having finally completed his task, celebrated with a pint of Smithwicks!
Thanks to Michel Watkins, Events Coordinator for the Worden Martin Auto Group, for providing hospitality at registration and to Kim Johnson for assisting with checkpoint operations. Special thanks to Angela Patrick, not only for cold running and working checkpoints, but also for displaying exceptional “wifely patience” over the last month as your humble Rallymaster put this event together.
Gary Patrick, Rallymaster