January Jaunt – Ontario Road Rally Championship (ORRC) Rally No. 1 – January 16, 2010

The first rally of the 2010 ORRC series was held January 17, starting in Waterdown, ON, just north of Burlington. Gary and I left here with the Mazda on the trailer around 8 AM and arrived shortly after 2, with a few stops for comfort, fuel and refreshments. The weather was dry and not too cold, so rally conditions would be relatively easy. We had plenty of time to unload, register, chat with old friends and relax before the drivers’ meeting at 3 o’clock.

These events are normally about 200 km in length, but this one was close to 300 km and it took a total of 6 hours to complete. Instructions were pretty straightforward, although after 4-5 hours anything can be challenging! We went as far west as Brantford, where there was a rest stop about 2/3 of the way through and where we picked up the balance of the instructions and a second scorecard.

We had decided before beginning that we would rely completely on the rally computer to keep us on time, rather than Gary trying to calculate ETA’s madly along the way. This turned out to be very sensible, because there were a lot of changes in average speed which would have challenged any calculator wizard. We really didn’t have any problems with the instructions and made only a couple of small turning errors, quickly corrected. At the beginning of the second half we started out in the wrong direction, corrected it as quickly as possible and requested a Time Allowance of 3.5 minutes at the first control. Somehow we were scored 3.5 minutes early at that control, but I don’t see how it’s possible.

In any case, we ended up scoring second place in Novice class with a score of 12.8 – our best score in ORRC to date. By the time we finished and loaded the car up it was about 10 PM, so we didn’t stay long enough to hear the final results or receive our trophies. Instead, we headed out for Pickering to stay with Les and Maureen, arriving there shortly before midnight. We had a short visit after arriving and then hit the sack willingly. The next morning, they made us a great breakfast of French toast, bacon and fresh fruit, with lots of coffee. We took plenty of time to have a proper visit before hitting the highway for Ottawa. On the way home we didn’t get the usual improvement in fuel consumption while driving east, maybe because of all the mud caked on the Mazda. It looked like it had been been in a wind tunnel and they were using mud instead of smoke to trace the air flow.

So our ORRC season is off to a good start. The next event is the all-night rally in Bancroft in February, which I refuse to do. All night is just too much! After that comes the Spring Run-Off in April, which is always a good one. In March I will attend the RallySport Ontario annual meeting and banquet, to receive a trophy for finishing third in Novice class for 2009. It will be nice to be recognized.

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