MCO Open Road Rally #5 – May 25, 2011

There was a very small turn-out for the fourth rally in the MCO Open Road series – about seven cars, four of them in Expert class. We started at Tim Horton’s in Stittsville and would finish at the Cheshire Cat pub on Carp Rd. After Gary and I arrived at the start, I had a good chat with Glen about my trip to OH and VA, and about the performance and tuning of the Porsche’s engine. Glen was curious about the reason for old “what’s his name” to have trouble with engines blowing up, which I was able to talk about with some level of confidence!

When we got started, the first section was simple distance to turns, incorporating the odometer check. I had pre-set the rally computer calibration wheels to match the rally organizer’s odometer, based on previous experience. So we didn’t have to make any adjustment at the 15 km odo check. That gave us extra time to try to figure out the instructions for Section 2, which were a bit tricky.

The section was based on a photocopy of a map on which several sections of road had been erased, along with the end-of-section map, which was in a different scale. We were supposed to follow the shortest possible route from start to end by using each missing section only once. Gary struggled for a long time, trying to plot the correct path, and never did figure it out. We took a Time Allowance of 3.5 minutes at the first checkpoint in the section, to compensate for this period spent puzzling over the route. Then we followed Gary’s best guess as to the correct route, until we were obviously off track. So we went to the end of section and started fresh on Section 3. When we arrived at a checkpoint, we assumed that we must have missed one and expected a 20 minute penalty as a result.

Before checking in with the control worker, I should have asked him which checkpoint number he was. When I looked at the sticker he gave me, I found that we had not missed a checkpoint and I could have simply requested a Time Allowance for about 10 minutes and been close to correct! That mistake basically determined our losing score for the entire rally. We finished Sections 3, 4 and 5 almost penalty-free, which were based on tulip diagrams and distance to turn type instructions. It turned out that the solution for Section 2 was simply to approach each intersection and look for the turning direction that would require us to take a road with a missing section. We ended up with a score of about 12.5, which was fourth in Expert class – not very satisfying, but it was a fun night regardless. Now we’re a little better prepared for the next ORRC event on June 4.

This turned out to be the last MCO rally of the season, because the organizer – Open Road Motorsports – cancelled the June and July events due to low attendance. Personally, I believe he should have warned people first that the series was in jeopardy, before cancelling the events. It would have given people a chance to declare their interest before pulling the rug out from under those who like these events.

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