SCCA Washington DC Region USRRC Report
by David Head, Rallymaster
Over the three days of October 18 to the 20th, the Washington, DC region of the Sports Car Club of America hosted the 2013 National Road Rally Championship’s season’s premiere event, the United States Road Rally Challenge, or USRRC. This event consists of three separate rallies, a GTA rally run Friday the 18th, a course or “trap” rally run Saturday the 19th, and a tour rally run Sunday the 20th.
Friday, Virginia Map GTA Rally, Chris Bean, Rallymaster
The Name of the GTA rally was the Virginia Map GTA Rally. GTA is an acronym for “Game, Tour, Adventure.” This rally was definitely a tour, since it traveled over a good portion of rural roads west of Fredericksburg, Va. A GTA is probably a lot like some non-SCCA rallies that proclaim themselves “fun” rallies and have you looking at landmarks and filling out questions about them.
This rally added an element of determining your own course via 3 methods. One was known as a herringbone concept, where a straight, horizontal line is drawn, and then vertical lines are drawn to indicate what to do at an intersection. If the vertical lines form a cross, that means to keep a road to the right and a road to the left, such as going straight at a crossroad. A single line coming in from the top would, since you’re going from left to right, indicated that you should keep a road to the left, such as straight at a sideroad to the left, or right at a T.
The 2nd concept was to connect snippets of a Virginia DOT map to form a route, and drive on all existent roads in the pictures, and again answer questions about what you saw along the route. The 3rd method was to use roads whose numbers totaled a given number. For instance, if you were to travel on “14”, you could encounter road 608 and turn on it, or 239, or 86. Again, you would fill in answers about questions along your route to determine whether you went the right way.
Saturday, Virginia Reel Course Rally, Dave Head, Rallymaster
The course, or “trap” rally was not unusual for its type, having mostly fairly simple traps with four good “zingers.” It traveled east of Fredericksburg to the area mostly between route 301 and Colonial Beach, Va. There is a network of both paved and unpaved roads there that are well suited to direct rally contestants along a route, and offer both beauty and competition.
The traps, for those who have ever rallied and may remember a few, were old reliable formulas such as curve arrow traps, “onto” traps, overlap traps, and quick sign traps. The 4 not so easy traps were one where a transit zone started way earlier than expected because it started at 3, and contestants encountered route 3 in King George, far before they got to numbered route instruction 3, which is what they were probably expecting. Another was a situation where rallyists approached a “Y” intersection in Colonial Beach that ended in the McDonald’s straight ahead, but the intersection was not a “Y” because the general instructions said that the parking lot of the break, the McDonalds, was an existent road, making the road a crossroad.
Main road determinants were Right at Y and Right at T, but higher than those was Left at Crossroad, where the winners went left, turned on route 632 that circled behind the McDonalds, and then used the Right at T main road determinant to get back to the McDonalds to be directed into it by the next instruction for lunch. The third big nasty was where a Do It Yourself Control (DIYC) ended at a sign reading “Speed Limit 45”, but the next leg also started at a “Speed Limit 45” sign that was 0.66 miles down the road. Max late for missing this and starting at the same sign that was the DIYC. And finally, the nastiest trap was a “Turn on Oak Brow” that, due to an intricate arrangement of road marking signs and carefully worded general instructions, allowed a sign on the left side of a sideroad intersection to mark the road on the right side of the sideroad intersection. That surprised the most teams of the rally, causing the most penalty points of any trap.
Sunday, Magical History Tour, Dave Head, Rallymaster
The Magical History Tour had us all biting our nails, since the route had been wrecked by the government shutdown that closed the military parks around Fredericksburg that the rally used. On Thursday, the shutdown was over, the original set of route instructions, rather than the backup set that I had created to bypass the closed roads, was sent to the printer and we didn’t spend $50 to print route instructions we didn’t need.
The rally ran east of Fredericksburg, circled south, then west, and came back into Fredericksburg while “hitting” places like Lee Drive in Fredericksburg that contained some cannons and “Meades Pyramid,” the Stonewall Jackson Shrine south of Fredericksburg, and then the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, Wilderness Battlefield, and Chancellorsville Battlefield where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by “friendly” fire. The rally itself was fairly brisk, entertaining contestants while offering some challenge. The scores were incredibly low, with just 6/100ths of a minute penalty over all 24 controls.
For a look at the standings for each of the three USRRC events and the overall USRRC finishes, click here to download a pdf-file of this article as it was published in the Straight Pipe, the Washington DC Region’s newsletter.