2002 Totem rally was another fine event from our friends to the north. Check back for more post event coverage...
Words from Steve:
This year TeamD headed up to Totem Rally 2002 with three cars, two of the crews experiencing rallying in BC for the first time. Most things that are fun are enhanced by having friends along, that's definitely true for rallying. Our little convoy sang to the clicky-click of studded tires on pavement as we headed out from Seattle with Dan Comden and Steve Wiper in a Chevy Blazer (more on that later), Marvin Crippen and Jim Hogan in Jim's silver WRX, and myself and Eric Horst in Eric's BMW 325 iX.
This year's totem saw 32 rally teams competing across two days worth of beautiful BC scenery. Cache Creek and Williams Lake hosted the event Friday and Saturday nights respectively with the finish and awards ceremony back in Cache Creek. Road conditions varied across every spectrum; muddy to solid, icy to dry, snow to clear; sometimes all in one section of road. The weather was clear and pleasant with a few flakes of snow in the higher elevation bits Sunday and the rain holding off until the drive home Sunday night.
Greg Hightower and Russ Kraushaar were there to show everyone how it's done. They had a measly 5 points at the end of the day Saturday. Somehow the crews must hav lost their times since they _still_ had 5 points at the end of Sunday! It's awesome to see zero penalty point for any day of rallying, even more amazing on a challenging event with vigorously varying road conditions. Bravo dudes!
Our rally performance was solid with Eric adapting to the conditions quickly and keeping us on time most of the time. Toward the end of the day Sunday I was fatiguing and caused us to miss a turn that came-up sooner than I expected. It was an excellent chance for Eric to get some hero driving in while winding up the narrow and twisty Deadman-Cache Creek road. We picked-up 16 penalty points on Saturday and followed with 4 more points on Sunday for a total of 20, good enough for Fourth Overall and Third in Unlimited Class. BC winter scoring rules were in effect so the scores are lower than raw time differences.
The Totem/Thunderbird terrain is littered with rally memories (and a few of my tools). I got to see the place where my Rover was rolled last year and where we got a flat tire in '99 finding the spare under-inflated. If those roads could talk ... our insurance rates would be much, much higher.
Eric's BMW 325 iX performed flawlessly and if there could hav been a single best tire choice for the multitude of road conditions I think it was probably the studded Hakkas that our car and many others were running.
TeamD has always been known for rallying some larger then average vehicles, only occasionally bending them up. In keeping with the rally-what-you-got approach Dan Comden and Steve Wiper set out to prove that big is indeed beautiful with Dan's huge red Chevy Blazer. This was Steve's first rally but you wouldn't know it by their performance. They brought the big rally rig home for 2nd in Calculator class, way to go guys!
Jim Hogan and Marvin Crippen had problems with an odometer cable repeatedly coming disconnected but still rallied at a high level and finished with 3rd in the calculator class.
Most of Totem rally area is open range land and one of car #1's duties is cattle herding. Midday Sunday we came upon a big 'ole steer standing in the middle of the narrow road. We were on his turf and he didn't care how many cents the visit would cost us. As we slowed approaching him he was decided what he should do with this loud black Bavarian beast, was it a Bessie or a Brutus? Hump it or ram it? We moved to the left and he took a step in the same direction. While he was still making up his mind we snuck by unscathed, but I wondered what a bull would think of the red Subaru that would soon be bearing down on it.
We were able to clinch the Rainier Auto Sports Club division of the event by very narrowly pipping our club mates Steve Richards and Gary Reed by a few points. Judging from the way the scores came in late Sunday it looks like it came down to who flinched more while circumnavigating the notorious 'yawning pit of death'.
Our hats are off to all of the Totem 2002 competitors and especially the top finishers: Greg Hightower and Russ Kraushaar (1st overall, 1st Unlimited), John Fouse and Dennis Wende (2nd overall, 2nd unlimited), and Peter Parsonage and Owen Parsonage (third overall, 1st novice).
Being the last event of the year Totem was the deciding event for many challenges and championships, namely: The Pacific Coast Challenge, The Rallyequipment.com Novice Series, and The Yokohama BC Rally Championship. Our congratulations to the winners of those competitions.
And big, big TeamD thanks to Paul and all of the BC Rally folks for putting together such a fine damn rally. As usual we're impressed with your organization, roads and scenery. Keep up the good work and we'll see you in February.