Region News

2020-10-02 - “Second Hand Roads”

Northern New Jersey Region
“Second Hand Roads”
By Peter Schneider& Dave Panas


On September 13th, NNJR hosted a Novice-orientated Time-Speed-Distance Rally utilizing the Richta App GPS Scoring System.

Second Hand Roads, the title of the event, harkens back to an event by the rallies Co-Host Raritan Valley Sports Car Club, who has sanctioned both Q&A Gimmick/GTA and Time-Speed-Distance events since the 60s. RVSCC was also the driving force behind NNJR's Pine Barren Express TSD rally, which ran for ten years in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. PBX was a brisk event that lasted way into the night and utilized tulip instructions and the State Forest System's sand trails.

Second Hand Roads in the old day got its name based on the fact it would recycle old trophies and commonly used rally roads.The Region brought the event back to life in 2018 and plans on conducting the event for many years to come.

While most people think of NNJR as a Region that presents Gimmick/GTA rallies and as host of the annual USMC Toys for Tots Charity event, most people are unaware the Region has a long history in road rally, which goes back to the 50s. By the way, the Toys for Tots Teddy Bear Rally, which has run for 30 years, is the longest-running charity event sanctioned by SCCA.

I thought I’d let you know about the time when NNJR actually participated in the National Rally scene—

Back in 2013, Dave Panas wrote, "For several years before and after 1963, NNJR conducted theJersey 500 National Rally. The ’63 event was run over three days and did account for 500 miles of rallying. The first car was flagged off at 2 PM on Friday, July 12th. 44 cars started.The Friday course accounted for about 150 of the 500 mile event and had a total of 10 checkpoints. Participants included Hank Mann, the National Rally Board Chairman, and Stew Blodgett, the official SCCA observer. This stellar duo took Friday’s 2ndplace behind a couple from Springfield, Va.

The Saturday route of approximately 250 miles jumbled the Friday’s scores with several highly placed Friday teams suffering major checkpoint penalties.The Virginia couple still led and our erstwhile Nat'l Rally Board runners dropped to the bottom of the top ten.

The Saturday route took the contestants to northwest Jersey for a buffet lunch at the Newtonian Inn in Newton.Supposedly the meatballs were a hit, as was the lemonade stop in midafternoon. The afternoon run took the cars along the country roads of Sussex and Warren counties. A comment from the time said that “the roads there are fast, lightly traveled and offer unequaled conditions for rallying in the ‘prompt’ manner.”

The final 100 miles were run on Sunday morning.The rallymaster designed a regularity run with loops. The three day runs were appropriately titled "Straights, Curves, and Circles." Apparently that was enough to trip up enough folks that the results were scrambled again!

Part of the enjoyment of the event was the FREE gas and oil provided by Gulf! (these were the days of corporate sponsorship) Two of their representatives were on hand to lend whatever assistance they could and had more fun than some of the contestants.One even rode in the sweep car. AND, they also provided lighter fluid, household oil (sewing machine oil) and sewing kits for distribution. [I hope that didn’t affect their local gas prices.]

Representing the NNJR were the novice class winners, Dave and Mary Latto. First novice and seventh overall.

For being the closest of all predicting the final score, the winner, Jo Murray, was presented with a Heuer watch, compliments of that company.

It should be noted that the Course Marshall for the event was Roger Bohl, a name that became familiar in National rallying circles for years to come, as were the second place overall winners, Dennis and Sally Anne Koelmel. It should be noted that the Koelmels drove for the Renault factory rally team in 1962, and in ‘63 were part of the Chrysler rally team.

As an aside, in approximately this same time period, the Jersey Sports Car Club also ran rallies and started theJersey Monte CarloRally. Dave Panas was part of the team of four that put on this rally for nine years.It was simply a one-speed (thirty mph) drive of about 10 hours driving duration with two hours of rest stops built-in.All you had to do was follow the orange line marked on an Esso (before it became Exxon) map of NJ.Of course it was conducted on the most moonless Saturday night we could find in February, in the snow and the scale of the map was 5.2 miles per inch. At its peak it attracted 189 cars "believe it or not.”

Back in 1990, NNJR presented two Nationals. The tour event was One Lap of New Jersey/Roads of Home. When the National Course Championship Series was on the verge of extinction, unless a fifth National event could be added to the calendar, NNJR stepped up to the plate by placing the New Jersey Monte Map Rally on the schedule. I was the Rallymaster/RallyChair for both events.With proper planning, the New Jersey Monte Course Rally will return in 2021, in conjunction with an event hosted by Jim Wakemen of South Jersey SCCA.

Our Second Hand Roads in 2020 was a straight forward tour event with mileage to every instruction and speeds at or below the posted limits. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation and is known for the Garden State Parkway (What Exit?) and the New Jersey Turnpike. Those that know the area understand that once you get away from the Industrial region (think The Sopranos) that stretches diagonally from New York City to Philadelphia — the state is very rural. As a matter of fact, there are more racehorses in New Jersey than Kentucky.

The route started in Hackettstown, NJ, 50 miles due east of Manhattan. After a 30-minute Odometer Leg that finished in Allamuchy Township, the township's name comes from the Native American word "Allamachetey," meaning "place within the hills," the timed portion of the event began.

The rally was broken up into three sections, totaling 23 timed checkpoints and six restarts.

In the first section, contestants were told the location and exact time to pass the checkpoints. The exact mileage at the controls was provided in the second section, but not the time to arrive. And the third section all checkpoints were "hidden" so they could get a real feel of TSDing, by trying to stay "on time - all the time."

Each checkpoint was timed to the 1/10th of a second. Local volunteers were on hand at the Start, end of the Odometer Leg, and during two breaks, to address any questions that the participants had that might help them during the rest of the event.

Unlike South Jersey, which is on the Coastal Plain and as flat as a pancake, the northwestern portion of the state, known as the Highlands, has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard. It's not the Canadian Rockies, but it provides elevation changes that permit several "hill climbs," allowing several strategically placed checkpoints. There were no "got you" locations, but you had to be on your toes to get a good score.

Since the event was designed to attract newcomers to the sport, the entire 30 car field ran in a modified Seat of Pants class, which allowed GPS odometers, but no calculating apps or rally computers. The Route Instructions were emailed out two days in advance of the rally for social distancing at the Start. This also allowed teams to practice their math and compare their calculations to the Official Key Times. Over 70% of the instructions had Key Times provided, and the Route Instructions had a separate column so the Navigators could write in their arrival time at each Route Instruction. Speed Changes, Pauses, and Key Times (HH:MM:HH) each had their own column, and in addition to Overall Mileage from the last restart, every instruction had a Delta Mileage.

To entice new entrants to the sport of TSD Rallying, the entry fee was $10.00 per car (a $25.00 discount from the usual $35.00 fee). Veterans and Active Duty Military were free. Anyone who went on the Regions' August "Barnstorming Rally," which had 100% of the entry fee donated to AAUW, also received a free entry to Second Hand Roads. As an added incentive, the first ten "first timers" to register received a copy of Clint Goss's "Road Rally Hand Book" included with their entry fee — a $24.95 value. The NNJR Board fully supports the Region’s RoadRally Program, and runs the program as a member service and recruiting effort.

Class Awards were based on the level of TSD/Rally Experience in four classes: Expert, Intermediate, Novice, and First Timer. Special awards were presented for best-placingfinishes: Best BMW CCA, Best Subaru, Best SCCA Member, Best PCA Member,Best Family, Best Husband & Wife/Partners, and the Dead Last But Finished team.

To promote the event, we utilized both the Northern New Jersey and New York Region email lists, which reached over 5,500 enthusiasts. We also did an extensive Facebook advertising campaign and a local radio program interview with Bill Von Suskil on WVLT 92.1FM from Vineland, NJ. Jim Wakemen, Rich Bireta, and I were interviewed on The Racing Line and discussed many topics about RoadRally, including details aboutNNJR's Second Hand Roads Rallyand the Richta App. You can download and listen to the entire hour program here:Link

Two Lessons-Learned came out of putting on our first event with the Richta App:

1) Place the Start Location GPS location closer to the Registration Table. While making sure the Richta Contestant App was up and running and was receiving a signal, I had to walk a hundred plus feet to get a "ping." By moving the location closer, I could save time and shoe leather.
2) While ralliests are familiar with Key Times in hundreds of a minute, people new to the sport are not, so add a column with Key Times in Seconds.

The Region would like to thank Lynn and Brian Beckmann for working Registration, Bob Shore for his RoadRally Safety Steward check of the route, and Mike Szorentini for assisting with mini one-on-one Novice training sessions. As well, Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D'Souza, who ran the event three times while fine turning his own App that they use running the Unequipped Class on National events, this aided them to their Class win at the 2020 Press on Regardless. Thanks to Joanne Schneider for spending many hours on the route and helping with all the prep-work and rally day event activities.

And lastly, a big shout out to Rich and Dave Bireta for developing the RichtaApps and all those that tested/used the App before my event making sure it worked perfectly for Second Hand Roads. The newly implemented Rallymaster version 1.25, which allowed for TA overrides by the Rallymaster to help the Novice Teams who did not understand Time Allowance process, worked flawlessly.