Rally West Virginia is continuing to grow and this year an exciting expansion of the organizing group is underway. Many experienced rally people are coming out of the woodwork to help as they see the fantastic potential this event holds. Based at the gorgeous Snowshoe Mountain resort, the headquarters location boasts the most beautiful vistas of any event in the country. The geology of the area makes for indestructible stage roads that are twisty and flowing, with an abundance of elevation changes to add to the challenge. Over fifty entrants are already signed up for the event which takes place at the end of July.
Although there will be several key positions filled with NASA regulars, Rally West Virginia has recruited Dick Paddock as Clerk of Course and he in turn has recruited many of the people from the old Sunriser 400 Forest Rally. Paddock built the Sunriser 400 Forest Rally in southern Ohio into one of the first stage events in the US and ultimately into one of the largest and best known events in the US. He has over two decades of active competitor experience as driver of various AMC-backed vehicles in SCCA, NARA and FIA events, and over 25 years of experience organizing divisional and national stage events. He chaired over 30 Sunriser 400 Forest Rally and Tulip 200 Forest Rally events as part of the old SCCA PRO Rally Series.
Paul Jaeger has been involved in performance rallies as both racer and as an organizer, and will be the Chief of Controls at Rally West Virginia. In the past Jaeger has managed stage teams as far back as the Sunriser events, and in recent years has headed up the Primo Rally Team of volunteers that are active all over the East coast. John Gingrich will serve as the Deputy Chief of Controls and is another of the Sunriser 400 Committee that has decades of experience at stage set-up and operations. For 2012 Gingrich will be helping Jaeger with stage operations out on the stages along with Jill Hall. Hall has been involved in stage rallying since the early 1980’s as a co-driver and stage captain and also has experience at the RAC in England. Hall will be responsible for control and stage operations on the mountain at Snowshoe. Marcel Ciascai will manage the service area and refueling area operations.
Volunteers as boots on the ground are the lifeblood of any rally event. Efforts to recruit marshals and control volunteers are going well, and the number of people signed up to help is already three times what it was last year at a similar number of weeks out from the event. The event continues to beat the drum, as more volunteers are still needed, and many fantastic opportunities for watching the race as a road marshal are still waiting to be filled on this year’s new stages.
Pat Hoffmannbeck joins the team as the Chief Registrar. She began attending stage events in 1972 as a crew member for Dick Paddock. Shortly after that she became Dick’s co-driver, running well over 50 events over the next decade. By the late 1970’s she was acting as registrar, worker coordinator, deputy Chair for the Sunriser. For 2012 she will be overseeing all worker and competitor registration activities.
The Spectator Chief position will be filled by Tom Phillips, another of the old Sunriser Committee with numerous years of experience in various roles going back to the early 1980’s. Bernie Obry, with a decade of codriving experience, will join the effort as the Competitor Relations Officer.
On the communications side Kal Dworkin and Wanda Dworkin, who have organized and operated net control at events over a 20 year period, will operate Net Control. Kal Dworkin brings with him an intimate knowledge of the communications challenges for stage events and has managed over 60 HAM operators at a single event. They will be partnering with the Deputy Chief of Communications: Mark Bowers, who is a professional commercial communications contractor. Bower’s previous experience as the Chair of Rally West Virginia and in addition to his professional experience as a commercial communications contractor, he brings to the communications planning and execution an intimate knowledge of the local area.
Tammy Paddock will be on board as the Medical Coordinator, a continuation of her role from the Sunriser 400 Forest Rally. She will be the event’s liaison with the area EMS services, hospitals and emergency response agencies. Working alongside her will be Ashley Paulus as the Flight Operations Coordinator. Paulus is a flight instructor at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio. Rally West Virginia runs under a military flight training zone, and it’s common to see the fly-boys making simulated strafing runs on the water tower on top of Snowshoe. Paulus will be coordinating with the military, FAA and any medical or media aircraft that might be operating at or near Rally WV.
John Shirley continues to demonstrate a fantastic knack for getting road permits, an area where he may be unmatched in the entire country. Jeff Denton, whose codriving career began over a decade ago, is returning as the Chief of Scoring, a position he has held at a variety of single and multi-day rallies over the past five years.
The countdown to Rally West Virginia is on, and the talent this group brings to the table is formidable. Be sure to put Rally West Virginia’s July 27-28 date on your calendar and go to http://rallywv.com for more information. Already this event is shaping up to be one of the best ever! See you on the mountain!
Photo by Steve Curey