There is always much to see at a sporting event, and even more that goes on behind the scenes. The following is a preview of International Rally New York, September 6 to 8, 2007.

Thursday evening, Sept. 6 – Ceremonial Start at Canal Street in Ellenville, New York. The cars and crews will gather in a display area by 6:30 p.m., and the teams will be flagged off at one minute intervals beginning at 7:15. The display area is a good place to talk to the competitors, who care noted for their willingness to discuss their sport with fans.

By 9 p.m., all cars must be in an impound area (“parc ferme” in rally slang) at the Nevele Grand Resort in Ellenville. Impounding will help assure that the teams get rest, rather than working on the cars.

Friday, Sept. 7 – Leg 1 of the rally begins at the Nevele Grand Resort at 8:30 a.m., with competitors restarting at one minute intervals.

Leg 1 features special stages on pavement in the towns of Ellenville, Wawarsing and Monticello. These sections are new to this rally, and credit for “discovering” them must go to chief of communications Rich Otis. These roads are generally smooth-surfaced, and for the most part twisty, with occasional faster sections.

If you go to the special stages, you will be able to watch as competitors race against the clock, at speeds which may be faster than you had considered possible on the roads. (For safety, please watch the special stages only at designated spectator areas. These are listed in the spectator guide, which is available at the rally web site, www.rallynewyork.com.)

(Note: International Rally New York is run both on tarmac and gravel, and it is the only rally in the U.S. conducted under the international rules and with full reconnaissance and pace notes.)

You probably won’t notice, but there is an army of workers, toiling behind the scenes, to make this competition possible. Squads of officials are stationed at checkpoints along the route to time the cars. (A driver’s score is the amount of time that he/she spends on the special stages, plus penalties for being ahead of/behind schedule on the public road sections – the lowest score wins.) Emergency workers are stationed at points along the route as well, ready to give assistance if required. And radio operators work with all of them to maintain the vital link between the checkpoints, emergency workers and rally headquarters.

At points during the day, competitors will stop in the service area at the Nevele Grand Resort, for refueling, tire changes and possibly auto repair. The service area is another place where fans can watch the action and talk with competitors. (For safety, please stand well back when refueling, tire changes or repairs are in progress.)

By approximately 9:15 p.m., all cars should once again be in the impound area at the Nevele Grand Resort.

Saturday, Sept. 8 – Leg 2 of the rally begins at 7:30 a.m. with the restart at the Nevele Grand Resort.

Leg 2 features special stages on dirt and gravel roads in the towns of Narrowsburg and Wawarsing. The familiar Narrowsburg sections are generally winding, one-lane roads, many of which have been re-graded in time for this event. Those in Wawarsing are new to the rally, and are winding, smooth-surfaced gravel roads. (Once again, refer to the web site for spectator locations.)

Service areas will be at the Nevele Grand Resort and at Lander’s Camp Ground in Narrowsburg.

The rally will conclude at about 9:15 p.m. with the ceremonial finish at Canal Street in Ellenville.

Rallycross, August 26!

For those who are preparing to compete in International Rally New York, or who want to get in a little extra rally-watching, the organizers are holding a rallycross on Sunday, August 26. A rallycross consists of several runs against the clock, over a single road or loose-surfaced course. This event will be held on a dirt and gravel road on property owned by the Concord Resort in Monticello, New York. Check the event web site for details.

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