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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On SS9 at PFR, at about 1.6km into stage, we encountered a Ford Bronco travelling at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction down the stage. After getting over the shock of seeing non-rally traffic coming at us at speed, we slowed a bit (not knowing if there were any more vehicle behind the Bronco) and proceeded to the nearest indicated radio point, around 6km into the 9.7km stage. At about 3km into the stage, we stopped to ask a group of spectators to call a rally official if they had a radio and, when we reached it, we stopped at the radio point and told them about the wrong way car and then proceeded to the finish at transit speeds. We were passed by several rally car who had been sent out after us and (I hope) hadn't encoutered the wrong way car. Our stage time was slower than the slow stage time. Eventually, the stage was stopped.

As the teams gathered at the start of the next stage, other teams reported seeing the wrong way car. The rally official could not figure out how the car got onto the stage or where it got off the stage and the reverse run through the stage was cancelled.

At the time, we were competing with Scott Fuller and Janusz Komorowski for 4-5-6 overall in the national. Initially, we were given our actual stage time, almost 12 minutes (remember that we were driving at transit speeds and stopped to inform a spectator group and the radio point), but were eventually given the time of the last car to finish the stage - 7:34. Scott and Janusz put in times around 7:05-7:10. In the end, it was academic because we had a driveline failure that put us out.

Every rally official that I spoke with afterward said that we did the right thing. A rally official thanked us for our actions in the driver meeting before the subsequent stage. However, doing the right thing cost us 25-30 seconds on our competitors.

In discussing this with rally officials, I understand that in assigning the time, they were working within the rules and there are reasons that the rules are written the way that they are. However, as a competitor, the rules put me in the position of deciding between a) my own and my fellow competitor's safety and b) remaining competitive and I don't think I should be put in a situation where I have to make that kind of decision.

alan

P.S. Note that I am not judging my fellow competitors who said they also saw the Bronco, but did not stop to inform the radio point. I don't know what the Bronco was doing when they saw it. When we saw it, it came over a blind crest at speed where we would have been if we were a hundred meters up the road. For us, it was clearly too dangerous to continue the stage.

P.P.S. What is it with us and wrong way, non-rally-car traffic in Canada? At Bighorn we had an incident with a Makita van going the wrong way on a hot stage.
 

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Dramamine is for DramaQueens
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Alan,
Not that it is any better, the sponsors van was simply backing onto a hot stage while trying to get unstuck, and you were running *several* minutes behind the previous competitor after being righted by sweep. Just a clarification, and in no way suggesting that situation is any better.
However, the frequency with which we see cars entering a hot stage (once is too much) is clearly a problem we have to address.

Form my perspective - even though I had been told I had free access to ANY safe point on stage marshalls were not letting ne get on the stages when I needed to (before 00 and after 99)...

To bad about the mechanical failure, and sorry my car was so dusty ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
>Alan,
>Not that it is any better, the sponsors van was simply
>backing onto a hot stage while trying to get unstuck, and
>you were running *several* minutes behind the previous
>competitor after being righted by sweep. Just a
>clarification, and in no way suggesting that situation is
>any better.

Actually, the Makita van was no big deal. We saw it in plenty of time and it was way off the line. If it was something that concerned us, we would have been looking for them to let them know about it.

However, on that same stage, we actually had a scarier situation involving spectators who had wandered out on the edge of the stage and came close to being flattened when the back end of the car stepped out.

There is a reason that sweep exists and that the stage is hot until the stage is shutdown, though it can be easy to forget.

>However, the frequency with which we see cars entering a hot
>stage (once is too much) is clearly a problem we have to
>address.

Definitely.

>To bad about the mechanical failure, and sorry my car was so
>dusty ;-)

We were in a Subaru. The gearbox was supposed to break, right :)

As far as the dust, I am sure that I carried in more dust myself than what was already in there! Thanks for the ride back to service.

alan
 

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>
>At the time, we were competing with Scott Fuller and Janusz
>Komorowski for 4-5-6 overall in the national.
>

Actually you were battling for 3-4-5, at least give you self a little credit.
 

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Alan

we had tried to radio in after you stopped to warn us (the spectators) but we got no reply from the organizers (no surprise as anybody could be on the radio frequencies they were using. Why no HAM radio for the event?). We were surprised that the cars following you were still going at speed so we stopped trying to radio. Apparently the truck came out of a side road on the left about 3k in. We were parked on that road and there was tape blocking entry but it was knocked down when we returned with tracks across the tape. One of the other people that was with us was down the road and witnessed the truck but was unable to stop it
Glad no one was hurt. Shame, as those roads looked awesome!

Great event! but surely is in dire need of more workers
 

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Dramamine is for DramaQueens
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Once again a clarification - Ham radios were used as the main source of communications from the stages to net control - I beleive FRS radios were used from point to point on stages.
 

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www.christianedstrom.com
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>On SS9 at PFR, at about 1.6km into stage, we encountered a
>Ford Bronco travelling at a high rate of speed in the wrong
>direction down the stage.
[snip]
>...we slowed a
>bit (not knowing if there were any more vehicle behind the
>Bronco) and proceeded to the nearest indicated radio point,
>around 6km into the 9.7km stage. ...

I think from a scoring and safety perspective, this might not have been the most efficient way to stop the stage. What I would have done is the following.

1. Stop the car, and display the red cross to further rally traffic.
2. Stop the first competing car, explain the situation, and have them transit to the next radio point, and instruct the stage captain to close the stage.

>Eventually, the stage was stopped.

I think my method above would have stopped the stage as quickly, or more quickly than what happened, and would have led to your getting the time of the last car prior to you.

>...[we] were
>eventually given the time of the last car to finish the
>stage - 7:34. Scott and Janusz put in times around
>7:05-7:10.

If Scott and Janusz were running just ahead of you, this would have given you a 7:05-7:10. More importantly, it would have prevented competitors in back of you potentially running into non-rally traffic.

>Every rally official that I spoke with afterward said that
>we did the right thing.

I agree you did the right thing in stopping the stage; I think it would have been advisable to block the road to further competition vehicles where you were passed, and send another competitor to transit to the radio point.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
Co-Driver
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Christian-
I am not trying to be a smartass, but, HOW do you stop an oncoming car (at speed)? Sometimes these guys are drunk, or worse.

If you can't stop him, then the potential incident is BEHIND you, you throwing the red cross does no good. Best is to get to a radio (FAST), and shut the stage down.

press on (safely),


>What I would have done is the following.
>
>1. Stop the car, and display the red cross to further rally
>traffic.
>2. Stop the first competing car, explain the situation, and
>have them transit to the next radio point, and instruct the
>stage captain to close the stage.
 

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Alan and Ross;

You guys got screwed by the decision of the organizers to not cancel the stage. You got a time of 4 minutes over everyone else, when you were the saviours of the day! That's just not fair. Rules are rules, but when they penalize the wrong people, exceptions have to be made. Otherwise, like you said, next time are you going to choose safety or your rally standing? Not a good choice to make at speed in a stage. Not one you SHOULD have to make.

There is a rule in the book (sorry, I don't have it in front of me, so I can't quote verbatim) that says something to the effect that the organizers and marshals must keep the security of the stage road completely intact for the entire time that rally cars are in the stage, and the stage must be cancelled if that doesn't happen. I'm not sure why they declared it Force Majeure, because I don't think it properly qualified, did it? I thought Force Majeure was acts of nature, not acts of moron locals.......

I was with Peter Hill about 3 cars back of you, Alan. We never saw any Bronco. When we came across you, you were going slowly on the right side of the road, with the driver waving out the window. At speed, and not having seen any other vehicle, we thought you guys had a flat tire or mechanical problems, and were waving us by! We had no idea that you were waving us to stop. Maybe we need some kind of sign that indicates "Non-medical, you MUST stop".

When something like 2/3 of the cars didn't even get to start the stage, it shouldn't have been the "everybody gets the last car's time in the stage". With that many non-starters, it just should have been cancelled. That way, no one would have gotten hurt.

Dealing with the security issue itself, when somebody runs down tape, we're obviously dealing with someone who has a lot of problems with authority, and I'm not sure how he could've been controlled. Even if we had HUNDREDS of marshals at the rally to man (person?) every single cross road and quad path, I don't think a person like this would listen to them. A lot of outdoorsmen seem to have this attitude that they're king of the world, and they can go any dang place they want at any dang time, and screw everybody else who tries to tell them otherwise. Perhaps on our road closure signs, we should put in that the road is closed "due to toxic radioactive leaks in multiple locations". THAT might make them think twice...........


Dave
 

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> If you can't stop him, then the potential incident is
>BEHIND you, you throwing the red cross does no good. Best
>is to get to a radio (FAST), and shut the stage down.

Jimmy,

Even assuming you can't stop the on-coming car, the presence of a car indicates that the stage isn't controlled further up ahead. Your scenario assumes just one on-coming car -- what if there are many?

If you stop the stage at the point where you encounter the non-competing vehicle, and send the next car to the radio point, you are minimizing the number of miles driven by all competing cars, and thus minimizing risk.

For instance, let's assume you see a car at 1km into a stage, and the first radio point is at 5km in. Assume all cars travel 1km/minute, and that the stage stops immediately upon radio contact.

In scenario A (continue to radio), the number of cars on stage is as follows:

Car 1 (after meeting car) 4 min at low risk; 4km to radio
Car 2 4 min at risk; stops at 4km
Car 3 3 min at risk; stops at 3km
Car 4 2 min at risk; stops at 2km
Car 5 1 min at risk; stops at 1km

This results in 10 minutes of high-risk on stage.

Of course, this is unreasonable -- each of the first 5 cars will continue to the radio location, so the total risk is closer to 20 minutes than 10.

In scenario B (stop where present), the number of cars on stage is as follows:

Car 1 (after meeting car) stops at 1km. Low risk.
Car 2 transits to radio for 4km. Low risk.
Car 3 1 min at risk; stops at 1km
Car 4 1 min at risk; stops at 1km
Car 5 1 min at risk; stops at 1km
Car 6 1 min at risk; stops at 1km

This results in approximately 4 minutes of high-risk on stage. I've assumed that Car 6 will start in this scenario, because the 2nd car is going to radio location.

The key to recognize is that even if the first non-competing car disappears off the stage (as apparently happened this weekend), the presence of a car indicates a non-controlled stage, and the risk of further traffic entering the stage between any competing cars.

Glad this discussion is only academic,
- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
Co-Driver
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What I first saw the truck, the first thing that I thought was "where did we make the wrong turn", but the road matched the new couple instructions so I was reassured that we were on stage.

My next thought was "there is a truck barrelling down the stage towards the start; we need to get to the radio point and get the stage shut down". Unfortunately, that radio point was 3-4km down the stage.

Ross was also concerned about coming across more non-rally traffic, so we were trying to balance getting to the radio point ASAP without risking running into more oncoming cars at speed. I figured it was worth a shot delaying getting to the official radio point by asking the spectators to try and call in.

Thinking about it, it might have been better to stop the stage ourselves and send someone ahead to contact the radio, but that has it own share of risks.

But the reason that I started this thread was because I have just been thinking about whether we could have done things differently that would have shut the stage down sooner and also not hurt our position in the rally.

alan
 

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Alan,

Given the situation you faced on stage, I think you acted admirably. It's easy to determine the best course of action sitting at work on Monday...

I think it depends on the circumstance which method of the two is safer. Stopping the stage yourself would have ensured that you got the time of the car ahead, however. I am sure that that was not your primary concern at the time of the incident, however.

Cheers, and glad you're ok!

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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>You guys got screwed by the decision of the organizers to
>not cancel the stage.

Just to clarify: The organizers did cancel the stage. Immediately that we heard from the radio point, all other radio traffic was stopped and the start control was told to stop sending cars in. We then set to work accounting for all the cars that had started the stage.

The scoring for a cancelled stage was handled according to CARS rules, which is to say that everyone who didn't run the stage was given a time based on the last car that had a clean run. That time was adjudicated by the senior steward, not the organizer.

We didn't start looking at the scores for that stage until somewhat later, by which time Ross & Alan had already DNF'ed, so the question of adjusting their time on that stage didn't seem important. If they had finished the rally, I'm sure that they would have been given the adjudicated time, rather than their actual.

I'm sorry that it gave the impression that they would be penalized for doing the right thing in a terrible situation.


>When something like 2/3 of the cars didn't even get to start
>the stage, it shouldn't have been the "everybody gets the
>last car's time in the stage". With that many non-starters,
>it just should have been cancelled. That way, no one would
>have gotten hurt.

The rules at present call for this protocol even if only two cars have a clean run. The theory is that teams that complete the stage ahead of the cancellation deserve to keep their results. If someone had hit the Bronco, they would have been hurt regardless of the scores.


>Dealing with the security issue itself, when somebody runs
>down tape, we're obviously dealing with someone who has a
>lot of problems with authority, and I'm not sure how he
>could've been controlled. Even if we had HUNDREDS of
>marshals at the rally to man (person?) every single cross
>road and quad path, I don't think a person like this would
>listen to them.

Actually, we've found that it's usually enough to talk to them for just long enough that a rally car goes by at speed. Then their jaw drops and they happily accept staying behind the tape until everyone has passed.

As those who ran it can attest, Lily Lake is a fantastic stage, and I definitely want to use it again next year, but it will take many many more road closure crews.
 

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>But the reason that I started this thread was because I have
>just been thinking about whether we could have done things
>differently that would have shut the stage down sooner and
>also not hurt our position in the rally.

I think you guys did exactly the right thing, and I thank you for doing it. Getting the news to the radio net as soon as possible is the best way to stop more cars from coming across a problem that is now behind you.

Scoring can be dealt with at the end of the day, when we can all get a clearer picture of what happened.
 

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your other left, you idiot
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>> If you can't stop him, then the potential incident is
>>BEHIND you, you throwing the red cross does no good. Best
>>is to get to a radio (FAST), and shut the stage down.
>
>Jimmy,
>
>Even assuming you can't stop the on-coming car, the presence
>of a car indicates that the stage isn't controlled further
>up ahead. Your scenario assumes just one on-coming car --
>what if there are many?
>
Christian-

I agree with you. All my previous encounters have been with a single vehicle (or a group of snowmobiles). I think that you are absolutely correct in the possibility of multiples.

I also have a US (SCCA) rules hat on, not a CARS rules hat.

I also jump on the bandwagon that those affected did the correct thing. Hopefully we all continue to think of the SAFE thing to do (as opposed the "what will most benefit me for scoring" action to take).

This does bring up whether scoring (or dropping the stage) is fair. Current rules implicitly "assume" that the running order on the road is reflective of relative speed. Is there a better way? Is dropping the stage fair (or less UNfair)?

press on,


>If you stop the stage at the point where you encounter the
>non-competing vehicle, and send the next car to the radio
>point, you are minimizing the number of miles driven by all
>competing cars, and thus minimizing risk.
>
>
>The key to recognize is that even if the first non-competing
>car disappears off the stage (as apparently happened this
>weekend), the presence of a car indicates a non-controlled
>stage, and the risk of further traffic entering the stage
>between any competing cars.
>
>Glad this discussion is only academic,
>- Christian
>
>Bjorn Christian Edstrom
>Co-Driver
 

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Paul;
First, my apologies to you and your fantastic group of dedicated volunteers. I thought you had a choice between giving out the last times, or by giving no one any time at all.

But, had Foster and Perry finished the rally, it would have been extremely unfair to them to count their 11 minute stage time, when everyone else got 7:34. I'm glad to hear they would have received the adjudicated time, but that still would have penalized them, since they were faster than the adjudicated time's car all day.

The question for next year is, can you find enough crews to block ALL of the cross roads on all the hot stages? That's a daunting task....

That stage road was EXCELLENT, by the way! That was the most FUN stage of the whole rally. Forget the Asteroid Belt stage. Put all the spectators on the Lily Lake road, and run that one 5 times next year!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
>That stage road was EXCELLENT, by the way! That was the most
>FUN stage of the whole rally. Forget the Asteroid Belt
>stage. Put all the spectators on the Lily Lake road, and run
>that one 5 times next year!

Gonna have to side with Dave on this one.

I was really looking forward to the Lily Lake stage and, as we were transiting through, remembered how much I like that road.

alan
 

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Firstly, I'd like to applaud the decision to shut the stage down for the 2nd run as well.

A standard has yet to emerge for safety issues that require the stage shut down (e.g. spectators on road etc).

I think the SCCA workaround of using the red cross has some issues.

I think a solid red page in the routebook (a red flag proxy) is an idea that should be explored. (ok=ok, red cross=medical, red flag=safety)

As far as stage times go, how is this any different than coming across a competitor accident/injury? It sounds like the process followed for times of those who didn't run it was in line with the CARS rules. That Ross/Alan were given a time from the last competitor still sounds a lot better than their time essentially transiting the stage.

This incident just still seems like force majeure to me.

Glenn
 
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