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· just another old phart
2,347 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Magnum Opus this weekend attracted 35 teams from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Indiana to Munising, Michigan for the last Cen Div warm-up for competitors and workers before the Ottawa and Keweenaw Club Rallies (oh yeah, and LSPR).

Chairman Dean Rushford and his committee put on a great event that was well organized, smoothly coordinated and very convenient for participants. It was a great representative of the way Club rallies should be and are: relaxed, friendly, fun and a chance to hang out with friends doing what we love to do in the woods.

Like most of the midwest, the upper peninsula of Michigan has been pretty dry this summer but Friday produced a lot of rain and eliminated the question of whether dust would be a concern for the event. The roads survived the rain well with only the rare puddle in the low spots at the start of the event but otherwise they were in good shape. The nine stages totaling over 68 miles were well selected to provide a fun mix of choices from fast and sweepy to bumpy and narrow two-trackers. Stage roads held up well to multiple runs except at the occasional T intersection that got chewed up a bit. The stages were all within fifteen miles or so of the Comfort Inn headquarters and chosen so that portions of roads could be mixed together to provide a number of stages in different configurations. All activities were at the headquarters including all three services where crews had use of the entire parking lot and surrounding field.

Steve Gingras/Em Burton-Weinman and Mark Utecht/Jeff Secor in their Open Class Subies, Dennis Martin/Dawn Rossmiller in the (Open) EVO, Mike Hurst/Rob Bohn in their Mustang (G5), and Bob Olson/ Conrad Ketelson in the Porsche 911 (G5) were among the names that promised to make things interesting at the head of the field. The remainder of the field included a nice mix of veterans and rookies with good turnouts in all classes: 9 in Open, 5 in G5, 10 (including 8 VW?s) in G2, 5 (all DSM?s) in PGT and 6 in P.

Stage One (5.7 miles) found Utecht setting the pace at 5:19 with Gingras 3 seconds adrift and Martin only one second further back in what shaped up to be a good battle. Olson led the G5 contingent in 5:33 with Hurst at 5:40. Unfortunately for Utecht/Secor they slipped off the road 4.3 miles into Stage Two and were forced to retire at that point. However in a display that maybe didn?t quite rival the genuine lunar effect, there was more than one full moon over Michigan this weekend. Gingras turned the 8.47 miles of Two in 8:03 to put 12 seconds on Martin and establish a trend of small (sometimes non-existant) victory margins in the stages. A reseed was done at the first service based on the results of Stages One and Two with Gingras, Martin, Olson, Hurst and Thanasi Samaras/Constantine Koutras in a PGT Talon heading up the pack. One minute covered the top five. Bob Neilsen/Heidi Meyers in their VW GTI lay 8th overall to lead G2 over David Cizmas/Brady Sturm in a Golf. Perhaps most surprising was the effort of Seed 7 Jake Himes and Silas Himes in a Production Nissan Sentra lieing 10th overall after starting 32nd on the road. Second in P were Mike Merbach/Keith Dahlke in a GTI while second in PGT was occupied by Chris Czyzio/Gray Williams.

Twenty five of the original 35 made it through 8 stages to Service #3 where the organizers decided to cancel Stage 9 because of an accident to Car 563, the Omni of Gary Starr and Bill Tifft on Stage 7, the fastest stage of the event (winning time was 7:29 on an 8.75 miles stage). Gary and Bill slipped off the road on a fast left-hander and ended up striking a tree high up on the co-driver?s side A-pillar at the windshield. The occupants were okay but the Omni will probably not return in that shell. The cage absorbed the impact and distorted a bit but did its job and saved the crew. Because the emergency medical teams were occupied with that incident, the organizers wisely decided to call it a night without the last stage.

Crews regathered back at headquarters and told the usual lies while awaiting awards. Mark Utecht entertained the crowd with a story of an emergency repair to a broken heater hose on Al Kintigh?s Golf by using a sawed off socket to bridge the break and hose clamps to hold it all together. Even though Mark engineered the fix, he had bet that it wouldn't hold together for Stages 7 and 8 and so was forced to pay off to the amusement of the crowd.

Final results found Gingras/Burton-Weinman taking home the copper mugs for 1st overall and in Open with a time of 58:12 for 58.26 miles of stages completed and Martin/Rossmiller were 2nd overall (59:52) and in Open. Olson/Ketelson brought home the Porsche 3rd overall (61:37) and first in G5. Colin and Nancy McCleery took 2nd place honors in G5 (69:43). Samaris/Koutras were 4th overall (63:39) and 1st in PGT with Chris Czyzio/Gray Williams getting 2nd in PGT (65:26) by 21 seconds over Scott Harvey Jr./Kent Gardam in 3rd. Jake and Silas Himes brought the Sentra home 6th overall (64:33) and 1st Production with David Johnson/Shannon Kirchoff 2nd in P (69:38) in a Neon. Neilsen/Meyers took 7th overall and G2 honors in 64:54 while 2nd in G2 went to Mark Buskirk and Paul Fernandez (69:12) in a GTI.

Much thanks to all the organizers and workers for allowing us to play our game in the woods and especially to Dean Rushford who announced that he would be taking a few years off from organizing to see his kids through school. Perhaps with enough convincing we will keep him involved anyway.

Also thanks to Scott Harvey for giving me the opportunity to read the book for him. It was my first time back competing on a stage rally in fifteen years and was a real kick. Once exposed, always susceptible I think. Now I can claim Official Old Fart status with those of my peers that aren?t any smarter than I am.

See you all at Ottawa and Keweenaw (LSPR for the uninitiated).

Kent Gardam
Official Old Fart (and proud of it!)

Edit: Fixed the spelling of Em's name for which I was correctly taken to task!

O'all InClass Class Seed Car# Driver/CoDriver Car Stage1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 RdPts Score

1 1 O 1 50 Gingras/Burton-Weinman Impreza 5:22 8:03 8:56 8:40 5:17 9:05 7:29 5:20 0 58:12
2 2 O 3 122 Martin/Rossmiller EVO 4 5:23 8:15 9:27 8:43 5:22 9:52 7:30 5:20 0 59:52
3 1 G5 4 534 Olson/Ketelsen 911 5:33 8:29 9:31 8:47 5:37 9:46 8:10 5:53 0 61:37
4 1 PGT 5 549 Samaras/Koutras Talon 5:48 8:37 9:37 9:25 5:58 10:17 8:15 5:42 0 63:39
5 3 O 3 501 Jarvey/Faber Galant 5:44 8:43 9:41 9:13 5:48 10:36 8:04 6:03 0 63:52
6 1 P 7 545 J.Himes/S.Himes Sentra 5:49 9:14 9:40 9:14 5:43 9:55 8:15 5:43 1 64:33
7 1 G2 3 98 Nielsen/Meyers GTI 5:46 8:54 9:44 9:35 6:02 10:17 8:32 6:04 0 64:54
8 2 PGT 2 21 Czyzio/Williams Eclipse 5:50 8:50 9:45 9:53 6:02 10:24 8:40 6:02 0 65:26
9 3 PGT 4 519 Harvey/Gardam Talon 5:58 9:06 10:10 9:34 6:02 10:31 8:24 6:02 0 65:47
10 4 PGT 4 580 Bodnar/Wahl Talon 5:56 9:00 10:04 10:01 6:12 10:23 8:31 5:58 0 66:05
11 4 O 6 516 Huntington/Mohrlant GTX 6:02 9:24 10:45 9:34 5:55 10:51 8:27 5:59 0 66:57
12 5 O 3 565 Hodges/Rossey Impreza 5:57 9:14 9:49 10:06 6:11 10:53 8:27 6:08 1 67:45
13 6 O 5 544 D.Malott/M.Malott Talon 6:09 9:41 10:32 9:59 6:10 11:05 8:39 6:15 0 68:30
14 2 G2 5 554 Buskirk/Fernandez GTI 6:15 9:32 10:27 10:00 6:18 11:10 8:55 6:35 0 69:12
15 2 P 5 560 Johnson/Kirchoff Neon 6:27 9:49 10:56 9:58 6:09 11:07 8:51 6:21 0 69:38
16 2 G5 5 555 C.McCleery/N.McCleery Sierra 6:09 9:34 11:17 9:58 6:10 11:34 8:37 6:24 0 69:43
17 3 G2 5 113 W.Prochaska/A.Prochaska Golf 6:24 10:00 10:27 10:12 6:28 11:07 8:52 6:23 0 69:53
18 3 P 5 558 J.Cox/K.Cox S10 6:33 10:03 10:29 10:40 6:36 11:52 9:21 6:37 1 73:11
19 7 O 6 577 Hawley/Moyer 4000 Q 6:34 10:11 13:15 10:55 6:45 13:40 9:14 6:28 0 77:02
20 4 P 7 568 Macy/O'Neill Neon 7:29 11:17 10:52 11:23 7:09 11:49 9:21 7:12 1 77:32
21 4 G2 6 84 Kintigh/Sargent Golf 6:38 9:56 10:38 10:17 6:28 12:46 9:21 6:35 7 79:39
22 5 G2 6 562 Christopherson/Foley Jetta 7:27 10:58 11:11 11:14 7:11 11:48 9:21 6:58 4 80:08
23 6 G2 8 593 Pin/Toso EscortGT 7:23 11:14 12:52 11:33 7:16 14:23 9:58 7:00 0 81:39
24 7 G2 5 576 Davenport/Sterling Golf 7:14 19:04 11:36 10:13 6:20 9:49 8:51 6:16 6 85:23
25 8 O 8 613 Askin/Smith Audi 80 6:47 11:15 11:45 11:41 7:30 12:47 9:21 7:11 14 92:17
DNF G5 2 82 Hurst/Bohn 'Stang 5:40 8:27 9:25 DNF DNF
DNF G5 8 182 Harty/Bruce Sunbird 6:26 9:55 13:40 DNF DNF
DNF G2 6 591 Cizmas/Sturm Golf 6:05 9:09 10:09 9:21 5:54 14:00 DNF DNF
DNF P 6 543 Merbach/Dahlke GTI 6:28 9:37 10:39 9:58 7:00 0:00 9:21 DNF DNF
DNF G5 6 563 Starr/Tifft Omni 6:34 10:01 12:44 10:46 6:48 13:53 DNF DNF
DNF PGT 4 532 LaFavor/Trude Talon 6:17 9:20 10:19 9:46 6:16 10:40 8:30 6:24 DNF DNF
DNF O 2 83 Utecht/Secor WRX 5:19 DNF DNF
DNF G2 5 522 Jo.Butts/Kriza Omni DNF DNF
DNF G2 5 557 Crane/Adams-Graf Jetta DNF
DNF P 7 552 Eddy/TBA Neon DNS DNS

· Registered
362 Posts
Thanks to all the workers and organizers that made this event possible. We can't play unless all of your are there. You put on a fun event that ran perfectly.

We had a great time despite some minor setbacks on stages 2 and 3. I LOVED the airport stage (just watch those acute lefts...they'll getcha)! Thanks to our wonderful service crew and anyone who helped during the first service. We wouldn't have gotten back on the road without all of you.

Finally thanks to my driver. I had a blast Doug! It was definitely a new experience sitting in the right seat.

I hope everyone had fun...we'll have to do it again in 2. See you all in Houghton in 3.5 weeks.


· your other left, you idiot
4,013 Posts
>Will full results be posted???

Dean said that they would IF they find a website. Email him if you want them earlier.

I worked the other side of the fence (registration, tech, and stage captain) this event. It is different, and everyone should try it to get an appreciation of how the other guy operates. Thanks to competitors for being kind and tolerant of my crew (I had 3 young guys, 1 with minimal experience, and 2 with NO experience), and of course we had a delay right off, so they had trial by fire.

press on,

· just another old phart
2,347 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Complete scores added to original post.

Kent Gardam

· Left seat and not British!
792 Posts
Oh Kent....you're in trouble now.....I co-drove for Dan Cook on Black River Stages two years ago and look what's happened to me!

Kim DeMotte
Official Old Fart, etc.

· Registered
25 Posts
It was great to see the competitors working/crewing at this event. Besides Jimmy, Cindy Krowlikowski & Doug Havir also helped out.
Thanks to Dean & all the workers for putting on a great event. Fun, fast roads (especially the airport stage!) and friendly, competent workers (you must have done a good job training them Jimmy!)
A huge thank you to Bob Nielsen for letting me navigate-you really live up to your reputation of Mr Smooth. Also thanks to our "community crew"...Parker, Kristi, Doug, JB & Brenda Lewis, and Kyle. You guys made service easy & I know firsthand how hard that can be! Also thanks to Al Kintigh & JB Niday for letting me play instead of crew this weekend !
See you all at LSPR

· Registered
130 Posts
I had a blast at Magnum Opus. Dean and the crew of workers did a wonderfull job and much thanks needs to go to them.

I also need to thank JB Niday for letting me drive the car this weekend and to Diane Sargent for keeping me on the road and to Doug Havir, Parker, Kristie, JB Lewis, Brenda, and Kyle for our excellent service.
We kind of had a combined VW service area.

I really need to thank Doug Davenport for towing us into the MTC after stage 6 where we blew a radiator hose and lost all of the coolant.

Then I need to thank Mark Utecht, Eric Burmeister, the above crew and all the other folks that helped us get going for "McGivering" us a new upper radiator hose and letting us finish. Does anybody know who I owe a hose to? I don't know where it came from, it just appeared.

I had a blast. Thank you all.

And the best part of all is that since I covered Mark Utecht's gambling loss I never have to see "The Moon" again.


· Registered
1,036 Posts
I too need to do a "shout out" to all the workers and volunteers, Great Job! It was great to see professional level competitors pitching in to help at a club event, my respect for you is immense.

What a great event -- a true "club" experience. Despite my lack of preparedness, forgetfullness, and last minute planning, it was great to be able to show up, pay a small fee, and play in the woods.

Special thanks to Ed Wahl who did an excellent job co-driving, has been a great Columbus Rally Ambassador, and who's naturally relaxed nature made for great company all weekend.

I can't say I want to go to more events without an official service crew, but its nice to know I can, and there will be willing hands to help.


PS: I thought Brian Scott's constructive critisism in another thread was very helpful, comments like his from workers directed to competitors, offering good suggestions to make the events flow smoother are good for everyone to hear.

· Registered
2,120 Posts
An interesting sidelight to Magnum Opus was the number of brand new codrivers. We had a roomful at the rookie class, and many of them took home hardware. Of the teams he mentioned, Martin, Himes and McCleery had first-time codrivers. In addition, several drivers
were running with experienced codrivers who were new to them...including Gingras and Nielsen. I guess you could say Scott Harvey had a "new" codriver, but I hear he and Kent have been practicing on TSDs.

I've even forgiven Kent misspelling "Burton-Weinman" in his first draft :)


· Registered
36 Posts
I drove up to the Magnum Opus rally to watch my navigator Jake Himes drive his first event, in my car, a Production-class Nissan Sentra.

I'd told him several times in the preceding month to be careful-- you know, don't wreck the car, drive safe, finish your first event. I figured, "Jake's a responsible guy, he's not going to risk a car that's not his."

I headed out to watch the first stage, about a quarter mile in from the start. Jake started near the end of the 35-or-so starters, and I was expecting to see him go by pretty slow, because it was only a quarter-mile into his first rally as a driver.

I almost had a heart attack when he went by. He was driving like a maniac, definitely as fast as any of the other 2WD cars. "Maybe" I thought, "this wasn't such a good idea".

I couldn't bring myself to watch any more, just hung around the service area worrying. At the reseed I went and harassed the organizers to delay the restart because Jake jumped so many positions (from 30-something up to 10th) that he wasn't going to get enough service time to even fuel the car! I took Jake aside and warned him again not to drive past his limits. He assured me he'd slow down.

Liar. He went even faster, I nailing down 3rd- and 4th- fastest times on some remaining stages. But rolling into service after stage 8, the car was still in one piece, and when the word came down that the event was finished, I was amazed but happy that I still had a car.

I knew Jake had finished very well, and won Production, but I had no idea how well he'd done until I saw the final results go up. 6th overall in a 140HP production car. Except for a 1-minute penalty (late into a control, supposedly), they would have been *4th* overall. In a Production car, in his first event as a driver, against a lot of fast cars with very good drivers. Unbelievable.

Also deserving of thanks is Silas Himes, Jake's brother, who did double duty as head mechanic and codriver.

· Registered
37 Posts
Jake Himes?

A seed 7 driver in a production car takes 6th (4th??)overall? All I can say is Holy Wah!! Who is this guy? Legend has it he trains driving a Chev Pickup with a 350 eh. I missed the race, I would be interested to hear more.

· Registered
558 Posts
My MO experience

I doubt that they will read this, but for me it was a pleasure to see and crew for Wayne and Annette Prochaska after being away from their team for 4 years. With a very respectable 3rd place finish in Grp2, and two 6th grade sons who seem to be at least reasonably interested in rallying, I suspect we may see more of them in the coming years.

I think I set a personal record this event, laying my hands on (and in at least one case, bleeding on) no less than 4 differnt rally cars: The Prochaskas', Bob N.'s, Al K.'s, and Mike Bodnar's.

Mike if I had realized earlier your skid plate trauma, I'd have offered assistance sooner.

My thanks must go to my wife, Brenda, for her hard work and to Kyle Smith, for coming up from Columbus to give us a hand!

With the close proximity of the stages to service, we were able to get out and spectate the first few cars through stage 3 before heading back to the hotel.

To Dean and your staff, great event! I hope that it will be back on the calendar in two years.

For those of you who think they'd like to get a club rally going, there is an open weekend on the calendar for next year, and then you could take a year off to recover!

We'll see you all at Houghton in a month, as Brenda gets back in to the right seat with Bob Neilsen one more time!


· Registered
1,036 Posts
I was driving just in front of that under-powered 2wd car and getting caught!

We were not pushing the envelope (no skid plate & I was exhausted, excuses, excuses...) but he was putting in a great drive.

The one minute penalty was legitimate -- he should have followed us in at the control zone on the same minute on one of the stages. We wondered why he didn't, thought maybe he was just over the minute on his finish time...

Needless to say even with our conservative pace, I was impressed to be caught by the little 2wd car.


· Registered
8 Posts
Jake Himes

I was happy to see that Jake Himes was finally able to get a chance to drive in a rally. That guy is unbelievably fast, just pure talent! It was no surprise that he did so well. What I wonder is how fast would he have driven if it was his own car?

Hopefully he can get a chance to drive again. It would be interesting to see how good he is with more experience.

· Registered
960 Posts
>It's a strong possibility that I'll run LSPR, even though I
>have no rally budget left.
>I've put stage times in my Stage Time Calculator so I could
>see how fast Jake went, and you can see the results here:
>If anyone has the route book laying around, I could use the
>stage names and lengths. If you find them mail them to
>[email protected] .

Outstanding, but I'd not rent him the car for his 2nd rally. 3rd + maybe... But most new drivers join the have club in their first 2 rallies...

· Registered
1,400 Posts
RE: Jake Himes, etc.

I was about six miles into the start of stage one when Jake first came by. I was on the exit of a 90 degree right and the marshalls that were there had thought that the guy in the black Neon had just passed Jake. I just kinda stood there still surprised and said "Nope, he just passed the Neon and is he MOVING!!!" Absolutely impressive run! I get pictures back tomorrow.:)
Also of note was that Steve Gingras almost lost the rally as a gasket went *kapow* on the turbo about midway through stage 8. Luckily for Steve stage 9 was cancelled. Steve had lost the rally three previous times while leading so he was due.
This was my first time at M.O. Big thanks to Mr. Gingras for letting me help get his rig out there and help with pre and post event crewing so that I could get a few good shots.
Also a big thanks to the organizers for a fun event with a more laid back atmosphere and short transits to the stages. Big pat on the back.

Jerry Winker
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