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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you pay to have a tow truck/wrecker hired by the event to be a sweep vehicle?

If you find yourself going too fast with not enough road, you too might need assistance. If you're unfortunate enough to do this where there are large trees or a downhill embankment, you will probably need something more than what the volunteer sweep vehicles can offer. If you've been there, you know your on your own to find such help. At a rally like STPR, where this could happen late at night (ie. stage ten = 2:00 Am) It's quite difficult & expensive to get this service. Leaving your car in the woods for the night with the growing number of excited rally fans, you're best to collect your toys as soon as possible if you don't want to be missing lights, wheels, etc.

What would it take to hire a local truck to be part of the sweep team?

I had the opportunity to meet one such local service man (in Wellsboro, PA of course) who thought it would be cool.

Would you pay an extra $10 at registration to guarantee you had a heavy wrecker on hand? At STPR, with 120 entries, that would give $1200 to a driver to hire him for the day. Don't you think there are local tow truck drivers who would do this?

If you drove clean and didn't need the help, go find the guy that did, and have him buy you a beer.


Jonathan Bottoms
PGT #916
 

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Sound like a good idea. I'd never leave my car alone in the woods for even 1/2 hour. I'd sleep with it overnight if I had to. In 2001, when I had my off at STPR, there was a a tow truck (local guy) following the stages. All I had to do was wait long enough (he was keeping up with sweep even though it was stage 9). While he didn't extract my car the best way (did more damage than should have been necessary but I didn't want to tell him how to do his job), he was there and would have done it for free. I did pay him (but not as much as if I would have had to call someone on my own. I'd pay the extra $10.

BTW, STPR never has had and never will have (most likely) 120 entires. They just bumped it up from 80 to 90 max. Maine had 120 the other year. ;-)
 

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don't cut
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At CT '01 they had a couple HUGE wreckers for sweep. Other than not fitting down the stage, they did an admirable job of extracting my car from bottom of a 30 ft embankment. They did do a bit of excess damage to the car though. :( I think they were too used to dealing with insurance companies and what not, and just saw it as another wrecked car. They didn't realize that I was gonna have fix all that damage, by myself, and out of my pocket.

Don't underestimate a good sweep team. Dan McDonald and the guys from MN have extracted some vehicles from spots that even a wrecker wouldn't touch, and they do it professionally, minimizing damage to the car. These guys practice extractions (with old rally car shells), and take sweep as serious as we take the race. They respect the fact that many of us have our hearts and souls tied up in these cars, and treat even the most smashed up pieces of scrap with respect.

I've seen good sweep teams and bad ones. The difference isn't the equipment, but the training. Train the sweep teams, and buy em beer with the money ya saved on the wrecker.

Dennis Martin
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There was also a wrecker at Black River, who pulled me back up the bank I'd stupidly driven down. He was there as a volunteer and a rally fan! I made him take $20, but he was much more interested in asking me 300 questions about how he could build a rally car.

Every rally I've been to had tow trucks hanging around. Sometimes they're trying to make a buck, sometimes it's an owner-operator who just wants to get close to the action.

Certainly an organizer should get a list of local towing services in advance of an event, and hopefully sweep or rally control, or even your crew can call one of them if needed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I Agree, most rallies do provide a list of local trucks, but
usually finding a phone is the problem. Cell phones rarely work when you need them in the woods. Unfortunately, a list of numbers doesn't guarantee someones there. At STPR, there was such a list, however only one was a wrecker, not a flat bed, and I he was nowhere to be found.

It's great that some events have volunteer trucks! I did notice the
excellent sweep teams at LSPR & Ojibwe. I was just lucky enough not to need them. :)

Jon bottoms
 

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At CT '02 they had the Land Rover club doing sweep. I know at least one of them had about $10 or $15,000 in winches and other cool toys for extracting itself or other vehicles from messes. Ask JD Ackley. ;)


Nick Polimeni
'71 Volvo 142E (daily driver/RallyCross)
Editor, Blue Mountain Region, SCCA
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I drove a tow truck for over two years and will tell you for $1200, the driver will bring the biggest, cleanest truck and sit there for two days of racing. He will probably be one of the nicest people there. Most drivers make 20-30% commision and in this case would make for a very good weekend. More than likely, he would sit all weekend with nothing to do except follow rally cars and some great people.:D
 

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Don't rule out a flatbed. Several years ago when we went off at SPTR, down a bank, a flatbed got us out with no problems. He simply used his winch and pulleys and trees and pulled it where we wanted it. It worked as well as any tow truck (for this situation).
 

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straight at T
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At Ontario events (and Defi this year), the Ontario Sweep Team handles pretty much all of the vehicle extrication. They are members of (IIRC) the Central Ontario 4x4 Club and have been extracting rally cars for years. They are so into this that they have their own uniforms and stickers ('You've been swept') to go on the recovered cars. They run teams of two trucks following the course-closing car. For national events they run two teams that leapfrog one another. They are ham operators and are on the event radio net, so they also know when they can tow a car out of a stage and when they have to just put it in a safe place for the next running of a stage.

If they can't extract a rally car from where the driver put it then you likely need a crane... They are also very good at minimizing the additional damage from the extrication. They do get a lot of practice... ;-)

Adrian
 

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I hate to admit that I know this - but those Ontario sweep guys are absolutely the best. That is how it always should be. Thanks guys.

ACP
www.musketeerracing.com
Swept at:
Swift 2000 (short flat tow - electrical fire),
Tall Pines 2001 (major extraction - off),
Voyageurs 2002 (flat tow - engine)
Not swept at Charlevoix 2000 (off) and car was stripped/vandalised
Still flirting with the laws of physics even if she dumps me sometimes
 

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I agree about not leaving the car. Once when I rolled it and came back the next morning with a local tow service (they did a fabulous job), the triangles had been stolen. Fortunately, we had taken the computer and helmets when we were picked up by sweep.

Also, at a Quebec rally in the late eighties, I actually saw a wrecked
rally car return the next morning completely stripped.

This is a first class suggestion.
 

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straight at T
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>
>I hate to admit that I know this - but those Ontario sweep
>guys are absolutely the best. That is how it always should
>be. Thanks guys.
>
>ACP

Actually, Voyageurs 2002 was the first Ontario national where we didn't need their services...

Adrian
Voyageurs 1999 - pull us out of the shrubbery
Pines 1999 - pull us out of the muck
Voyageurs 2000 - flat tow after breaking driveshaft
Pines 2000 - pull us back up the bank we slid down
 

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Yep I would pay extra.

This didn`t occur at this event but just as an example.
This happenned to me last year.
I came back on Tuesday with a winch and a truck to collect my car to find it gutted and everything of value stolen.

Robert VanLane
 

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Our local SCCA region has a pair of tow trucks, a pair of fire trucks, and lots more rolling stock--all for the road racers. Our Emergency team that uses the trucks has plenty of expertise in extracting race cars from difficult track situations. I've requested permission to use these trucks as sweep for our club rallies (with the emergency crew at the wheel to improve their comfort factor) but the region won't allow it. They feel the roads are "too rough." San Diego, Arizona, and Las Vegas Regions also have tow trucks but they don't want to use them for rallies either.

One hopes that your SCCA region is more supportive of our sport.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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True story:

Two years ago at Germania service, there's a truck operator walking around asking if anybody needs a tow. Eric Jones (510 Old Fart), crewing for me, doesn't miss a beat...."nope, got all mine."

Arf Arf Arf. Rally humor.
 

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I agree the Ontario Sweep team is THE BEST. Of course, you've got to admit it's incriminating when you know the chief of sweep on a first name basis (Bob, with the Smurf mural on the tailgate.)

But Adrian, you're forgetting Defi 2002. We got through without needing Sweep. Barely. After we found that the brakes that mysteriously failed just as mysteriously reappeared after trying to diagnose the problem on the side of the road for 30mins. I think carrying around garlic cloves, a silver dagger and buying Bob a sacrificial Coca Cola did the trick. Should have remembered that for Voyageurs, but then I got cocky and there we sat with a snapped balljoint pin. Even Bob couldn't tow that one ! x(
 

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Seems like nothing is too good for the road race bunch, no expences spared, but try to get something out of the SCCA for the rally guys and you feel like your pulling teeth!

Bob Campbell
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BCR Rallysport
Colorado Springs, CO
 

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straight at T
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>But Adrian, you're forgetting Defi 2002. We got through
>without needing Sweep.

No, I'm not. That was a Quebec national. So far I haven't needed sweep in Quebec (hmmm, I expect saying this means that I will at the next event ;-)). Actually, that's not strictly true - closing gave us a boost at Perce Neiges 2000 after the car died on the start line (at the mid-point of a 100 mile loop through the wilderness :()

>Should have remembered that for
>Voyageurs, but then I got cocky and there we sat with a
>snapped balljoint pin. Even Bob couldn't tow that one ! x(

No, but I bet he could move it to a safer place than where you left it (the middle of the road in a hairpin) ;-)

Adrian
 

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First......Both the Ojibwe sweep guys and the Ontario sweep guys are AWESOME! Both are extremely professional and extremely careful with the car extraction. I know both teams very well.......

Ojibwe Guys:
Headwaters - Flipped my Charger back over
Ojibwe - Pulled the Charger back up the hill and off of the tree that I morphed the car around.
LSPR - Pulled the Talon back over and towed me to the end of the stage

Ontario guys:
Tall Pines - Removed my Talon from that giant swamp that I put the Talon into. Cut down trees, etc. to get the car out. We were able to drive the car out.
Black Bear - Removed the EVO from the tree that I impaled without the tree falling onto the car.

I consider both of these teams to be Professionals. They know what they have to do, have the knowledge to do it and have the necessary equipment.

If trained, and professional guys aren't available like the above crews, I would have NO PROBLEM paying for a tow truck to be at an event.

However, enough thanks cannot be given to these volunteer crews that do a wonderful job of getting the cars out and also not damaging them anymore that the incident did.

Brian "Testing Sweep crews since 1997"
 
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