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Discussion Starter #1
Yeah, that's right. I'd love to go somewhere and trash my car around all day long. But it's hard to find places where I could do that safely. I know about rallyxes, but you only get a few minutes of runnin the whole day, can't really call it practice.

So where should I look for a gravel pit? Err, wait, what's a gravel pit? Of course, I'd rather use some space without trees or other hard/sensitive objects close-by. Any ideas? I'm in the NJ/PA area.
 

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A. A gravel pit / quarry is great for low-speed (1st and 2nd gear) practice. At least where I am, surfaces are rougher than encountered on stages (typically) and the presence of sheer drops, huge 'quipment, and large mounds of rock/gravel/sand means any sane practice happens at lower speeds. You'll need to find a locally-owned place since the big quarries run by big companies don't want to know about you (it's not just liability concerns, there are also mining regulations that mean you really aren't supposed to be in there unless you're working the pit).

B. I've found that in the autumn and winter, an ex-soybean field presents traction levels similar to gravel roads, as long as the ground is dry. Beans get cut in the fall, so the best practice time unfortunately happens after the "season" is over, but bean fields are usually large and reasonably smooth, so make for good 3rd/4th gear practice. I can only speak for a low HP two-wheel-drive car, but the guys that let me use their fields seem absolutely unconcerned about any damage to the ground. Find a friendly farmer, explain what you're doing and ask permission (don't even THINK of going in a field before harvest). One hint, if they've got a rental house on the farm you're using, it's best to stop and tell the renters what you're doing....
 

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RE: Practice? Winter Rallys!

Winter Rallys!

Due to the lower coefficient of friction on snow and ice, running on twisty roads at even 30 mph will give you the sensation of driving on gravel at 60+. You might bounce off a snowbank or two, but that's preferable to trees and rocks. Odds of any body damage are very slim. If you can do well on snow, you can do VERY well on gravel.

Check with the Finger Lakes Region SCCA in your area, or maybe Vermont / New Hampshire / Maine.

Also see http://www.arrowheadscc.org for the Winter Rally Series in the Upper Midwest.
 

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RE: Practice? Winter Rallys!

Winter rallies aren't as usual out here (Pacific Northwest). All of the ones that I know about are TSDs and you can run studded tires. Still, the speeds can be good. On one part of Totem last year, we had to maintain 43 mph on a foot of fresh snow.

However, there are plenty of gravel roads to practice on year round.

alan
 

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RE: Practice? Winter Rallys!

Well, i'm not rallying yet...or for a while since I need to pay off my new jeep first, but I used to just zip around on those tons of miles of uninhabited dirt country roads we have here in VT. I usually headed out at around 8pm or after dark. This way you can avoid the people that go on walks after dinner, and at night you can see who else is coming! Oh, and one more thing.....its not too legal so be careful, adn always slow down when driving by houses and in residential zones. This way "the man" won't come down on you! Like I said..this isn't too legal, but I personally don't find too much wrong with it if its in an unpopulated/unoccupied area. There are plenty of tiny twisty roads I used to drive around on as mock special stages in VT.
 

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I like to use a snow covered parking lot. Find one that's nice and big and away from major roads. Take a passenger to watch for hazards and any parking/unparking activity. I like to drive around a bit to make some tracks and then try to follow them in the other direction.

Never use a gravel lot without permission because of the dust, noise and ruts you are bound to make.

I have some vids at http://briefcase.yahoo.com/rallyrat_1999/ in the Volvo folder.

Be safe.

Will MacDonald
1968 Volvo 144
 

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Discussion Starter #7
>I like to use a snow covered parking lot. Find one that's
>nice and big and away from major roads.

Yeah, did that once last winter. In a company parking lot around 1-2am. Apparently some dudes were still working at that time and saw me out the window. They prolly called 911 after I slid my rear into a big snowpile. Didn't do any damage but it took a minute or two to get it unstuck. Just about when I got free and was leaving 2 police cars show up and stop me. Another cop car goes by but doesn't stop. It went something like:

Hello sir, we've been told that someone's beed doing doughnuts in this parking lot.

Err, I don't know, I haven't done anything.

I don't believe you sir, someone called and told us a red hatchback (tornado red GTI, that is) was spinning around in here, hitting snowbanks and such.

Err, maybe but that wasn't me sir. I just stopped to check something on my car.

Then some more talking on the same lines, as I had smelled they wouldn't bother to bring the person who called them to court against me, and I just kept denying. Then one of them got upset and tried to intimidate me with some brutal language (without success tho). And then the other gave my papers back and told me not to do any more doughnuts in that parking lot :+
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was thinking.... I've seen a bunch of dirt tracks at the local racetrack (Englishtown NJ). Some unused, some prolly used at some motocrosses or such. Do you think they'd be willing to open them up for messing around on them? Against an admission fee and with helmet, of course. Or is it a policy not to alow street cars on their dirt roads?
 

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This reminds me about a post in the Pacific Division conference.

I was at Pacific Raceways a few weeks ago and inspected the LARGE grass/dirt lots. I remember Derek and, maybe Subie Gal, was going to look into using it for RallyX. Was there any feedback? It would be great to start some sort or "Friday Nighter" or regular weekend series (year-round) in those lots.

If anyone needs some help, let me know.

Roger Jackman
Car #286
 

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Subie gal was going to look into that. I took a look around when we had John Volvo there and it sure seems like a decent venue for rally ex or much better a single venue sprint.

I will shoot an e-mail to Jammie and see if she ever talked to the Pacific Raceway folks.


Derek
 

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Anyone ever try to go scout some fire access roads, logging trails with no junctions and have a sweep car with a radio to the other car in case someone does decide to come down the road? Just curious....
 

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Before you head out to practice ask yourself one question.
"How will my actions affect road use permission for future Rallys?"
You never know who you will upset.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
>Before you head out to practice ask yourself one question.
>"How will my actions affect road use permission for future
>Rallys?"
>You never know who you will upset.

I know what you mean, and don't want to use (potential) rally roads. That's actually the very reason I asked it here, I want to do it someplace safe and without annoying locals or authorities. It's just hard to find that kind of places...
 

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>Anyone ever try to go scout some fire access roads, logging
>trails with no junctions and have a sweep car with a radio
>to the other car in case someone does decide to come down
>the road? Just curious....


yah me and some friends got together and tried that on some farm roads down here in TX last month. works pretty good. it lets you push harder since you know there won't be anyone round the next corner.
-eric
 
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