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Loose nut behind the wheel
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Here's the info on the wrong way cars. On stage nine, we were given an additional instruction at the start of the stage for a truck in the road. This was at 4.88 miles in at a junction. We were supposed to take a left at this truck. Two cars did not make this left and went straight on. A short distance later (if you went straight) there was another junction where you could take a 90 left. This would put you reverse course, eight miles down the stage.

Jeff and I were chasing down Ralph and Jimmy when we hit a rock in the road and both right side tires went flat. We stopped to change the front (only one spare) and the jack packed up. After a few cars went by, I heard a car coming at us from down course. Jeff was up course and slowed the car coming his way and I stopped the car going the wrong way and got them turned around. Scary, but both drivers were looking up and understood what we were trying to get across.

After a few more cars, we heard the same situation happening again. This time however, both cars were going FULL tilt and the car that was going the wrong way had to take the ditch ten feet away from our dead car so that the car going the correct way didn't have to choose which car he was going to hit. If the driver of the wrong way car had not taken the ditch, there would have been a head-on collision at our car with a closure speed of at least 150 mph.

At that point I got on our radio and tried to call in what was going on. Eventually, the stage was stopped and things were straightened out so the stage could be finished.

I was very unhappy when we DNF'd but after what happened, I know that there are at least two teams that are alive today because we broke, where we broke. Well worth a DNF in my book. Unfortunately, the DNF cost us any chance we had of winning GN this year.

Mark Utecht
 

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Wow! That is really scary. Too bad for your misfortune - but I hate to think what might have happened had you not had that misfortune where you did.

I would be interested to know what will be done in the future to prevent this sort of thing from recurring.

Scott
www.teamharco.com
Team Harco Motorsports
"Win on Sunday, Sleep on Monday"
 

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Seems like, with the possibility of something like this happening, some bannering at even one of these junctions might have aided in preventing a "wrong way" situation.

I know the organizers have too much to do already, but a little banner tape and time seem like a small investment to prevent a fatality.
 

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we almost missed that Left at the Truck as well.
Because as you came up at speed the truck looked like
it was sitting in the midle of the road blocking off
the intersection.

Thanks Mark for all your efforts and sorry for the DNF.
We ended up with a DNF about 10 miles from the end of
the last stage with a dead alternator and battery.

-george plsek
 

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I actually missed it too, we made a right and noticed at the next junction that something was wrong... I decided to go back and that prooved to be the right move... Scary !

BTW it was a pleasure meeting you mister Utecht, too bad for that DNF

Julien Pilon
Lachute Subaru
 

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Hey Julian:

You had a remarkable drive and I'm glad you made a the correct decision there.

On a completely different note, I talked to you briefly at the banquet when I was with Schindle, I didn't realize you were on these forums so I didn't capture any videos of you. I have a few good ones if you want them. (I didn't capture everything interesting because as it is I have 52 clips up already!)

Thanks,
Alex
 

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Bannering only lasts as long as the first car to go through it.

Anyone remember the Fire Runoff at last years LSPR? the stage
with the deep mud where the tape was down by car 3?
A hard right with a dead-straight runout. I saw TONS of tire
tracks where tape HAD BEEN. Didn't save us from it either.

Good job Mark and Jeff for keeping things as safe as they
ended up. Sorry some folks got DQ'ed.

Ed
 

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M.Jones with regard's to truck being parked at that location on the stage , a caution board and or arrow's to remind the competitor's of the hazard may have helped on this event , and other organiser's to carry when marking the stage prior to the first car,
 

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400 flat to crest
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where were the co-drivers in the wrong way cars???!!!

OK, so it's a "Pro", event.
route books, maps and stage notes all in the car.

Did none of the co-drivers in the cars going the wrong way notice that nothing was making any sense after them made the wrong turn?
Or was there a remarkable exactitiude of the road for a couple of miles?
Or were they all just going to fast to slow down?

marking the truck with an arrow or painting it day-glo green might have helped but once the error is made, how in god's green earth do people just keep on going when it must have been fairly eveident that nothing made sense any longer?

This is a serious thing and we've had some somewhat serious accidents where co-drivers completely missed MARKED and Mile-ed instructions.


Very serious indeed.

Arrows fall down, banner guard gets eat by moose, but miles and turns remain.

Praise be to Allah nobody was injured but somebody better de-brief the co-drivers and drivers who were going full gas what must have been knowingly blind.














John Vanlandingham
 

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RE: where were the co-drivers in the wrong way cars???!!!

Well, if you've seen the route book at Maine, there are very few instructions. True, the stage notes should have made it obvious, but remember that most competitors are completely unfamiliar with this tool and could have been lost already.

Driving Black River Stages last year was an eye opening experience. Being in the back of the pack, I was amazed how many co-drivers didn't even know how to check into a control. I can't imagine they are all that better at navigation.

There is a pretty big learning curve with notes, and right now you can only use notes on a Pro event. Chances are, at least 25% of the competitors are actually running blind because of the notes.

I will say that I did see more moose than banner tape in Maine this year. We were out of the rally by then, so I did not see the corner in question. Therefore, I cannot comment on what happened with these co-drivers. But based on what I saw in previous stages, it would be pretty easy for someone to get lost.

In retrospect, given the dangerous situation resulting from this misdirection, it would probably have been a good idea to put someone at that corner with loads of banner tape. I'm sure the organizers will do something about it next year.

Oh yeah...just curious...did any of the co-drivers protest their DQ based on organizer error?
 

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Pete Morris (building "Son of CoROLLa"). Let me get this straight. Crews were given an instruction to make a left at a truck at a junction, at a certain distance into the stage. How much distance did the crews have "line of sight"? 100 yards, 200 yards. If they had this much vision of the truck, shouldn't the truck have been blocking the right at junction? Or was it on a blind bend? Is it me or are rallies outside of Ca, Az, Or, Wa, encountering more problems. As an Organizer, I am not criticizing other Organizers, but more incidents seem to happen in other areas. Help me out here folks, I'm trying to understand and prevent it happening, anywhere. Safety, safety, safety. Wasn't there another crew at the other junction preventing rally traffic from meeting, God forbid? Correct me if I got any facts wrong, please.
 

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>Bannering only lasts as long as the first car to go through
>it.

Not true!

In a situation like this, where the wrong way actually leads somewhere, we always put banner tape, marshalls and a radio operator.

The first car might go through the tape, but even if the marshalls can't put the tape back up in time, they can wave madly at the next approaching car, and can radio ahead to where the road rejoins the route, so that those marshalls would know in advance to stop that car.

And we manage to do this on a low budget, low entry, regional event.


Paul Westwick
Coordinator, Pacific Forest Rally (BC)
 

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RE: where were the co-drivers in the wrong way cars???!!!

>OK, so it's a "Pro", event.
>route books, maps and stage notes all in the car.
>
>Did none of the co-drivers in the cars going the wrong way
>notice that nothing was making any sense after them made the
>wrong turn?
>Or was there a remarkable exactitiude of the road for a
>couple of miles?
>Or were they all just going to fast to slow down?

John:

Are you off your medication again?

You must be hallucinating about the good old days, when co-drivers could actually navigate!

Doug Woods
 

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RE: where were the co-drivers in the wrong way cars???!!!

no no no Doug up here in Washington we go out in fields and look for thing which help you to uh 'see clearer' like colors and stuff.

Yeah some of the co drivers I've had could and can navigate, but the bulk of the 22 or so I've had were first timers who were being instructed as we transited. Great way to let people dip the toe in the water and see if they want to be rally-pervs.

But the potenial fatal result of people driving so blind really bears some investigation or as I called it debriefing.
Somebody needs to ask them what they were thinking, were they imagining that they were on the right track, were they aware they were
lost and just decided to keep on keeping on or what.

Back in 1995, at Lake Superior on the first night the snow was really heavy, I was on Michelin L4s and on one short stage, 6.? mile had caught Janice Demitio in the Celica All-Trac at the Finish control.
we started ahead on the next stage, had a couple of uh-ohs and then spun pretty vigourously. I asked which way!!?? the co-driver pointed one way while I was pointing the other!

He was insistant for a short bit , then said he'd had his eyes closed! I said look one way for lights, I'd look the other and in the minute waiting, thought out loud "We gotta confirm its the All-Trac....what if somebody else spun and didn't doubt they knew the right way?"
Tom G insisted "you can't think that way!"

I insisted we had to think that way, we didn't know, and the same could happen to anybody. The results would not be worth it.

This needs to be gotten into peoples heads somehow, the cost of an error like this will really give the insurers a reason for glee.













John Vanlandingham
 

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>Crews were given an instruction to make a left at
>a truck at a junction, at a certain distance into the stage.
>How much distance did the crews have "line of sight"?

It was a R5 into a L3 so it was pretty blind. The truck was not affiliated with the rally. A logging truck, I think, left on the side of the road when it was time to quit.

I agree with Daphne too about a lot of folks running stage notes and getting lost. I've used them several times now and still had problems at Maine a few times. Lots of R6s, L6s, and Kinks all in a row and it's easy for your internal accelerometer (backside) to miss something. Very few arrows (none numbered) or obvious corners like R2's meant it took a bit of time to confirm when you back on track even with an accurate odo.

Fortunately we didn't foul up the truck turn, though later we somehow lost the odo and differential, ending our day with a stage to go.
 

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I tried to stay quiet and not put my 2 cents this time but....

Why did the 00 car declare the stage safe to run ?

Why didn't 00 car radio the start and ask for a marshall or someone with brains to go up the stage and secure the junction where the truck was ?

It would be a lot safer to neutralize the stage for 15 minutes and taking the appropriate precautions instead of just warning the teams about the truck.

What the heck was the truck doing there to begin with ???

Cheers

M.Samli
 

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RE: where were the co-drivers in the wrong way cars???!!!

Just a quick reply to mister Vanlandingham,

What about this, my co driver has been on the pace all week end long, no mistakes, she was never late, never too fast just on the pace but looking IN her pace notes, not to the road...

So I took the right turn where the truck was, she did not so once I saw that the calls waren't right anymore we decided to go back but we came real close of guessing our way around like some did !

Defenitely some banners or something should have been placed there good co driver or not !!!


Julien Pilon
Lachute Subaru
 

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Agreed, even being a less experienced worker, I would expect that in a case like that, that corner would be a top priority location for a marshall. Some one who could put the banner back up after each car that took it down!



jb
 

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In regards to lack of banner tape (I can't say anything about lack of marshalling right now):

At the town hall meeting after Rim, bannering was mentioned in regards to how much our new national safety steward Dan liked Oregon Trail and Rim in that aspect. When the east coast rallies were mentioned (and complete lack of banner tape at such), he wanted to know how come they didn't put up banner tape. To quote my unnamed source who knows at least one of the east coast organizers extremely well, the reason they don't banner tape is because "it's too much work and it's too hard."

So basically, certain east coast organizers don't go out and make their rallies safer because it's too much trouble for them to do it. Although, they're out there anyway putting up the stakes and arrows (or do they even do that? I haven't ever run an east coast event), so it's not like it would be that much more work....

YMMV!

KT
 
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