What Ever Snow Does in Summer
Sno*Drift Summer Rally Report
By: Steve Gingras
Aug 5th was the 3rd Running for the Sno*Drift Summer Rally. Sno*Drift Summer is run on some of the same roads as the Winter Sno*Drift but in the summer the roads are dramatically different and frost bite is not a concern. The weather and the roads were perfect as a steady rain the day before kept the dust down and the temps were in the low 70’s.
In order to increase the challenge and keep costs down the Sno*Drift Summer does not allow notes or recce. The blind rally format was new to all but the most seasoned competitors that grew up with it. Blind rally forces teams to read the road and essentially guess where the road goes and how much speed to carry into each corner. It places a premium on handling, reading the road and on the driver’s ability. While blind rally may sound more dangerous than a rally with notes, it forces teams to take a much more conservative approach to driving and the speeds are usually slower. Several of the teams were attracted by the challenge of a true old school rally.
The rally started off with a Park Expose in the town of Lewiston, which was also hosting its annual Timberfest festival. The town was buzzing with excitement, chainsaws and revving race cars as 31 teams took the start. The race featured over 40 stage miles broken in to 2 legs of 4 stages each with a 90 minute service in between. The roads were damp from the recent rains and dust was not a problem. The roads did get chewed up and rutted in some of the corners, which kicked up large stones for the cars to try and miss.
Kelly/Vohs jumped out to an early lead by winning stage 1 over Usher/Langosch. They would continue to extend their lead by winning stages 2 and 3 as well. That all changed on stage 4 when they slid wide on a fast corner and ended up blocking most of the road and were unable to restart the car. They were eventually able to get the car started and finished the stage but their day was done.
At the mid-point service Usher/Langosch were in 1st with a 31 second lead over Henry and Cindy Krolikowski who were in turn 31 seconds ahead of Gruszka/Sawicki. Sitting in 4th only 1 second behind Gruszka was Hurst/Hoche-Mong in their 1974 Ford Capri.
During the 2nd leg of the race Usher/Langosch extended their lead over the Krolikowskis to over a minute. While Gruszka/Sawicki were able to cut the Krolikowskis’ lead down to 14 seconds but still finished in 3rd. In the end the order didn’t change and Usher/Langosch took the win on what is now his favorite rally.
In Open Class Henry and Cindy Krolikowski led at the mid-point service by 31 seconds over Gruszka/Sawicki with Reamer/Slocum in 3rd 39 seconds beyond.
During the 2nd leg Gruszka/Sawicki started to become more comfortable with the blind rally concept and were able to close on the leaders. The Krowlikowskis are veterans of blind rally and were able to find the extra speed and hold off the hard charging Gruszka to take the win. Reamer/Slocum finished in 3rd one minute back.
Usher/Langosch dominated the OL Class from the start and didn’t let up until their car was on the trailer and heading home. They probably even kept passing people on the way home just because they could.
The OL field was in a fight for the table scrapes left on the rest of the podium.
Engle/Arpke started strong by placing 2nd on stage 1 and then it fell apart on stage 2 when they stuffed it off a tighting loose corner and lost over 6 minutes to the field. At the mid-point service Helferich/Dunigan were almost 2 minutes behind Usher/Langosch and over 65 seconds ahead of Gingras/Lietha. Pritchard/Meier was another 70 seconds back in 4th.
It was no surprise to anyone that Usher/Langosch took the OL win by over 5 minutes. The surprise is who it was over. Helferich/Dunigan seemed to have 2nd place all wrapped up but blew their motor on the final stage. Second place went to Gingras/Lietha with Pritchard/Meier in 3rd a minute back.
Much like how Usher took it to the OL field, Hurst/Hoche-Mong took it to the G2 field and won by almost 7 minutes. Not bad for a car that was older than most of the competitors. The 2nd place battle between Gekiere/Hoffman in a Pontiac Vibe and VanDamme/Carlson in a Rabbit was much closer. Second place would go to Gekiere/Hoffman with VanDamme/Carlson only 24 seconds back.
The G5 race was between 3 very different cars. Robinson/Hanson brought their 2017 Honda Civic, while the Sanford brothers showed up with a Saturn Ion Redline. Summers/Stevens were there with a Mazda Rx7. At the finish Robinson/Hansen would take the victory by 2 and half minutes over the Sanfords with Summers/Stevens almost 2 minutes back.
The Spec B race was such a thriller right to the end that Vincent Price would have been proud.
If you don’t know who Vincent Price is ask your parents.
In the end McCarron/Lumbard had an infinite margin of victory over the non-existent 2nd place car.
Are you Faster than the Stewards Challenge
With Sno*Drift Summer being a regional rally and only requiring 1 Steward (Thank you Rob Bohn) Mike Hurst and myself were free to run the race for bragging rights. I will be eating humble pie for the next year as Mike Hurst soundly beat me on every stage and a final margin of victory of over 3 minutes. Mike you are truly the Fastest Steward! At least until next year.
This was my first race in 14 years and it had been 32 years since Mark Lietha and I had last raced together. Mark is responsible for infecting me with the Rally Bug way back in the 6th grade.
Thank you Mark!
The Sanfords ION Redline needs a new nick name! The reports are that it often spews 4 to 6 foot flames out the back. How about the ION RedFlame, ION Cannon, ION Flame Thrower – What nick name would you give it?
This year it was the Stewards Challenge. Next years challenge is going to be the Daddy and Daughter Race. The teams will be made up of a father and daughter. So far we have identified seven teams:
1. Mike and Katherine Hurst
2. Steve and Katherine Gingras
3. Doug and Katie Shepard
4. Eric and Camille Carlson
5. Eric and Julie Anderson
6. Steve and Allison LaRoza,
7. Matt and Adelinn Huuki
Are there any other Father/Daughter teams that need to be invited?
Several of the daughters have already mentioned that they want to drive the year after.
We will have to talk about that! (Said is a fatherly, disbelieving voice)
This event was a lot of fun and if you can attend next year to run or spectate I highly recommend it.
TTFN I have to start packing for Rally WY.