First TSD Rally
CaptDale - is secretly British last edited by CaptDale - is secretly British
Everyone, my partner and I completed out first TSD rally last weekend and we are hooked. That had to be the most fun in a car we have had in a long time.
It all started with moving to Oregon and joining the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon and Alfa Romeo Owners Club North America. Through this I found out about the Northwest Classic Rally, which of course as is with any car website run by a generation or two above me is crap, but carries enough information to be interested. So I sent the web link to my partner and asked him if he would be able to visit and be my navigator (since we would be in my car). He said yes and we set the plans in motion.
While I have mentioned it here, I have been fairly absent as of late, but I bought a 1977 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 2000 last month to replace the hole selling the Corvette left.
Sadly, as is with any used, classic, and Italian car, it needed some work to be rally ready.
Things I knew I needed to do to be ready: new radiator, new front crank seal, fix tail lights, fix blinkers (is time allowed), and do a fluids service.
Things I found I needed to do while working: Fix parking brake, replace stripped transaxle drain plug, replace passenger inner tie rod, and recently replace the water pump.
I know it does not sound like a lot of work, but the car would not behave. Getting the radiator out was easy, but the hoses were all stuck on and hard to take off. The biggest problem I faces was getting the crank hub bolt out. Look up Alfa 2.0 crank bolt removal and everyone will tell you how hard it is. I first tried a breaker bar and a cheater pipe, but I was overcoming the force of the brakes doing that. So I went out and bought an air impact gun, used heat, and 3 days of penetrating oil and still it would not budge. Finally I bought a chain wrench, locked it on to the pulley and braced it against the frame, breaker bar with a cheater pipe, and pulled. I felt like I was going to permanently bend the cheater bar, but it finally broke loose and I was able to get the bolt out. Now the pulley was stuck on. It is keyed and not pressed on, but years of gunk and heat required prying on it and both my partner and I pulling on it to get it off. We worked well into the night after my day of work on Friday to get the car ready, but we got to trying to re time my SPICA fuel injection and I called it quits. I could not continue to work on the car and get enough sleep to make the 3 hour drive to Portland by 7:30 to start the rally.
But start the rally? In what? You clearly did not finish the Alfa, the Sprite is still not finished, and you can't take the 95 4Runner on a classic rally.
I present to you our 1965 (I think) VW Beetle. Fully original and in Superleggera spec (rust lightening and fancy wheels)
The passenger door requires to be kicked in the handle to shut properly or be left like this on the secondary latch.
The interior is perfect. Velour needs to make a comeback
The engine runs great after taking to a shop a number of months back
Full sized spare
Yes we took a sad old Beetle with no radio, rust holes, and a questionable carburetor (has some idling issues) to a TSD rally over 150 miles away from my house. So come 4 am we loaded up, fired up the bluetooth speaker, got fuel, and headed over the Cascades to Portland.
It was a great drive over and a B E A Utiful morning.
We pulled into a park parking lot full of perfectly restored and beautiful cars ready to match the clock in something most people would thing needs a Tetanus booster to even be near. Graciously they understood the need for a last minute car change as being put on by the Alfa Owners of Oregon I am sure they understand that all too well.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This TSD rally is apparently a huge deal. It normally attracts people from all over the world and the people that won overall this year ship their 105 GTV all over the world to participate in TSD rallies. It also is normally over 3 days, in a swanky hotel, and at least 3 times in size. Due to cancelation last year due to COVID and an unknow with this year, it was one day and much less fancy, but just as professional with a huge team of organizers and staff.
So we received our car number, lucky #13, our packets with the first stage and the rules, and our lanyards with our names and some swag. After stowing the stuff, putting our numbers on, and getting coffee, we wondered through the field of cars running the rally and those in the tour group (cars in the middle 2 rows are racing. the ones in a single file in the back are the tour group).
This was our competition
As you can see a bunch of impeccable classics with people that have been doing this for years. This was their 32nd running of this rally. So showing up having never done a TSD and in an old Beetle was quite something. That said, I believe it was the most loved car there. Everyone was coming up to us, asking questions, loving the Beetle and the young men driving it. We were constantly joked with by the ralliers asking if we were ringers or had some hot motor under that manky body etc. It truly was a great group of people and I can not wait to do it next year.
Being new to TSD rallies I had an understanding of how they worked because I have wanted to do them for a long time, but my partner only knew the core concept of keep the right times and don't fuck up the route. AND IT WORKED! We started off and got to our first stop after the first stage. Odd, but ok. But then we realized that this was a transit stage. It was the only stage we had been given and was to set up our timers and make sure our odometer was correct. Or course we were running with one stopwatch and an odometer without tenths and no trip odometer. Things you learn are very important for TSD rallies. This rally has both vintage and standard classes. We ran in standard, which allows the use of 4 function calculators and a few other things, but noting more than you would have had access to in 1975. So we get our new packet with the stages both timed and transit that would take us to the lunch break spot. Our time slot came and off we went. Using our stop watch and doing a hell of a job as far as we could tell. We were having a great time, figuring out how to do everything and stay on course. Overly confused by other people over pace of under pace as we went along. Why could they not keep the right pace? Were we wrong? No we couldn't be. Our odometer was on point and the time was correct when we hit land marks etc. They were clearly slow. Especially the woodie Mini that was a car ahead of us, they were very slow in the morning. By the time the last two stages before lunch came I was worrying about the fuel level as we had not seen a station all morning and I didn't fill up before the start (still had 1/2 tank) because I was worried about making registration on time and my boyfriend was getting really hungry and making timing mistakes as all we had had was coffee and a couple of granola bars that morning. So we missed a turn and added a little time to that stage, but overall wasn't bad. What was bad was coming down the hill to the lunch spot the Beetle ran out of fuel and I coasted into the park.
Now I had to find a fuel can and get to a station fast. We only had an hour to eat and refuel. So we scarfed down a tasty box lunch, I borrowed a fuel can from the Sprite team, and we walked over to the fuel station near by. Lady there let us fill the can up our selves and we hustled back just in time to see the Sprite team leaving the park. Ok fine no big deal, I will get it back to them at the end or if we meet up at a transit. So the gallon went into the bug, but I had run the battery down trying to start it. So my partner operated the controls while I pushed. Took 3 pushes to get the car to pull enough fuel to idle. Off to the fuel station again, filled the bug and the jerry can to give to the Sprite team as a thank you. Thankfully there was just enough charge to start the Beetle again and off we went to start part two of the rally. We had had eight regularities before lunch and eight more to go.
Oh did I mention that as the day wore on the information on the route became less and less? Some would have no time, some would have no distance, some would have no name, and the worst were when they just said L or R with no other context. But we were making it and doing well. Seeing other teams helped out moral and then we missed a turn. A turn that put us behind the last car and 30 minutes past out time. How did we miss it? We didn't know, but we pulled over, got that Oregon atlas out, figured out where we were (which took a while too), and found where our mistake was. As I had mentioned this was our first rally, we were bound to miss something. That something was buried in the rule book that I skimmed over weeks before and my partner forgot to read. They were the "implicate" instructions.
At any Opportunity on the Rally Route at which the next unexecuted Numbered Route Instruction cannot be
executed, participants are to proceed via:
1. ONTO / TOWARD
The single eligible route (named or numbered road) that they have been directed ONTO by a Numbered Route
Instruction they are executing, or the single eligible route that takes them TOWARD a road, geographical
feature or other object that they have been directed TOWARD by a Numbered Route Instruction they are
executing. See: ONTO and TOWARD in APPENDIX B.
The single eligible route without a STOP or YIELD controlling it at the intersection.
The single eligible route with a painted centerline. All centerlines regardless of type (double, yellow, white,
dashed, etc.) are equal.
The eligible route that is reached by proceeding with the least angular deviation from the entry route.
This meant that when we had turned onto a bridge due to straight ahead being signed as a dead end, that that turn wasn't the turn we were looking for and while we did have to take the bridge, the road we were looking for was still ahead and we flew right by it.
We were half an hour behind and we needed to make up ground. We knew that this regularity was done for and the next couple there was no reason to stay on pace as we would still be behind, so we hustled through 2 or 3 stages till there was a transit stage and a 20 minute break scheduled. Guess who just caught back up if we skipped the break? That's right! We had made up 10 minutes and the skipped break meant we stared just about on time and had 2 last stages where we could be competitive again. We finished those stages and pulled back into the same park we were at for lunch to finish the rally, this time still with fuel in the tank. We turned in our allowance sheets (these let us excuse time over our prescribed finish times up to 9:30 minutes) and relaxed, hung out and waited for the trophy ceremony. Sadly some people didn't make it and some people broke down (the Sprite didn't finish so i need to contact them to pay them for their jerry can).
Over all it was an amazing experience that has hooked both me and my partner on doing TSD rallies. While I have agreed with him that I should be navigator too sometime, I think we both feel he definitely fit the role of navigator as he love the puzzle and math of that position and I have a great ability to keep constant speed or make up time etc as need by feel between points. We are definitely doing this one again next year and are going to be looking for more to do. Or course I very much wish that I could have brought my Alfa, but doing the Rally in the Beetle with less tools than our competitors and with such a silly little car that handled surprisingly well really made the rally for me.
As I said we were #13 so you can see out +/- over 0 which would be on time. I am so proud of us for getting a 0 on regulation 3. So amazing for first timers. I highly suggest joining us next year if you are anywhere near the west coast. It will be back to being a big deal and hotel and all that. It isn't particularly cheap, but I can whole heartedly say it will be very worth it, even if you just participate in the tour.
After awards we visited some friends of mine, slept over, and spent Sunday doing an Austin Powers marathon and watching The Grad Tour: Lockdown. A much needed lazy day after driving 390+ miles over almost 12 hours.
Mark Tucker last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british That is way cool! That rally (and others like it) is one of the reasons I bought my MGB; it has yet to be reliable enough to even attempt it. Maybe one of these years we'll see you there.
Highlander last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british that blue/white 240 is stunning.
@mark-tucker You should come next year! Even if I have to come fix it myself
@highlander It really was
Longtime Lurker last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british Sounds like fun.
nowhere last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british Absolutely first rate post and story! Great pictures too. You remind me of a couple of guys I knew who ran the UBC Thunderbird rally in an underdog of a Beetle back in the early 90s. They lost their alternator the night before the start so they just strapped in an extra large battery, put a charger in the trunk and ran total loss the whole event, plugging in and charging up whenever they could. When they started their doors shut fine but they didn't fit so well after the rollover into a snow bank. They rolled it back upright, booted the bodywork straight enough to continue and finished the event. The heroes of the rally in my opinion!
Run what ya brung and have tons of fun. You have the right spirit!
jminer last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british that sounds like quite the adventure and an absolute blast!
@nowhere That is an epic story! I am always a fan of run what you brung
@jminer It seriously was
drVanTraveler last edited by
Thanks for the story and pics! We will be needing many more pics and info on your Alfa GTV!
Taylor Martin last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british Dude, what an experience! I'm directionally challenged, and just don't understand how you know the speed you need to go to hit the right times. But regardless, it sounds like you had a blast through ups and downs. And now you have a Beetle!
Are you planning on taking care of the rust holes and, if so, how are you going about it? I'm big into Squarebacks, but most of them have rust issues, and you've inspired me that if you can drive a 300-mile rally in a rustpot, I can casually drive a rusty Squareback.
@drvantraveler Oh those will becoming once I get it running.
@taylor-martin well some of the parts of the stages told you the speed you are to average, but going up and down hills and corners etc you lose a lot of speed and time, so it is all about managing average speed. It was a blast!
I do not have a Beetle. It belongs to my Dad and we are planning to sell it in order to fund the Baja bug restoration he has going on too. But while it is here I do enjoy the Beelte. We are not planning to do anything to it. Just sell it on. I think a fiberglass body should be its future, but a restoration would be cool too given how amazing the interior is.
You can definitely drive any rust bucket hard and have fun.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by RallyDarkstrike
@captdale-is-secretly-british Awesome man! I did a lot of TSD rallies back when I was younger with a friend of mine in his '06 Honda Accord, and others with my friend's dad in his '06 Impreza WRX STi
We even came in 2nd in the Novice class in the Atlantic Region Motor Sport Navex Championship in 2010. I was navigator, so I knows your feels exactly
You wouldn't think being pedantic about staying at a set speed and following a confusing route to arrive at exactly the right time would be fun, but it really is!
@rallydarkstrike It really is a crazy fun time and the people around you help make it an event too. I am really excited to try this in a car with an odometer with 10ths, a trip odo, and proper stop watches.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by RallyDarkstrike
@captdale-is-secretly-british I just used to use a scientific calculator, the stopwatch in my watch and the one in my phone!
Also also FULLY feel you on the 'seeing other cars being slow or fast and it completely messing with your head' thing
What's also a blast and the worst is when you DO get sidetracked and get back on track fairly quickly and then need to figure out how much faster to go to get there on time and yet make up the time you lost...
@rallydarkstrike we used a graphing calculator and a phone stop watch, but we want to be competitive and most of them are vintage rallies that require no computer aids and only a 4 function calculator in standard vintage and full vintage means no calculator at all unless it is manual like a curtain, but those are big money atm.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by
@captdale-is-secretly-british Yup, not cheap stuff!