Sirius Rally Team

Getting 'Sirius' about Rallying

Day 2 – How Many Schoolkids Can Fit in a Rally Car?

sirius.jpgThe Sirius Team is safe and sound in New Hazelton, awaiting scores and preparing for the epic 700 mile trip to Whitehorse tomorrow. The second day of our Alcan adventure was fantastic. The sun was shining and our Sirius jackets were all we needed to stay warm. We remedied our tire/wheel issues early in the AM and set out for the TSD gathering point, which turned out to be at an Elementary School. All the kids and their teachers came out to see the cars; the crowd was big around the Mitsu team because they were handing out stickers, but we opened the Rex doors and let the kids sit in the car, so we got to visit with them too. I honestly never thought about how much they could mess up our setup by pressing or turning every available button, knob, timer, computer and everything, but August did! They didn’t do any irreparable damage, and it was great to see how excited they were about it all. A couple of them figured out the tracker in no time, and another gave me a lesson in driving a manual. I had my first major ‘elder’ moment, marveling at how smart and tech savvy they were (confession: August does all the tracker maintenance; I have no idea how to use it, aside from flipping the ‘on’ switch when told to do so). After the kids went inside we had enough time to prepare for the first regularity of the day.

The first TSD section, which replaced the cancelled iceX, was sneaky and demanding, but a great ride. Jennifer drove and August navigated hairpins and hills with brisk average speed requirements. Ron S, one of the Sirius Team mentors and a perennial presence at the Alcan, set up the most difficult control so far: we came uphill and around a hairpin at about 1/2 the speed we needed and were met with a smiling cameraman and a control timer! Darn, better luck next time. Our odo is spot on and August is dialing in the math, so at least we’re progressing and learning from our mistakes.

Although there was talk of cancelling the next section of the rally, it went ahead, and was by far the driving highlight of the day. Gord was next up for the TSD reg, which was about 19 miles in public traffic and then onto graded logging roads. We had heard so much about this reputedly tricky and fast section that Gord was stoked and August and I were a little worried. We came to the end of the TSD section; August and I were relieved and Gord was feeling cheated. What followed for the next 2.5h and almost 100 miles was the most amazing flowing snowy rally trail that we’ve ever encountered. Gord was setting a brisk pace and we were only temporarily hindered by other rally traffic. Our wheels left the snow in many places, and we heard similar accounts of jumps and photo ops from other competitors on the radio. The pro stage character of the road was commented on by many as well. By the time we pulled in to Vanderhoof, having left city roads in Quesnel, Gord was no longer feeling cheated.

The Alcan organizers are pros, and today they built in flexible in times for the latter part of the day. We elected, with Josh and Evans in tow, to bust it to the early time for the last reg. It was strange not to see a lot of rally traffic around, but many of the teams had stopped on the road of dreams to stretch and socialize with a competitor stuck in a snowbank. The last reg went smoothly, although we learned that we need more math for slow speeds, and that the Rex doesn’t do 12mph very well. Our early reg time allowed us to get lunch in Burns Lake with some of the rally frontrunners, but we weren’t quite fast enough because they were out the door soon after we arrived.

The Health in Order Cafe in Burns Lake was extremely generous and hospitable, and I’ll eat for days off of what they provided us. The Damms in car 20, our IE class rivals, organized the meal, and although we haven’t seen them yet, we’ll be thanking them heartily. Anyone passing through this part of the province would do well to patronize such a classy, healthy and wholesome eatery.

We finished the day with a casual and scenic drive through Smithers, admiring the snow tipped peaks and austere sunset. The moonlight was bright enough to make driving lights unnecessary, and we’re betting that the moon will be in the perfect viewing position for the eclipse on Wednesday. We’re off to check the scores and make our final control, and then a quick sleep. We are planning a very early departure tomorrow so that we have time to stop and enjoy the scenery, and take more photos, before the TSD in Dease Lake.


February 18, 2008 - Posted by | 2008 Winter Alcan 5000


  1. Sounds like another wonderful day yesterday, thanks for the pictures. The tracker didn’t work too well yesterday – had us a little worried, when you didn’t log in until 1:45.
    Have another good one today – a long drive, but it should be beautiful in the sunshine. Good luck in the TSD’s.
    Dad from Work

    Comment by Dad | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. Sounds like you’re having fun! Thanks for dropping by the school. The students enjoyed the brief experience…
    I have sent photos and information from your day in Quesnel to the local newspaper. Reporter Annie Gallant will most likely put something in the Saturday edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer about your visit to the school, so you may wish to get a copy of this edition. Please send our thanks to the other team members who stopped by Parkland Elementary.

    Comment by Selena Mell | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. Get site thabks for all the photos and write up. I was the Nav for the winning team in 2004 and realy miss not being there this year

    Comment by Peter Schneider | February 20, 2008 | Reply

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