1999 Runaway Mine Train

Runaway Mine Train National TSD Rally

Our first National event had a perfect start: The first turn we make is in the wrong direction. We only went about half a mile before some discussion revealed the mistake. I was a little miffed, and the U turn (on a four lane road) became an understeering wheel screecher. Well, it was the tire warm up leg!

Before the event, I had mounted a new sensor in the left front wheel well. We used a Honeywell Hall effect sensor, and put magnets on the back of each of the five lug nuts. A whole bunch of J.B. Weld later, we were in business. All of this work was done in the 95 degree heat the week prior to the event. The reward, though, was amazing accuracy in our course measurement ability.

And speaking of hot, the whole event was loaded with heat. Both days were over 95 degrees! Even with a good air conditioner in the car, after opening the door it took half an hour before you were cool again. There was also a power outage in the area, so some of the gas stations we stopped at had no AC... and couldn't pump gas!

The first day was a Monte Carlo style event, which means that we were given the location of the checkpoint, as well as the time we needed to be there. This gives you a little extra flexibility, as you can drive a little faster on your way there, and spend extra time investigating side roads if you need to.

The craziest event of the first day was a missing "55 MPH" sign. This lead to the entire field getting lost! After about an hour of backtracking and retracing our steps, everyone congregated at the last known good instruction before the missing sign. It was quite a sight to come over the hill and see everybody lined up on both sides of the road in the middle of nowhere! Coincidentally, it was the same spot where an attractive young jogger gave us a double-take, a big wave and a friendly smile the first time we came through. We were hoping her route would double back as well, but the rally master arrived before that could occur.

The second day also had some crazy events. A trapped TSD rally, we got caught in many spots. The one that had us really confused was an instruction that had us reducing CAS by five miles per hour for every tenth of a mile past a certain sign. However, the rally master had missed an identical sign a mile an a half before the one that he had in mind! This means that in short order, we were stopped on the road with a CAS of zero!!! We kept driving a little bit, and then put in a negative CAS as appropriate (although you could argue that with a CAS zero you shouldn't be moving at all... maybe the checkpoint would come to us!!) Consultation with some other cars in the same predicament led to us driving on... only to encounter the rally master standing by the side of the road with a "Discard" pie plate, and the leg was thrown.

All in all a great event. This was the first high profile TSD event that we have attended. The complexity was high, as was the level of competition. Everyone one we were competing against had National points awarded from the previous years, we were definitely the new kids on the tour!