2001 Halloween Rally - Competitors View

It seemed like it took forever for the Halloween Rally to arrive this year. I developed and chaired the Halloween Rally with my friend and co-driver Marguerite Harder 3 years ago. But due to overwhelming complaints last year we decided to take a break from design and focus on competing instead. As it turned out it was a very welcome break since we've both been dealing with some stressful personal issues, even before the attacks of September 11th. Luckily there were some new members anxious to continue the Halloween event, Pat Slaven and David Trezza, who joined the club this year. They've driven many of our rallies and with a good sense of humor they were undaunted by the task, looking forward to tricking and treating from another perspective.

The pressure was on for my brother John and his partner in crime, GJ Dixon. Since they placed first in the Summer Fun rally they hoped to ride the victory wave to become Rally Masters of the year. Yes, of course they challenged my lady's team. And of course, we accepted. A second good-natured challenge came from Art-eat my dust-Swartz and his partner Paul Krasko, the current Rallymasters.

We arrived at Kensico Dam dressed as M&M's. Marg was peanut, I was plain. As we lined up to leave it was hard to miss the heavily armed and vested security patrols, one on the ground with a car following, giving flashlight signals to his partner on top of the dam. We sat for a few minutes and fell into a reflective mood. Having spent the day at the mall making our personal contribution to the slowing US economy we felt a strange mix of being very fortunate yet uncertain of our future. The mood was so intense that I forgot to reset my mileage and then we both burst out laughing. Luckily (?) we made a wrong turn soon after which corrected our oversight somewhat.

The urban course unfolded nicely, Pat and Dave decided to continue our concept of a 4 mile limit between instructions or signs, limiting off course excursions. We were tricked and nearly tricked many times, delighting like children when we figured out the correct path. We tagged along with The Blue Guys (two guys in a bright metallic blue car) for most of the rally. Somehow we kept passing them and then they'd pop up in front of us again. At one red light crossing Rt. 119 Art and Paul pulled up beside us. Art suddenly thought he was at an autocross and tried to slalom past us. We pulled ahead (he let us win) and we never saw them again until hours later at Applebee's. Eventually we finished, finding 40 signs and an elapsed time of about 2 hours and 21 minutes or so. The Blue Guys pulled in right behind us. By the time John & GJ and Paul & Art arrived (late) we knew we had won the challenges. We didn't know until 3 days later that we had actually won FIRST PLACE!!! As this is the first time we've won first place, 3 teams go to the Turkey with a first- the Kanzlers, John and GJ, and me and Marguerite. This was not only an excellent rally, but a most excellent rally for virgin designers. Can't wait to see you turkeys at the Turkey Tour.

Valerie Christou