Westchester Sports Car Club

This article taken from David B's NYC Autocross Site written by: David Andrews

The only change that I have made to this text is to change the text and background colors.
A First time affair with a Road Rally.


The WSCC put on a great event that was well organized and with a very friendly atmosphere.  I would like to thank Jesse and Barbara Lipscher for organizing a well run and enjoyable event.  I look forward to what they offer next time.


First things first here, my name is David Andrews, I’m not the same David who has designed this site. Just so there isn’t any confusion on the reader’s part.


Enough about the names, on to the fun stuff.  My first rally, being an automotive buff of.. well as long as I can remember, I knew something of what to expect.  WRONG!!!  Most of us know that rally’s are based on an average speed over a fixed difference.  Ok, that’s still true, however the way you get there is not exactly what you would consider easy.  Now I must confess, something else I didn’t know, there are ‘gimmick’ rallies as well as many other types of rallies.  So, we have another nasty surprise it’s also a hunt and seek (find the bunnies with and write down the letters, numbers, on the bottom of the signs in the order that you see them.)  Talking about making something go from hard to worse, well I knew for sure that we wouldn’t be competitive, just here as a learning experience (and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you).

  Oh, did I mention someone else?  You need to do these with a navigator, thank you Jen for coming along and suffering those hair raising turns, sudden stops, reversals.. where the hell is that turn???  Sign??? What sign??? Etc.  I’m just praying she doesn’t plan on shooting me soon.

The start of the rally was beautiful, everyone met in the parking lot of the Kensico Dam in Valhalla.  It’s a BIG dam very hard to miss.  We met there at 5:30 pm, the drivers meeting was at 6:30 pm.  Rallies are evidently held at night around here…. Somebody said something about traffic..  wonder what they meant?  A 7:00 pm they started letting people go.  Vehicles start at 1-minute intervals.  We were number 15,  oh something else I didn’t know about rallies, you get the instructions 1 minute before you start.  These things make great sense, don’t bother with a map, you’ll be lost in ohh… 30 seconds.


A short list of the directions are as follows:


Make left

Make left

Make 2nd right

Make right and follow

Left at T

Right after unlawful

1st left after deaf child


Now mind you, being an engineer by education and a computer geek by trade I do tend to take things very literally, however this is a whole different matter.  For example, at the drivers meeting they covered these rules “for all intents and purposes, dead ends and private drives don’t exist for you.”  You hear this and think .. easy I can do that.  Well at 30 or 40 or 50 + miles an hour try to tell me, in the dark, if that corner we just passed has a dead end sign on it.   Then is it the 2nd or 3rd etc.  I think you now start to see the point and the real challenge.  To be honest staying on course is the hardest thing to do, I think the time stuff is easy.  Now to quote from a letter from the organizers about the rally.

   “Last year, most teams found all our Bunny signs; our goal was to hide them much better.  Bunnies went behind several bridges, behind trees, on dead trees, on fences and in the woods.  We even placed bunnies strategically to pull you away from correctly navigating the rally.  Sorry, we had to do it, and we succeeded.  No one found all the signs and there was a nice distribution of sightings.”- Jesse Lipscher

Regardless of all the problems encountered this rally was a blast.  It was fun, challenging and the sights were positively amazing.  Blasting along on this little one lane road that I think a horse and carriage would have trouble with, the most incredible houses were to been seen.  I would imagine many of the homes we passed were in the 10 million plus range easy.  It’s positively amazing where these homes are hidden.

            Another section of the course on this dirt road we were following another competitor when their light disappeared DOWN, I hit the brakes HARD, thank Bosch for anti-lock brakes.   I believe we caught some air, I know the legend in front of us.  I think it was a cliff we went over not a hill in the road.  The Legend (car we were following) was less than 100 feet in front of us when it disappeared.  Worst part is, I thought I had lost it considering it was right in front of us I was really confused.  In truth we spotted the Legend a few seconds later, the road was truly convoluted at that point.

            In the end we came in about 2 hours after the first team finished.  The timing officials stopped about 15 minutes after we arrived.   We came in 16th officially, of course we were also the last of the cars to finish officially and the only novices to finish, for which I am immensely grateful to my navigator Jennifer Grace for.

            This is what is called a gimmick rally because of the bunnies, however it’s still a good test of navigational and driving skills.  Would I do it again???  Just ask David, I’ve conned him into ‘volunteering’ for the next rally I can find.





Dave Andrews