Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On June - 5 - 2011

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My 750hp supercharged   Dodge Viper competing ‘heads up’ with everything from a new model Porsche GT3 RS through WRXs to a Honda Fit may not seem fair but, in a TSD/Time Speed & Distance Rally horsepower doesn’t help … or does it?
A TSD is more about driving skills and understanding route instructions than a fast race. 2 drivers are required for this type of competition, one to drive the car and one to figure out TSD and relay instructions. The co-driver may have the more difficult job as he needs to figure the times (to the second) that certain landmarks are going to be passed by the car. There are “Transit” stages that are not timed and merely instructions on driving between “Regularity” stages – the actual timed stages  have hidden checkpoints to monitor the exact time each car passes by. 
The Targa Rallies are world famous and take place in Australia, New Zealand, and Labrador. As of May this year Nakusp, BC can be added to that list. I watched the Labrador Targa on Speed Channel just a few weeks before the Rally here on May 13 & 14th. I always do my best to watch the offroad Rally at Merritt, BC and the Labrador Rallies. They are the only ones I get to see, but they are usually more exciting than most other motorsports on TV. It is normal to see a Rally car sliding around corners and often they slide off the road (no one gets hurt that I’ve seen). Targa Canada West (www.targacanadawest.com) has been working diligently to host one of these popular Tarmac (pavement) Rallies for years. Kelowna rejected the proposal to host the Targa last year, but Nakusp also has tight twisty scenic highways and wanted to host this event. With the communities help the TTR/Targa Tabula Rasa was held without any problems or concerns. Duane Bentley is the driving force behind this first ever inaugural event in BC.
Driving to Nakusp I stopped just before Bull Canyon at the site of last years 150 Forest Fires near Bull Canyon.  I also stopped coming up Sheep Creek Hill near Williams Lake along Hwy 20.
 
I had visited Nakusp when I was in the Viper Club back in 2007. The Viper Club held a Hill Climb at Revelstoke Mountain to the north of Nakusp. One of the scenic drives we did that weekend was south along Highway 23 to Nakusp for lunch. My wife and I placed 2nd in that event.
After being accepted as one of the competition cars for the Rally I went over my car, washed, wiped and freshened everything, mechanical and cosmetic, since my Viper had been sitting in the garage all winter. I emailed and posted on my website (www.thevipergarage.com) that I was entering the Targa Rally. Trevor Cameron asked to be my Co-driver, which was an offer I happily agreed to. I phoned and faxed my insurance papers to Barton’s Agency so that I could pick them up as I drove through Williams Lake. I loaded my Tuning Laptop into my Roe Racing supercharged Dodge Viper GTS, checked the tire pressure on my TPMS from the driver’s seat and headed to my General Store (Anahim Lake Trading).   After fueling up and kissing the wife goodbye, I headed east down hwy 20 beginning my 640 mile trip to Nakusp. I picked up my insurance papers and fueled up in Williams Lake paying nearly $1.50 per liter. Thank God my mileage was still averaging 25mpg. Driving nearly 7 hours got me to my daughter’s place in Kamloops where I spent the night. 
In the morning Meridee went to work while I grabbed Tim Horton’s coffee and headed east, then south to Vernon. Using hwy 6 I drove the next few hours to Nakusp. I boarded a Cable Ferry along my route to the North while Trevor used the bigger Ferry coming south on hwy 23 (from New Sarepta, Alta).
 
I arrived at the Kuskanax Lodge (above pic) before dinner and went to the Rally HQ at the Community’s Civic Arena, parking in the car show area. I went inside, gathered my entrant’s package and spoke with Duane, Jen and a few other officials. Returning to my car I met the Tech inspector and we went over the double fire extinguishers, signals, safety equipment and my license. After passing the tech inspection Trevor arrived and his extensive first aid kit (assembled for us by Hallmark Integrated Tubular Solutions) was inspected.  Being Director of Operations at Hallmark, Trevor had been working a lot of overtime and felt he needed a getaway, the long drives (9 hrs) to Nakusp and back, in his modified Viper SRT10 was what he needed to bring himself to his usual ‘top form’ after the winter season.
 After affixing the sponsor and car number decals we went inside to receive our “route book”, interestingly we got Car #13.  Because it was Friday the 13th and it’d been a good day, we decided that 13 was our lucky number.
 
Because that evening was a “Social gathering” in the Kuskanax Lounge, we ate dinner there to meet many of the volunteers and competitors. 
Breakfast was included in our entry fees and it was being served at the Civic Center at 7:30am. Then “Rally School” at 9am so that Trevor and I could understand what we were supposed to do in the Rally. Being ‘Virgins’ we had no cliue how to run a Rally. 
After completing School we did a TV interview at my car. As that finished it was Driver’s meeting time. Our expected checkpoint times were the Route book’s time plus 13 minutes, because each car leaves the start 1 minute after the other has gone, and we were #13. 
 
We stayed at the car, ready for our turn at the starting gate. Finally, with an ‘impatient’ screech from my tires, we were off.  
 We took off through the flashes and the video cameras, heading to our first ‘Regularity’ stage. Unfortunately, about the 5th corner we turned and Trevor said, “Turn left on tenth.” 9th was next and 8th was the road after that, oops. I swung a U-turn and quickly got back on track. Miss a turn and you’ll be lost.   Miss a turn or lose time and in a regularity you get penalty points. Thankfully, we didn’t lose points because this was a Transit stage.
We made the start of the Regularity and were thankful that we’d screwed up only in the transit stage. Another Viper owner, Greg Weflen, showed up while we were waiting and said he’d follow us around for awhile, then he pulled in behind us.
Rally speeds are generally 10% lower than public speed limits so that each driver has room to advance his speed to catch up to “average speed” without getting a ticket. As a matter of fact, if you get a ticket you are immediately disqualified. Trevor had figured out our start time and as soon as the antique Porsche 911T moved out we moved into place and waited our minute, then shot off down the road. Going too fast I shifted into second and slowed to 18mph to average out our speed. Stop signs along our stages required a 10 sec wait period. During our regularity we missed another corner, skidding past the road … because I couldn’t see the street sign hidden in the trees. After reversing and continuing our course we caught the Porsche turning in front of us from the wrong direction
Another regularity and as Trevor told me where to turn we were passing it, so I turned into a gas station and being careful we ran along the edge and out onto the correct road. The Porsche behind me laterasked what happened at the gas station as he’d caught up and was following me. He got lost once we were out of sight. I told him, “Serves you right.”  We both had a good laugh.
Our route books put us in Kaslo for a stop of an hour and that was lunch. We parked beside an old paddle-wheel boat that was being restored and used as a Museum. 
The regularity to the Hot springs was all tight twisty corners and had a few changes to our speed limits which we obeyed. The tight corners weren’t that tight for my Viper as we wheeled through every corner without lifting the throttle. That was fun. Again we caught the old Porsche in that stage. At the end of the Rally all the 21 cars (WRXs, Porsches, Forrester, Chrysler Crossfire, M5, Mercedes, etc.) finished and completed the Rally with no breakdowns or accidents. At the end of the day all cars made it to the finish so we went to our hotel, cleaned up and headed back to the Civic Center for the Banquet. 
Trevor thought we’d done well because we’d ‘aced’ at least 3 stages, so we headed off to the banquet in a great mood. Once the results were posted we did excellent. We received 1st place in the Novice class (9 cars) and we managed to take a 2nd place Overall (21 cars)! Complicating Trevor’s job was my US car has a mph Speedo and miles on the odometer instead of km. My Viper speedometer doesn’t even start until 20mph and some of the stages required 18mph. Mostly throughout the Rally Trevor and I were “winging it.” 
The overall winners were a Porsche team (L. Lebebvre & R. Trummel) from Oregon with decades of experience rallying all over North America.   They trailered and drove their immaculate1974 Porsche 914 2.0.
Starting my drive home south along Hwy 6 I slowed as I saw a big Black Bear beside the road, but he refused to wait for me to get my camera and left running through the bush.  I did stop a one of the many scenic waterfalls along the cliff side of the highway and shot a couple of award worthy pictures of my Viper …

Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

4 Responses so far.

  1. Geoff Clayton says:

    Mickey sent your link — he can explain our connection. Enjoyed your write-up and pictures. Reminded me of my rally days long ago.
    However, I still get out there on my motorcycle and tour a bit with friends. We just did the North Cascades and of course stayed at Winthrop– hundreds of bikes on the road as the pass had just open on the 25th of May 9,latest opening in 39 years due the huge snow pack.
    Then onward on Hwy 20 — over Sherman pass and up to Rossland. Down to Nelson — Kaslo, New Denver and after picking up my wife on the pillion seat, we returned to Maple Ridge. We found the biggest threat on the road were wildlife (namely deer) and a couple just above the hill dropping down to New Denver hit one on their bike and this resulted in severe injuries (the outlook for them was nor good). Carving corners on a bike is whats it all about for me–but God there was a lot of deer spotted. My riding buddy hit one 6 years ago out of Winthrop and was taken out by ambulance with 3 broken ribs –so it a risk we take here and we know it.
    Still riding and enjoying sport at 75.
    Geoff Clayton

  2. Steve says:

    Excellent results and write up Ted! Man, that last waterfall picture is stunning1

    Steve

  3. Howard Schukar says:

    Very good, I learned a few things, about road ralley rules.
    Vipers speedo start at 20?
    Have not seen a Porsche 914 in awhile
    Way to go Ted!
    -Howard
    Irving,Tx

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