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Event Coverage Coker Tire Challenge: Part 2

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,653

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. Thanks Ryan,Great read,,now I gotta ask ya,,,After having driven the Coker/Honest Charlie car,,do you have roadster fever now? HRP
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  3. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,509

    from Garner, NC

    Sounds like a helluva weekend.
  4. rob lee
    Joined: Jul 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,323

    rob lee
    from omaha,ne

    Sounds like a blast!
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  5. 43gman
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 187

    from NC

    Hey, Ryan,

    Thanks for explaining in such great detail exactly what a "rally" consists of. I've heard about them, mostly with old sports cars, since a teenager in the fifties, but being mostly into drag racing in those days, I never learned what was involved. Now, knowing, I "get it" better.

    Like you, I mostly enjoy the ride these days, and unlike you, am not so competitive. I just don't think I'd take the pressure of a navigator barking orders at me for 300 miles. Probably would get very nervous and freak out, ending up in a ditch somewhere. That's just me, and that said, my hat is off to you for having the nuts to try something so demanding and so different. It sounds like you had a great time, and as usual, thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. Darwin
    Joined: Oct 14, 2002
    Posts: 505


    This type of rally is known as a TSD rally which stands for Time Speed Distance and is entirely unlike "gimmick" rallies, poker runs, and suchlike events put on for entertainment value strictly. What Ryan forgot to mention, and I don't blame him, is a concept that is the backbone of the TSD rally which is called the Main Road Rule. I won't go into the details but suffice to say that it can be excruciatingly challenging to stay "on course" and "on time" at the same time. TSD rallies are no light sunday fun drives but are usually serious brain warping intellectual exercises so their appeal is, and always has been, rather limited. For this reason they are much less popular than their heyday in the 50s through the 70s. I love 'em but they aren't for the faint of heart.
  7. Revhead
    Joined: Mar 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,027

    from Dallas, TX

    Seems like every auto sport eventually evolves to the point where the fun is completely beat out of it in the attempt to be competative. I looked into TSD rallies a few times, what I thought were amateur ones. Never got around to actually participating after I found out that Navigation, ultra-acurate speedo,clocks and other stuff was required to even have a chance. Someone telling me to get to 35, hit an apex at 17, then exit at 5mph, and then having him scream at you for missing the mark, doesn't sound like fun but maybe it is in person.

    Kind of like the HA/GR stuff. started out as a cheap simple idea, but now people are spending big bucks on inlines and flatheads to be competative.

    It's inevitable. almost every car related sport seems to go this direction.
  8. Rain just seems to follow you doesn't it? Shit, I'm afraid to invite you to any of our events..... looks like some great cars there.
  9. Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 964

    Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    from Dixie

    Great explanation of rallying.Just as complex as I thought it was:eek:! Just think of the people who enter the Great American Race and go cross country doing this.
  10. Darwin
    Joined: Oct 14, 2002
    Posts: 505


    It's inevitable. almost every car related sport seems to go this direction.[/QUOTE]

    I agree generally but in the case of TSD rallies they have been at the same difficulty level for at least 50 years. In the usual club scenario different classes are organized for different equipment levels so anyone can compete. It's true that in the upper echelons some pricey equipment is condidered de rigeur but even there it's way cheaper than in the 70s when electronic rally computers could cost a thousand bucks--equivalent to two or three grand nowadays. It is also true that it takes a certain kind of personality to enjoy TSD rallying that isn't that common. A rather less charitable way of putting it is that few are perversely obsessive enough to pursue it on a routine basis. I enjoyed it but then again I was a driver and not a navigator.
  11. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,653

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Yeah, I disagree... Really, the only piece of equipment that you need to be competitive is a thousand dollar speedometer. Expensive, but that's it.

    I didn't see any expensive clocks or other accessories at all.
  12. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,111


    Excellent Read! It sounds like you have a great extended family with the Coker crew. I'd like to recognize Jess, myself. For all the mystique and glamour around a bunch in events like this, he was just a regular guy selling me tires a few weeks ago. I didn't know him from Job, and he never let on to his rank at the company. It wasn't until I received a follow-up email that I saw exactly what that was. Not many such folks are spending time looking up tires on the phone with ordinary Joe's like me. I expect he did good by you in finishing up.
  13. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,926

    gas pumper

    Ryan, what makes the speedo so special?

    Does everyone have to run the same unit? Cable drive?
    Adjustable to dial it in?

    Inquiring minds...

  14. Sounds interesting.
  15. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,653

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    It's a digital job using ceramic magnets (mounted on the wheels). It's driven on a separate battery to avoid interference. The really big face and broad 360 degree sweep gives the gauge a really high resolution. You can easily read the difference between 55 mph and 55.5 mph... VERY accurate I guess. Here are some details:

    I think it's ugly... But the damn thing sure does work well. Most guys seemed to have a quick release setup on their speedos so that they are easily removable when you aren't rallying.
  16. Salt 2009
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 70

    Salt 2009

    My wife and I tried the Rally thing a few years back when the kids were teenagers. The four of us piled in the daily driver Camry (guess we got an multiple person exemption since the children were under 18, plus we didnt really look like serious competitors) and joined the group, one of which was a Cobra replica.

    With me driving and multiple navigators this turned into a real fiasco with everyone barking orders to me (..see Ryans blog " 5 MPH, 5 MPH!) and such directions as "Turn at tree with 8 branches and 50 feet from the corner" this turned into a rather tense family outing.

    At the end of the day when they handed out awards we got a plastic shovel .... one can only guess what that infers.... lol. BTW I still have it after all these years.

    Thanks for the post Ryan, think I will continue to pursue Land Speed Racing, at least you only have to listen to the engine.
  17. Revhead
    Joined: Mar 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,027

    from Dallas, TX

    Like I said I never got into it, so I only had a short impression of what it was like. The people I met had huge amounts of electronics in the cars, Multiple GPS, timers, speedos etc. Maybe I was talking to the wrong people.
  18. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,210

    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Who knew having so much fun could be so much work?
    Great write-up Ryan, thanks for sharing with us! Ya signed up for next year?
  19. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,653

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    I'm no expert by any means, but I do know that the group that held this rally (VCRA) only allows a speedo, a clock, and a stop watch. The speedo is high dollar, the clock is just one of those double a battery jobs, and the stop watch is nothing special either.

    GPS, multiple timers, etc... were not allowed.

    Like I said, the sport definitely has some pluses and minuses. It can get frustrating when you really just want to enjoy the car and your environment. I like to go fast and there isn't much of that... BUT, from a competitive standpoint it really is pretty damned fun. I liked it and would certainly do it again.

    I guess my biggest impression from the event was how these people really drive their cars. I mean, they flog the shit out of those old cars often driving coast to coast. Hell, this Coker deal was considered a really short event and it was over 600 miles.

    There is no way in hell I could do something like the great race... It would hurt my brain too much.
  20. ezdusit
    Joined: May 10, 2008
    Posts: 247


    I first did the Great Race in 1998. The year before, a buddy of mine said,"If you'll restore that old Plymouth of yours, I'll pay the entry fee to the Great Race." I restored my 1932 Plymouth Model PB business coupe, and he kept his word. He navigated and I drove. That year the Great Race covered 4,500 miles zig-zagging from Tacoma to Boston. We were both hooked. You do tend to beat the crap out of the car you just spent thousands to restore, but the competition is great.

    My buddy and I did it 4 times in my '32 Plymouth and one more time - Philadelphia to San Rafael, CA - in a 1936 Buick Century uglymobile. I wouldn't trade any of those experiences. Just to see the whole country from the back roads is spectacular. I've documented my Great Race trips at

  21. LLDCCP
    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
    Posts: 7


    Another reason I don't think you see too many of these events, even the one day club variety, is the amount of time it takes to set up the course, write up all the cockeyed clues, find people to staff the check points, go meet w/ the local cops and convince them that sports cars or hot rods w/ numbers on them are not really racing through their city/county etc. Back in the '60's when I was in college a buddy got a TR4A. He drove & I navigated and we ran several one day "club" rallys in the "seat of the pants" class - NO fancy equipment crap. They tape over your odometer so you just have the speedometer visible and a wrist watch. Our crowning achievements were one zero error leg (Ryan & Jeff had several on the same day), and we won one rally outright - boy did that piss off the guys w/ the high dollar speedos and watches! There were other days that we got so far off course that by the time we got back on we were running for the free beer at the end. Fun.
  22. beatnik
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,206


    It sounds way to frustrating to be fun, definitely not Punk Rock.
  23. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,653

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    It's fun, definitely not punk rock though. You gotta have brain cells.

    Yeah, I couldn't believe the amount of preparation that the VCRA did... These things have to be really expensive to put on.
  24. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,084


    Doesn't sound like a sport for me, but very interesting none the less.
  25. In 1985, I "helped" a friend out as his navigator for a TSD rally outside of North Bend, WA. I realized I was in way over my head from the very start and after I missed a turn on the third page of the course instructions we ended up with a penalty for taking the 2nd lazy right hander not the 1st right hander. His RHD datsun 2000 roadster could really move when driven angry, I ended up providing the worst finish of the season for him. He was a good sport about it and his club loaned me the "Lazy Eye" navigator trophy (bronze head of an old time racer with a cracked goggle lense) for a couple weeks until the next rally. Its probably the only time I haven't enjoyed being in a performance automobile, it was INTENSE and I couldn't believe this was something they did once a month.
  26. CJ Steak
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,378

    CJ Steak
    from Texas

    Hey Ryan, that was a good read, and the timing couldn't be any better. the TX All British Car Day is happening in Old Settler's park off of '79 this Saturday, and i'll be participating in my first TSD rally ever. I'll be in my '67 MGB GT. Wish me luck.

    If anyone wants to see how headbangingly difficult these things can be, please check out this tutorial and example of directions. Mind you, italicized words and words with parantheses or quotation marks around them mean different things then they normally would.

    I don't plan on doing well at all since this is the first TSD rally myself and my navigator have ever participated in...

    In TSD rallying, the navigator is the rockstar, not the driver.

  27. A new experience no doubt, at least you had fun and a nice ride to run the event. Thanks for the pictures.
  28. silverdome
    Joined: Aug 23, 2007
    Posts: 452


    Good read. Interesting about how different racing can be. Let us know how your team did and maybe give us a little more info on the cars. I noticed the Airflow especially but that's probably because I'm a Mopar man.
  29. floored
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 455


    Reminds me of my early day's of running enduro's, I couldn't figure out how to keep a 24 mph average while I was dragging a 220lb dirt bike up a slimey hill. As time went on and my time keeping got better the fun level increased immensley. It's just one of those things that the more you do it the more fun it becomes.

  30. Steve Hedke
    Joined: Sep 28, 2005
    Posts: 74

    Steve Hedke

    Thanks for the good write up. My wife and I have been running these deals since '99, at least one or two races a year, including several Great Race cross countrys.

    I think you have an accurate picture there. You need a good navigator: my wife is brilliant and we've won a lot of money. She can't drive. I can drive but I can't add. We get frustrated sometimes but we always come at it as a team: we both make the mistakes, no one is to blame. It can hurt, but it can sure be rewarding when you figure out a train or a funeral procession correctly (once we had 2 funerals on one day!).

    You are right about how hard we run the cars. The conditions we drive hard in would make some people cringe. I've passed on the right dropping 2 wheels in the grass at 50 mph, had teams on my minute when we're running wheel to wheel, run on ridgelines in thunderstorms with lightening flashing all around, deserts, mountains with snow, you name it, our '29 AV8 has done it. There are lots of stories you come home with. The cars have to be in top shape: there are sweep trucks, but there is nothing worse than watching the race go by.

    For folks who want to give it a go: we'd sure love for you to come out and run with us. Everyone is real helpful in teaching you how to do it: the competition is serious but friendly.

    Vintage Car Rally Association is the only active group right now:

    It will be a while before the next race: get the DVD from Springfield this summer and see what it's all about. You have plenty of time to get ready for the spring race.

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