Despite the grey day and attempted interference from two AmTrack trains and a zillion-car freight train, we were able to get going on our first course rally in years
. After a long stop at the end of the ODO leg, which was not long enough to actually take
the tour of Patrick Henry's home but quite long enough to get chilled and damp, we started off and promptly bit the first trap.
This was a control located inside a Free Zone. HUH? Three of the eight teams did it right: blow on through without stopping, follow the course as it looped around to the end of the free zone, and stop when it brought you through the second time. We were NOT
one of the ones who did it right.
But my navigator redeemed himself almost immediately: the 3rd control was at the end of a medium-long confidence leg, where you came up a hill and saw a control in front of you. But the one you could see was the 4th control; to follow the course you had to ignore it and turn left to follow your route into the real 3rd control, which was a few hundred yards out of sight.
Sleazy!! One's natural instinct is to dive into a control and find out where you are. But course rallys are all about denying your natural instincts and following the letter of the instructions, and my navigator yelled "Go left! GO LEFT!
" which made us one of the two teams that did this one right. WOO HOO!! The penalty for biting this was was a crusher: you missed control #3 and maxed #4 for a total of 450 penalty points. OUCH!
:grr: And to rub it in, the checkpoint workers were handing out suckers!! Even though we didn't bite this
trap, we accepted our suckers in honor of trap #1.
The rest of the day went like this, to the extent that NO TEAMS
, not even experienced equipped ones, made it through without at least one max. But the traps were well enough looped so no one got totally lost, and the traps were feindishly clever enough that we found ourselves admiring them even as we took our three maxes.
Many thanx to Chuck & Betsy for a well organized and challenging event. I hope they havn't scared everyone away from course events ... for me it was a welcome blast from VMSC's past when we put on 11 tough
course rallys a year and the 3 or 4 autocrosses were a sort of afterthought.