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Vermont Winter Challenge Rally

Posted by Dave_G 
February 27, 2014 05:38PM
It's been almost two weeks since my wife and I competed together in the annual Vermont Winter Challenge Rally, and I'm just getting around to writing about it now, but better late than never. Every winter this rally is one of the highlights of my motorsports year. Compared to the rallies that Ferdinand does these days, it's a bit tamer: It's a basic time-speed-distance rally run with regular street cars on open roads, no helmets, no roll cages, just two people in a car trying to maintain average speeds that are generally at or under the speed limit. But because this rally is created by rally legend John Buffum, it's a bit more intense than a typical TSD rally. smiling smiley (If you're not familiar with John Buffum, read this.) For one thing, it's very long, running 11 hours from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. (actually we finished closer to 3 a.m.). For another, maintaining the average speeds that John sets on the roads that he picks is a task that will focus the attention of any driver! A speed of 42 MPH doesn't sound like much, until you realize that that is only an average, and that it is being run on narrow, twisting, roller-coaster roads through the back woods of northern Vermont and New Hampshire.

We were competing in my iX, which was one of two iXes running the event. What a tremendous thrill to drive this car in these conditions! I could almost hear the car telling me "thank you, thank you, this is what I was meant to do!" :biggrin:

There were two classes in this rally: equipped, which was cars with rally computers, and stock, which was cars with just stock odometers and a simple hand-held calculator. We were running in stock class, and shocked ourselves by winning the class for the second year in a row! It was funny because this in this rally it's so difficult to keep on time, and all night long we were lamenting how far off the pace we were. And we were off the pace -- it's just that everyone else was off the pace, too, and by slightly more. smiling smiley

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos or video. But lucky for us, one of the other teams put together a great video that gives a very good feel for what it was like (even though no video can accurately portray what it feels like to drive those roads smiling smiley). Here it is for your enjoyment. Our iX makes a brief cameo appearance at 4:45 as we're stopped by the side of the road following a checkpoint, waiting to start our next leg.

It's funny to hear the driver keep saying "I'm still supposed to be going 42??" Because I kept asking the exact same thing. smiling smiley

I can't wait till next year to do it all again!

'91 325iX
February 28, 2014 01:35PM
Looks like fun! 42 mph is quite quick in the dark, on snow and ice!
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