The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015

7th - 28th June 2015

Day 9 - Bay City to St Ignace

Middle Earth

A full day was planned today, a very full day indeed comprising three Regularity Sections and a race circuit Special Test. It really was a case of pay attention and keep up at the back.

After leaving the hotel, the Rally struck north up the Saginaw Bay past miles of typical US ribbon development. Boat sales, RV sales, storage yards and John’s hubcap store, which boasts more than 60,000 of the very same in stock ready for collection TODAY! A proud boast indeed. Further up the road, the environment softened a little with more grass and trees in evidence. The Golf Course Diner exhorted us to adopt the golfers diet, to live on greens as much as possible. The when we hit Pinconning with its well stocked cheese shop, we turned off the main highway and onto the sandy, rutted and remote backroads that we’d all been looking forward to.

The population density in these parts is low so anyone who passes inevitably stops and asks about the Rally. One impromptu Rally fan therefore, in the regulation beaten up truck duly stopped and commented that “we don’t get many nice cars in these parts and even if we did we wouldn’t drive them on roads like this”. Vive la difference we say. Nice cars and dirt roads - a marriage made in heaven.

The three regularities today all took place on these same tracks, sand rather than gravel which was damp enough not too kick up the dust but dry enough not to get too boggy. In other words the conditions were perfect.

Wild strawberries once again lined the tracks and those manning the control points enjoyed more bug life than a Wolfsburg VW festival.

Michael and Marlies Kershaw enjoyed the woods so much that they spent an extra two hours deep under the forest canopy after taking a wrong slot in their MGC GT.

Dorothy Caldwell meanwhile, our oldest navigator, scored a perfect zero today on the Meaford Road section.

Leaving the woods behind us on the way up to St Ignace there was one last treat in store, the track at Onaway with the banked oval we’ve come to expect. This was a real blast, two laps as fast as you like with a couple of chicanes to keep you off the straight and narrow.

Peter Lovett might have been fastest here along with Alan Beardshaw, but the most entertaining drive was given by the Jaguar MK1 now shorn of its roof rack in an attempt to save weight and tyre wear. Albrecht Haase, who pirouetted his way round scoring top marks for artistic merit if not technical ability commented that the spin was caused “because we’re still too heavy” as he pulled into the control.

St Ignace sits on the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Huron and Michigan and to get to it we crossed another monumental bridge, the Mackinac. They certainly know how to span a river up here.

There is a change to the leaderboard this evening. Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown still lead from the Peter and Zoe Lovett but Alan and Tina have swapped third for fourth place with Clint and Dawn Smith. A slight navigational error was the undoing of the Aston Martin in the second Regularity which just shows how much you’ve got to be on it in an event like this.

Sadly we’ve lost Roger and Christian Clark, their Daimler SP250 has blown a head gasket and is unable to continue.

We crosssed the 45th parallel today which is the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole.

Syd Stelvio



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