2019 Pavement Ends Road Rally Report

Pavement Ends, the season ender rally for the 2019 season held on Saturday November 23, saw an excellent field of 25 teams come out to finish the rally season. A couple of things distinguished this running of Pavement Ends from the typical Detroit Region Road Rally. First, and most significant, was the introduction to the region’s rallyists of a new technology solution for time controls (checkpoints). Instead of physically located and staffed ‘open’ controls – the usual approach for Detroit Region rallies – competitors loaded an app onto their smart phone or tablet that was then loaded with the locations and timing of the control locations. When a competitor passed through one of the downloaded control locations, as determined by the device’s GPS receiver, the competitor’s passage time was observed and recorded. The device emitted a beep signifying control passage, and the resultant score was immediately displayed on the device screen. In addition, when the app had cell data or wireless access it transmitted the competitor’s control passage information to a server hosting a real time scoreboard, which was then accessible via a scoreboard application. When the rally contestants stopped at one of the section breaks current scores were immediately available and displayed. Very cool! Big tip o’ the hat to software developer (and Detroit native) Rich Bireta for envisioning and creating this remarkable approach to TSD rally timing controls. And a nod to current SCCA RoadRally Board chairman Jim Crittenden, who came to Pavement Ends to help the rally contestants learn about using the app. Finally, an acknowledgement to current DR Rally Director and Pavement Ends co-rallymaster Piotr Roszczenko, who sparked the effort to use this new checkpoint technology for Pavement Ends. Well done all!

The second unusual aspect of Pavement Ends was a pitched battle for the SCCA National Championship for tour road rallies. Coming in to the rally were three competitors who were locked into an incredibly close contest to win the national championship. Bruce Gezon, of Murrysville PA, and Bob Morseburg, of Seattle WA, came to Pavement Ends with 93 points in the series standings, while Detroit’s own Rob Moran showed up with 94 points. Pavement Ends was the last national championship qualifying event on the calendar, so this battle would be resolved by the results from Pavement Ends. This final 2019 championship confrontation was not without its drama. Gezon and Morseburg needed a third or better to win the championship, but a third would not be enough if Moran won. If Moran won then Gezon and Morseburg needed to finish second to tie, but if they won then they would finish alone in first place. Up to the end it appeared that Gezon and Morseburg had their victory well in hand, but on the penultimate leg they lost their wheel drive. They did recover nicely from that, but then made errors on the last leg that cost them the win. A classic case of “it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings”! When the smoke cleared at the end, 2019 saw a three way tie for the tour national championship with Gezon, Morseburg and Moran all finishing the series at 96 points!

Equipped class saw Moran and driver David Stone winning with 30.9 points, stealing the victory from Gezon and Morseburg, with 35.4 points. John Fishbeck and Laura Dawson rounded out third in equipped and third overall with 52.4 points.

Limited class saw the always fearsome team of Dave Harkcom and Greg Lester steal the class win with 98.9 points.

The stock class win went to the team of Sawyer Stone and Alison Lee with an outstanding stock class score of 119.1. Sawyer, while relatively new to Detroit Region rallies, is no stranger to rallying. He has competed successfully in the Great Race vintage car rally, navigating for his grandfather – they won the event overall in 2006 in a 1916 Hudson! Keegan Helwig and Blattner Dakota took second in class, followed by DR regulars Chandra Koganti Chris Weinig.

Novice class was taken by Jon Famurewa and John Houghton with a very respectable 177.2, followed by Patrick Burke and Joseph Kenney in second and Chris Zimmerman and Raven Rotsaert in third.

As always, thanks to the rally organizers for putting in the time and effort to present another fine Detroit Region road rally – chairman John Kytasty and co-rallymasters Piotr Roszczenko and Adam Spieszny.