2020 Son of Sno*Drift XXII Rally Report

The weather service had issued winter storm warnings, promising godawful conditions with rain, freezing rain and snow. What sort of fools would deliberately set out to spend the day driving around on back roads in such circumstances? Ummmm, rallyists, that’s who.

‘Twas a rainy, not snowy, day for Son of Sno*Drift XXII!

And so it was that 24 teams showed up this past Saturday morning, January 11, in spite of the elements, to take on the challenges of Scott Harvey Jr.’s Son of Sno*Drift XXII TSD rally. Just two teams that registered declined to show up and share in the fun. As it turns out, they need not have worried. Unlike the 2011 running that saw six or more inches of snow fall during the event, or the Great Skating Rink Adventure that was the 2014 edition, this year’s Son of Sno*Drift was just a wet sloppy mess. The threatened freezing rain never materialized in the rally area while running. It did, however, rain during almost the entire duration of the rally – sometimes pouring down buckets, sometimes just a light steady rain, sometimes drizzle or mist. Amazingly, given all the moisture, the roads held up fairly well, although there were a couple of unintended water crossings just to provide a little entertainment for the erstwhile rally teams.

Ken and Dennis Wiedbusch power through a bit of water!

Following the Detroit Region’s first successful experience with the Richta Checkpoints virtual checkpoint app on November 23rd’s Pavement Ends rally, rallymaster Harvey opted to use Richta Checkpoints for Son of Sno*Drift XXII. This was another successful deployment of this new TSD rally technology, with this new method of leg timing well received by both competitors and rallymaster alike. Rallymasters love the app because it saves them the grief of recruiting control teams, managing equipment and all the associated documentation to get crews placed and working. Competitors like the app because they get immediate score feedback on their timing performance as they encounter the virtual checkpoints (this is a huge hit for novices) and because they can see immediate scoring and standings at the section breaks. This is a change in TSD rallying that will surely persist into the future.

In addition to these well liked features of the app there are two more that make a strong case for utilizing it. First, rallymasters can now locate checkpoints anywhere, as they no longer need to be concerned with the complications posed by physically locating control crews. Second, rallies can be run with virtually as many checkpoints as rallymasters want, since they are no longer constrained by the recruitment and logistics management of control crews. Son of Sno*Drift XXII featured 72 checkpoints. Ultimately 68 checkpoints were scored, as 4 legs were discarded due to configuration issues.

David Harkcom and AI Jean-Francois launch into the timed portion of section 1.

Equipped class saw six teams contending for the win. Robert Kay and Michael Bennett, who have recently started rallying again after an extended absence from the field, put in a strong performance to win the rally, scoring just 34 points for the 68 scored controls for an average of just 0.5 seconds error per control. John Fishbeck and Laurie Dawson gave Kay and Bennett a run for their money and kept them honest, with a score of 38 for second in class and second overall. Jeff and Nic Boris, driving over from Grand Rapids to compete, took third with 53.

Limited class had four entries, with the always formidable team of Dan Harkcom and Greg Lester nailing the class win and fourth overall with a score of 75.2, defeating region regulars Adam Spieszny and Piotr Roszczenko, who finished with 87.4 – a pretty fair contest.

Son of Sno*Drift XXII competitors waiting to resume their runs during section 2 at a time of day restart on Roe Rd, off of M-52 between Stockbridge and Chelsea.

Stock class saw just 2 entries, as many teams formerly running in stock have moved into limited in order to use the available integrated mileaging rally apps. Regular region rallyist Tristan Koivisto has come to claim stock class as his own over the past few seasons, and he continued his winning ways with navigator Sarah Tellas, scoring 155.6 for first in class. Koivisto and Tellas defeated Detroit Region stalwart and 2020 national SCCA Tour national champion Rob Moran, navigating for John Kytasty, for the class win.

Son of Sno*Drift regularly draws a strong novice field, and this year’s running was no exception, with ten teams competing in the class. Honors went to Mario Velarde and Francisco Romero who turned in an outstanding performance of 140.5, not only good enough for the class win, but also good for seventh overall. Velarde and Romero even pulled off the unusual occurrence of the winning novice class score beating the winning stock class score. Well done! The team of Raven Rotsaert and Chris Zimmerman took second in novice with an excellent score of 194.1, with Ian Everett and Jake Seeger turning in a respectable 317.5 for third in novice.

As a part of the Son of Sno*Drift awards rallymaster Harvey likes to present the Son of Sno* Award to someone who has made significant contribution to the region’s rally program. This year he honored Ken Wiedbusch for Ken’s dedicated work over the years in maintaining the control and timing equipment for the region’s rallies. Ken has tirelessly maintained the timing hoses and switches, clocks, cabling and signage which are used for open controls, and brings all that gear to every rally. While the rapid rise of the Richta Checkpoints app for controls may largely eliminate the need for all that control gear in the future, Ken’s contributions in this have been enormous. Furthermore he has provided this same commitment of service for equipment used for autocross and rallycross as well. This is a well-deserved recoginition – thanks Ken!

Scott especially crafted Ken’s Son of Sno* award, featuring a bright yellow C2 Corvette, closely resembling the car that Wiedbusch helped build and competed in stage rallies during the mid-70s, rallies such as the Marquette 1000, 20 Stages and Sunriser 400.

That’s Ken Wiedbusch’s rally ‘Vette on his Son of Sno* Award!

As always, huge thanks to rallymasters Scott Harvey and Jennifer Glass for the enormous effort they put in to putting on Son of Sno*Drift so Detroit Region rallyists can go out and play with cars on south central Michgan’s back roads!

Click here for complete results.