The 8th Annual
Missouri Endurance Rally
March 22-23, 2003 - by Robert Rushing
Let me start by saying that this is my favorite event each year. I participated in the first one and became addicted to Endurance Rallies after that. They are a lot of fun, but they are also pretty demanding both physically and mechanically! A true test of man (or woman!) and machine. Actually, itís not that harsh. Basically, an endurance rally is this: Teams are given a list of locations that they must go to (the same for all teams). Once they reach the site they must gain proof (I prefer a Polaroid or digital picture, some ask you to get a store receipt, and others give a list of questions that can only really be answered by someone there. I like the picture because itís impossible to fake and you donít have to worry about a store being closed or mess with people who want to bicker over every question). They must go to all the locations and make it back to the starting point all why trying to find the shortest possible route. Whichever team makes it back while covering the least number of miles, wins. We generally give a time limit of 24 hours or so. The total mileage is around 600 to 800.
To determine this, you have the teams drive a set route while following a control car. You take each teamís odometer/tripometer readings before leaving on the run. The control car will stop after a certain mileage then have each team following them drive up to the point where the mileage was reached and note the odometer/tripometer reading at that point. The mileage is compared to the control carís. Any variance can be determined using a simple mathematical formula to determine the offset. Once the offset is determined for each car, their final mileage - once they get back - is multiplied by that to give the actual mileage driven. Unfortunately, this is still not super accurate; but itís the best we can do without buying expensive rally equipment. Basically, I say if someone wants to be that competitive and canít live with the fact that our carsí odometers are old, inaccurate; and may not truly reflect the actual mileage, then I tell them to do something else because this is more for fun than anything else.
As far as the stop locations are concerned, Iím trying to think of a rally course where teams will need to maintain an average of 30 to 35 mph (not that they have to worry about maintaining an average, I just want to make sure theyíll have plenty of time to do it and take plenty of breaks). The event is definitely not speed related at all. Everyone is supposed to obey all traffic laws. To help facilitate that, each team memberís driver license are sealed in an envelope. If the envelope is opened, then we have to assume that they got stopped for breaking a law in which case they are disqualified. The real aim is navigation skills and team work. Each team must plot their course and determine which routes they will take. They must decide how many backroads they will take versus main roads because even though the backroad may be shorter, it might cost them too much time so they wonít make it back before the deadline. They must work well together, trade off on driving/napping/navigating.
New for this yearís Missouri Endurance is the Mini-Endurance Trial. Iím setting up a mini-endurance for those who have always wanted to try one out, but are uncomfortable with doing a full 24 hour run. The mini will be around 300 to 500 miles and teams will be given around 12 to 14 hours to complete it. It will be 5 out of the 10 stops that the regular run makes at the same time.
This will be the 8th Missouri Endurance Rally. There has been a Lap of the Lake (Lake Michigan) Endurance Rally that is 10 years old and an Abingdon Trials Endurance Rally that is only a couple of years old. This year, all three are in a new series together. The MER will be March 22-23 leaving from St Louis. The Lap of the Lake will be August 9th leaving from Grand Rapids, and the Abingdon Trials will be Oct 12th and leaving from Indianapolis (maybe, I think). The shortest mileage overall of the three events wins the championship! The Jan/Feb 2003 issue of The Driver will have more details.
In the past, we have had teams that came from Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri (of course). Last year, we had 25 teams compete and Iím hoping for more this year since Iím doing the mini along with it which a lot of people have expressed interest in. I think once youíve tried one out, that youíll be very enthusiastic about the event and will want to do it again!
As you can tell, my enthusiasm for this is great. Iíve competed in 8 endurance rallies so far - 6 in Missouri, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Wisconsin. I guess the reason why I like them so much is because Iíd love to race and do offroad rallying, but I just canít afford the time or the money for it. These events give a real sense of competition and are as close to racing as I can manage at the moment. It doesnít require special equipment, it doesnít require anything other than normal insurance, a bone stock car has just as much chance to win as a highly modified car, and itís no more dangerous than driving on public roads is in general. Whatís not to love? Weíll be leaving from St Louis at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Registration fee is $25 per team and is open to all pre-1981 British Cars.
For more info, contact Robert Rushing - firstname.lastname@example.org