|Abingdon Trials Endurance Rally
August 2-3, 2001
by David Lieb
What a great week! I drove Tootsie (Michaela has informed me that my Midget was named Tootsie in honor of the Midget Tootsie Rolls, as long as she keeps rolling on her tires) to work on Monday and Tuesday, so by the time I came home on Sunday I had driven her every day for a whole week for a total of 1600 miles with no serious problems. How much better does it get?
Michaela and I in my Midget were joined by Rick Ingram and Rick Verhey in an MGB-GT, Steve Merical and Paul Urquhart in Steveís MGA, Roger and Shirley Goebbert in their MGB roadster, Adrian and Sally Van Osch in another MGB roadster, and Curt Bork soloing in his MG TD. Thad and Jim Cousino, last yearís winners, started us off by leading us as a conga line for a 50 mile odometer calibration run from Galesburg to Gulfport and then we were on our own to find 14 checkpoints. Two of the checkpoints were intended to be optional and would deduct mileage from the final score. None of us seemed to know what optional meant, so all six teams treated them as mandatory, of course.
The checkpoints ranged along the Mississippi from Grafton, Illinois over by East St Louis, up to Elizabeth, Illinois near Galena, and from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area back over to Galesburg. We all seemed to think that they logically divided themselves into a north loop and a south loop. The south loop looked longer, so we all drove that one the first day.
The rains caught us in Jacksonville IL on our way back up from Grafton. I was lucky enough to spot a coin-op car wash just as the rain started to get heavy, so I pulled in to put the top up. By the time the top was in place it was raining cats and dogs and the lightning was truly impressive! We decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valor and just sat there for a half hour or so and waited till the rain was tapering off into a mild sprinkle before proceeding. Curt Bork in his MG TD was about half an hour upstream when the rains hit him. He searched in vain for an overhang and ended up pulling into someoneís garage to put up his hood. For the next several hours the lightning continued strong to the south; glad we were heading north! A very nice double rainbow lasted almost until dark.
My specialty is gimmick rallies, not endurance rallies. This was my second one and I was much improved over the last one, but I still only beat the teams that did not show up or that did not finish. My goals are simple: I want to complete the rally within the alloted time and make it home again afterwards. I have succeeded at this both times, so I canít complain too much.
Steve and Paul ran into generator problems as soon as dark fell. They got that sorted out, but front suspension problems sidelined them at the end of the first day.
Two Rick Racin' - A Division of Team Fokowie, won the rally. They only beat me by 71 miles this time (I did it in 963 miles to their 892) instead of the 246 in the Missouri Endurance Rally, so that was a good thing. Way to go Rick and Rick! I look forward to the day that I can actually compete with you guys. Any tips for us stragglers?