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  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
Abingdon Endurance Trials Rally
October 9-10, 2004 - by John M Schroeder

John Schroeder I discovered a new disease that seems to be associated with these British cars. I have named it roadster withdrawal. I was in Hawaii for my daughter s wedding for two weeks without my MG. Of course, Hawaii was great and my daughter s wedding was beautiful, but I seriously missed tooling around in my B. Ann wouldn t let me rent a Ferrari and I got no sympathy from anyone (especially Ann.) We got back too late for the Abingdon Weekend and the Fall Color Tour was the same weekend as Rachael s reception here in Chicago.

But now it was time to run the third jewel in the Triple Crown Rally series and do some serious driving.

I had my original co-driver for this rally. Jordan and I met the other competitors in Columbus, Indiana on Friday, October 8, to run the third leg of the Triple Crown rally series. Jordan and I arrived around eight o clock, said hello to everyone, had dinner, and proceeded to the hotel pub for some late evening catching up.

The drivers meeting was at seven Saturday morning. Our mileage check consisted of driving out to Brown County State Parks entrance, pausing for team photos, and driving back to the hotel. After recording our mileage for the check, Kim and Bill gave us our packets listing the checkpoints. Since we were meeting in Columbus, I though we would be driving around southern Ohio, Indiana, possibly Illinois, and northern Kentucky. There are some beautiful roads in the Ohio River Valley and southern Indiana is known for its covered bridges. I was terribly wrong.

There were seven checkpoints. Five were in Kentucky, one in Virginia, and one in West Virginia. I didn t have a Virginia map, but the checkpoint was in the Kentucky Gazetteer. The West Virginia checkpoint was on the Kentucky border and also listed. I had brought the Ohio and Indiana maps with us, but we only used the Indiana maps to get to and from Columbus from the first and last checkpoints.

We chose to hit the checkpoint traveling in a counter-clockwise direction, so our first stop was the post office in Perry Park, Ky. Two of the questions we had to answer to show we had been there were: What is C & F? and Where is Springfield? We stared at that infernal building for a long time before we finally focused on the Springfield Thermometer with Celsius and Fahrenheit markings. Another team was there when we arrived and they didn t solve the puzzle any sooner. Our next stop was the Labrot and Graham distillery south of Millville, KY. We arrived while they were open and brought some souveniers away with us. We also decided we would have to return for the tour of Kentucky s oldest distillery. We left the distillery and head to our next checkpoint. We were going to a little town called Paint Lick. Ride on a river ferry We found what looked like a great route with only one problem. The Gazetteer showed no way to cross the Kentucky River. I have been burnt by mistakes in the Gazetteers before, so I had other maps with us. The two other maps showed a bridge so Jordan and I headed for the river. Naturally there was no bridge so we had to travel about forty miles to a ferry so we could get to the next stop.

The next stop after Paint Lick was Evanston, KY. We plotted our route and hit the road again. We were about half way there when my generator problem reared its ugly head again. Jordan was driving with a truck behind us, the truck turned off and Jordan asked why the lights were so dim. I told him to pull off as soon as possible and as he did the car died. We were at the end of a hairpin turn and it was pitch black. We lit a flare, and proceeded to change the voltage regulator and generator (I started carrying spares after the second one died.) We were back on the road in about forty-five minutes. Fortunately there was still enough power in the battery to start the engine. I was concerned about how we were going to push start it because we would have had to steer backwards through the turn. We were about twelve miles from Evanston when we had to change to another route. We found ourselves not on a gravel road but a rock road. Jordan looked at me and said I wouldn t drive my truck on this. I think we bottomed the car twice, managing to knock the hood prop out of its holder. We finally got to Evanston, located the answers to the questions and headed out on much better, solid surfaced roads toward Virginia. We hit the last three checkpoint is the dark. There are no straight roads in the Appalachians and we really put the car to the test. The sun rose about thirty minutes after we stopped at the last checkpoint. By then we were well on our way back to Columbus for the final check in.

This was by far the most challenging of the three endurance rallies I have run this year and we finished seventh. Thanks to Bill Hedrick and Kim Tonry for putting together an excellent rally.

I am pleased with the results for our first year of endurance rallying. Jordan had never participated in any rally before Missouri. I found out Thursday our team finished fourth out of the eight teams that ran all three rallies in the Hammer and Tong series. Thanks to Wade Keene for co-driving the Michigan rally. All three were a lot of fun and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.

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