The late afternoon
looked promising - some cloud cover, but dry and totally lacking
the excruciating heat of only a week before. We set out around 5pm
with the top down. It stayed dry until we were about 2 miles south
of Duke's Drive-In on Harlem where the rally was scheduled to start
from. By the time we pulled into Duke's lot, the rain was coming
down steadily so the top was raised. A Miata pulled up behind us
as we neared our destination. It was my friend Chris Grezlik who
had bought a Miata last year and had gotten his first taste of rallying
last Fall at our Halloween Rally.
We had invited
the Miata Club for the third consecutive year. On our arrival at
the start point it looked like the Miata Club was indulging in steroids!
This impression was dispelled when it was realized that a Viper
group was meeting at Duke's as well. There were about ten of the
'Merican muscle cars including several coupes.
We went inside
and got burgers, fries and shakes to fortify ourselves for the night's
endeavors and sat at an outside table and eyed the Vipers. As we
ate, Miatas and MGs slowly started filling the back row of the parking
lot. MGBs, MGCs, an MGB GT, a TD, a Midget and a whole bunch of
Miatas. Most of the MGs were familiar but there were a couple that
were new to me. Especially the '57 MGA with the 17 year old driver.
Despite the rain and his MGA having no top, Parker Whiteway was
ready to rally.
and Bob Swanson saw to the signing of waivers, collection of rally
fees and distribution of dash plaques. Rallymaster Dave Tucker then
passed out the orders of business for the evening - the instructions,
route directions and questions. "Remember to forget Rule #8
for the first 15 questions"??? A line of British steel and
Japanese iron wrapped around Dukes awaiting the start signal from
The route had
a very pleasant question free zone that was tackled just before
dusk and gave a very pleasant drive through forest preserves. Then
it was back to looking for illuminated clues.
There was a
checkpoint that involved Dave's van and an MG dashboard and hoping
for the luck of the Irish to counteract the 'luck' of Lucas. It
was for bonus points and not plugging in to the right wiring socket
until the second to last possible one hopefully wouldn't come in
to play in the final results.
From the checkpoint, it was not a long distance to the
end, but it was 'high density' clue time. The rest of the rally answers
were not in order and contained in a series of strip malls along Cicero
Avenue. This was a clever innovation on Dave's part. In past years, Dave
has used 95th Street's shopping district in the night rally in a similar
way - lots ofpossible clues to examine in a relatively small area. This
year was much better because we could drive into the strip mall parking
lots and not be slow moving targets on a heavily travelled street. Way to
go Dave. There was also an improvement in the weather by this time and we
were able to return to top-down-maximum-illuminated-clue-viewing mode. We
finished at the Jedi restaurant on Cicero at Southwest Highway. As we were
getting out of our car, Jake Snyder was jumping into his with Don Anderson
going with to locate Parker Whiteway's MGA which had been spotted pulled
off in a grocery store parking lot back up Cicero Avenue. Before the rescuers
could get to him, Parker and his navigator got to the end on their own despite
having weathered the night's biggest Lucas moment - a small electrical fire
in a shorted parking light feed!
That settled, we went in to the restaurant where Rallymaster
Tucker, his wife Susie and brother-in-law Bob Swanson were diligently tallying
up score sheets. Unlike his first Night Rally (you thought you'd live that
down Dave?) the scores were finished in short order and the winners announced.
Our guests from the Miata club were graciously announced first and then
the MG results.