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  Chicagoland MG Club:Club Info

The Lucas Memorial Night Rally

by Kim & Diane Tonry

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.

Bud Yeager 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 rallymaster.

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.

©1999 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.