Despite a downturn in the weather bring drizzle the entire evening, twelve teams turned out for 3 Lefts & A Right, the June installment of the 2023 NWRC Friday Nighter Season.
FOOTZ delivered the second event using the Richta GPS Checkpoints system, lightly seasoned with time traps. All teams completed the route successfully. Once again, Farrelli’s Pizza in Maple Valley provided us will a good finish location.
A familiar odometer check led teams out to May Valley Road before competition began. Leg 1 went down Cedar Grove Road, then jogged over to Maxwell. Reaching a stop sign at a T, where NRI 21. L AT “STOP”, CAST 34 was available, the instruction could not be used as the route was forced left since the road to the right was a dead end. Teams using NRI 21 sped up, arriving at the checkpoint 15 seconds early.
Leg 2 cut east from Maxwell, skirted the edge of Hobart and passed local landmark The Yellow Submarine. While crossing the ridge before Ravensdale, teams executed a small speed change using NRI 30. CSD 2 AT [arrow] OR [deer]. This was the initial setup for the trap. The arrow sign comes up first and CSD at [arrow] is simple enough. There is a [deer] soon after, so even if the [arrow] was missed you move on to the next instruction. NRI 31. CAST 40 AT SECOND [arrow] OR [deer] seals your fate if done wrong. There is one more matching [arrow] and if treated as the second you’ll be 3 MPH faster (40 vs 37 here) for the rest of this leg. It was the first [arrow] encountered since executing the previous NRI. Good for 11 early at the checkpoint on the west side of Ravensdale Park.
The next leg used the pleasantly twisty Ravensdale-Black Diamond Road between its namesakes then headed out to the Green River Gorge. Along the way teams faced NRI 40. CAST 45 AT FOURTH PREMARKER OR PAUSE 9 AT “STOP”. A premarker is any of the many yellow, diamond-shape signs warning of something. Once outside of Black Diamond, there are two premarkers in quick succession. So far, so good. Then there is a long stretch of nothing. Eventually, two more appear on the horizon. They are still quite distant, but easy to see because they are the only things to spot. However, before you reach the third premarker, there is a stop sign on a gate in a wide turnout on the left. Amazing how the brain works, as that stop sign is hugely visible, but so hard to see once you’ve spotted those diamonds. The checkpoint was just before the GRG bridge. Using the first half of NRI 40 was good for 11 seconds early. 3rd & 4th premarkers are circled in red, below.
Leg 4 started just beyond the bridge, taking one of my favorite stretches of road up to Cumberland. On the way to Veazie, navigators became tense.
Stacking ITIS instructions is allowed, but frowned upon because it usually makes things very complicated. This stack only had shock value. It is much simpler than most stacked ITIS situations would be, as all of these ITIS instructions require finding the same [arrow] premarker. Although four NRIs are all on the table, you’re only looking for two things – that arrow and the sideroad sign. The first matching sign is the arrow, where NRI 46 is executed. Next comes another arrow. If you counted this sign as the 2nd and used NRI 47, that made you 11 early. Remember, it needed to be the 2nd after NRI 46. The crossroads premarker came next, but there had been no more arrows. If you executed NRI 48, add another 4 seconds early. Finally the sideroad premarker appeared and all that madness was behind you. Checkpoint just before Krain Korner.
Another short hop on SR169 and leg 5 started on SE 383rd. The phantom bantam was mentioned. NRI 53. CAST 34.4 AT JEMA RANCH RD ITIS (birthplace of famous rally rooster, Tatty) gave competitors a chance to forget that for this event, gravel roads did not exist. Cheap trap? Yes! I called it the chicken finger and kept the penalty small at 5 early. Otherwise, it was 5 miles of great road with nothing for the navigator to do except hang on. A right at stop brought you to the checkpoint just before Green Valley Road.
The final leg passed Flaming Geyser Park, then climbed the remarkably steep and twisty section of Green Valley. Hard to believe it still has a 40 speed limit. All the fun ends once GV reaches SR169 and the route heads to and through Black Diamond, then on to the last checkpoint about a mile before Four Corners.
Scoring was completed and awards presented as pizzas were coming out of the kitchen.
It was great to see the increase in turnout at this event. We had only seven cars in May. It takes more than six to cover the insurance cost, and at least ten with other expenses. The absence of Novice cars in May was alarming. One of the Novice teams this month came from Bellingham to check out the Richta system as they want to restart Chuckanut’s rally program. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the depth of the Master class, especially since one very consistent team was missing.
FOOTZ thanks: Bill and Charles Aggenbach for providing valuable feedback in the route/instructions checkout process. Charles also drove the pace car and assisted at the finish. Photo credit for the on-route image at the top of this post goes to Emily Winslow. The Winslows also spearhead the NWRC social media campaign. It takes a village.
See you all in July!