The Big White Winter Rally was a Big Adventure.
The Crane Rally Crew returned to the Great White North fully prepared to finish the Big White Winter Rally. Last year deep snow and improper preparation led to a disappointing end for us, halfway through the event. This year, with help from Sean, Kris and Robert, everything was ready with minutes to spare. Speaking of spares, our good Portland OR friends managed to bring up ten rally snow tires! Thanks Garth, Pat, and Blake.
The Big White Resort hosts the Rally, and Jennifer and the rest of the organizers made sure everything was set up for us. Great roads, nice venues, killer parties. We even got help finding hotel rooms. An extra nice treat this year was a 2wd prize fund, sponsored by Rallysport.ca. The Spirit of the Rally award of $400 dollars, sponsored by Valley Mitsubishi came home with Dustin in the Purple Panda, along with a great story he’ll post here later. Despite a few delays, the event wrapped up right on time, and everyone had a hot meal in the Happy Valley Lodge, while awards were handed out to the volunteers.
We went for the challenge, and stayed for the Competition. Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila make up a 2wd team from Calgary AB, with an impressive string of class wins, they started 3rd on the road. Dustin and Jeff, in the Purple Panda, promised to win the novice class. Roads were a mix of nice compact snow on a hard base for the shorter stages, to complete compact Ice at the end of the long stage. Unfortunately, setting the fastest 2wd time on the first stage made me competitive, which is why we were challenged by a snowy ditch on the second stage. Halfway through Black Forrest, I dropped the co-drivers side tire a little to far into a soft snowy groove. We were caught and spun 270 degrees, ending up with the back end in the ditch. We lost ~9min while I used a shovel, wits, and floormats to rock the car back onto the stage. While our fast stage times continued, so did our ditch time, with another off on Gem Lake South. A late call from Britta, along with a competitors fallen warning triangle managed to snow bank us for another 10 minutes (there is footage of the recovery on youtube). We were now 20 minutes from the rest of the 2wd field and decided that one more trip to the bank would finish us. While cruising to the end of the stage we saw Dustin on the side of the road with the OK sign but no car in sight.
Thanks to Britta’s co-driving, we got through the last dark and slick stages without incident, only to find we’d snuck our way onto the 2wd Podium in 3rd. The 2wd Mitsubishi got stuck too along with 4 other cars on the same stage. The champagne spray was a first for the team, and I can’t wait to see the photos. We ended up taking 2nd in Gp2, and a $100 dollar check in spite of our troubles.
We finished the season with 7 rallies, and only one DNF. Look for a full season review with some fun stats in the next few weeks.
rally results are here: Big White Results
Pictures by our Media Manager Noah are here: Big White Album