TOTAL RECALL, June 9, 2007


This is a brief description of how this rally came to be, how the course was intended to be run, and how you were expected to figure it out. You should get the routes and maps for this rally from the home page if you don't already have them, and follow along as you go through this critique.


When Into The Night started doing rallyes now some 21 years ago, they were run on the same Generals as the legendary Starlite rallye put on for 30 years by the Santa Barbara Sports Car Club. However, over the years, the ITN Generals evolved. The primary change was to add a way to make Checkpoints passive -- the Passage Control. This was so that if a crew couldn't make it to the Checkpoint in time to set up an Inmarker, the leg, and the rallye, could continue. Essentially, Passage Controls are like the DIYC's of TSD rallyes, except all legs have them, but they're only used if the crew doesn't get the Inmarker set up. (Please refer to our Generals B.8 for a description of Passage Controls and how to do them.)

Starlite had only Inmarkers, which are live, active Checkpoints where times are given. You can imagine what would happen to a rallye planned for all Inmarkers to be working if one of the crews did not make it. General chaos, obviously, and a lot of rallye cars running around in confusion, like ants on the floor when you've taken away their sugar target.. So, Passage Controls provide a kind of safety net for each leg.

The other main difference between ITN and SBSCC rallyes, is that Starlite had a limited number of Standoffs at a single location, generally just 1, and never more than 2. Further, you could actually see the general Checkpoint area from Standoff. Sightings were given with photos in daylight and flashing lights at night. Handouts were almost never used.

These type of sightings are very challenging for the Rallyemasters who have to find them and set them up. This process requires at least 2 cars most of the time, one at Standoff and one finding the spots from where a Checkpoint light can be seen. This can take literally all night. And it's after you've already spent the time laying out a course and pre-running it at least once. With all the other things going on in our lives, finding an extra weekend or two to go out an do this isn't the easiest thing to do.

Consequently, over the years we've gotten away from this type of "clean" sighting. It's easier just to find a good place for cars to gather and put the Standoff there. If you have a sighting, often it would be a picture of whatever you actually could see, be it a nearby ridge or a line of trees or a running fence or whatever. So your heading would be "the third fence post right of the big tree" or something similar. Since this isn't a true sighting, it can be prone to error. Recognizing this, we've started simply including the map bearing number on the photos.

ITN also uses a lot of handouts, and the handouts sometimes contain a lot of information. This is partially because, with 4 or 5 rallyes each year, our Rallyemasters just don't have time or manpower to find true sightings, and we use handouts to make up for what the sightings would provide. However, our use of handouts is also because we run a Beginner Class in the rallye, and we want to explain to the Beginners as we go along not just where the Checkpoints are, but how you can figure things out from just the information in the Route Instructions before you even start the rallye. Starlite only ran Novice and Regular, and then later added Expert.

Anyway, I've been saying that I miss clean sightings and flashing lights. Some of our Expert entries have been saying ITN has been getting too "technical" in our rallies. I decided that I agree. It was time to go back to basics. Thus was born TOTAL RECALL, so we could re-introduce people to the Starlite style of Monte Carlos.

I'd like you to know that I really enjoyed the time I spent putting this rallye together. In order to avoid spending too much time finding the Standoffs, I shortcut the process by using Standoff locations from previous Starlite rallyes. This was part of the inspiration for calling the rallye Total Recall. Then I used my favorite roads in the area to string them together. I had an excellent first drive of the course at the end of April. It was a beautiful day and traffic was light. I especially remember CA 178 at sunset with the light flashing through the cottonwoods as I zipped along the Kern River. Hope you liked it too.

On to the rallye itself. Placerita Canyon Park was chosen for Registration and school because it was the only free venue in the area that had enough shade to remain cool even on the hottest of days. And it proved to be very pleasant on rallye day.

As so often happens, once the rallye course was laid out, it was a bit too long. So the Start was moved to Standoff 1, about 25 minutes from Registration. Leg 1 thus became very short, and the Checkpoint was basically straight ahead from Standoff. Quick first legs offer a chance to introduce Beginners to what an Inmarker looks like, and to give the other classes a chance for a low score on the first leg.

Leg 2 was a minimum speed leg, meaning you had to maintain 30 mph within sight of the Inmarker. As usual, a mileage was given to provide a reference to the Inmarker location for gauging your minimum speed. However, you were not given the name of the Inmarker road, only that it was south of Backus parallel to 90th St. W/Tehachapi - Willow Springs Rd. Further, the mileage reference stated that the Inmarker was 1.30 miles south of the nearest marked, paved intersection to the north. This helped narrow your choices as to the Inmarker road, since there needed to be at least 1.3 miles north to the next intersection, and most of the intersections in the area were exactly one mile apart. South of Rosamond Blvd. there were 11 possible sections of north-south roads with 1.3 miles or more between paved intersections. North of Rosamond Blvd., there were only 2 roads.

Time from 1 to 2, and from 2 to 3, could be used to eliminate all but 4 of these roads before Start. Leg 2 was 1:04.00 long, and included a double Standoff. The Generals say 1.00 minute is allowed to exit Checkpoints, and that a double Standoff is allowed 6.00 minutes. Therefore, your driving time from 1 to 2 was :57.00. Leg 3 was :24.00 minutes long, but the Standoff was on Leg 2, so you only had to deduct the 1.00 minute to exit Checkpoint 2. You had :23.00 minutes to drive Leg 3. 23.00 minutes at 55 mph covers 21.1 miles.

Bear with me, here are the 11 sections of road south of Rosamond at least 1.3 miles long:

170th St W, from Rosamond Blvd., south 2 miles

170th St W, from W Ave A, south 3 miles

170th St W, from W Ave D (SH 138), south 2.5 miles

140th St W, from W Ave A, south 3 miles

110th St W, from W Ave D (SH 138), south 2 miles

100th St W, from Rosamond Blvd., south 2 miles

80th St W, from Rosamond Blvd., south 2 miles

70th St W, from W Ave A, south 3 miles

70th St W, from W Ave D (SH 138), south 2 miles

60th St W, from W Ave A, south 3 miles (unpaveds don't count)

60th St W, from W Ave D (SH 138, south 2 miles.

There were also 3 sections on 2 roads north of Rosamond Blvd and south of Backus Rd.

Manly Rd between Hamilton Rd and Truman Rd, exactly 1.3 miles

Mojave - Tropico Rd, from Backus Rd, south 3.5 miles

Mojave - Tropico Rd, from Sweetser Rd, south 1.6 miles.

Prior to Start, using the very south end of Cameron Rd as a reference point, there were only 4 roads whose possible location for In 2 was within 21.1 miles from this reference point - Manly Rd, Mojave - Tropico Rd, 100th St W, and 80th St W (all sections as described above). All the other roads south of Rosamond Blvd could be ruled out based on the time from 2 to 3.

Once you went through In 1, you could also rule out another road, because it was too far from 1 to make it in the 57 minutes. In 1 was about 2 miles from Standoff 1, which was 3.5 miles north of I-5. So it's about 5.5 miles north of I-5. Working from there, it's 27.6 miles to SO 2,3 and another 15 miles up to the intersection of 90th St W and Rosamond Blvd, and another 10.6 miles to the intersection of Mojave -Tropico Rd and Backus Rd, for a total of 53.2 miles. With 57 minutes to drive Leg 2, the most we could go at 55 mph is 52.3 miles. So, just to get to the top of Mojave - Tropico is 0.9 miles further than we could reach at the speed limit on Leg 2. Mojave - Tropico was out.

That left 3 roads still within reach, so you had to wait until Standoff 2,3 for more info.

At Standoff, the photo for 3 indicated a Checkpoint location following the line of 110th St. north out of Standoff 2,3. Plotting that line crossed Cameron Rd (for In 3) just through the "C" of the "Can" in "Cameron Can". Using dividers to measure the mileage up Cameron Rd to the Inmarker, I came up with something around 2.5 to 3 miles.

Let's look at 100th St W and 80th St W. If 2 was on 80th St W, per the minimum speed reference, it would be 1.3 miles south of Rosamond Bl. Exiting a 2 at this location would take you 0.7 miles south to Gaskell, then west to 90th, then north to 3. That would cover 20.6 miles, just 0.5 miles short of our maximum distance. Ok, still in.

If 2 was on 100th St W, it would also be 1.3 miles south of Rosamond Blvd, but the exit would be different. Gaskell is unpaved between 90th and 100th. There are no unpaved roads on the preferred route, so you'd have to go south an extra mile to W Ave A. That makes it 22.6 miles from this possible In 2 to our estimate for In 3. That's 0.5 miles too much. 100th St W was out.

Based on the Standoff info for 3, we could determine that only 2 pieces of road could be used for In 2 - the south end of Manly Rd, or 80th St W at 1.3 miles south of Rosamond Blvd.

Now let's go back to that photo. It showed 3 straight north and 2 a bit east. In the style of Starlite, landmarks on the map helped those without compasses. The photo showed In 2 on the west foot of a large hill, a butte, as a matter of fact, and right pretty too. The map showed Willow Springs Butte as the tallest thing in the area. And Manly Rd runs just west of it on the map. Also, if 2 as on 80th St, it would be south of the Butte, which is not where the photo indicated. Manly was the In 2 road. 80th St W was out.

So, before Start, we should have narrowed our choices to Manly, Mojave - Tropico, 80th St, and 100th St. After In 1, we could rule out Mojave - Tropico. At SO 2,3, the photo for 3 ruled out 100th St and the photo for 2 ruled out 80th. That's all Experts got.

Novices and Beginners were given a handout saying 2 was on Manly. Regulars' handout said 2 was north of Rosamond Blvd (which left Manly the only choice).

After In 2, which required more calculation than any other leg, the run to Checkpoint 3 was straightforward. Just head up Tehachapi - Willow Springs Rd to Cameron Rd and turn right and head into the Checkpoint. Hope you enjoyed Cameron Rd. It's short, but very tasty.

Leg 4 was the longest leg of the rallye at almost 3 hours, which included a 30 minute break in Mojave. Course Control 2 was given to all classes in order to have the whole rallye take SH 178 to reach Caliente - Bodfish Rd, and thus Standoff 4. Checkpoint 4 was to be entered heading north, and there was only enough time for 4 to be on the loop in the Walker Basin area. The only question was -- which way would you run the Walker Basin loop. The flashing light indicated the Checkpoint had to be on the west side of the loop, on Caliente - Bodfish Rd. You used the east side of the loop to go down and around to head up into Checkpoint 4 in the correct direction, and then you used the same loop again to exit 4 and this time turn south on Caliente - Bodfish Rd to reach Standoff 5, 6 on SH 223..

As you came into this last Standoff on this rallye, situated above Arvin on the shoulder of Bear Mountain, you had a spectacular view of the lower end of the San Joaquin Valley. The night of the rallye, the air was the clearest of any of the times I've visited this Standoff, and that's a whole lot of times, since it's been used a number of rallyes over the years.

The Route Instructions defined large areas for both 5 and 6, basically it was 5 north of 223 and east of 184, and 6 south of 223 and east of 99. At Standoff there were flashing lights for both. The light for 5 was fairly close, and your bearing on the light gave you a heading that crossed 4 possible Checkpoint roads for In 5. The Route Instructions also said that the light for 5 would be visible from the closest north-south road to the east of In 5. Novices and Beginners were given a handout telling them 5 was on Di Giorgio Rd, and to enter via Tejon Hwy, the most direct route. Regulars and Experts were given a handout saying Inmarker 5 would be visible from Tower Line Rd. The intent was to have them use that road first on their search pattern. In fact, Checkpoint 5 was on the first road crossed by the bearing to the light from Standoff (DiGiorgio), so it should have been the first place they looked anyway. Time was tight on the leg, but enough was allowed for the top 2 classes to take Tower Line up from 223 until they saw the light for 5 on Di Giorgio, then continue up a mile to Panama Rd, go west to Tejon Hwy, and then down a mile to enter Di Giorgio from the correct direction.

The light for 6 was a little over 16 miles from Standoff. Many thanks to Marvin Castillo for building the slick little flashing circuit to control the mammoth 20 million candlepower light. Hope you liked it. One of the things that's great about flashing lights is their accuracy. If you get the Standoff marked correctly on the maps, the heading to the light will be right on the money, since the light is actually, physically located at the Checkpoint, and your compass reading is not extrapolated from some closer object.

Like Leg 5, the bearing for 6 crossed several eligible Checkpoint roads, 5 of them to be precise. Novices and Beginners were told in a handout that 6 was on Adobe Rd within 1 mile of David Rd. Regulars and Experts received a handout telling them Wheeler Ridge was Safe, cutting the number of possible roads down to 4. Instinctively, the upper classes would have wanted to search these 4 remaining spots where the bearing to the light. However, you could have determined before Start where Inmarker 6 had to be located. True Time for 6 was 6:01.50, and the True Time for Finish was 6:12.00, only 10.5 minutes later. Let's even assume that no time was allowed to exit 6, and that all 10.5 minutes could be used for driving. Let's also assume that SH 99 and I-5 have 70 mph speed limits. Look first at the potential location for 6 closest to Finish, which would be the very south end of Adobe Rd. From there it's a half mile to SH 99. This half mile, taken at 55, would use up about 0.55 minutes. From there, it was 10.8 miles to Finish. The short way to calc this is to multiply 10.8 (miles) by 60 (number of minutes in an hour) and then divide by 70 (your target speed). That gives 9.26 minutes to drive 10.8 miles at 70. Add the 0.55 minutes and you get 9.81 minutes between the south end of Adobe and Finish. Wheeler Ridge, the next closest possible road for 6 was 2 miles further and definitely out of the question, as were all the other possible roads. The flashing light and big search pattern were a smoke screen for a very simple time trap. Time to Finish dictated that 6 had to be on Adobe very near David.

Even though there were only 2 Expert class entries, I'll take a moment to mention another set of controls that only Experts had to deal with. Each Leg had an Expert only Course Control. Photos for each of these were included in the Route Instructions, but their locations were not specified, only that they would be between Standoff and Inmarker for each leg on the preferred route. Of course, there were a couple of traps built in. 2 of these Controls had 2 signs in the picture, and both signs had Control letters. Neither Expert got the first of these right, and they persuaded us that the concept was not totally consistent with the Generals (since they don't specifically mention it), we threw the info on the second sign from each of the 2 Controls. The other trap involved 5 and 6. Just after you left Standoff 5, 6, you passed the Expert only Course Control for 6, and then the one for 5 a few miles later. You had to be alert to catch the out of order Control so quickly after Standoff. Further, there were 2 signs identical to the sign for the Expert only CC for Leg 6 that came BEFORE you got to Standoff 5,6. Since the Controls had to be located between Standoff and Checkpoint, these first 2 signs were ineligible.

When I got to Finish after working Checkpoint 6, I was thrilled to find that all cars had made it there, the Control Cards were all turned in, and Tim (working at home down in north San Diego county) already had the rallye scored. I wanted to have a leg by leg scoresheet for you to see, and I wasted about a half hour trying to get the broken fax at the restaurant to work, and then to find an alternate way to get the full sheet printed. But I finally gave up and we just put the corrected scores on each Control Card manually with Tim reading the scores over the phone. I promise we'll have this problem solved by the next rallye. Tim is doing an incredible job getting these things scored quickly. We'll find a way to print the results just as quickly.

Many thanks to all of you who came out and ran this event. Also, many, many, many thanks to all the good folks who came out and worked the event and/or ran checkout. Without these skilled and fearless ITN workers this sport could not continue.

Watch this website for news about a long rallye late this fall.

See you at Standoff.