Angels Crown 2004

March 27, 2004


During route planning, one of the main objectives for this rally was to explore the beautiful Kern River canyon area north of Lake Isabella. This would have allowed the use of roads west of Kings Canyon National Park and north of Glennville. Unfortunately, due to winter-long road closings, there was simply no way to make it work. Also, the upper reaches of Breckinridge Road were explored and found to be all but impassable to normal passenger cars, again due to lack of maintenance during the winter months. As a matter of fact, during a second planning run in February, a family was trapped overnight on Breckinridge because of fallen trees which trapped their SUV.

Other goals for this rally included using roads which provide a challenge for the driver, more for the navigator to accomplish during the rally versus the time before the start and more time on good driving roads during daylight hours. We hope you enjoyed the drive.

For best results, as you go through this critique, have your maps and route instructions handy.

Novice Class: while the Novice instructions for this rally contained most of the information needed to complete the course successfully, this critique was written to include an explanation of the puzzles that faced competitors in other classes.

Regular & Expert Classes: this critique was written primarily to help Novice Class entrants learn more about this form of rallying, so some of the explanations may seem redundant.

Compass Check at Standoff 1, 11, 12

This was a new idea designed to establish the standard used during the set-up of the rally. Also, by presenting the compass check sighting on the same picture as the sighting for In-markers 11 and 12, there existed the opportunity to pinpoint the location of checkpoints 11 and 12 by simply noting the difference between the two bearings. Accurate sightings were especially important to the Expert Class in this event.

Leg 1

The first leg was designed to get the contestants out of the Lebec area as quickly as possible and was completely straightforward. A scan of Map 1 should have revealed two stretches of Millux Rd. One intersecting Old River Rd. near Interstate 5 and the other located east of US 99 between Edison Rd. and Rancho Dr.

However, if you lay a straightedge along these two sections of Millux you will see a small, unnamed east-west segment of road lying just west of US 99 and in line with the other 'named' sections of Millux. This little segment on the map plays a role in Leg 10 later in the rally. The sighting provided at Standoff 1, 11, 12 indicated In-marker 1 was located east of north which should have made identifying the correct segment of Millux for Checkpoint 1 obvious (the segment east of US 99).

Leg 2, 3 & 4

These legs had to be considered as a group to determine their locations. While the Novice instructions identified approximately where Checkpoint 2 was on Walker Basin, the other classes were given the option of finding 2 on Walker Basin (headed west) or on Caliente Bodfish Rd. headed away from its intersection with Walker Basin (either north or south). The sighting provided at Standoff 2 helped to locate Checkpoint 2 on Walker Basin Rd. Since this in-marker had to be approached from the east, reaching it correctly required traveling on the loop created by Caliente Creek Rd. and Walker Basin Rd.

Now, Checkpoint 4 had to be located within mile of the intersection of Bena Rd. and Caliente Bodfish Rd. because of the Passage Control picture in the route instructions. Since the rally had to travel back down Caliente Bodfish to reach Checkpoint 4, Checkpoint 3 had to be located either further along Walker Basin or on Caliente Bodfish north of its intersection with Walker Basin, but south of the unnamed road that traveled east back to Walker Basin.

Novice's were instructed that 3 was on Caliente Bodfish; but Regulars and Experts were set into a search pattern along Walker Basin, then north on Caliente Bodfish (the short amount of time provided should have allowed them to pinpoint 3's location). There was also a false passage control sign on Walker Basin Rd. before Caliente Bodfish that was designed to test the Experts (and Regulars to a certain extent) on proper sign identification.

Novice Class received a handout at SO 2 indicating that Checkpoint 4 was not on Bena Rd. Since the route instructions indicated that SO 2 was to be entered northbound, Checkpoint 4 could not have been on Bena Rd. which would have forced driving through the location for SO 2 backwards.

This entire sequence could have been solved without the sighting for Checkpoint 2 given the available time for each leg.

Course Control 2 and 4

These Course Controls were provided to lead the contestants into Bakersfield via CA 178.

Course Control 3

This Course Control was for Experts only. Experts received a photograph at Start showing two bearings referenced merely as A and B. These sightings were to be taken at an unmanned standoff located just west of Course Control 3.

Leg 5, 6

Leg 5 was designed to provide time to recycle crews. First a food and fuel break were provided before the 6:25 pm Restart north of Bakersfield. At Restart (Standoff 5, 6, 7, 8), sightings were provided for both In-marker locations.

While Novices were given that Checkpoint 5 was on Round Mountain Rd., Regulars were told In-marker 5 was on Round Mountain or Jack Ranch and the sighting provided should have passed through both roads; however, multiple clues eliminate Jack Ranch. First, while Jack Ranch could be reached in the time allowed for Leg 5, there would not be enough time to get back to Tule Rd. for In-marker 6. Also, the instructions stated that if In-marker 5 was on Jack Ranch it was to be entered from the north and the only way to accomplish that in the time allowed would have forced the competitors through In-marker 8 in the wrong direction (and way too early). So the big loop around Round Mountain was correct.

Both Novice and Regular Class received a handout at standoff indicating In-marker 6 was exactly 2.30 miles from the intersection of Tule and Woody Rd. (Bakersfield Glenville on map). This information allowed them to calculate time and distance into 6 at or above the minimum speed requirement.

These legs were completely different for the Experts. Expert instructions gave no information regarding the location of either control. The sightings for 5 and 6 should have intersected with the bearing references they had collected at the unmanned standoff by CC- 3. If done accurately, the intersecting lines would identify the control locations; however, the slightest sighting error would have made it difficult to confirm the location of In-marker 6.

At SO 5, 6, 7, 8 Experts were told there would be additional information regarding Checkpoint 6 at In-marker 5. At In-marker 5 they were told that Granite Rd. was safe for Leg 6 which eliminated the road (falsely labeled Granite on Map 2) just south of Tule. This approach was designed to give Expert navigators more to do on-course and within the time restriction (and pressure) of the leg itself.

Leg 7, 8, 9 and Course Control 5

These legs worked as a group as well; but, each class had different information from which to find a solution.

Only the Novice Class could have figured out the location of Checkpoints 7 and 8 before the start. Novices were told Checkpoint 7 would be south of CA 155 and 8 north of CA 155 and that neither CA 65 nor CA 155 was an option. The short time allowed between 7 and 8 limited where they could have been located.

Since 7 was described as being south of CA 155, west of the Greenhorn Summit, east of CA 65, had to be entered eastbound and 33.5 minutes were allowed to reach it (from 6), that left two possible solutions. The time provided allowed 7 to be on Granite Rd. east of Woody Granite or on Pascoe Rd. in the town of Glennville.

However, Novices were told to approach CC-5 on Granite Rd. from the north, so the Granite option should have been eliminated. That left Pascoe Rd. and given the very short amount of time from 7 to 8, In-marker 8 could only have been located on the unnamed road north of CA 155 in Glennville since it also had to be entered eastbound and CA 155 was not an option.

As final confirmation, Novices were given a handout at SO 5, 6, 7, 8 that identified the location of 8 as near the Sheriff Sta. in Glennville (clearly marked on Map 2).

At Start, the Regular Class was also instructed that 7 was south of CA 155; but, they were not told that CA 155 and CA 65 were safe roads. Also, there was no information provided regarding the location of 8, only that it had to be entered eastbound. Regulars were also instructed to approach CC-5 from the north, so they should not have considered Granite Rd. as an option for 7 and 8 either.

So, Regulars could determine where 7 should have been before the start; but, could not have pinpointed the location for 8. They knew 8 would be in Glennville, but it could have been on 155 or the road by the Sheriff Sta. At Standoff 5, 6, 7, 8 Regulars received a handout indicating that CA 65 and CA 155 were safe for all legs. This final bit of information should have been enough to help the Regulars find In-marker 8 on the road north of CA 155 and intersecting Jack Ranch Rd. in Glennville.

Experts had it the toughest. They were given the same instructions regarding the location of 7 as that provided the other two classes and no information about 8 (beyond the entry direction). Experts were also instructed that CA 65 and CA 155 were safe roads; however, they were given the option of approaching CC-5 from any direction.

So, at the beginning of the rally, Experts could not determine if 7 and 8 were on Granite Rd. or in the town of Glennville.

At SO 5, 6, 7, 8 Experts got a rare clue that In-markers 7 and 8 were not on the same road. This eliminated the Granite Rd. option.Course Control 5 had to have been found before In-marker 9 which lead the contestants south on Granite Rd. from Glennville. There was a possible option to search up Woody Granite Rd. for 9; but, that would have made it impossible to reach Checkpoint 10 on time unless the 10 minute break on Leg 10 was ignored.

So, Checkpoint 9 was located on Granite Rd. west of Woody Granite and positioned to allow enough time to get through Bakersfield and on to Checkpoint 10.

Leg 10

As previously discussed in Leg 1, the short east-west segment of Millux Rd. (unnamed on the map) that lines up with the other two named segments of Millux was the correct location for Checkpoint 10.

Regulars and Experts were instructed simply that In-marker 10 was on Millux and were expected to figure out where based on the Passage Control photo in the route instructions. The photo showed a sign indicating a 90 degree turn to the right. The only segment of Millux having such a turn is the small, unnamed segment off Wible Rd.

Leg 11, 12

The location of these two controls was clearly identified in the Novice instructions. For the other classes; however, the solution was a bit more puzzling.

A single sighting was provided at the first standoff that indicated the position of both in-markers. Also, the Compass Check sighting of 90o True, gave competitors the opportunity to pinpoint this sighting. Both legs were instructed to be either on Rancho Dr. or Kraft Rd.

The problem was determining which comes first, Kraft or Rancho. The answer is in time available. The bearing should indicate the Kraft control is near its southern end and the Rancho control is between Legray and Sebastian. There are only 7 minutes driving time between 11 and 12, so there could be two configurations on Rancho since it's to be entered northbound. If your bearing matched what was intended, it crossed Kraft near the south end and Rancho south of Sebastian. This arrangement would mean that 11 had to be on Rancho. You could rule out 11 being on Kraft since you could not get from there to an Inmarker 12 on any part of Rancho south of Sebastian in the 7 minutes.

If you had a compass bearing a degree or two north, that might have made you think one of these checkpoints would be on Kraft and the other on Rancho north of Sebastian, and you would have had time to get from Kraft to that part of Rancho in 7 minutes, since Rancho is entered northbound. If a competitor decided to search Rancho north of Sebastian for In-marker 12, there would not have been enough time to reach the finish in the allotted time at legal speeds. Time to Finish put 12 on Kraft only and ruled out all possible locations for 12 on Rancho.

At the Finish all 21 entries turned in their Control Cards as we totally took over the buffet area at the spacious and friendly Flying J Truck Stop in Lebec. It's amazing how many stories we bring back from each of these events.

Many thanks to the workers who made this possible. Nathan Harris, Justin Murphy, Christopher Wassenberg (on checkout), and Donna Singmaster. Very special thanks to Alan Bell and Sue Kelso who ran expert class checkout.

Again, we hope you enjoyed this rally and learned a bit more about how to find checkpoint locations with less information. If you have any questions regarding the rally or the information in this critique, please contact us via email at or

Tim Errington

Joe Akerman