Articles

The Oklahoma Story (1953)

Category: Region History
Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:53
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This is the third of three parts of "The Oklahoma Story" as published in the September-October 1953 Sports Car. The gimmicks in the rallysbecome even more complex and confusing. The Region's first Hare'nHounds was run in 1953.

 1953

January found us down in Texas at Caddo Mills airfield watching the Texas speed demons have at it on that real fine course. We also had an economy run in January with a Concourse d’Elegance thrown in for good measure.

In February Ike Wycoff and John Spurgin came up with a real fine afternoon rally-picnic and in March, Skeet Gifford threw everyone a curve in his rally by including in the directions this little phrase “1 .6903 10.13 angstroms later, stop at a stop sign and turn left.” The interpretations were wide and varied, as you can imagine. Do YOU know how long is an angstrom? If you are or were a good student of physics you will know or recall (?) that it is one hundred-millionth of a centimeter. See what we run into down here? Every good navigator’s kit includes a dictionary and slide rule with instructions on how to use both.

Think not, huh? Okay, figure this one out real quick while bouncing along in your TC - a little problem that had to be solved to find the leg average after leaving Skeet’s first check point. “Take your driver’s license number and add 107 to it. Subtract the sum of 6 plus 18. Add the sum of your car’s weight and the square root of 25. Subtract the sum of your license number and the weight of your car and divide by 1. Add the product of 6 x 2 x 4 to this answer and divide by 2. Add 10 and this will give you your average.” I came up with something like 105 which Dot, who was driving, didn’t think was quite right. She tried, but the TC couldn’t quite make it.

The night affair for April was little surprising. The navigators’ had been getting just too sharp. They came equipped for anything and everything. Chronometers, stop watches, charts, maps, pre-computed conversion tables for time v. distance, etc. The course was air- plotted again, and was quite tricky, The notices assigned each entrant an exact time to arrive at the assemblv point. As soon as he arrived we covered his speedometer and tach. They were a little flabbergasted, but decided they could make out by means of their watches At the starting line, how ever, every occupant of the car was relieved of his or her watch and the dash clock covered. Some of the anguished howls could he heard for miles. While they were still recovering from that shock, we handed the navigator his/her instructions, which were in a sizeable paper bag. Inside the bag were some 30 little cards, each bearing instructions. They were numbered but not consecutively. They had to fish out No. 1, which in turn referred them to card number 18. 18 told them that following instructions were on card 11 and so on. Gave the navigators something to do since he had no watch to watch or no tach to tach ! George Guysi and Bob Emery came in the overall winners and only six minutes off. Of course they helped their point average by guessing closest on the length of the course. It was actually 60 miles long. The guesses varied from 50 to 95, with the majority guessing on the long side.

Bob and Betty Hecker came up with their “May Moonlight Madness” rally on Saturday night, May 16. They were considerate enough to allow us to use full navigational equipment. i.e. : car, complete with speedometer and tach, a navigator (of either sex but fast on figures) and suggested also that we provide ourselves with a considerable quantity of temper control.

The instructions were quite straight forward, the course just tough enough to provide all the diversities of a good rally, BUT - what we didn’t know was that leaving the starting line the instructions were so set that one car went one way around the course - the next went the other - and with different averages to shoot for. As each car came in to the only check point, it was started again with another average and it didn’t take too long for it to dawn that he was running the same course, but in reverse.

Winners were Guysi and Emery again - less than six seconds off. Ray Lavely and Bill Riddles hit the second spot with Lavely’s M-Jag and Riddle’s sharp navigation. They were two seconds behind Guysi.

We had a Relay Rally in June - and to give you a real good, close-up look at how to run a Relay, the following is from the notification information that went out on our mailing list:

“There will he four cars in each relaw team. One car of each team will he stationed by the team Captain on one of the four corners of the ten mile square course. The object of course is to maintain the prescribed average speed for what will amount to two laps of the course.”

The letter then described the location of the four corners, designating them as Check points A. B. C. & D. The first and second legs. incidentally, had to contend with heavy traffic. It went on:

“Car #1 of each team will depart check point A at 3 minute intervals. He will proceed to check point B. When he has passed the baton and necessary speed information to car #2 of his team, he cuts across country to check point D to be ready to run his second leg of the course. While he is so doing, car #2 proceeds to check point C. At that point he gives the dope to car #3, who takes off for check point D. Car #2 goes across the course to check point A to he ready for his second leg. When car #3 reaches check point D, car #4 takes off for check point A on course, while car #3 crosses the course and takes up a position at check point B. Are you still with it? Car #4 on arrival at check point A. gives the baton to the waiting (we hope) car #2. Number 2 heads down the course for check point B while car #4 dashes across the check point C. When car #2 reaches check point B he should find car #3 who takes off to point C where car #4 is waiting. Car #4 goes to check point D, gives the baton to the waiting car #1 and time is stopped when car #1 arrives back at check point A.”

Although it sounds complicated on paper, it is nothing more than a one leg progressive cross-over affair. As evidence that our six team Captains were really on the ball, the first place went to Earl DeLaittre’s team, four seconds off. Second, Ras Lavely’s team, five seconds off. All teams finished less than 23 seconds off.

Doc D. S. (Bugs) Harris put on a Hare & Hounds rally this month. And a merry chase he led the pack. 32 cars started at two minute intervals about 20 minutes after Doc left. He dumped out a glob of lime every mile to mark the course. So, if you proceeded in a direction for a mile from the last marker you spotted, and no marker, that meant the hare must have turned off some where. The four way intersections were killers. Which of the three possibilities to choose? Just pick one and barge ahead. You could only lose four miles if you were 100% wrong. The course was only 14.2 miles long, but tricky, and each contestant was allowed a deadline of 1 hour and 15 minutes from his departure at the starting line. 18 cars found the hare, who was nicely hidden a little way up a road on a six way intersection with the Chapmans to keep him company and check. From the hare’s lair the cars had to run at an average speed the remaining few miles to the park where we had a good, old-fashioned weiner roast for over 90 people.

Winners were determined by the minimum mileage accumulated. Jim Morey was fist with 16.9 miles. Second was Russ Allen with 18 plus, and third was Don Hannum, just over 19, and all driving MG’s. Mr. Dayton and E. A. Spillman from Tulsa picked up the honors for having covered the most miles in finding the XK with the ‘cottontail,” 43 miles. They had just the car to do it in, too. They were aboard Dayton’s beautiful. ex-Ascari. 4.1 Ferrari.

There were a number of other things. We had a big, semi-formal dinner party on May 29. The club had grown so big that we decided to give everyone a chance to just get together and relax without having to fight check points. It was a huge success. In fact, we haven’t paid for it all as yet. But money in the treasury is something we are never concerned about.

Oh yes, April found Oklahoma well represented in Austin, Texas, watching the big boys heavy-foot it around Bergstrom Air Base. And in June the Denver Sports Car Club played excellent hosts to a few of us during the Georgetown Hill Climb. Georgetown being 8500 feet high, it was a little hard on us low-landers, but the wonderful hospitality, the scenic beauty, and the thrill of hearing and seeing those cars making like mountain goats, has us all anxious to return for that and the Estes Park road races next year.

July made us feel we’d come of age, with Oklahoma ably represented at Omaha by Dayton’s Ferrari, Ray Lavely (Jag), and Ralph Richter (Porsche). Well, guess that about brings us up-to-date, and more than catches us up on our correspondence. Now we can get busy and plan some more rallys. Drop in and see us if you get a chance. There’s always something going on. But he sure and bring along a well equipped navigator.

Paul E. (Pete) Young
for the Oklahoma Region, SCCA