2008 Fall Rally New York

Callicoon – Wawarsing – Narrowsburg – Walton, NY
October 31 – November 1, 2008

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Click the Subaru to view my writeup on the 2008 Fall Rally New York

What a great weekend, with the excitement started on Thursday. For me that involved me waking up at 5am to drive to Wards/Randalls Island NY to give training on municipal pumps, how exciting (yawn). After my second class I high tailed it out of the city and back to my office where I swapped around my computer and photo equipment into my weekend bags and grabbing the last few things I needed (few cases of Diet Barq’s) and taking my pre-packed jeep over to Ryan’s apartment where the RallyAddict crew was meeting up at 3pm. I took my jeep because I don’t give a crap about it and I don’t like leaving my Galant VR4 abandoned in the open for days like that. But then Brian (Monkey) showed up and left his Evo9 there without caring. I guess I’m paranoid. We loaded up the AstroVan and cruised out of the Morristown NJ area and started off to our destination of the Villa Roma Hotel in the Callicoon area of upstate New York. A generally uneventful trip landed us at the hotel in about 2 hours. We checked into this remarkably beautiful hotel (way too nice for us dirtballs) and were stunned by the size and quality of our room. Many thanks to the organizers for getting us such a great rally discount at a quality place. Though Halloween weekend at the Nevele would have been awesome. We were totally going to bring proton packs for that. After finding our room and unpacking we went to find the registration table where I could pick up my press pass. I totally forgot to take any pictures of the hotel but it is as nice as implied on their website. http://www.villaroma.com/

We found the registration table after asking the hotel staff, conveniently it was located at the clubhouse where the ceremonial start was going to happen shortly. I picked up my press pass from the nicest lady on the face of the planet, we found the radio frequencies for the scanner to listen in on happenings, and we watched the ceremonial start.

Ceremonial start images

Highlights:

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My favorite car, being flagged off by I think the mayor

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At this point Dave showed up in sandals, I think it was about negative 900 deg out by then. Psycho hippie! After the Ceremony we went back to our hotel and I think I was inside for about 30 seconds before I was passed out for the night. Long day for me.



Friday:
Ryan woke us up at precisely zero dark thirty to make sure we got to SS1 on time. We drove down near where the Nevele is from the spring and I demanded we go to Mex Mix, the Mexican place we stopped at EVERY day at the spring rally. When we got up near it the lights were out so I was disappointed, but then we noticed that it wasn’t closed, it was CLOSED like out of business! I’m still mourning, nothing can ever replace Mex Mix, I loved that place.
We arrived at the stage over an hour early and told stories in the van an watched Dave throw up his half a bagel. Apparently you can’t feed Dave before noon or he gives oral birth to gremelins.

Eventually Stage 1 started right on schedule. I was armed with my Nikon d80 / 18-200 VR / SB800, Dave with his d40 / 12-24 and d90 70-200 VR (rented) and Brian armed with some Canon DSLR with some white lens. I know nothing about Canon camera’s other than they are popular with Subaru people. Here is the album with all of our pictures. I tagged Dave’s pictures Dave, and Brian’s Pictures Monkey.

Special Stage 1 Album

Highlights:

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Here’s a great picture that Brian took oe me taking that last picture. Awesome catch of my flash going off.

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Stage 2 was the reverse running of Stage 1, here’s a picture of the gang waiting for the 2nd stage to start. Brian on the left with the whtie lens, then Dave, then Ryan sitting behind the tree there.

Special Stage 2 Album

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Here’s a great one Dave got of Stage 2

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One of mine

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Stage 3 was back to the original direction, and Stage 4 was again the reverse.

Special Stage 3 Album

During the 3rd stage, the Toyota overshot the turn and had to reverse and take off again. When they dropped the hammer to get up the hill I heard a distinctive ‘snap’ and jolt from the rear wheels. Then the car really wouldn’t move forward, they got it just out of sight and eventually put up their triangles and had to get pulled out of the stage. It was pretty obvious that they broke an axle and the car would slightly move using only the friction from the rear differential.

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Special Stage 4 Album

One of Dave’s

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We left this stage a few cars early to get a jump start to hit Stage 6-12 which was pretty far away. We stopped in the Monticello Walmart to refill our soda cooler, get some necessities and a few sub sandwiches to eat on the way.



We arrived at Stage 6 and had about a 1/4 mile hike to the spectator area. There was a table set up with a generator and they were selling desserts and coffee and someone supplied a port-a-pottie. The view from the spectator area was kind of poor. It was very straight and there was 2 large orange fences separating the spectators from the action, so it made for difficult pictures from my exiled friends behind the barrier. I walked up the course a little bit until I found an area without bright orange fencing and some room to move and some good scenery.

Special Stage 6-11 Album

My view:

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I ran into some other media people I’ve seen at countless rally events whose name’s elude me right now. Nice guys, funny how their “crew” consists of Subaru’s and Canon Cameras and my gang is all Mitsubishi drivers and Nikon users (okay so we have to get that antique Canon away from Monkey).

I tried to move around for the 2nd pass (same direction) to get some different angles but that really didn’t work out well, this is about all I was able to get:

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Here’s the gang in their pen

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For the next stage they ran it backwards, as the sun set. I managed to climb out on a downed tree in the lake and got some pretty artsy pictures. If the cars had come through 15 minutes earlier they would have all turned out this nice, but better framed and faster. It got too dark to pull this off though with the race cars. This is a sweep car.

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Here’s a race car, this one came out pretty good. I need a newer camera with better low light abilities

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After this stage was over we walked back to the van (mental note, bring flashlight for afternoon stages) and used the Garmin to find a place to eat. We decided on Bubba’s BBQ since we passed it on the way in and it looked like a nice place from the outside.

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It was a good place with a personable host (dressed as a dead padre for Halloween) Food was good too. The other photographers were also inside, guess they had the same idea we did. We got them to take our picture with the host.

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We then drove back to the Villa Roma and met up with Sponge who had to work that day, and then we laughed ourselves to sleep.



Saturday we woke up early again, and by early I mean over an hour late. I don’t know how the rally teams do it, we were pooped from watching! We wandered over to the Roscoe Diner where we all got huge breakfasts and stuffed our faces. We then drove over to the Rainbow Lodge for the remaining Special Stages. We missed the first 2 passings but caught Special Stage 15. After hopping over creeks and getting our feet wet in the freezing cold we were greeted by a rather lackluster spectator area. Straight line, with the finish in view. I wandered up the stage a bit with my press pass and found a clearing with VIP’s and other Media personnel but the stage was still a straight line. I was pleasently surprised with how exciting it was though because I can’t recall ever seeing rally cars traveling so fast. It sounded like they were all on the rev limiter in top gear. A fantastic sensational cacoughany of noise between the engines, wastegates, and gravel under the tires. We managed to get a few decent shots but its really hard to capture this scene. A few new cars were added today, and some of the cars which didn’t finish the first day were back in under super rally rules.

Special Stage 15 Album

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Dave’s pictures came out the best at this stage.

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After the 1 passing we decided to head over to the fairgrounds to check out the Super Special Stages 17 & 18 which we knew would give us a great vantage point for action.

We got there early and bought some snacks from the local Boy Scouts. The cars made 2 passes around a 2 90 deg right hand turns. The first pass was SSS17 followed by a service, then SSS18 which was the 2nd pass.

Super Special Stage 17 Album

Check out the album for a great sequence of shots taken by Monkey of McCormack losing it in the 2nd turn.

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Monkey and Dave really go the good shots again as I struggled to find an interesting vantage point with my smaller lens.

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There are a lot of great shots, check out the album

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This stage was followed by the service where we could walk around and see the tattered remains of the rally cars and the teams frantically trying to fix them for the final stages.

Super Special Stage 18 album

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After the stage started I climbed on top of a huge dirt pile and tried to get some pictures from a different perspective.

It was a somewhat different

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Dave and Monkey got some great pictures again at this spot. Those really fast lenses help here.

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After this stage was over we decided to pack it up and head home. We said our goodbyes and climbed back into the van and pointed it towards Jersey.

I spent the entire ride home and next day sorting through these 1,000+ pictures from 4 different cameras. I hardly had any time to actually “fix” any of the images so they are mostly as shot. Dave was kind enough to go through his and get them looking nice and send them to me. His look very crisp because of his efforts.

I’m going to try and get back to this post and add some details where I can like GPS coordinates better descriptions of the stage locations.

Thanks for reading and rally on!

-Luke

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