This year has proven to be a real challenge for the Rocky Mountain Rally. The organizing team had to move the event back to Alberta from BC, then later cancel it due to pandemic concerns. We did manage to pull off a smaller Test Day event last Saturday, though. While it was not what we were originally gearing up for, it was great just to get out of town and key up the radio out in the woods!
A Test Day is a more modest undertaking than a full rally. It typically involves fewer rally cars, a shorter route, fewer radio operators, and less formal radio protocols. These events are opportunities for rally drivers to test their cars, work on technique, and practice with the co-drivers. While the atmosphere is a little more relaxed than what one would find at a competitive event, safety is still a priority.
Our radio operators did a solid job of keeping the course under control and ensuring that the Rallymaster was kept up to date with what was happening around the venue. In all, we had 72 test runs made by 6 different rally teams over about a six hour timeframe on the JumpingPound Demonstration Loop. Bob, VA6BM, did a great job of coordinating the radio exchanges as the rally cars moved through the course. The rest of us rotated through different roles as blockers and Finish Point operators.
The radio team included:
Peter, VA6RPL had to send his regrets. We hope you can join us for Cochrane, Peter.
While we were on the alert for bad weather, the timing turned out almost perfectly. It was a chilly -2 degrees for much of the day, with moderate winds and a little light snow. However those brutal winds and the heavier snowfall held off until after the event was complete. I was just coming back into Calgary as the front moved in from the north.
We had an interesting take-away from this event. In the past, radio operators have not been requested for Test Days. However, radio operations were so successful that the Rallymaster asked if we might be interested in participating in future Test Day events. These smaller, less complex events are much easier to prepare for than a full rally, but still make a great chance to get out of town for a day and have some fun. They could also be opportunities for people who are interested in rally radio operations and would like to get some experience with the rally scene before taking on the challenges of a regional or national level event. Please give this some consideration and let Dana (VA6DJH) or me know your thoughts.
Thanks to everyone who came out. I hope that we can get the pandemic under control before it's time for the Cochrane Winter Rally. Watch this blog for details about upcoming rally events.