City to Whitehorse
today went along two lakes. The route was gravel, the required average
speed around 80 km/h. There was no traffic (other then the rally drivers
in front and behind us) but the streets were narrow. On even bits, we
managed to get up to 110/120 km/h, but most of the route was curvy and/or
climbing, wherein lies the challenge. With gravel and without modern electronic
wheel control, curves cannot be taken too fast: We let the Facel Vega
(car 85), which started one minute behind us, overtake only to see him
make a 180° spin on a 90° curve (he ended up almost blocking the
whole road). After that he decided to take it easier and just followed
us to see us both getting a zero penalty with ninety seconds to spare
(more than enough time). He apologized later. The Facel was lucky, another
car hit a tree from the side: although damaged, it was still running and
nobody got hurt - I have no information about the state of the tree.
But seriously, although rally driving is generally a very safe sport with
few injuries (not for the spectators - but fortunately the grizzly bears
do not come out to watch us), we often discuss whether some of the drivers
have more speed than control. The extreme cases of bad driving have fortunately
mostly left us at Istanbul or Peking or even in-between. It is easy to
say, of course, if someone gets off-road, he is a high-risk driver. In
rare cases, a good and sensible driver might also run into an accident,
but the overall quantity of damage to cars we have seen so far speaks
ago, we were asked to drive an 80 km/h average speed on the section from
Chicken to Dawson City. This would have been possible with a 90 kph speed
limit, but what it did not account for was that within the section there
was a border crossing and a ferry crossing included (!!!). Most people
lost about 10-20 minutes on the border, the ferry takes 15 minutes to
cross, but if you just missed it, that's 44 minutes and 49 seconds, if
there is a queue of cars (very likely if there is a rally of 40 cars)
it would take longer than that. Subtract those numbers from two hours
fifteen minutes and add a hailstorm to that and you get an impossible
test section on something which was announced as an easy drive. It was
obvious that the rally organization had made a mistake and on the day
they changed the end of the section to not include the ferry. The only
problem was that they did not tell anyone so that many cars were racing
down the hill from the border crossing to Dawson thinking that they are
running about thirty minutes late. This, understandably, caused a lot
of stress to the caravans or RVs going down the same route (I would be
stressed if fourty historic cars overtook me at high speed) and some of
them decided to call up the police. On that day one Mercedes SL got a
speeding ticket and today a different Mercedes SL also got a speeding
ticket. The SL-driver said that the policeman knew that the "rally"
was coming this way and that he had been warned by his fellow policemen
in Dawson that some of us are driving unnecessarily fast (which is true)
and some of us are driving very bad (unfortunately, possibly also true).
So the Canadian police is keeping an eye on us but at the same time they
are always very friendly and polite. Our team does not mind as they are
only doing their job and thereby forcing the rally organization not to
go overboard with average speeds, which does not make sense on public
roads anyway, especially with old cars.
Anyway, coming back to the original story of Chicken-Dawson, we got a
one-minute lateness penalty on that section (the Ford Mustang arrived
nineteen minutes early!). The rally office in the past showed difficulties
in admitting any mistakes or taking responsibility, but today they courageously
indirectly admitted their mistake by giving a ten-minute allowance for
border controls, that is every penalty on that section gets reduced by
ten minutes. So, long story, short ending, our one-minute-penalty from
Chicken-Dawson is cleared.
|TC 132: Dawson City OUT
|TC 133: Tatchun Lake IN
|TC 134: Tatchun Lake OUT
|TC 135: Frenchman's Lake IN
|TC 136: Frenchman's Lake OUT
|TC 137: Carmacks IN
|TC 138: Carmacks OUT
|TC 139: Whitehorse IN
Overall 1 hour 10
official results can be looked up on this website
Driving up the
Klondike valley. It has been raining for a while and the river is
flooding parts of the valley.
all civil engineers: A photograph of a typical Canadian river bridge
(we saw half a dozen of these today).
Off you go:
The man with the fashionable clock around his neck counts us down
from one minute and then we have to attempt our best to drive the
route as fast as possible (Tatchun Lake to Frenchman's Lake). There
are two more clocks like this: the officials who filled out our
time card before the countdown have one and the officials at the
end of the section have another. Rumour has got it, that all three
clocks run on the same time.
or moose, or caribou, or deer, or reindeer...
I am not quite clear about the exact differences between these (I
promise to look it up at home), but there is a lot of big game in
these forests. We saw some kind of deer on our first day's drive
out of Anchorage, on the side, but have not seen any since then.
While I would like to see more of the wildlife, one has to be aware
that seeing something like an elk on the street can be bad for you.
As much damage as you might inflict on an elk if you hit one, it
will be a major accident for yourself. An elk can weigh as much
as a car or even more than that so just imagine hitting a standing
car at high speed.
Some of the
locals exhibit a lack of manners - this one kept sticking his tongue
There are many
beautiful wild flowers in Canada and Alaska. But, we have no time
to smell the flowers or even make proper pictures of them.
Rick from England
with his Austin Healey (car 79) in the back and an alleged female
half-wolf to his side.
The lake test:
The route is gravel, the required average speed around 80 km/h.
Fox Lake outside
Whitehorse: beautiful scenery
Big City Whitehorse:
Capital of the Yukon Territory - more than half the population of
the Yukon Territory lives here, that's 24,000.
Whitehorse does have some of the attributes that make out urban
life: an international airport, a McDonald's (I guess the only one
in Yukon), cinemas, big supermarkets, even a shopping-mall. But
seeing Whitehorse and presuming that it is the biggest city in Yukon
(as half the population lives there) one can suddenly understand
what Yukon is about: all land - much wildlife - bits of people.