Day 46

15. June 2000, Dawson City to Whitehorse

The test 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 for itself.

Two days 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
35 334.45 km
TC 134: Tatchun Lake OUT
TC 135: Frenchman's Lake IN
14 48.90 km
TC 136: Frenchman's Lake OUT
TC 137: Carmacks IN
55 43.30 km
TC 138: Carmacks OUT
TC 139: Whitehorse IN
38 180.05 km

Overall 1 hour 10 minutes penalty

The 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.

Dedicated to 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.

CAUTION ELK: 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 out.


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.