Archive for Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fanatics of imported cars put navigational skills to test in 119-mile-long rallye

October 16, 2011


Early Sunday afternoon, members from the Lawrence All British Car Club took to the road with their prized European antiques. They were competing in the club’s first rallye, a 119-mile drive that would test their driving and navigational prowess.

Luckily for area motorists, they still drove on the right side of the road.

The rallye — silent “e” — began at the Historic Taylor Barn, northwest of Lawrence. The pre-competition gathering could have doubled as an imported car show.

Most participants drove British sports cars, such as the Austin Healey and Lotus. The oldest car was made before World War II: A 1934 MG PA owned by the club’s president, Brian Kelly. When he bought the car in 1987, it was simply pieces in a box.

Nineteen teams, of a driver and a navigator, participated in the European-style competition, a mixture of time and points stages. Navigators used a map to direct the driver, registering markers that indicated the correct route. Like golf, drivers aimed for a low score, accumulating points when they veered off course.

Jonathan Ackiss, organizer and an Army major, joined the club when he moved to Fort Leavenworth. While he was stationed in Iraq, he and a friend shared their passion for cars. His friend was an American muscle car guy, while Ackiss preferred the British variety.

“We said, ‘when we get back into the world, he’s going to buy a Dodge Dart, and I’m going to buy a British car,’” Ackiss said.

Ackiss did just that, buying a 1965 Austin Mini in Britain and driving it back to his base in Italy. He then competed in two rallyes in Britain and Holland before moving to Kansas.

“I wanted to introduce what I learned in Europe and maybe start a new tradition,” he said.

Kathy Wirken and her husband, David, drove from Kansas City, Mo. They’ve owned their 1955 Austin Healey 104 for 30 years and have been in many rallyes since.

“I thought it would be the thing to do on a beautiful fall day,” Kathy said before the race.

A few minutes later, they drove off down the road. Kathy sat shotgun, ready to navigate her husband, who sat behind the wheel wearing brown gloves and with a cigar in his mouth.


lawrenceguy40 6 years, 7 months ago

Not a patriot amongst them! Perhaps they should move overseas if they don't want to support our industry.

Dolph4 6 years, 7 months ago

Indeed. The 2 who served in Iraq are not true patriots. You are a trashbag troll.

surbski 6 years, 7 months ago

Just what a true gentleman's sports enthusiast wants to do... go to your "American" car show and argue over who's Camaro is a better Chevy. Yah!

surbski 6 years, 7 months ago

More money has been spent in the states to restore and maintain these beautiful historical pieces of art than your heaps of Mexican-American and Canadian-American "patriotic" cars.

JustNoticed 6 years, 7 months ago

"rallye". Such a precious little word. Classy in it's weird spelling. Sends me to the dictionary because I can't quite believe it. Found this: Die Rallye [ˈræli; schweiz. das Rallye] ist ein Wettbewerb im Motorsport, der teilweise über mehrere Tage (Etappen) verteilt auf normalen Straßen oder auf Feld- und Waldwegen ausgetragen wird. Anstatt wie bei Rennen auf einer Rundstrecke „immer nur im Kreis“ zu fahren und um Positionen zu kämpfen, fahren die Rallye-Teilnehmer einzeln im Minutenabstand auf abgesperrten Wertungsprüfungen (WP) von Punkt A nach Punkt B. Zu den einzelnen WPs gelangen die Teilnehmer über Verbindungsetappen im öffentlichen Straßenverkehr. Es kommen deswegen auch nur straßenzugelassene Autos zum Einsatz.

riverdrifter 6 years, 7 months ago

This event was well under way before the disaster at Vegas. In fact, it was probably over by then. If all American cars got the mileage these cars do, problem solved. Also, Indy cars run on alcohol. Move along, tool troll.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

Old British cars are cool, even if you do wind up pushing them once in a while.

Mike Ford 6 years, 7 months ago

dumb americans with no respect for actual culture...why don't you go get a corn dog and drive your 93 Le Baron Turbo with a torn roof through any rural county going yee haw.

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if the Brit cars come with an electrician in the trunk?

Paul R Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

SFBayhawk (anonymous) says… I wonder if the Brit cars come with an electrician in the trunk? ======== Good point. They have improved over the years, but that was an issue decades ago. I am impressed with the new Fiats. They seem to have their act together and the name no longer stands for "Fix It Again Tony." Wish I had an old Big Healey 3000.

ST3V3N 6 years, 7 months ago

Cool is cool...doesn't matter where it comes from. We're all on the same planet.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.