We installed two PIAA HIV driving lights on the WRX. Daylight gets longer in the Arctic during March, but the transit stages are often longer, and moose, caribou, and bison like plowed highways when the snow gets deep. We mounted a bright rear fog light high and added an oil pan heater. Minus 20, 30, and 40 degrees are common. We installed a roof rack for extra fuel because some stages stretch standard fuel capacity, expected service stations are sometimes closed in the winter, and storms and wrecks can further complicate things. We got out the Velcro® and installed the required VHF radio, stopwatch, and GPS.
Stopwatch? Most veteran rally folks use sophisticated computers to run TSD (time/speed/distance) stages. We run SOP, using watch and odometer plus pencil and paper to figure out the time according to the speed and distance information.
We arrived in Kirkland on February 22 for registration and tech inspection. There were 25 entries, 13 Subaru vehicles.
Who drives, co-drives, and navigates them There are a few pro rally people, many who run regional events, and always first-timers who are ready for a winter adventure. There are buddy, couple, father/daughter, and mother/son teams. They come from the Northwest, Canada, Alaska, Connecticut, New York, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Europe, and South Africa.
Competitors are encouraged to form three- or four-car teams – one vehicle or more must include rookies. This is to encourage integration of newcomers, which is hardly necessary after a few days of shared weather, road and off-road, equipment, trouble, and triumph excitement.