Cochrane Rally of the Ranchlands makes History With a record setting entry list, the use of pace notes and competitors being allowed to run studded tires, the 2004 Cochrane Rally of the Ranchlands is set to make its mark in the history books...
Cochrane Rally of the Ranchlands makes History
With a record setting entry list, the use of pace notes and competitors being allowed to run studded tires, the 2004 Cochrane Rally of the Ranchlands is set to make its mark in the history books as it kicks off the Western Canadian Rally Championship in style.
Pace Notes -- a first in Regional Rallying
Cochrane has the distinction of being the first regional only rally in Canada to allow pace noting of the stages. Spectators on Sunday will notice a little more speed and aggression from the competitors as they attack the road with the confidence and knowledge that comes with making their own pace notes. While the reconnaissance adds a day to the event, it will help develop competitive skills that are needed to compete on the world level of rallying.
Competitors will be given a classroom session on pace noting, taught by 2002 Canadian Rally Champion Patrick Richard, who competed in the Production Car World Championship in 2003. The Early Saturday School will be followed immediately by the drivers heading off to the stages to make their notes. Each team will be allowed two slow speed passes of the stage roads for note making. The notes being use by the teams will vary from adding a few comments to the standard 'blind' rally route book to extremely detailed very personalized descriptions of the road and conditions.
Coming to Grips with Studded Tires
This is also the first year that competetors will be allowed to run the event on Studded tires. For this year's rally, competitors will be allowed to run common street studded tires, which will give the cars a slight traction advantage in certain conditions. It is still not clear if the advantage will be worthwhile, but having the option will mean that there will be a lot of options for tire use by the teams.
The Canadian Rally Championship does not allow studded tires on winter events, although the two-wheel drive Coupe de Quebec does allow studs. This will be the first chance that Western Canadian Rallyists have had to compete with studs on a performance rally.
Organizers were ecstatic with the 18 car field that entered the Kananaskis Rally in November, and Cochrane is promising an even stronger field. Organisers are expecting over 20 cars to cross the start line of the rally, more that have competed in a regional only rally before in Western Canada. Half of the pre-registered are novice drivers, showing the growing popularity of the sport.
The use of pace notes has definitely brought out some competitors, with co-drivers from Washington State and Utah coming to Calgary for the event.