Waste Management Winter RallySprint

Organizers of the 2018 Waste Management RallySprint (WMWR) are hoping for close to 15 entries for the upcoming annual challenge taking place Saturday, Feb. 17, in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.  Competitors for this SCCA-sanctioned event still have a few days to register.

The rally will be headquartered at the Tioga County Fairgrounds in Whitneyville on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17. The contest will begin at 11 a.m. on Feb. 17 with rally cars positioned at The Green, a park located in the heart of downtown Wellsboro.  For the ceremonial start, the first car will leave The Green at 11:38 a.m. followed in one-minute intervals by the others. The goal of each team is to finish the competition stages in the fastest time. Modifications to the rally cars are based on the class they enter. All must be street legal to allow them to get to the stage using public roads, and competitors must obey local traffic laws while driving on public streets.

The spectator area at 782 Antrim Road in Duncan Township was established in 2014. Here, fans will see the cars at speed negotiating the course. The spectator area is near the service area and will open at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17, and there will be a $5.00 admission fee, with the first car starting the event at 12:01 p.m.

Car buffs who might want a closer and more inside look at the rally competition, there is still time to sign up as a volunteer.  Organizers need good people who can help monitor the spectator areas and course for safety. Also needed are people willing to learn how to operate the start and finish locations, which involve interacting with the competitors and being VERY ACCURATE with time cards. Additionally, people with Ham Radio licenses are needed to help control the event by quickly communicating between rally control and crews at their locations. Interested persons can sign up and work with friends, and all training needed will be provided onsite.  Volunteer information can be obtained starting Friday, February 16, at the Tioga County Fairgrounds, or by following visiting http://wmwr.info/volunteering.

This closed course rally will be run on Waste Management property in Duncan Township, the same as it has been since 2011. It consists of one stage road run five times or 44 stage miles with a total distance of just over 56 miles, including transit and stage miles. That same area will be used as part of the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally’s stages on June 1 and 2 this summer.

One of the main purposes of a February rally is to give aspiring rally drivers a chance to learn how to control cars at speed in the snow. WMWR Rally Chairman Dave Avery is hoping for snow-covered stages on the Waste Management-owned roads, something that didn’t happen for last year’s event as warm temperatures turned the stages into slush and mud.

“The bare roads have some parts that are very rough and rocky, having a reputation as ‘Car Breakers,’" Avery said. “I also hope for snow since WMWR is part of the Wellsboro Winter Celebration, and their activities will also be much better with snow.”

“We held our first winter rally in 2011, and it was designed to provide a path to competition in regional stage rallying and give teams a taste of full stage rallying to support Wellsboro’s Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in June and other performance rallies,” Avery continued. “Our rally’s other purpose was to provide training for volunteers organizing and running a stage rally event like STPR.”

According to Avery, while the rules and classes are similar to what spectators are used to from the former Waste Management Winter Rally, the recent affiliation with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) adds additional safety and structure, and makes the event part of a national series – not unlike a AA or AAA minor league baseball league, giving experience to competitors and workers alike. For the competitors, the class rules require minimum modifications – helping to keep costs down – and, best of all, much reduced entry fees because of the large insurance pool provided by the more than 67,000 SCCA members nationally.

Stephen Hyatt, SCCA National RallyCross chair, is pleased with the progress the nationwide activity has yielded in just its third year of existence.

“The SCCA RallyCross program has seen slow, steady growth. We are looking at growth in under-served areas and with RallyCross’ sponsor DirtFish, we hope to cross-market into stage rally to offer test and tunes or training for their competitors,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt also encouraged prospective participants to contact their local SCCA chapter to find out how to get involved with RallySprint, and suggested those interested in the activity start by visiting a local Region’s RallySprint events.  Another place to start is the forum at SCCARallyCross.com or SCCA.com.

Photo: Matt Chmielewski, from Harvey’s Lake, Penn. and co-driver Pete Sandy from Moosic, Penn., winners of the R4O class at the 2017 WMWR, will be back this year to defend their title in the #929 Subaru WRX.

Credit: Lori Lass