December 11-12, 2021

Working around road closures and adhering to strict pandemic-related gathering regulations, the Big White Winter Rally was able to take place this year. 16 teams somehow found ways to get to Kelowna, BC for the event and it was worth the effort. Snowy roads with a blizzard on Saturday and gorgeous sun on Sunday made for great winter rally racing.

Due to a shortage of volunteers being able to fundamentally get to the location, due to flood damage on all major roads in BC this fall, the rally stages were slightly shortened. However, there were more runs of those stages and in some cases the new stage reconfigurations made for some very entertaining driving. For example, the shortened Gem-Falcon stage now included a series of very-tight switchbacks, making it even more fun for rally drivers (and volunteers who got to drive the course to get to their blocker positions).

Several NORAC and neighbouring club HAMs stepped up as radio volunteers:

  • John VE7JXC (second time volunteering) stepped into the deep end and joined net control
  • Michal VE7TMZ (first time volunteering) as a blocker
  • Kevin VE7XY and friend Mike (first time volunteering) as a blocker
  • Tom VE7ENP (first time volunteering) as a blocker
  • Alison VA7ASK (first time volunteering) as a blocker
  • Michael VE7KPZ and Jane VE7WWJ as a blocker
  • Alex VE7ASX in recovery + event radio planner

The event can't run without a minimum number of radio volunteers so big thanks go out to all of the first-timers that stepped up and also to the experienced folks who returned for another event.

There were definitely some learning moments for the first-timers, but the challenge made it all the more exciting. Volunteering for radio operations for an event like a performance car rally with no previous experience is a great way to develop skills and learn by overcoming obstacles. It also, for the blockers on course, facilitates a front-row seat to the event. Nothing beats the sound of a performance rally car approaching at speed on a snowy dark forest road and then passing by with exhaust notes reverberating. The giant lights on the cars are fun to witness as well. If you're lucky enough to be blocking near a corner, the rooster tails from the wheels spinning are a great sight as well.

For the rest of the public (and the usual spectators as spectators were not allowed access to the course this year), the media crews are the eyes and ears. First, we have the CRC words+pics recap: https://carsrally.ca/crc-news/tilley-wins-leblanc-brothers-clinch-title-at-big-white-rally/. And then there is a highlights video of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMRa1JAmcXw. Oooh, and also some b-roll with a focus on car 16: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjnFe4ZQiZI. And some b-roll with a focus on car 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBne-7srwN0. And: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh5p3tuNsIA. In a month or two, the event recap will be shown on TSN and then that event video will also make it to Youtube. A google search with keywords "Big White Winter Rally 2021" should also turn up some results with in-car video footage, etc.

Again, big thanks to all of the volunteers,
73,
Mike VE7KPZ
NORAC VP, technical coordinator and avid performance car rally radio volunteer