Digest>Archives> July 1997

Lighthouse Depot Road Rally

By Patti Mikkelsen


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Bill and Natalie Shrader of Stow, Massachusetts ...
Photo by: Fred Mahler

Are you interested in cars? Well, we know that you're into lighthouses by virtue of the fact that you're reading this magazine. Put these two interests together, and we've got and event that's perfect for you: the second annual Lighthouse Depot Road Rally, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 6th.

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One of last year's Lighthouse Depot Road Rally ...
Photo by: Scott Beliveau

So, who's we? The co-hosting clubs are the Touring Club of New England and the Cumberland Motor Club which have been putting on rallies similar to this one since the 50s. The event is sanctioned by the New England Region/Sports Car Club of America as the fifth event in its rally championship series. Another important component in this organizing committee is the Lighthouse Depot of Wells, Maine. This gift store is sponsoring the event by providing attractive awards to the top five finishers in each of the five classes, a T-shirt to each of the first 40 cars to register, bumper stickers, and other surprises.

No prior rally experience is necessary to compete. In fact this would be the perfect event for you to enter, if you've never previously tried this sport. A rally school for beginners will be held on the evening before the rally to brief contestants about how to interpret route instructions (staying on the correct course within the proper timeframe) and other rally know-how. A separate class is offered for beginners who have run in 3 or fewer road rallies in their lifetime.

Cynthia Becce of Waterbury, Connecticut expressed the following comments after having run last year's Lighthouse Depot Rally, "Just a quick note to say thanks for the great time we had in our first rally. We didn't know what to expect when I first signed up. Now we know...My hat comes off to all of you involved...We hope to be at the rally next year...Thanks again, it was great."

So what is a road rally? Sometimes called a time-speed-distance (TSD) rally, a road rally is a competitive automobile tour run on public roads, obeying ordinary traffic rules. The objective is to stay on course, as described by a set of route instructions (e.g. Left on Main St., Right at stop) while maintaining specific average speeds. A rally is not a race! Your vehicle is timed at checkpoints found along the course at secret locations. You acquire penalty points for arriving either early or late at each checkpoint. Your score is figured by comparing your time of arrival with the pre-calculated "perfect" target time. Low score wins.

Just about any vehicle can be used to run in a rally, so long as its street-legal. Since the speeds are moderate, a high-performance sports car isn't necessary. No special equipment is needed to run. If you and your partner are beginners, all you need to enter is a watch that reads in seconds, a basic pocket calculator, a clipboard, paper, pencils, pens, and highlighters.

Lighthouse Depot II will be a scenic tour of about 160 miles in length. This year's course will feature sightings of Jerry's Point Lifesaving Station and the following lighthouses: Cape Neddick ("Nubble"), Whaleback, White Island, Fort Constitution, Boon Island, Goat Island, and Wood Island.(Note that some of these can only be seen if the weather permits.)

The rally starts at the Lighthouse Depot Gift Store, US Route 1, Wells, Maine at about 8:30 AM. Free coffee and doughnuts will be available to all. The event will finish in the Kennebunk area at around 5:30 PM. Participants will have a 3-hour gap before the awards presentation dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the area. Additionally, the Lighthouse Depot will be open until 8:00 PM for shopping enthusiasts.

The rally entry fee is $52.00 per car, which includes a lunch buffet for two at Evergreens Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine; the admission charge to Fort Foster; and a donation to the New England Lighthouse Foundation. Pre-registration by August 25th is strongly recommended. To obtain an event flier/entry form contact rally organizers Marsha and John Sibley, (207) 439-4194 (e-mail:marshasib@aol.com); or, if you're in Wells, Maine area, pick up a flier/entry form at the Lighthouse Depot Gift Store.

This story appeared in the July 1997 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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