Pro Rallys for North Texas
About Rally and History of Rallye de Paris
Performance rally is a traditional European sport. Yet when one does a Google search on the term "Rallye de Paris", it is the second largest Paris in the world that comes up first and not the capital of France.
An internet review of past rallies based out of Paris does not seem to find them all. So we will have to tap the memories of area rallyists to fill in the blanks. Expect this to be an evolving narrative.
The first rallies held out of Paris ran under the title of "Chisum Trail Rally." The first Chisum Trail was a cattle trail from Paris to the Pecos Valley of New Mexico. This was made famous in several movies including Lonesome Dove and the stories about Billy the Kid as John Chisum was one of his supporters. Another famous cattle trail, the Chisholm Trail went from central Texas up to the railheads in Kansas.
But the first rally to have the name Chisum Trail occurred in 1976. However, I have been told that this ran in the counties just north of the Dallas area and did not go to Paris. These roads are now part of the suburbia of the Metroplex. The 1978 Chisum Trail was the first to be based in Paris if my memory is to be believed. There were 13 entries and the event was sanctioned by NARRA. I did scoring out of my SAAB Sonett V-4. The rally ran north from Paris up into Oklahoma. The year 1979 saw another Chisum Trail. This one is confirmed by the rally plate hanging in our garage as I was again chief of scoring.
The rally returned to Paris again in 1980 but as a part of the SCCA national series. The year 1981 was notable for the tornados that caused the cancellation of 4 stages. Again, I was chief of scoring and remember one team who was lost in the woods for over 12 hours.
But tragedy occurred in 1982. This was my first year of competing. I remember seeing Rod Millen, a top competitor of past events, coming out of a transit at a very high rate of speed on a road that had two way rally traffic. Yet, his car control was perfect as he was on his side of the road adjusting his trajectory as needed to avoid our car going into the stage. I waved to Rod but wondered why he was moving so fast on a transit. Alas, as we got to the start of the stage and were held from starting, the reason was learned. John Woolf and Grant Whittaker had been killed in a crash. Rod was going to get medical help. This was the first fatality in the 10 year history of SCCA performance rally. It was also the last event based out of Paris for several years.
But rally returned to Paris. As best we can tell, 1990 was the first event to occur entirely on the grounds of Camp Maxey. We have the official results. We, Juanita and Richard, finished 4th in both events that occurred on November 24th of that year. But there must have been earlier events as my mother still complains about her brand new 1985 or '86 Nissan Maximum getting extremely muddy during an event. And rally continued at Camp Maxey for several years, sometimes twice a year. The Rally Masters tended to be from out of state with Ken Stewart of Oklahoma and Doc Schrader of Arkansas providing this function. The Dallas Sports Car Club provided logistical support as needed with sanctioning coming through the Texas Region of the SCCA.
But 2001 saw a gap in rally at Camp Maxey. The environmental arm of the Texas Army National Guard decided that we produced too much 'fugitive dust.' After that, Juanita Miller became chairman of the event. With the help of Linda Su Knox of the Paris Chamber of Commerce, they were able to convince the National Guard to allow the event to continue in 2002.
And the Rallye de Paris continues. Since 2002, the event has occurred at least once a year despite the dropping of performance rally by SCCA. New organizations have been formed with many of the same people of the past helping. And many new people have joined to continue the sport of performance rally in Paris.
As is said in the sport, 'Viva le Rallye de Paris!'
A Partial History of Performance Rally and the City of Paris Texas
What is a Rally?
Some people have said that a rally is a good way to ruin a nice drive in the country. Others say it is a good excuse to take a pleasant drive in the country. Both are probably true. There are three basic types of rallies: gimmick, time-speed-distance (TSD) and stage or performance rally.
A gimmick rally is not scored on any speed factor, but on some special gimmick rule defined by the organizers. This is perhaps similar to a scavenger hunt. You are generally scored based on information you find on the course. This may be from signs, advertising, or even the number of cows. There are several variations on gimmick rallies. There is the shortest distance rally where a team tries to visit a given number of locations while traveling the least number of miles. There is the hare and hounds rally where the lead car goes out and drops a flour bag or other marker before each intersection and again after making the turn. Again, lowest mileage usually wins. There are pie plate rallies where the rally master places pie plates on stakes along the intended route. Some pie plates have information for scoring and others have information for course following. Serious rallyists often pass up gimmick rallies (much to their loss) because there is often an element of chance in these events. Luck can beat skill.
The goal of a TSD rally team is twofold: to stay on the prescribed course and to drive at exactly the given speed. The perfect team would be on course, on time, all the time. To score teams against this goal, checkpoints are sprinkled throughout the course at unspecified locations. Each team is timed by a crew at the checkpoint or control and their time is compared against a "Perfect Time" (computed from the assigned speeds and exact distances measured by the organizers before the event). Each team receives a score based on its time for that portion or leg of the course. For each second early or late, the team is given points. The team with the lowest total score for all legs wins. However, each leg is independent, time late or early on one leg cannot be "made up" on subsequent legs. After being timed by a checkpoint crew and receiving a score, the team is assigned an out time to begin driving the next leg. Just as there are several classes of race cars, there are several classes of TSD rallyists. The differences are based on the equipment you have installed in the car. You can have a computer that calculates average speed or a simple hand held calculator or just the seat of your pants. There is even one rally series where the odometers of the cars are removed or covered up so the navigator has no means of calculating average speed.
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