60 JULY 2020 scca.comINSIDE SCCA
There are certain Regions of the SCCA that seemingly from the start have enticedpeople who worked hard, not so much tomaintain the tradition of RoadRally but ratherto continue the enjoyment of the sport. Regionsin the northeast seem to get more notice, butRoadRally in the Northwest Region is one thatcertainly belongs in the group of notables.
The Nor’Wester Auto Rally is a greatexample of what is worth experiencing. KevinPoirier and Ron Sorem were very good atpointing out where to find the evidenceof these dedicated Regions, with Soremsuggesting that Rainier Auto Sports Club(RASC) would have the most information.
RASC started Nor’Wester “as an
adventurous TSD event in 1967,” and continued
as that for five years with SCCA noticing it 1970
and then making the 1971 Nor’Wester “again
voted ‘Rally of the Year’ in the Northwest, and
sixth in the nation in its first year in the SCCA.”
Nor’Wester history tells of it becoming a
stage event on closed roads for the SCCA Pro
Rally series until 1984. During that time, the
event became part of Rally Week Northwest
as it ran one weekend with Olympus running
the following weekend. Its unbroken run
of 20 years as an SCCA (or sometimes an
NARRA) event ran from 1973 through 1984.
Features that make the Northwest Regionevents memorable are the views far into thedistance, bright sunshine or travel throughthe night, and desolate forest roads. A quicklook at the 1971 event adds a few more.
In 1971, the Nor’Wester ran from June 18-20, with a start location in Bellevue, Wash. Itwas a 900-mile, two-night event. The first ranfrom 9: 31 p.m. until approximately 10 a.m. or
11 a.m. in Ellensburg, Wash., with a banquetat 8 p.m. – the meal price was an astounding
$3.75 per person. The second started Sundayat 5:01 a.m. and continued until 12 or
1 p.m. Fifty-six entrants started that event.
S. Richards writing for Wishbone Alley
Gazette, the RASC monthly newsletter,
noted the 13 checkpoints averaged one
per hour the first night and described the
trip as “rather muddy,” “rather fast,” “dirt
and gravel,” and “really neat mud.”
There was a breakfast break after
seven-and-a-half hours on the road.
Sunday started with “ 45 ratherdirty rally cars [ 56 entrants],” withthe 17 checkpoints averaging one perhalf hour. Breakfast was at 7 a.m.
“The constant driving of Jim Bauman,
the unerring navigation of Jon Zerr, and
the reliability of the French Peugeot,
proved to be the winning combination
[as first overall and first in Equipped],”
the report stated. Congratulations also
went to Wayne and Linda Collier in their
Corvair, who took first in Unequipped.
The rally, the reporter wrote, “was
designed to have the best combination
of driver, navigator, and car emerge
victorious; it looks as if it was a success.”
The RASC thanked 33 sponsors, as
“special assistance from University Porsche/
Audi, Rainier Brewing Company, and
Castrol upped the prize fund to $1,325.”
Listed in the RASC events of note,
along with events like Alcan Winter
Rally, No Alibi, Alcan 5000, and Alcan
Summer Rally, were other Nor’Westers in
1997, 2005, 2012, 2017, and 2019.
There’s a bit more needed to understandthe Nor’Wester than the written celebration.
For the 2017 RoadRally, RASC commissionedDavid Fox to provide a 6: 21 minute featuretteof the Nor’Wester. It shows the Nor’Westerthat words don’t adequately describe andcan be found at rainierautosports.com/events/2017/norwester/.
AN INCREDIBLE NOR’WESTER
NOW AND THEN
Be it recently (LEFT) or40 years ago (ABOVE),the Nor’Wester alwaysproves entertaining.
WORDS Rick Beattie | MAIN IMAGE Courtesy Rainier Auto Sports Club
Dating back to 1967, this Pacific Northwest RoadRally serves up quite an experience