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WAYNE VANNORSDALL & ROSS DOMBROWSKI
TAKE TOP HONORS IN "NEVADA TROPHY 98"

Day-2; Saturday December 5th: It’s 8:00am, John Gulliford hands out Rally route instructions to each vehicle for their forty-odd mile jaunt to the Special Task Compound, they had two hours. "ORE" officials had long since been on the road making their way north. The weather was again clear, but awfully cold.

Saturday’s starting order would reflect the finishing order of the previous day, thus A1 would start first. Upon their arrival at the Special Task Compound, competitors were greeted with a long obstacle course, the object being fastest time wins. There would be a few tasks to slow the cars however. First, they’d be restricted to low-range; automatic cars were limited to 3rd gear, while 5-speed cars limited to 4th = 1:1 ratio. The sole 88" Land Rover, still fitted with a 2.25 litre petrol engine would be allowed tyo use every gear available to him. During the drivers meeting participants were informed in detail what was required of them, the first being they would have to start with both front wheels in a ditch. At Mr. Gulliford’s signal Vannorsdall/Dombrowski took off… Their first task would be the "mock winch". Once the drive had put the car in the correct location, the co-drive would have to get out and run up and over a hill where they’d retrieve a long rope. With rope in hand he’d race back over the hill and attach it to the vehicle, climb back into the car and fit the seatbelt. With the marshals okay the car would back away. After a long uphill climb they’d come across another task, and again the co-driver would have to bail out and race up the hillside to an orange stake, touch it, then climb back into the car. Again seatbelts had to be secure before departing. They would now follow a course of painted stakes and ribbons, in one section the cars would be flat-out in low-range before coming to the southern hairpin, which lead into the wash. The next obstacle took more than a few by surprise as they overshot the righthand uphill turn… Tom Walsh’s Disco would have to be pulled out by the course car, while Michnay followed the same exact route, though he punched the throttle to enable the Disco to clear the ruts! After a bit of wash driving the cars would again have to come to a halt, seems there was a spare tyre lying in the road. The object here was to remove the tyre to a prescribed location, then proceed when told by the marshal. Around the next turn was a high embankment leading out of the wash. More than one competitor lost time here, unable to climb up in one shot. The Disco of Kris & Kyle Swanson set a blistering pace, their overall time being 7m 25.53s, but they would pay the price for their speed. Two damaged tyres and a bent trackrod were the result of jumping the embankment out of the wash! Rueppl’s 88" was next. The West Coast British/ARB/Valley Machine sponsored Series II would sport a number of recent modifications, such as a 2.5 litre camshaft, ported-polished-decked cylinderhead, 2-barrel Weber, four-branch header with 2.5" exhaust pipes, OD, and locking rear diff to name a few. It had been performing wonderfully, though suffered from carb-icing. Once warmed up and cleared out he was making good time, which is until the front prop-shaft broke, thus sidelining him.

Swanson’s team-mate, Charles D’Andrade & John Lee, had visions of besting the time further, but a driving mistake at the north-end hairpin saw the D90 Wagon slow-roll on its side. The nearest anyone got to Swanson’s time was the D90 of Almaguer/Pemberton with an impressive 8m 50.03s… and NO damage. Due to delays with recovering cars, the tyre-tote relay was dropped. Next up the cars would convoy east to the re-start area, but before getting there they’d have to do a bit of Camel Trophy road building. A recent flashflood had washed away a section of road, and within minutes it was filled in and the convoy proceeded east. One more obstacle before navigation material for Section-2 is handed out lay ahead…. The Rock Wall Climb. The three-tier wall of granite was iced over, some saying it would be impossible to climb up and over. All that went out the window when Vannorsdall cleared it first try, thus earning maximum points.

At 3:35pm Team-A would receive their navigational material for Section-2, they’d have 30-minutes in which to study. There IN-time would be 4:05am Sunday morning. Team-A wasted no time and was soon on the road, now east bound. Section-2 points values would increase over Friday’s, ranging from 200 for a simple waypoint to 2000 for something difficult, or bait. As the tail-enders were studying, snow-flurries began to make their present known. Officials hoped for a snowy evening, and by 7:30pm they’d get their wish. 47 waypoints lay ahead.

On this night Blain Dehmlow would be hanging out ‘til midnight operating a Special Task, this one being the "Acceleration-Braking-Acceleration" test. Here participants were to engage low-range, at Blain’s mark they would accelerate as quickly as possible, then stop without passing the reflective markers. From a full stop they’d accelerate again and cross the finish line at speed. Fastest time wins. Six cars found the task, B1 of Almaguer/Pemberton had best time, 11.62s.

Acceleration Scoring

TEAM

CAR#

TIME

POINTS

B

1

11.62

2000

E

2

12.3

1889

E

1

12.5

1859

G

1

13.06

1779

B

2

13.19

1762

G

2

15.44

1505

Waypoints were strung out in a number of groups, and it was surprising that not one team had figured out the perfect route as defined by organizers, that of using the freeway to make time. In doing so they could by-pass a small handful of waypoints, then come in right on top of a large number of them. Heading east they could continue gathering waypoints, then pickup the freeway once again, which would take them to gas and food. Once tanked up they could attack the Northeast sector, loop around and head for the finish. However, in the northeast a few surprises were in store. A boobytrap of high scoring waypoints on roads to nowhere was only one of them. Only Swanson & D’andrade took the bait, but had to turn back when the snow covered roads slowed them down. Somewhere during the night Kris would smash in his door, while Vannorsdall would find himself lost.

We made our way west at 7:30pm after helping Blain setup, the further west we went, the worse the snow was. It snowed steadily until 3:00am. Sunday morning you could tell who came in when, as if the car had no snow on it, it had no doubt been out all night. Team-D, Armando Nieto/Robert Wong & Tom Walsh/Jim Holmes, bailed early, coming in at 11:55pm, their Discos covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Vannorsadll would come in at 4:21am, 16 minutes late, and retain his lead. Ritch Julian/Chris Comfort, Rueppel’s former team-mate, now teamed with Chien Liew/Michael Carradine (D90W), checked-in at 4:25am, 10 minutes early, there total take for the night being 25800 points, a very impressive nights work. In true Camel Trophy fashion, the results wouldn’t be announced until the awards presentation at the WigWam restaurant in Fernley, there were more than a few very surprised faces. Land Rover North America, Rovers North and West Coast British supplied a number of prizes to compliment the fantastic trophies given away.

All in all the event was successful… tiring, and something the participants will be talking about for months to come. Plans are already underway for the NEVADA TROPHY ’99… See you in Nevada.

OVERALL RESULTS

TEAM

CAR#

FRI

SAT

Spec Task

Driver

Navigator

Car

Points

A

1

18600

28400

6249

Wayne Vannorsdall

Ross Dombrowski

Range Rover

53249

A

2

18600

28400

4981

Chris Walker

Michael Bryan

LR Discovery

51981

B

1

16500

26800

7035

Craig Almaguer

Brett Pemberton

Defender90

50335

B

2

16500

26400

7288

Steve Wiedekamp

Dave Reinhardt

Defender90

50188

E

1

15800

24100

7313

Michael Michnay

Kieth Peterson

Discovery SD

47213

E

2

15800

21500

6108

Niles Hanson

Gary Hanson

Range Rover

43408

C

2

10000

25800

4897

Ritch Julian

Chris Comfort

Defender90W

40697

H

1

6800

25800

4154

Chien Liew

Michael Carradine

Defender90W

36754

D

1

14000

13200

5711

Armando Nieto, Jr

Robert Wong

Discovery

32911

F

1

12600

15200

4546

Kristofer Swanson

Kyle Swanson

Discovery

32346

G

2

6800

16600

7744

Greg Chapel

Tim Patterson

Defender90

31144

F

2

12600

15200

2643

Charles D’Andrade

John Lee

Defender90

30443

D

2

14000

13200

3046

Tom Walsh

Jim Holmes

Discovery

30246

G

1

6800

16600

5826

Dan Wagman

Mara Baer

Range Rover

29226

C

1

10000

DNS

668

Todd Rueppel

Lorie Rueppel

Land Rover 88"

10668

AWARDS...

NEVADA TROPHY 98

First

Wayne Vannorsdall & Ross Dombrowski,

Walnut Creek, CA

Second

Chis Walker & Michael Bryan

San Diego, CA

Third

Craig Almaguer & Brett Pemberton

Chico, CA

 

BEST TEAM 98 (average of team score)

Team-A

105230 pts

Wayne Vannorsdall – Ross Dombrowski and Chirs Walker – Michael Bryan

 

SPECIAL TASK (totaling all task scores)

First

Greg Chapel & Tim Patterson

Sparks, NV

Second

Michael Michnay & Kieth Peterson

Portland, OR

 

TROPHY COURSE

First

7m 25.53s

Kristofer Swanson & Kyle Swanson

Granada Hills, CA

Second

8m 50.03

Craig Almaguer & Brett Pemberton

Chico, CA

 
RALLY NAV

First

1h 14m

Greg Chapel & Tim Patterson

Sparks, NV

Second

1h 15m

Wayne Vannorsdall & Ross Dombrowski

Walnut Creek, CA

 

BEST "SERIES" LAND ROVER

Car C1

1963 88" Hardtop

Todd & Lorie Rueppel

Livermore, CA