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Get ready to Rally: Rally School to be held Saturday
January 29, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Potential entrants in this year’s Sugar Valley Rally are invited to a Rally School to learn about the challenges of precision driving over several hundred miles.

The Rally School is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at Cozad’s vintage car garage on 7th Street in Gering, just south of the railroad tracks.

The Sugar Valley Rally, coming up the first weekend of June, isn’t a test of speed, but an ability test for a driver/navigator team to navigate a set course that’s been previously timed. The challenge is to match the set time as closely as possible.

Each day of the rally, drivers and navigators receive a set of course instructions that indicate every change, turn, stop and start the team must make throughout the day. Checkpoints are set up along the course to record the exact time of each team.

“A lot of people who have antique cars know about the rally, but not about what it takes to drive in it,” said Darrell Bentley of the Sugar Valley Rally steering committee member. “We invite them to attend and learn what it’s all about. We’ll also answer any questions they might have.”

Tom Cozad, also on the steering committee, said entrants don’t know the exact times clocked for the numerous legs of the course. Entrants are given the speeds to drive and course directions.

Of course, several things can slow down the driver, from stop signs, passing trains or road construction. The driver and navigator then have to account for any lost time, as well as time spent in starting and stopping, because the ideal time is measured in mere seconds.
“At every rally, we have people tell us they really enjoy it but know little about it,” Cozad said. “That’s why we started the Rally School, for people who might be interested in participating.”

Bentley said at the first Rally School two years ago, about 12 to 15 driver/navigator teams showed up and five of them went on to participate in that year’s Sugar Valley Rally.

“We’re always trying to attract new people because that’s the only way the rally will continue,” Bentley said. “And we’re also looking for people who might be interested in joining the steering committee.”

The annual Sugar Valley Rally is scheduled for June 5 – 7. Now in its 27th year, it’s the longest continuous running antique car rally in America. More information is available on their website: sugarvalleyrally.com or by calling their office at (308) 632-3381.
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