What is the future of the Trans-Canada Rally? That is entirely up to YOU! The Calgary Vintage Race Club had rights to the “Shell 4000” title until 2002, but since they did nothing with it, it is now up for grabs. But wait, why should it be the “Shell 4000” anyway? While Shell was the primary sponsor in the past, why couldn’t a revised Trans-Canada rally be the Petrocan 4000, or the Canadian Tire 4000? The latter has some logistical appeal in that they have centres all over Canada with service bays, built-in parc ferme lots etc. The 1971 rally was the British Columbia Centennial, so why not leverage the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba governments to sponsor the 2005 Prairie Centennial 4000 Rally? Or, now that we are metric, the 6400 K? And, think about it, the TIM HORTONS 4000? Why not!?
Routes and checkpoints shouldn’t be a problem. All across this country are racing and sporty car clubs and rally enthusiasts who can be called upon to put together connecting routes, provide checkpoint crews, make arrangements and generally split up the workload. Of course, one person will have to coordinate everything and make sure it all WORKS. That person will have to be a very good PR person, an excellent communicator, and a seasoned rally veteran. Why? Because a large scale event such as this would attract the hard-core rally types who should not be insulted with a caviar and fizzy wine “tour”, nor abused with a car busting enduro. There should be a balance between appropriately exercising the vintage cars and taxing the crew. The cars should be allowed to release their full potential throughout the event, but not run through tank traps. Likewise, the crews should be presented with challenging roads, rapid closed sections and many opportunities to make navigational errors without having to resort to gimmicks. All these things are needed to separate the crews by penalty points, identify a clear winner and give everyone a sense of competition and satisfaction at the end.
There’s no denying it, we live in a different world from when the Trans-Canada rallies were run in the ‘60’s. We can no longer run speed events on open public roads and then there’s the insurance aspect! This does not mean the rally can’t meet the above objectives. The West Coast Rally Association runs an excellent rally TSD series that would be a model for any group to follow. String together numerous TSD sections with transits and closed section special stages on race tracks, hill climbs and rallycross fields and you have yourself an event.
It can work; all that’s needed is a prime mover. Someone with the right mix of characteristics, experience and a year of free time needs to step forward. You know who you are… and he’s not typing this!! I am more than willing to lend a hand, so just ask.
Marcel Chichak January 2003