Region News

2016 - Teddy Bear Rally - Recap

Northern New Jersey Region USMC Toys for Tots ‘Teddy Bear Road Rallye’
By Peter Schneider

December 4, 2016 marked the twenty-sixth annual ‘Toys for Tots’ Teddy Bear Road Rallye, hosted by Northern New Jersey Region of the SCCA and Motorsport Club of North Jersey. This year’s sponsor and the sponsor for the past four years was Subaru 46 of Budd Lake, New Jersey.

The NNNJR/MCNJ ‘Toys for Tots’ Teddy Bear Rally is the longest running charity rally associated with SCCA and the longest contiguous event organized by Northern New Jersey Region SCCA. Since 1990 we have collected over 3,100 toys and hope to continue the event for many years to come.

This event is a very simple road rally using the back roads of Morris, Warren and Hunterdon Counties. The event started at SUBARU 46 in Budd Lake on Sunday December 4 and ended about 68 miles later at the Long Valley Brew Pub at the intersection of Route 517 and Route 513/24 in the center of Long Valley, NJ.

 

The event was open to the general public and required only a car or light truck with a working odometer and a pen/pencil to compete. The event is not a Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallye, but a mileage based lightly trapped ‘gimmick’. The entry fee, per car, is a brand new Teddy Bear or new toy, worth at least $30.00 retail which is donated to the USMC Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

Toys for Tots began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill’s wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.

The Teddy Bear rallye is a mileage based course rallye. 100 points are ‘awarded’ for each mile variance from the official route. The contestants note their car’s odometer reading at manned and unmanned (DIY) locations as listed in the route instructions and the club utilizing an odometer calibration leg to compute corrected leg mileages and compare them with the official leg mileages to determine score.

In 2016, the region has been posting event notifications on Facebook and targeting individuals in the NJ, NY and Pennsylvania area on Facebook with low cost ads, this in addition to an improved email list and use of Constant Contact have more than doubled our average attendance at out five events conducted this year.

Since inception, the Toys for Tots rallye has used ‘Photo Clues’ (a format barrower from the Metro PCA Snowflake rallye) to provide contestants a little extra challenge. These Photo Clubs can be compared to ‘Lettered Route Instructions’ used on SCCA National Course events. The Photos of signs/scenes along the rallye route at times are hard to spot (but not impossible), or are taken of easy to see every day common signs that have slight variations due to weathering or defects. After all if you really look at two “STOP” signs you can see that no two are exactly alike, or depending on now you take the photo the background (trees, a house or other local landmarks) is never the same. All of these features must be taken into account when correctly executing a Photo Clue instruction. In addition to the Photo Clues, the rallye has also used standard route following traps based on ‘onto’, spelling of street signs, forced turns and reversed numbered route instructions. Needless to say all route ‘traps’ are self-correcting, with the difference in the official on-course vs off-course mileage helping separate the scores.

This year event had 7 legs, an odometer leg and six legs that contained simple route following traps.

The 1st trap, was a simple spelling trap, which only three of the thirty-three teams did correctly. Instruction #13 directed the contestants to make a ‘R after RIP (reads in part) “GRAMMY PAT’S FARM” onto Musconetcong River Rd’, while most teams took the time to carefully examine the Grammy Pat sign for spelling or RIP traps, they failed to notice that the street sign for Musconetcong River Rd was missing the ‘e’. Those that noticed the missing ‘e’, encounter an on-course control and avoided the penalty points for missing an on-course control and 64 mileage points. Off-course team spotted Photo Clue “A”, which directed them back ‘on-course’.

In the second leg, the trap was based on the General Instruction. The Generals state that “All other signs or objects will be found on the right, unless the glossary term SOL is used. Special Photo Instruction ‘B’ on the left, and the Rallymaster stated in the instructions the scene was ‘seen of left’, but because the instruction did not use the glossary term ‘SOL’, and was therefore invalid. Nine teams ignored Photo “B” and avoided the mileage penalty.

The third trap, involved the definition of a valid rally road. Unpaved roads are invalid per the General Instructions, Instruction #30, required the teams to make a ‘Left at the 1st Opportunity. Teams had to drive pass the dirt road, and turn at the 1st paved road they came to. The route self-corrected at the next route instruction. Those the used the unpaved road, shortcutted the route by a mile and a quarter. Only four teams did this incorrectly.

The fourth Leg Trap, directed the team to turn right at a SOL Dear Hill Road, the first time you encountered Dear Hill Road, the road was on your right, but only the street sign was on your left, not he actual road. Three teams had the confidence to go straight and by using a Special Photo Clue looped around to rejoin the off-course teams and avoided about 2 miles worth of penalty points.

The fifth trap was a simple turn after the quoted Street sign vs the actual road. Only six teams executed this incorrectly.

The sixth and last trap on the event, directed the contestants to make the 1st right after RIP “Point Mountain”, the first sign encountered as RIP “PT Mountain” with the word PT abbreviated. Which we the General Instruction was incorrect, a simple spelling trap. The eighteen teams that turned at the incorrect intersection, got back on-course by executing the last Special Photo Clue.

The event was scored in three classes: Novice, Intermediate and Expert, with special awards for Best First Timer, Best Subaru, Best Saturn (a prior sponsor), Best BMW, Best MG, Best Family, Best Husband & Wife and Dead Last But Finished. We keep the costs down for the awards by using simple frames to hold an individual poster type award created on a quality color printer. But since the event is for a good cause we have never had any objections from contestants on the nature of the trophies