Region News

USMC Toys for Tots ‘2020 Teddy Bear Road Rally’
By Peter Schneider


December 6, 2020 marked the 30th annual ‘Toys for Tots’ Teddy Bear Road Rally, 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 eight years was Route 46 Subaru in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

Teddy BearForty-nine (49) teams competed on this year’s event, and it looks like the event was a little harder than anticipated because not one of the teams ran the rally ‘clean’, everyone fell for at least one of the seven planned route following traps.

The NNJR-SCCA/MCNJ’s ‘Toys for Tots’ Teddy Bear Rally is the longest running charity rally associated with SCCA and the longest running event hosted by Northern New Jersey Region and the second longest rally conducted by the same event organizer (Ted Goddard organized the New England Region’s Cover Bridge Rally for forty-nine years). Since 1990 NNJR-SCCA/MCNJ has collected over 3,700 toys with an estimated value of $27,000. This year alone we raised in excess of $1,800.00, due to the generous support of the rally community. We hope to continue the event for many years to come.Teddy Bear

This event is a simple to follow RoadRally using the back roads of Morris, Warren and Hunterdon Counties. The event started at 46 SUBARU in Hackettstown/Budd Lake and ended about 57 miles later at the Long Valley Brew Pub in the center of Long Valley, NJ.

The rally is open to the general public and requires 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) rally, but a lightly trapped Social ‘gimmick’ rally. The entry fee, per car, is a brand new Teddy Bear or new toy, worth at least $35.00 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.

Teddy BearThe Teddy Bear rally is a mileage based course rally. 100 points are ‘awarded’ for each mile variance from the official route. The contestants note their car’s odometer reading at unmanned (DIY) checkpoints 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.

Since 2016, the region has been posting event notifications on Facebook and targeting individuals in the NJ, NY and Pennsylvania area with low cost ads, and email blasts on Constant Contact we have been able to maintain a steady list of entries for our events.

Teddy Bear

Since inception, the ‘Toys for Tots’ rally has used ‘Photo Clues’ (a format barrowed from the Metro Porsche Club - Snowflake Rally which has been run for the past 65 years) to provide contestants a little extra challenge. These Photo Clues can be compared to ‘Lettered Route Instructions’ used on SCCA National Course events. The Photos are of signs/scenes along the rally route which 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. All of these features must be taken into account when correctly executing a Photo Clue instruction. In addition to the Photo Clues, the rally has also used standard route following traps based on the ‘Onto’ rule 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 only four legs, an odometer leg and three scored legs that contained simple route following traps, and could be driven in about 2 hours. Since some of the route following traps ‘short cutted’ the route several teams were able to finish the event in less time.
Due to Covid-19 precautions the route instructions and all event paperwork were emailed out to the 35 teams that signed up for the event in advance, the idea was to limit personal interaction the day of the event.Teddy Bear

Leg 1

The first route following trap on the rally was a simple reversed Route Instruction numbering trap. Since this happened at the very beginning of the event, it caught the majority of the teams, including several experienced teams. Inst #2 and Inst #3 were listed on the Instruction Sheet ‘out of order’.If you did not notice the ‘trap’ you made a R out of the 46 Subaru dealership and turned R FOPP on Harris Lane, and a L FOPP just like we have done in the past and then came to the SIG at Route 46 and Naughright Rd. (Inst #4). If you did notice that the instructions were out of order, you make a R out of the driveway and a L FOPP (at SIG) and then a R FOPP (on Drakestown Rd). You then traveled downhill on Drakestown Rd to a Forced R on Route 46 East to the SIG at Route 46 and Naughright Rd. (Inst #4). Either way you did Inst #2 and Inst #3 you would now be looking to execute the first Special Instruction which was Photo A the crossroad sign for Flocktown Rd. Falling for this trap caused the contestants to short cut the route by 2.44 miles.

The second trap was a Special Instruction Clue – Photo B. The three signs shown in Photo B were all attached to a Telephone Pole and per the Cover Sheet were not valid and should have been ignored. If you did notice that the Special Instruction Clue was not valid you would have proceeded straight at the intersection of Stephensburg Rd and executed Instruction #7 on Route 57 East. If you did not notice the Telephone Pole, you made a right on Stephensburg Rd prior to executing a right for Instruction #7 on Route 57 East. Falling for this trap caused the contestants to short cut the route by 3.9 miles.

The third trap was also based on a Special Instruction Clue, Inst #9, ‘R FOPP after passing the sign in PHOTO C’. There were two blue signs for the Rockport Train Wreck Memorial. The correct sign was immediately after you turn left on Hazen Rd. If you noticed that sign you would have made the 1st right turn to remain on Hazen Rd. If you missed that sign there was a second one a little further down the road. By turning after the second sign you would have made a right on Blau Rd and gone ‘off-course’. No matter which signed you turned after, everyone made a Left at STOP an Inst #10 and got back on-course for Inst # 11. The penalty of the trap was only 0.30 miles under the official route.

The next self-correcting trap was Inst #13 ‘L FOPP after Parke Rd’, to execute this instruction correctly you need to pass the actual road (since we told you to turn after the actual road and not the road sign) and turn left on Janes Chapel Rd, and not turn after the sign for Parke Rd, which would have put you on Parke Rd. No matter where you turned, Inst #14 put you on Valley Rd heading towards Inst #15. Falling for this trap resulted in the teams short cutting the route by 0.90 miles.

Leg 2

The first trap in Leg 2 involved twoSpecial Instruction Clues (Photos D & E) which were activate at the same time. While Photo E was the second one listed, the sign depicted “CIRCA 1865” was the 1st sign you should have seen. “CIRCA 1865” was hard to see on the side of a house at #189 Mitchell Rd. If you missed “CIRCA 1865” sign your would have encountered “SHY HOUND FARM” sign and turned left on Hoffman Rd. Either way, the route self-corrected by heading north on Route 629. Failing to see the sign in Photo E you would have added 2.7 mileages (270 mileage points) to your score

The sixth trap of the rally was a simple “Onto” instruction. Inst #19 ‘L onto Watters Road’, since you were placed onto a road by name or number, you should have remain onto Watters when it turned left at the intersection of Watters Road &Heiser Road. The rally reconnected after everyone turned left on Route 57 East. This also added 90 mileage points (over mileage) to your score.

Leg 3

The seventh and last trap of the event occurred just after Inst #26. There was a Special Instruction Clue that instructed you to turn left after passing “PHOTO F”. Per the General Instructions, words and/or numbers contained between quotes refer to a sign and not an object. So instead of turning after the black and yellow tractor sign depicted in Photo F, which was a red herring, you should have turned after a sign that contained the words PHOTO F. Yes, this was a little tricky, and the 1st time in 30 years that a trap of this type was used on the Teddy Bear Rally. Only one Expert Team (Jim and Rose Wakemen) did this trap correctly.

Leg 4

This was the Odometer Leg. No route following traps on this leg, but it did include two simple Photo Clues which needed to be correctly executed to stay on-course. Everyone got a zero on this leg. Since the rally organizers utilize an Excel Spreadsheet to compare the contestant’s leg mileage to the official mileage, any leg that does not contain a route following trap can be used as the odometer leg

Final Results

The rally is scored by totaling the team’s mileage penalty (using an absolute value formula) for each leg, the rallymaster cannot mix ‘over’ and ‘under’ mileage traps in the same leg, else they will cancel each out.

The event was scored in three classes: Novice, Intermediate and Expert, with Special Awards for Best First Timer, Best Subaru, Best Porsche, Best Family, Best Husband & Wife/Partners and Dead Last But Finished. Since this was the thirtieth (30th) year each of the eight teams that got ‘Place Awards’ (four deep in Novice Class and 2 deep in Expert and Intermediate) received a framed Toys For Tots poster and two medals to hang around their necks. All Special Award receipts received medals.

SCCA-NNJR and the Motorsport Club of North Jersey would like to thank all that participated in the event along with Eric and Pat Sjogren who were Safety Stewarts for the event and worked two Passage Controls, Bob Shore who ran sweep and my wife Joanne Schneider who checkout the event with me several times and worked registration and her assistance with the event for the past 30 years.


30th Annual Toys for Tots Charity Rally
Teddy BearFor the past 30 years, NNJR-SCCA has been hosting this annual event. Over $25,000 in toys have been donated to the United States Marine Corp Reserve toy drive since the 1st Teddy Bear Rally in 1990. Per the Sports Car Club of America National Office, NNJR-SCCA's Toys for Tots road rally is the longest continually run charity event conducted by the SCCA.
This year's event will be a sixty mile/three hour Novice orientated course rally. It will utilizes written instructions and photo clues to determine the trophy winners.
This is not a timed event, your score will be determine by your ability to follow the course correctly and identify the scenes depicted in the photo clues.
No hard to see or tricky questions to answer.
COVID-19 Precautions
Social Distance must be practiced at all times.
Route Instruction will be emailed in advance, so you can print them at home.
Masks must be worn while outside of your car.
Registration will be conducted outside, the Dealership will be open in order to use their facilities and collect the toys
For those that do not wish to stay for the awards, awards will be mailed.
The entry fee is a new stuffed animal or unwrapped toy of $35.00 value or greater. While stuffed animals will be accepted in 2020, unwrapped toys are preferred.
Starting at:   Route 46 Subaru
364 Route 46
Hackettstown (Budd Lake), NJ 07840
Sunday December 6, 2020
Registration: 10:30 AM
First Car Off: 12:01 PM
Toys For Tots