One thing we probably didn't think about when many of us were still doing snow-nuts in March is the fact that late-melting snow can really ruin your plans for Spring. Take this year's Empire State Performance Rally, for example. It's been postponed until October because there's still too much snow on the roads.
That's right, right here are some words I'd never thought I'd ever have to type: "rally cancelled for too much snow."
Problem is, much of New York is still a cold, icy mess. It was still snowing a week ago, and there are still huge snowbanks lying around that haven't melted yet. Much of the snow has melted and re-frozen to the point where the outer layer is just ice at this point. Worst of all, because this rally uses many private roads, none of those roads have been maintained all winter. There's still too much snow for even a snowplow to make it through.
ESPR organizers Michael Cosgrove and Fran Gager took this video of some of the stage roads this week:
I know you're probably thinking, "But it's rally! Those people chuckle at NASCAR for parking it in the rain and play in all kinds of conditions!"
There's a huge difference between fun snow (like you'd see at Rally Sweden) and gross, piled-up, late-melting ice-and-snow-mess, so I can't blame anyone on this call. One is good for sweet drifts. The other will fling you off the road or get you stuck, particularly when the roads haven't been maintained all winter and everything is either icy, an impassable pile, or a slushy, half-melted mess. You can't have a race if everyone's just going to get stuck.
ESPR is mostly a tarmac and gravel rally. This is what it's supposed to look like:
Note all the roads wider than a single-car-trail between snowbanks. It's usually one of the faster rallies on NASA Rally Sport's schedule.
The ESPR organizers released a statement this week, explaining the cancellation:
The Organizers of the Empire State Performance Rally regret to announce due to unforeseen circumstances of this year snow accumulation and a month long plus of temperatures below 32 degrees, our roads are still not passable with snow & ice on 75% of the stages.
Our event scheduled for April 18 & 19, 2015, has been reschedule[d] to October 17 & 18, 2015.
Some of the roads ESPR uses are passable at the moment, so they're still doing a test day this weekend.
Unfortunately, the make-up date for the rally itself is the same weekend as Rally America's Lake Superior Performance Rally. LSPR Chairman Sue Martens chimed in on Facebook to say "we're willing to share the date. POR!*" Hopefully that still means there will be decent car count for both rallies now that competitors have to pick between the two.
*"Press On Regardless"
Video credit: ESPR organizers Michael Cosgrove and Fran Gager
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