R.Dale Kraushaar, Paul Eklund and Larry Richardson teamed up in Kraushaar's 2.5RS Subaru for the Alcan 2000 Winter Rally, starting near Seattle and ending up in Anchorage. Originally scheduled for about 5000 miles, the rally included slalom events on ice. The team's performance in these events eventually proved to be the (narrow) margin of victory.  
 
DAY ONE: "We have survived, we are in second place..."
Karen Price at Rally Start in Kirkland, WA
Karen Price and the Kraushaar Subaru Impreza RS,
at rally start in Washington state
Dispatch from Paul Eklund:
We have survived day one. Had a broken driving light, broken windshield, non-functioning radio, computer that reset every time you tried to use the broken radio, etc etc. Our service crew narrowly missed getting a ticket while out trying to get the windshield fixed... After about 15 checkpoints we have 13 points and are tied for 2nd place. The Subaru crew of Ben Bradley and Dan Couganaur have 9 points in first. Today is ice racing. Will try to get more pictures later.
  .

DAY TWO: Ice Racing! "We were in first place for a while..." Ice Racing
Dispatch from Paul Eklund:
We were in first place for a while. Maybe not now. We were third at ice racing, but beat closest competitors. Day dawned beautiful at -2 degrees. Is now -15 which is cold. Keeping warm. Gotta go eat.
Primitive Racing
testing out the tires in low-temp,
low-friction conditions
   

DAY THREE: Paul at the Summit. "I went for it..." Paul Eklund at the Summit
Dispatch from Paul Eklund:
Dawn day 3 at minus 13 degrees in Fort St. James. We did end up 3rd at ice track (1/4 mile oval) and survived the night TSD to end the night second overall, 3 points behind the leaders (Dallenbach, Unser and Grimshaw) in a Izuzu Rodeo. Ben is now several points back -- but close.

This morning SEEMED to go OK. Put on expedition weight undies today -- too HOT. Got photos in DAWSON CREEK at milepost one of the Alcan. No digital. I got a flat when hitting snowbank at finish of
ice race, but we changed quickly and easily. Finished the race OK, but managed to get ice in bead, had to operate tire machine at gas station to fix the flat. R. Dale had a 54.2 and I had a 54.3 at the ice race.

Winners were PRIMITIVE customers Jake Engstrom and Jeff Lynn in a white 2.5RS with a 52.2!!! These are great guys and they actually went into the lead of the rally after that super performance!

I "went for it" on my second run and grazed the snowbank drifting wide and slowed down a touch.

This is all very cool. Having a great time. Found hearts in my luggage!!!! More later. Pe
   

DAY FOUR: En route to Whitehorse. "We hustle right along..." The In-Car View

Dispatch from Paul Eklund :
Attached is a picture of us in transit. Among our many other problems, we found that every time we used the FM radio to talk, the power surge caused our rally computer to reboot. YIKES! Talk about a panic. So we switched it off and threw the microphone out the window, but then everyone was "looking" for us even though we we driving in the middle of the pack. We now use a handheld radio (graciously offered by our buddies in "red dog") for broadcasting.

We have just eaten breakfast after morning TSD on day 3. We have to drive 500 miles and start another TSD section later tonight then drive a hundred or so miles to Whitehorse in YUKON. We finish tonight at midnight (we started at 7am). We are currently in second place overall with the Isuzu Rodeo team (former winners, leading). We are a few points (3) behind them and have Ben Bradley in the Subaru Outback a few points behind us.

Still doing OK. Getting used to the cold OK. But if you had to stay out in it -- boy that would be very bad. Last night our buddy "red dog" (BMW 325IX) hit a deer and lost all his lights except two low beams. The crack crews from the Chinook RV teams went to work stripping the auxillary lights from the Chinook support vehicle (these are all WAY cool AWD RV monster rigs) at midnight in blowing ice, and got the BMW bent in shape and with new lights. Talk about FRIENDLY teams. The Chinook guys were loving it, showing off their tools and working like a Nascar pit crew. We helped get some spare bulbs.


We have 2 buddies that we are required to keep track of: Steve Norman and Gary Reid in "reddog" and Satch Carlson, Russ Huntoon and Bailey ? in a spanky new BMW X-5 $$$$ sport ute 285hp "bigdog". We use the radio to keep in touch and keep together on the transits.

So far the highways are mostly clear and easy to drive. We hustle right along. Sorry for messages that ramble.

Larry Richardson is doing a great job navigating. Despite some squirrelly mileages, he keeps the computer on-track. R.Dale is of course driving well, and I am getting better at keeping us on course during the TSDs. Made a couple of mistakes, but not fatal. Stress level jumps quickly.

Another longer ice race at a snowmobile track tomorrow! Monday? My chance to shine. Pardon typos, the car often bottoms out over frost heaves.

I am rooming with a gent named John Fouse (on the official Subaru team). He is a character. (Author of How to Survive a Winter Rally; see below.) He has lived in Alaska for 30 years and works on the Alaska pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. He only sleeps about 5 hours a night. We drank our nearly frozen bottle of "Whoop Ass" homebrew last night, so I slept well. Will try to post pictures to gatherround.com from Fairbanks. TTFN, Pe


   

 

END OF DAY FOUR: SUBARUS ROCK! ICE RACING UPDATE! WOLVES.
Although the "factory" Subaru team (driving Legacies) looks pretty spiffy in Primitive Racing yellow and black colors, it is the "local" team of Jake Engstrom and Jeff Lynn in an Arctic White 2.5 RS who led the entire rally for a short time after setting top time at the 1/4 mile track in Quesnal. And then again today, they smoked EVERYONE by many seconds at the 3-mile snowmobile track (here in Whitehorse).

Yours truly in R.Dale Kraushaar's blue 2.5RS was third fastest at the track today in a virtual tie with Paul Dallenbach in the factory Isuzu Rodeo. My two were 4 min 15sec and 4min 6 sec. His were 4min 8 sec and 4min 13 sec. The track is long with 2 wicked, 4th gear straightaways that saw 90mph on the speedo. It is on a lake, so it is solid ice with lots of bumps carved by ice plow and snowmobiles. Several cars shot off the track ad got stuck. The straights were scary ad the hairpin horribly slow.

Unofficially at this point, Dallenbach /Unser/Grimshaw still leads the rally overall with Kraushaar/Eklund/Richardson in second and Bradley/Coghnour third. We turn west and head into Alaska tonight. At this moment we have covered 1901 miles since leaving Seattle Friday. We have seen great weather so far and have spotted two wolves (one black one "fishing" thru a hole in the ice on a river and a gray one loping across a field) and also an Arctic fox. No moose spotted, but big ol' elk. We just passed a large red fox at mile 1903.... Hope to see northern lights tonight. - Pe


DAY FIVE: GlenAllen, Alaska. "Everything was white..." North to Alaska

Dispatch from Paul Eklund :
Dawn broke cold and dim at the Caribou Inn... (Glenallen, AK) The trees were all totally white. Everything was white. We unplugged the car and were off.

Two TSD sections today, the side trip to Valdez cancelled. The slalom in Fairbanks also cancelled (darn). But we are in good spirits.

After fixing some scoring problems last night (the Italian Subaru which had fallen behind was given our scores by mistake) we have caught up a few points on the Isuzu team and put some distance (10 more points) on the Legacy team.

The first TSD went OK. Mostly ZEROS and a few ones. On TSD two, near disaster strikes. At a CAST change (where we change speeds), the computer tells us that we are about a minute and a half ahead! Normally this would be a correction of LESS THAN A SECOND. R.Dale is anxious, Larry baffled and me panicked. I shout for R.Dale to hold the speedo at 35mph, but Larry is unable to correct the computer. There are two miles till the finish and surely a control. R.Dale holds the speed. There is little to be done. I should calculate mileage hacks to points ahead, but my mind is addled. We pass the control 10 seconds early. Our worst checkpoint yet. The Isuzu pulls back ahead. The Legacy gains on us. But we are still in second place and many miles to go...


Fairbanks tonight and off to Prudhoe Bay tomorrow. It is so beautiful up here. Easy to forget the rest of the world.
TTFN, Pe

Other news: The Chinook RV team continues to CLIMB in the standings. They got a perfect ZERO today. These rigs continue to amaze everyone. They sit about 12th overall.

Several teams including our own (R.Dale stuffed it at the race track yesterday) had to pony up "extraction fees" for getting stuck and hauled out of the snowbanks. The fee goes from $10 for the first extraction to $50 for subsequent aid. John Fouse in the Legacy Wagon had to get pulled out twice on the same lap ($60)

Little roadside cafes who see 7 customers a day are dumbfounded when 12 cars pull into the parking lot nearly simultaneously and 30 boisterous rallyists pile in and order up.

The Subaru "factory" team has been nicknamed the "bumblebee team" (always buzzing around in their yellow and black suits)

Our team is proud that the Dallenbach/Unser team was keeping their stop watches on us closely at the racing venues. They now also watch the fast Engstrom/Lynn Subaru even closer.... Pe
   

DAY SIX: "We will attempt the Prudhoe Bay haul road..." Off to Prudhoe Bay

Dispatch from Paul Eklund :
Off to Prudhoe we go. Not many groups are ever allowed to make this trek. Weather looks good. But stories of drop offs and white-outs abound.

Rallymaster Jerry Hines spent the night in his car and had to follow the snow plow home when attempting the haul road in 1996 with his wife and child while trying to catch up with the rally which was only a few hours ahead on the road...

Jerry Hines will update scores etc on official wedsite Wednesday night or on Thursday.

Expedition leader R. Dale Kraushaar (r)
and navigator Larry Richardson (l) and
the sturdy Kraushaar Subaru Impreza RS.

   
In a message dated 2/15/00 7:19:24 PM Pacific Standard Time, LTT1176765 writes:
<<
what's the scoop? Are you winning the race? >>

Hello LT,

Well, yes in fact. We lead our class by 15 seconds. We are 2nd place overall (behind the Class 2 leaders Dallenbach and Unser by 10 seconds). We hope to catch them by the last day.

It is actually quite warm (right now) at minus 8 degrees. At 15 below it was feeling COLD. Got my long johns on.

We go to Prudhoe Bay today. It will be bitter cold. We are only the second private group allowed up the treacherous "haul road" and then onto the oilfields. Here the big supply trucks rule the road, and we just get the hell out of the way! We cross the Arctic Circle in about 60 miles and then continue about 350 miles further north!! This section is not a race, but we get penalty points if we fail to make the journey (and freeze our ass off). Everyone will caravan up together for safety.




I have posted some pictures out at a web site called GatherRound.com. To view them, use this link:

http://www.gatherround.com/u30565a32573palcan6.invt

GO TO the ALBUM called: ALCAN. These are the latest images.

You are invited to leave comments. If this connection works, please forward it to friends, interested parties, rally-L, Sti-list etc. Also note that

http://www.alcan5000.com

may contain updates and leg-by-leg scores.

TTFN, Pe


DAY SEVEN: Above the Arctic Circle! Film at 11! Kraushaar, Richardson, Eklund above the Arctic Circle

Dispatch from Paul Eklund :
Getting tired of 10 emails hitting every other day? Sorry. I sit and compose these as we bouunce down the road (ergo the occassional typo). Then frantically try to get it out onto the net when we stop. This morning's phone bill at the hotel was $61.25 (ouch!).

We have had the best Chinese food take out one could have! The Chinook RV team microwaved up some fresh Chinese food they got this morning in Fairbanks (what resturaant makes Chinese at 7am?) and served it to us at Coldfoot above the Arctic Circle. Coldfoot is a gas pump, 2 room inn, and a cafe with self-serve (honor system) of microwave burritos, sandwiches and cans of chili. The Chinese food was HOT and delicious--best I ever had. Funny how you remember certain meals depending upon who you are with and the circumstances under which you ate them.

We are now on the final 244 mile drive to Deadhorse. The Brooks Mountain range is simply breathtaking and awesome. BIG chunks o' snowy granite sticking up out of the tundra. Saw our first moose up close and personal loping along the road. Takes 3 steps into the woods and it vanishes. How does 1300lbs of moose vanish?

Trees here are a little different than back home. One, they're white. ALL WHITE ALL OVER and coated with so much ice and then snow that I don't know how they are alive. They are also about 15' tall at max. Most are about 8' tall. Looks like a pygmy forest. The pipeline is always on one side of us or the other, but it is not that big and really makes little impact upon the landscape. Mostly above ground, but occassionally dropping below ground.

The truckers think we are crazy for wanting to drive up here, but are for the most part pretty friendly. We take to some at Coldfoot for a while. They all have stories of moose and wolf and whiteout and mud and stuck trucks and the like.


Wednesday February 16th
Somewhere near the Arctic Circle

The Taylor Made Labels sponsored team of Kraushaar/Eklund/Richardson will be seen on Channel 11 news (local NBC affiliate station) here in Alaska after interviews last night with driver's Kraushaar and Eklund. They spoke of their chances to win overall and the conditions on the ice racing venues. The team currently leads Class 1 by about 15 seconds. Footage may be fed to other NBC affliliates.

 

We have now driven 3119 miles from the start in Seattle. We had only 1/2 a gallon of gas as we rolled into Coldfoot. Did I tell you that we ran out of gas 5 miles outside of Whitehorse and had to be towed to the gas station? Another story for another time. Let's just say that a Subaru Impreza 2.5RS fully loaded with a big pod on top running fairly brisk speeds over icy highway will go just about 256.4 miles before running out of gas...

The temp is dropping. Now about 5 below, but all the locals say this is like summer and that the usual temperature is 25 to 35 below. No wind yet (thankfully). Pretty clear so we can see the awesome vistas.

We have now pulled into the Arctic Oilfield Hotel. After a security check, we will tour the oilfields and drive about 60 miles north, to the northernmost point one can drive in North America on a private oilfield road. Today was a non-competitive day, but we did make it to the checkpoint and therefore do not accrue any penalty.

For those of you who find this the least bit interesting, you should seriously consider entering this event when it gets run again in WINTER in 2004. It is a great adventure rally. There is even a class called "DALTON CLASS" for those who just want to tour along. You just need to make the checkpoints. We have even picked up Mrs Dalton whose family this highway is named for (we are travelling on the Dalton Highway).

Haven't seen the northern lights yet. Something to look forward to. Goodnight, Pe

   

DAY EIGHT: "The food's good at the end of the world..." Rally Start at the End of the World
This is us at the end of the world, as far as one can drive North. Beyond is the frozen Arctic Ocean.

Dispatch from Paul Eklund :
The food's good at the end of the world. The Arctic Oilfield Hotel includes as much of it as you can eat in your $86/night charge. And with that comes a dorm-style room (only smaller and more used) and a communal bathroom. Therese, the manager there, makes sure that all guests get what they need, whether a midnight sandwich, fax phone line or more hot water for the shower. People are friendly, and wonder what the dickens we are all doing here. Had steak and halibut for dinner, with fresh apple pie for desert. No skinny people in Deadhorse...

The ground and the sky meet seemlessly. It is SO WHITE and SO DESOLATE up here that you literally can not tell when the ground stops and the sky starts. It is cold and white in every direction. No polar bears today.

The wind has kicked up. The 15 below now feels REAL COLD. All those stories I have been told begin to take on some meaning. Frost forms in my nose when I breathe. Hands without gloves lose all feeling in about 1 minute and 30 seconds (we "tested" this). The wind make tears, but they freeze to my skin as they run down my face. It is imperative that I put on a mask or I feel like I will die. I have been outside for about 7 minutes.

Yikes! We have now had 2 flat tires and the crack in our windshield, from the morning before the start, continues to meander around the glass. The trip in on the Dalton Highway (haul road) was so easy yesterday that we made jokes about all the warnings and hype. Sure locals keep telling us that this is unusually nice weather, but it only takes mother nature to move her pinky and the wind goes to 20 mph and snow begins blowing across the road. Hard. And in drifts. This is "nothing," yet as each car in our caravan trying to leave Prudhoe gets swallowed up in the swirling white crystals, a sense of dread falls over me.


I wanted to experience some "real" Alsaka weather. After 30 miles of only seeing a part of the taillight of the car ahead and not being able to see the shoulder of the road (and god forbid the oncoming big rigs). I am worried. It is getting thicker up there. Our leader says we are now in Phase 1 conditions. I had read the bulletin board at the hotel. It means limited visibility. Phase 2 is real bad weather. Phase 3 you seek shelter and hunker down.

We have 410 more miles to Fairbanks. If our average speed drops to about 10 mph, well you do the math. After 50 miles of creeping, we emerge from the storm front with great relief. Drivers laugh nervously. We are all glad to see blue skies. We got the wish of "just a little" bad weather and it scared me.

The weather from here (Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range) is great. We have many miles to go. Several cars slide off the road lightly and must be pulled back onto the road. No major mishaps. One of the incidents happened directly in front of us as an oncoming supply truck passed the group. The big rigs kick up a ton of snow as they whip past. Someone slowed, another braked hard and the third guy in line hit his brakes and went off the road. Just as we passed the oncoming 18-wheeler, the Legacy turned sideways directly in front of us. We swerved. Everyone stopped. No one crashed together. STONEGARD wins! Yes, the people at www.stonegard.com win our support because a rock thrown by an 18-wheeler broke straight thru our plastic lense cover and hit the stonegard protected lens. It survived. This stuff saved our bacon on our headlights as well. -Pe

The Kraushaar Subaru Impreza RS

   

Final dispatch from Paul Eklund:
Coming from behind on the last leg of this grueling 9-day event, the team sponsored by Taylor Made Labels and Primitive Racing edged out the factory Isuzu Rodeo of Dallenbach, Unser and Grimshaw. The teams ended Friday's hectic TSD section through the outskirts of Anchorage nearly tied. The Subaru team had made up the 10 point deficit that they had carried nearly all week with great navigation by Larry Richardson and some luck at the control points.
Cinderella story!
KRAUSHAAR-EKLUND-RICHARDSON TEAM TAKE FIRST OVERALL at ALCAN 5000
 

Proud Service Team

Saturday's final TSD was cut short due to traffic and icy conditions, and both teams again finished nearly tied with the Isuzu holding a .3 point lead. The final section was an ice slalom held on a 1/4 mile oval on Big Lake. R.Dale Kraushaar came out of the box strong and laid down a 1 minute 14 second run (2 laps from a standing start on the frozen surface). The Isuzu struggled a bit for traction and managed only a 1 minute 20 second run.

I ran the next run for the Subaru team and also managed a 1 minute 20 second run. The Isuzu posted yet another 1 minute 20 second run. So the Subaru team beat the Isuzu team by about 6 seconds on the ice, which became the margin of victory.

Subarus take 1st, 3rd, 4th and 7th overall; Imprezas romp in the ice slaloms!

The two factory Legacy teams came in 3rd and 4th a little way back. 5th position went to Steve Norman and Gary Reid in a BMW 325IX. Steve drove absolutely every mile of this race himself, which is no small feat! 6th went to the the Isuzu team of Jones and Deno. 7th overall and local boys done good were Jake Engstrom and Jeff Lynn who won two of the three ice slaloms outright in their Impreza 2.5RS.

OFFICIAL RESULTS HEE

Television Coverage
Film crew is putting together a 30 minute SPEEDVISION program!! Yippee!


The fast ones:
Primitive customers Engstrom,
Lynn and their Impreza


Paul Eklund and Karen Price at the awards banquet. The tux came all 5000 miles

 

Getting tired now. Celebrating a sweet victory. Thanks all of you who have put up with and have followed our sojourn. Check www.isuzurally.com for leg-by-leg scores! And see our photo album at gatherround.com.

Don't forget to go to www.alcan5000.com and sign up for the summer of 2002 or winter of 2004 marathon adventure rallies!!!!! Thanks Jerry Hines.

Car 6 over and out. Pe

 

What is the ALCAN 5000?
A hellacious winter rally. About 24 cars will start near Seattle and proceed in a roundabout way to Anchorage, Alaska, driving about 500 miles a day for 10 days. The route includes a private oil company road, the most northern driveable point in North America, many miles above the Arctic Circle.

How do you win?
The route consists of transit sections, time-speed-distance (TSD) sections and rallycross sections. Each section requires the car to arrive at checkpoints at a "perfect time." Transit sections give the car a comfortable amount of time to reach the end. TSD sections require a car to keep to precise speeds throughout the section. And rallycross sections are in essence racing sections -- the quicker the car can cover the distance, the better. Cars get points for every second they are off their "perfect time," so the lower the score, the better.

Who are these guys?
Paul Eklund and Larry Richardson have joined R. Dale Kraushaar in his Subaru Impreza RS. All are experienced rallyists, but Paul will likely be the "hotshoe" driver for the critical rallycross sections. The Subaru Impreza team is ready, having placed 5th in the British Columbia Thunderbird Rally on February 6.

Why do they do it?
As driving challenges go, this one is pretty extreme. As soon as Paul heard about the Alcan rally, it went on his "lifetime achievement" list.

Recommended Reading
John Fouse,"How To Stay Alive on a Winter Rally." Find this and other stories and pictures at www.alcan5000.com

Following the Team
The team will post photos from along the way in an on-line album at GatherRound.com. Click on this link to go directly to the "Alcan" album: http://www.gatherround.com/u30565a32573palcan6.invt

Copyright 2003 Primitive Enterprises. All rights reserved.
Specs and prices subject to change without notice.