By Ted Waddell
TOWN OF TUSTEN April 22, 2005 If you want to get a feeling of where the rubber meets the road in motorsports, ask an old-time racer and track photographer.
From the days when men were men and a lot of the machines were built in backyards and garages out in back on the family homestead. Back in the days when, for a lot of folks, ya run what what you brung to the racetrack.
Ed Jackson, who lives on Beaverbrook Road in Narrowsburg, was born into auto racing. His father used to run the Nothing Special on Freeport, Long Island in the 1930s and 40s when midgets were powered by flathead V-8 Fords and outboard motors that had to run flat out, or theyd stall out.
During his own time behind the wheel in the 1950s and 60s, Jackson drove stock cars, Curtis Craft midgets with famed Offenhauer motors and modified you built yourself.
Those were real race cars, he said.
In his racing career, Jackson competed on tracks stretching from San Diego, California to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he flew over the fence, car and all.
Not content to limit his love of racing to crashing the gears, Jackson picked up a camera for Stock Car Racing magazine on the way to getting the cover shots.
An old-time track photographer showed him how to shoot cars at speed by sending the fledgling shooter out on the Long Island Expressway to take shots of trucks roaring by with his Hassleblad.
It was a little dicey, but I learned how to take some great photos, Jackson recalled.
Last year, he started seeing some local road rally shots appear in the area newspapers, and Jackson perked up his ears.
I had to go out and see what this was all about, because it struck me as grassroots, what racing used to be, said the veteran driver and race official. You go out and have a lot of fun
no big sponsors, no big money.
In Rally New York 2005, which was held last weekend on several roads in the Town of Tusten, the retired steam fitter served as Deputy Clerk of the Course (Operations), and in this capacity helped plan the event and get the local community to turnout to support the rally. That support came from fire departments selling burgers and chips in a couple of spectator areas to the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance hawking soda in the service area.
As Jackson builds up a head of steam for rallying, he said hes learning a few European phrases related to rallying. For example, he noted that the racing surface is referred to as tarmac instead of asphalt. And he said theres no such thing as the pits, instead, its a service area.
Anything thats got chrome and makes noise is good, Jackson said. Im excited about this.
Rally New York 2005 covered 250 miles, mostly over roads in the Town of Tusten on Saturday, April 16.
Several safety-marshalled areas were set up so spectators could get close to the rally action, both on tarmac and gravel sections of roadway.
It showed spectators the skill of the drivers, said Ivan Orisek of Forestburgh, who served as clerk of the course.
In addition to Orisek and Jackson, other members of the rallys senior staff are Olga Orisek (treasurer/secretary) and Rich Otis (chief communications officer).
As rally organizer, Orisek ran a tight ship: before each special stage linked by transit sections started, he sped by in a vehicle equipped with flashing lights and a wailing siren to make sure the course was clear of wandering motorists or folks out walking the dog.
The third in a trio of safety vehicles was #000, a 1961 Saab 96 driven by Bruce Turk, President of the Vintage Saab Club of North America.
On the 41 cars entered, only 26 completed the rally, giving mute testimony that rallying isnt for the faint of heart as 15 cars were officially listed DNF (did not finish).
The top 10 finishers were: 1. Seamus Burke (Ireland) and Mark William (USA) in a time of 1:00:20. They drove a Hydundai Tiburon [Prototype 1]; 2. Patrick Farrell (Ireland) and Kieran McElhinney (Ireland) in 1:02:07. They drove a Subaru Impreza [Prototype 1]; 3. Liam Egan (Ireland) and Sean Moriaty (Ireland) in 1:02:56. They drove a Mitsubishi Evo 5 [Group N]; 4. Daniel OBrien (Ireland) and Stephan Duffy (Ireland) in 1:03:40. They drove a Subaru WRX STI [Super Stock1]; 5. Noel Nash (USA) and Eddie Fries (Ireland) in 1:04:14. They drove a Mitsubishi Evo 6 [Prototype 1]; 6. Brendan Kelly (Ireland) and Monica Trotter (USA) in 1:04:41. They drove a Subaru WRX STI [Group N]; 7. Maciej Przbysz (Poland) and Dominik Jozwiak (Poland) in 1:06:39, with a Subaru Impreza [Prototype 1]; 8. Scott Gardner (USA) and C. Mantoploulos (Germany) in 1:07:03. They drove an Audi S2 Quattro [Prototype 1]; 9. Emilio Arce (Argentina) and Craig Threll (USA) in 1:07:42. They drove driving a Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS [Super Stock 2]; and 10. Cyril Kearner (Ireland) and Mark McAlister (Ireland) in 1:08:16. They drove a Subaru WRX STI [Super Stock 1].
Proving that rally is an international sport, now gaining recognition in the United States, of the top 10 drivers/co-drivers, 11 listed Ireland as their home country, five from the USA, two from Poland and one each from Argentina and Germany
According to Burke, he and William were a little slow on special stage 2.
We werent settled in yet, he said.
Although delayed by a flat tire and a dragging brake pad on special stage 5, they gained 19 seconds over their rivals on special stages 8 and 9 to grab victory over the second-place finishers by 1 minute and 47 seconds.
While rallying might not be as well known in the United States, in the rest of the world its the biggest auto racing spectator sport, Orisek said. Overseas, there are hundreds of thousands of spectators watching the big rallies.
As the crowds cheered the drivers racing towards victory, a cadre of photographers recorded the event for posterity. Neil McDaid shot it for his Web site (www.rallyplanet.com). In addition to snapping photos, Steve Kurey donned several hats for Rally New York, including marshall and tech inspector.
Later this year, on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, Sullivan County will host the areas first international road rally.
As part of the United States Rally Championship (USRC), it will be part of a four-event series run by the United States Rally Association (USRA).
USRC events are co-sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the National Auto Sports Association (NASA).
For more information, call Orisek at 794-4096 or visit the Web site www.rallynewyork.com.