Alcan Winter Rally FAQ
(Updated 11/15/2011)
* What is the entry limit?  We could handle 30.  This means we're about full, but may overbook to allow for cancellations.

* How do I reserve a spot?  We'll hold one based on an e-mail or phone call, but need an entry form and deposit quickly.  I don't care if half the information says "tba", send an entry form!

* How are starting numbers assigned?  In general, early entries get better numbers.  Past winners start first, past entrants start before novices, and exceptions may be made for press.  Final car numbers will be assigned a few weeks ahead, but the web list is roughly in start order. (Minor adjustments may also be made to keep teams closer together).

* What are the risks?  We haven't had an injury accident in 24 years of winter events, but a few cars have been badly damaged.  With 30 entries we're talking 150,000 vehicle miles in serious winter conditions, and cautious driving is expected of everyone.

* How much help can I expect?  Our first concern is everyone's personal safety, worrying about equipment is a distant second. What this means in practice is that radios, planning, a "buddy system", capable teams, and experienced staff make immediate response to any problem the rule, but we may not have enough resources at any given time and location to spend hours helping a broken or badly "stuffed" vehicle.  At a minimum, you should expect transport to the nearest warm place where commercial help is available.  We do our best to help with vehicle repair or extraction, but not if this would in itself be a hazard or limit resources needed to insure the safety of others.

* Can you carry gear if we have 3 people in an Impreza? We'd like to avoid it, but yes. Officials will not carry tires or safety equipment, but will transport one bag of items per "small" vehicle (be sure it's not essential for your overnight, an official vehicle could be hours behind assisting someone else...).

* What vehicle do you recommend?  You'd likely have more fun in an Audi or Subaru, and find the most reserve capability a fulll size 4x4 truck (trucks are also cheaper & lighter than a similar SUV...).  We use big trucks for sweep vehicles, but my personal favorite Alcan vehicles over the years were a Dodge D50 diesel (30 mpg), Audi 5000 Quattro (20 MPG), Ford Excursion (13 MPG with gas V10, 500+ mile range), and Volvo XC70 (25 MPG).  We also like Subaru Foresters, but range is poor.  I've done 3 winter Alcans in 100,000+ mile Quattros, but don't trust recent models.  PS: We have seen teams in rental vehicles.  We don't recommend this, but this is not a race and as long as insurance covers you in Canada we'd probably accept it.  (Haven't had a rental win Alcan yet, but they've been 2nd place).

* What vehicle if we're really serious about winning?  Well, you won't win rallycrosses in a full size truck, so a safe compromise is probably a solid SUV.  This will give you space, reasonable handling, and reserve capability if the weather turns ugly.  An AWD sedan is also nice, but they haven't proven one bit faster in the rallycross sections.

* What do you NOT recommend?  Well, not 2wd unless you're talented and/or want a challenge.  Same story for a short-wheelbase SUV or truck:  a long wheelbase is more stable, short is nimble and "tossable" but demands skill and attention (show up with a 4" lift too and we'll just send you home - nobody is that talented...).  Also be wary of automatic 4x4 hubs (replace them with manual hubs).  We have never had any Ford Ranger or Explorer finish a winter Alcan with 4wd still functioning. Two examples (others involve sponsored entries we won't mention):
 > The '95 Ranger +cab I used on '96 Alcan Winter lost a front hub on day 3.
 > In 1990 Siegfried Lucka (Paris-Dakar veteran) bought a new Ranger for Alcan, but swore he'd have driven his Caravan if he knew he'd be in 2wd for 3,500 miles.

* What's a "rallycross"?  Basically an autocross on ice or snow.  These run 1 car at a time, and venues have included 1/4 mile oval tracks, snowmobile courses on frozen lakes or rivers, and Anchorage Sports Car Club's road course on Big Lake near Wasilla.  (We've also called them "Solo II" in the past, but moved SCCA sanction and don't want to misuse their name).

* When is the next Alcan event?  The next Alcan Winter Rally will be 2012, then 2016.  The next summer Alcan will be in August 2014.

* Why is your web site so basic?  We're trying to make information quickly and easily available, not impress with html.  Some web browsers still don't support frames so we like basics.  (OK, here's some music to read by).

Best Regards,