Endurance rally makes stop here
David and Joanna Roberts of Northumbria, England, are enjoying their drive across the United States. The Robertses are traversing the upper portion of the U.S. and part of Canada as part of the Endurance Rally Association's Trans America Tour. Da...
David and Joanna Roberts of Northumbria, England, are enjoying their drive across the United States.
The Robertses are traversing the upper portion of the U.S. and part of Canada as part of the Endurance Rally Association’s Trans America Tour. David Roberts said they started in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on June 6 and will end up in San Francisco on June 28.
While the name of the event is Trans America Tour, this is a rally race, a timed event in which the rally car teams are competing against each other.
The Robertses are two of about 90 people taking part in the rally, making the trip in a 1968 Triumph TR250. Roberts said they chose this car because it is comfortable and fast.
“The Triumph TR250 is an American car, it was made in America,” he said about the two-seat convertible. He said they found one in England, restored it, then decided to bring the car back to its native soil for the Trans America Tour.
Joanna Roberts is the navigator for the rally. Rally racing is when vehicles race between two points and are timed. Points are given on how quickly vehicles arrive and whether or not the driver followed the correct route.
Joanna Roberts said she has enjoyed seeing the U.S. and Canada mainly on off-the-beaten- path roads.
“We took a lot of back roads in Canada,” she said. “Those were a lot of fun.”
David Roberts said he, too, has liked the back roads.
“We have driven on dirt roads,” he said. “Dirt roads are so much fun. We don’t have dirt roads in England.”
The couple said once they arrive in San Francisco, they will take some time to see the sights, then drive back to Nova Scotia.
“We’re really looking forward to driving Route 66 all the way up to Chicago,” Joanna Roberts said.
Tony Jones, of northern England, is one of the Endurance Rally Association’s tour managers. He said 39 cars are competing in the Trans America Tour. He said the association chose Frontier Village as a lunch stop on the rally because the association’s members like to pick places that would be of interest to the rally teams.
“We needed a stopping point between Grand Forks and Bismarck, and Jamestown seemed like a good place,” he said.
The cars in the Trans America Tour are from the vintage class, made post World War I up to 1950, and the classic class, made from 1950 to 1975.
Jones said the association hosted an endurance rally from New York to Alaska three years ago that was very popular.
“We wanted to do a more east-to-west route this time,” he said.
The Trans America Tour stopped in Bismarck Thursday night. From there the rally teams will drive to Rapids City, S.D., and stop for rest on Saturday, before picking up the trail on Sunday.
The association provides support for the teams, including mechanics and hotel rooms for nightly stops. Jones said many of the drivers and navigators know their cars pretty well and can fix most of their mechanical problems on their own.
Jones said teams from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Malaysia are competing in the tour.
Dato’ Hokkiang Sia and his son, Eric Kuanrong Sia, are competing in the Trans America Tour in a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II that he had shipped over from Malaysia.
“I’m going to compete in the Peking to Paris rally next year,” Hokkiang Sia said. “I wanted to do this rally to see what it is like to do a longer rally.”
A geologist, Hokkiang Sia said he is enjoying the Trans America Tour due to the challenges it has presented him. He does daily updates of his progress on the social media site Facebook.
So far the Rolls Royce has only presented some minor electrical and mechanical problems. He has gotten help by staying in contact with members of a Rolls Royce club here in the United States.
“The drive has been excellent, a lot of fun,” he said about the rally.
For updates on the Trans America Tour, go to http://www.endurorally.com/pages/trans-america-2015-reports . There is a link to Hokkian Sia’s Facebook site at this web address.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com