Written by Jon Lamkins
Event Name: Hurdle 2019 National GTA
Date: September 7, 2019
Rallymasters: Jon and Kelli Lamkins
2019 Hurdle GTA Final Results
1st Place Winners
C. Robert Morseburg and R. Bruce Gezon
2nd Place Finishers
Lelia and Stuart Alexander
3rd Place Finishers
Alison Lucier and Dawn Peterson
4th Place Finishers
Nicola and Joseph Scaramuzzo
5th Place Finishers
Jessica McGillis and Richard Miller
What is GTA Rally?
NER’s Rally program kicked off its September slate with the Hurdle 2019 National GTA RoadRally. It was sanctioned as one of only two National Game Tour Adventure (hence GTA) events. The Lamkins family (Jon, Kelli, Jordan, and Samantha) have been putting on the Hurdle RoadRally as an NER event since 1998 (the first Hurdle in 1997 was a car club event), when its format was TSD (time-speed-distance). Since the SCCA National Rally board introduced the Game Tour Adventure classification in 2006, Hurdle has been run as a GTA using the Shortest Distance model popularized by NER’s Cape Cod Courageous Old Timers Rally.
Like August’s Rally Against Leukemia, Hurdle competitors are given a map (Connecticut State Tourism) and a list of questions (19 for Hurdle). The questions reference location on the map. Competitors spend 30 – 60 minutes locating the question locations on the map then plotting the order to visit them in what they believe will be the shortest distance. They spend the next 8+ hours driving around Connecticut locating the question answers. Scoring is based on miles traveled and penalties for wrong/omitted answers. (There are ancillary penalties if teams arrive after a certain time, which did not need to be considered on this year’s event).
Fourteen teams started Hurdle 2019 in Southington, CT with 13 of the teams visiting all the locations and all 14 making it to the finish in Plantsville, CT. Teams visited Connecticut sites like the USS Nautilus Submarine & Museum, the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Hurd State Park, and Nathan Hale Schoolhouse. Along the way the teams learned about Lady Alice Fenwick, Occum Dam, Assekonk Borderland trail, Portland’s Brownstone Arch, and Roast Meat Hill Road (yes Connecticut has a road so named). Teams visited 3 cemeteries, leading the Rallymasters to sub-title the event “The Haunted Fields edition.”
Based upon stories being swapped at the finish, one of the trickiest questions was at Plattwood Park in Deep River where teams had to look at the back of a sign to find that “5 laps = 1 Mile”. The question at the North Stonington Town Green tripped up a few teams when they answered three fourths of the questions with a sign at the town offices rather than a plaque at the Town Green. Stories of missed turns, miss reads of their maps, or short cuts on roads that became impassible were prevalent at that finish.
At the Finish
When the dust had settled, the National team of R. Bruce Gezon, Steve Gaddy, and C. Robert Morseburg emerged victorious over the Hebron, CT team of Stuart and Lelia Alexander by a 177.48 to 179.90 margin. Perennial New England GTA event competitors Dawn Peterson and Alison Lucier took their first ever top 5 finish by finishing 3rd with a score of 184.10. Nicola and Joseph Scaramuzzo (competing in their first Hurdle since 2000) finished 4th with a score of 185.20. Richard Miller and Jessica McGillis rounded out the top 5 with a score 186.75, avenging the terrible day they had on the 2018 event. Team Septski (Robin Dombrowolski and Carrie September, with Evan September) took Dead Last But Finished (DLBF) honors with a score of 353.30, adding to their NER GTA legend with the most hilarious incorrect answer of the event.
Hurdle DLBF team
Carrie September, Evan September, and Robin Dombrowolski