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TdS Report #59: Pace Car Story

American Honda Motor Company is a gold sponsor of the 2002 Tour de Sol and
their Honda Civic Hybrid is the official Pace Car of the road rally. Usually
that means it's the first car under the banner at each Start and at each Finish
line. But on Thursday things didn't work out that way.

I heard the first part of the story on Friday morning from Lorraine Margolies
of Team Driven to Work. "After we left Chesapeake City, we were all going
along Interstate 95, the long route, and there was a huge backup on the road."
A diesel tanker truck had upset and spilled on I95 south of the Delaware
Memorial Bridge and morning commute traffic became a mess for miles around. As
the Pace Car came upon the stopped traffic, Michael Tebo, the driver, pulled
into a rest stop that just happened to be there. A flashing light bar on the
roof of the Pace Car made it very visible to the following rally cars, so they
all pulled in also. He called the local police and found out that the roads
were closed ahead. The teams then had a meeting and negotiated a new route to
Philadelphia. "I was really impressed at how people pulled together and made
sure that all the teams on the long route were there." Then Michael decided
that the Pace Car would be the last vehicle in line instead of first, so the
flashing light would protect the trailing cars and any cars having difficulties
would be noticed. After the parade was on the new route and away from the
traffic jams, the Pace Car resumed its position at the front of the line.

Michael gave me the rest of the story. "I let the police know we were in the
rest area and that we didn't want to create a second situation. In a great
example of how the teams all work together, we all looked at the map and
figured out how we could go up two more exits, get off, and catch an alternate
route." The West Philly High School team was having trouble getting their car
to start, so the group waited until they were able to run. Only then did they
leave. Since the rest area was in the center of the highway, they had to cross
5 lanes of traffic to get to the exit. That was when the Civic Hybrid ran at
the back of the group.

"Honda works like that as a company and that is why we are on the Tour.
Sometimes you need to innovate on the spot. It was team work, which is the
whole point of the Tour," said Michael.

- - - -
The complete set of Tour de Sol Reports for 2002 can be found at:
http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2002
The complete set of past Tour de Sol Reports can be found at:
http://www.FovealSystems.com/Tour_de_Sol_Reports.html
- - - -
The above is Copyright 2002 by Michael H. Bianchi.
Permission to copy is granted provided the entire article is presented
without modification and this notice remains attached.
For other arrangements, contact me at +1-973-822-2024 .
- - - -
For more on the NESEA Tour de Sol, see the web page at
http://www.nesea.org
- - - -
Official NESEA Tour de Sol information is available from the sponsor,
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) at
413 774-6051 , and 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 , and
[email protected] . All media enquiries should be addressed to ...
Jack Groh
Groh Associates
[email protected] email
401 732-1551 telephone
401 732-0547 fax
401 952-0886 cell/pager
 
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