From Prescott to Seed 9…

by on Oct.31, 2010, under Photos

Sooooo….. it’s been a month, but after not finishing another rally, I felt robbed of any motivation to write something here.  With that being said, we will be racing in a week.  This definitely provides a bit of motivation as the anticipation grows for when we get to go fast again.

Prescott Rally was a great time, but it was tough.  We left Rally HQ pretty late… so late that after driving straight through the night, we only got about 45 minutes of sleep before having to get up at 6:00am to go run recce.  Steve and I have been trying to get into the habit of utilizing recce to its full potential, so after a very tiring 7 HOURS of recce, we headed straight to registration and tech inspection.  Parc expose and drivers meetings were both mandatory, leaving us with only 30 minutes for a quick nap back at the hotel.  We were seeded to start in the 11th position out of 22 cars, and I was sitting in the driver seat of the car during parc expose, falling asleep.

The stages were amazing and really fun to drive.  On stages 1 & 2 we were fastest in our class and 7th overall, just seconds behind the six-figure Subarus!  Pulling into service, I was complaining that the newly rebuilt coilovers felt like shit.  We quickly discovered that threads in the housings were gone, along with the locknuts that used to hold the strut rods in place.  While we got to work on the car, we were reseeded to the 7th position, which means we lost 4 minutes of our already short, 35 minute service.  With some positive reinforcement from our Streetwise Motorsports service neighbor Doug Nagy, we ripped the front suspension out and started digging for new nuts to hold the rods in place.  With much urgency, we struggled to compress the struts enough to get the nuts on and stuff the suspension back under the car.  We left service late, and had to make up a LOT of time during the 20 mile transit… in that haste, we arrived into time control, and accepted a 1 minute interval instead of the 2 minutes we were supposed to get.  With a two minute interval, it was bad, but being only 1 minute behind an AWD car on a night with no wind, was nearly impossible.  We had some slow times on stages 3 & 4 which put us back at 10th overall, and second in our class for the first day.  We then spent the night pulling the suspension back out to reinforce it, and doing a full reprep of the car.

Steve and I don’t have a lot of time in the car, so we tend to ramp our speed up gradually.  After getting the required minimum amount of sleep, we finally had food in our stomachs and were ready to go fast.  Stage 5 was 21 miles of very fast flowing roads turning into a steep hill climb of switchback after switchback on the edge of some gnarly cliff drop exposure.  We did 1st in our class and 5th overall!  We were reseeded to 5th position in the start order as we turned around to run that same stage in the reverse direction, as Stage 6.  Steve and I took off into the switchbacks with a lot of confidence… only this time they were downhill.  We had a lot of oh shit moments… and one very close call in a left 3 high up on a cliff.  Just as we were starting to get into the faster roads, we had a blow out.  Steve informed me we were about half way through… 10 miles to go.  I don’t know if I made the decision on my own, or if it was a group effort, but we decided to run the flat.  I think I kinda knew what was going to happen, but adrenaline is a crazy drug.  2 miles later we had lost the tire, wheel, brakes, and spindle… and were now driving at speed with 3 wheels and no brakes.  For 8 miles, Steve and I laughed our asses off while I tried to whip the car through corners without brakes.  I think I remember people rushing to get out of the way as we barreled through time control with a large hole in our gas tank, dragging the rear end of the car on the ground.  This obviously meant we were done.  But it was all worth it.

So here we are again, a week from the next race and the car is no where near being ready.  A few late nights and we will be on our way to Vegas.  RALLY!


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