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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/5/20 8:33 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Your rally car list is basically a list of "what cars am i most likely to have problems with?"

Admit it - you just like working on them and fixing them constantly :)

I haven't even started getting into Italian or French cars yet, it could be worse.  An unreliable car is a reliable way to not be bored.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 8:37 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Your rally car list is basically a list of "what cars am i most likely to have problems with?"

Admit it - you just like working on them and fixing them constantly :)

I haven't even started getting into Italian or French cars yet, it could be worse.  An unreliable car is a reliable way to not be bored.

hence why you sold that Camry so fast ;)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/14/20 12:41 p.m.

This is the first time I've packed the big truck for a rally- not only does everything fit in the bed, it's also all below the top edge:

We leave Thursday!

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
7/14/20 12:59 p.m.

when you get rid of it you should get a classic mini as a historic rallycar

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 2:26 p.m.
MrChaos said:

when you get rid of it you should get a classic mini as a historic rallycar

I've thought about that.  If Minis weren't so damned expensive... and were more durable.  The BRZ is cheaper to buy and set up.

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
7/14/20 2:41 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:
MrChaos said:

when you get rid of it you should get a classic mini as a historic rallycar

I've thought about that.  If Minis weren't so damned expensive... and were more durable.  The BRZ is cheaper to buy and set up.

im picking up one for rallycross next year. Classic mini that is

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 3:32 p.m.

In reply to MrChaos :

I had the same thoughts when I had mine, but I don't know now... My Mini couldn't survive a run through the streets of Philly.  I look at the pictures in Josh's thread and wonder how it would make it through one run at a DC event.  I would definitely have to trailer it and assume the car wouldn't be drivable after the event.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 6:58 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to MrChaos :

I had the same thoughts when I had mine, but I don't know now... My Mini couldn't survive a run through the streets of Philly.  I look at the pictures in Josh's thread and wonder how it would make it through one run at a DC event.  I would definitely have to trailer it and assume the car wouldn't be drivable after the event.

Granted, I only post the pictures of people on the rough parts. The DC courses are actually smoother than most places :)

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
7/14/20 7:12 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to MrChaos :

I had the same thoughts when I had mine, but I don't know now... My Mini couldn't survive a run through the streets of Philly.  I look at the pictures in Josh's thread and wonder how it would make it through one run at a DC event.  I would definitely have to trailer it and assume the car wouldn't be drivable after the event.

Granted, I only post the pictures of people on the rough parts. The DC courses are actually smoother than most places :)

yes, etr seems to have a course walk for oil pan smashers when setting up the course, those who camp there the night before and before the day starts.

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
7/14/20 7:13 p.m.

but i would be trailering the mini there and back anyway

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/16/20 11:44 a.m.

En route- already had a trailer wiring issue and an e30 stopped to see if we needed help, hopefully that's not foreshadowing...

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 7:44 a.m.

Southern Ohio Forest Rally

Tech and Recce

Apart from a small trailer wiring issue, we had a largely uneventful tow out to the rally- the new (to us, it does have over 250k miles) 2500HD made easy work of the hills in West Virginia and was generally excellent to pull a trailer with.  We got to our hotel Thursday night and turned in, parking next to Greenhouse's Neon rally car and service rig.

The schedule for the event was roughly as follows: Tech and Recce Friday afternoon, more Tech and Recce Saturday morning, and racing starting at 7pm Saturday through ???? Sunday.  On Friday we decided to get into Tech as early as possible- this turned out to be a good move, and apart from some confusion over whether our car needed a restrictor (no, it's plenty slow already thanks) we passed without issue.  The car had a bit of touble starting, but we figured it had just fouled the plugs a bit last time we shut it down cold so we left it alone.

Shortly afterwards, Brian (paranoid_android) showed up and handed over the keys to his Impreza to use for Recce.  The Merkur just needed the event stickers installed as far as we could tell, so we left him with it and took off with his car.

Recce was fully open for this event, meaning we could do as many passes as we wanted as long as we stuck to the 35mph speed limit on the stage roads.  This was nice since there were no notes provided for this event at all, so we had to write notes from scratch for the two very long stages- Recce went pretty well, and we were glad to have Brian's Impreza since our truck would have had trouble making it around some of the tighter turns.  We did get hung up a bit waiting for a tree to be cleared, and a Tahoe to be towed back onto the road, but had no problems ourselves.

I'm still not totally confident in my ability to assign calls to corners, but Sara has her system for writing down the notes pretty well ironed out- first pass was a lot of writing, and some editing on the second pass got us something we were quite happy with.  We were out of time after two passes on Friday, and rolled back to the service park with a dirty rear window to track our progress:

Some dinner, back to the hotel, and Sara rewrote her notes neatly in a nicer book for the "final" copy- I believe we ended up with something like 26 pages for SS1/3/5 and 18 pages for SS2/4/6, just absurdly long stages especially when we would have to run in the dark.

The next morning, we went out and did one more Recce pass to get the notes fine tuned with a few minimal changes.  Feeling good, we headed back to the service park, drove the Merkur a little- it was still having some starting trouble, but every other time it has done this it cleared up so we just got the starting fluid ready in case it really wasn't having it when race time came along.  We had a little interview with 12oz Sports, who will be streaming their coverage of the event on July 25th, hung out with a few of our competitors, as well as Battocchi and Kimmett (running sweep and zero, respectively)  and got back to the hotel for a bit of rest in the air conditioning before what was sure to be a long night.  Checked out some of the competition before leaving, of course:

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 8:04 a.m.

Souther Ohio Forest Rally

Race Night!

Just as we left the hotel to get back to the service park, it started raining.  Pouring, really- and we had left the windows on the truck and the rally car down!  When we got to service, we found that Battocchi had closed everything up for us so we wouldn't have to be soggy all night.  The dude is a hero.

A bit more milling around, some final checks, water and snacks in the car, it had stopped raining and we were ready to go- it was still really hot and humid, but at least the rain would keep the dust down a bit.  We didn't really know what to expect for road conditions but hey, neither would anybody else!  We were right behind the Cooper/Stephens e30 leaving for SS1:

The transits at this event didn't have much padding built into them, so we didn't get much of a break between stages- it was basically arrive, have a quick pee if needed, belt in, and go.  This would eventually take its' toll on some competitors, with many retiring from heat/motion sickness related issues with the lack of downtime, but we were largely fine.

With it still somewhat light out, we launched onto SS1 with the light bar running more to make sure it would stay on for a full stage than anything else.  After a few miles, we were feeling good, and keeping away from the steep hill that was constantly on one side or the other- this stage also had transitions onto tarmac and back to gravel, which we were really nailing, it was awesome.  The car seemed to have even more turbo lag than normal, but maybe it's just my imagination.  Eventually we caught an e36, who as it turns out had a cracked throttle pedal limiting their speed, and made a somewhat scary pass on the outside of a relatively narrow L2 with a cliff inches from the passenger side wheels.  In the end, we posted a halfway respectable time for SS1 and were pretty happy:

It's worth noting that I had decided before this event that I was not going to look at the gauges on stage at all- temperature and oil pressure be damned, I was going to run as fast as the car would let me.  This turned out to be a totally fine choice, and while the car got hot and ran like the crappy old turbo Ford that it is, it didn't seem to bother it that I wasn't backing off as the temperature climbed.

At the start of SS2, we got held for a while due to a car fire before transiting through and being given a bogey time- this turned out to be Pastrana's car, nobody really knows what initially lit it off but it sure burned for a long time.  We could feel the heat coming off it driving by:

We transited back to service behind a 323 GTX and checked in.  Both services at this event were really short at only 25 minutes a piece, so we basically just looked over the car, checked fluids, threw some more water bottles in, and were off to fuel.  The car took a full 5 gallons, and had trouble starting again- we almost certainly had a leaky injector, and seemed to be getting pretty poor fuel economy.  Then we sat in a regroup control for a while before eventually setting off in exactly the same order as before:

On SS3 I pushed a bit too hard in some of the wrong places- it was dark, it was still hot, it was getting dusty, we had a real scare when I hung two wheels off the edge of a cliff, and I also had my HANS device tether caught on something for a while and couldn't really turn my head.  Terrifying.  But, it was also incredibly fun- especially when we caught the e36 again, who was hung up behind the 323 GTX.  Once the GTX let us both by, we duked it out for a bit on both gravel and tarmac before the e36 eventually let us by and we slowly got away from them.  Sara was pretty composed but by the end of the stage I looked like this:

I pulled myself back together on the transit and was ready for SS4.  It was scary running SS4 in the dark without the benefit of racing on it while it was light out, but I went at a slightly more comfortable pace after our experience on the previous stage and overall things felt good.  It's worth noting that, while this event was super technical and had relatively high penalties for going off in a lot of places, the roads were smooth and I think we legitimately only used the skidplate in a few places where we cut a bit too much and put the inside wheels in the ditch.  You could probably run this event on stock suspension.

With SS4 done, we headed back to service again, this time with and annoying scraping noise coming from the front right wheel.  It must have just been a small rock in the pads or something, because by the time we arrived the noise was gone- we jacked it up and checked anyway, but all seemed well.  When it came time to fuel, I was seriously worried about running out with our leaky injector, so we not only put in our remaining 5 gallons but also bummed another 5 off of Gondyke/Chuong for some extra insurance, since it was nearly 3am and there were not going to be any gas stations open along the transit route.

SS5 was freaking awesome- we shaved something like 20 seconds off our our "oh god that was scary" time from SS3, and didn't poop ourselves doing it because we only pushed where it made sense.  At the end my eyes were burning and watering, and I realized I had forgotten to blink for a full 5 minutes or so.  It is an absolutely wild feeling being "in the zone" for a 16 mile multi surface stage in the dark at 330AM.

SS6 was a similar story, we were feeling quick and composed and on track to make up some ground on the competition, but near the end of the stage we came upon a red cross for a car on its' side- the crew was fine, thankfully, but there went our stage time for the last bit of the rally.  We transited back to service, checked in, saw some trophies get handed out, put the car on the trailer, and got back to the hotel after 5am for some much needed sleep:

I am so, so glad we did this event- it had so many firsts for us.  First all nighter, first time writing our own notes, first time with no intercom failures, first time combined gravel/tarmac, and I'm sure more that I'm forgetting.  Thank you Brian for crewing, and thank you team Gondyke/Chuong for donating the fuel that got us through the last bit!  I'm still recovering, because of the relatively disastrous tow home, which I will document shortly.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 9:24 a.m.

Man, been waiting for this post for like 2 days now, sitting at home being bored.  Wish we could have made it, because I still want to do those roads (so, reminiscent of BRS?). Maybe next year (I feel like I keep saying that).

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 9:28 a.m.

Towing Home

After what could maybe have been 4 hours of sleep if you round up, we said our goodbyes to Brian and got on the road aiming to be home around 6pm.  The trailer had a bit of a shake going on but we figured it was just a little wheel imbalance.  It wasn't.

To shorten the story immensely, it turned out to be an internal tire failure which was hopping the rear axle around so much that the trailer brakes shorted, one of the ramps dropped and dragged along the road, and the leaf spring shackles ovaled out so badly that the whole thing started swaying back ond forth.  We stopped once to fix the brakes, and Kimmet stopped to check on us before continuing on.  The big truck tows so smoothly that I really couldn't tell anything was wrong until it was too late.

Why not just install the spare?  Well, it had bottomed out on something and bent the mount, which the shaking then fatigued until, somewhere in the middle of who knows, this:

Our spare is possibly still rolling through the woods of West Virginia somewhere.  So we stopped at one Tractor Supply for shackles, another different one for a wheel and tire, and eventually got back on the road having lost a LOT of time working on a stupid trailer in a hot parking lot in direct sunlight:

Then, arriving home after 11pm, we pulled off the highway and the steering got a lot harder and the brakes started to disappear- the truck's hydroboost system had leaked nearly all of the power steering fluid out.  We limped it the last little bit home and finally got some much needed rest.

The truck has power brakes and steering again now that I've topped up the power steering fluid, but clearly it needs a seal somewhere.  I'm just glad it got us almost all the way home before having any issues.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 9:30 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Man, been waiting for this post for like 2 days now, sitting at home being bored.  Wish we could have made it, because I still want to do those roads (so, reminiscent of BRS?). Maybe next year (I feel like I keep saying that).

Tighter and smoother than BRS, and the surface is amazingly resilient and only gets minor ruts where everyone cuts corners, and lots of sections of fast tarmac too.  Really my only disappointment with the roads was the lack of jumps, otherwise they were absolutely amazing.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 9:44 a.m.

Basically sounds like my dream rally if tighter than BRS and lacking jumps lol....

 

Also, can sympathize with you on the trailer thing, if you caught my trailer drama earlier this year....

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/21/20 9:46 a.m.

Thanks for typing all that up. Really enjoyed reading it. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 9:49 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Basically sounds like my dream rally if tighter than BRS and lacking jumps lol....

 

Also, can sympathize with you on the trailer thing, if you caught my trailer drama earlier this year....

I think you would absolutely haul ass there, as long as you can keep yourself from thinking about the cliffside and can obey "don't cut" notes when needed, there's lots of weird concrete stuff in the ditches that will take a wheel off if you're not careful.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 10:00 a.m.

In reply to Somebeach (Forum Supporter) :

No problem!  If there's ever something you want clarification or more detail on feel free to ask, I oversimplify lots of aspects just so that I'm not going off on tangents and getting lost when I write these things.  Glad you enjoyed it!

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 10:07 a.m.

I was slightly upset that I slept through the trophies but at least I didn't miss the regional awards. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/21/20 10:13 a.m.

In reply to EvanB (Forum Supporter) :

Eh, the awards were pretty lame anyway- I think they should have skipped them entirely and done it all online during the week or something, we were all tired and it was the only time I really think the attempts at social distancing broke down during the event.

Sorry I didn't bring the Aprilia out for you.  Did anyone tell you there was a sweet Ranchero parked along the transit route that you need to go back and make an offer on?

racerboy000
racerboy000 Reader
7/21/20 10:16 a.m.

Great write up!  I miss rallying!

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/21/20 10:18 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to EvanB (Forum Supporter) :

Eh, the awards were pretty lame anyway- I think they should have skipped them entirely and done it all online during the week or something, we were all tired and it was the only time I really think the attempts at social distancing broke down during the event.

Sorry I didn't bring the Aprilia out for you.  Did anyone tell you there was a sweet Ranchero parked along the transit route that you need to go back and make an offer on?

I was mentioning to Brian that I could have brought the 323 GTX to trade for the Aprilia. 

Didn't hear about the Ranchero, I might have to make a trip down sometime. I want to get down there to check out some of the stage roads anyway. 

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/21/20 10:22 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I don't want to clog up your build thread, but do you have a thread somewhere that talks about how you got into rally?

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