apex2apex New Reader
2/15/22 9:22 a.m.

What exhaust is on your BRZ? Looks like a dirt bike muffler? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/15/22 9:27 a.m.

In reply to apex2apex :

It has stock headers with the cat in them, and then is basically just 2.5" pipe all the way back to a damaged and cut down Yoshimura off an R1.  The spot where the exhaust passes under the subframe is actually roll cage tubing since it gets hit constantly.

engiekev HalfDork
2/21/22 8:05 a.m.

Great job in the insanely tough conditions at Snodrift!  I didnt get a chance to run to service and say hi, was working start at ss8/ss11 on Saturday, I don't believe I saw you through the first time for ss8 (due to the stage 7 fiasco?)?

kodachrome New Reader
2/21/22 8:07 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

Yes, the fiasco. 

engiekev HalfDork
2/21/22 8:20 a.m.

There's always drama at a stage rally!  We were setting up SS8 start, and the DOT plow trucks forced us to regroup and ALMOST plowed the entire stage.  I heard they were trying to get out on another stage as well. It sounded like the sweep pull out and attrition rate was surprisingly average considering the conditions.

Of course, there was the usual drunken debauchery at bonfire alley.

That VW has an ice cream truck horn, you guys need a fun horn too!

engiekev HalfDork
2/21/22 9:00 a.m.

Here's a short clip of the car (not mine), showing how slippy the roads were. 


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/21/22 9:06 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

Thanks again for volunteering!  The stages were insanely, "can't stand up" slippery so the videos are super lame but the photos all look fast even though they were taken at 5mph.  Writeup soon hopefully, what a weekend.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/21/22 9:18 a.m.

I miss the SpecialStage commentary where people from out of country wonder why nobody was using studs.

engiekev HalfDork
2/21/22 9:20 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

I miss the SpecialStage commentary where people from out of country wonder why nobody was using studs.

Still plenty of commentary from the locals spectating, stating they could run the stage faster in their lifted truck on mud terrains.

EDIT: of course they can't, but its sure fun to listen to them

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
2/21/22 9:30 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

Yeah.... no they can't.  I've gotten stuck on dry pavement on mud tires.

Recon1342 Dork
2/21/22 9:44 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to engiekev :

Yeah.... no they can't.  I've gotten stuck on dry pavement on mud tires.

Mud Terrains are awesome in soft dirt, mud, and other slop. They are possibly worse than slicks on ice...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/21/22 10:25 a.m.

Sno*Drift 2022

Towing and Recce

As (annoyingly) usual, our tow out was less than perfect.  Sunrise saw us waiting at a NAPA somewhere in the Poconos with a dead alternator:

We did get a little lucky here, since it turns out the truck's alternator was a NAPA replacement already so they warrantied it.  A couple more hours down the road, though, the battery light was back on and we were headed to the next closest NAPA yet again- once removed, our new alternator had a rattle to it and visible chunks of epoxy loose in the body.  So we replaced it yet again and hit the road, finally making it to Michigan after dark in the freezing rain.  As the temperatures dropped, things got incredibly icy and we had to crawl at sub-10mph just to make it around gradual curves without the truck and trailer snaking all over the place.

The next day, on recce, conditions had not improved.  Warm temperatures earlier in the week combined with rain had made the stages into a full-blown skating rink, to the point where falling over if you got out of the car was a real concern and the 30mph recce speed limit was nearly race pace.  Our recce ride for this event was Justin Brock's Yaris, which handled it all like an absolute champ:

Here's a closeup of the road, don't let the dusting of snow on top fool you into thinking there's anything but 3in of ice under there:

At one point, on Hunter's Agren, we even got stuck trying to climb a hill, needing a pull from another team who luckily had a little more traction to work with:

All told, we had a productive day and a half of recce despite some lingering exhaustion from the tow out.  The notes were good, I felt about as good as I could on ice, and we got the rally car out to shakedown but only did one pass- the shakedown stage actually had a lot more snow than the competition stages and I didn't want to get too used to having more traction.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/21/22 11:06 a.m.

Sno*Drift 2022

Rally Day (Night) 1

With a fresh set of Blizzak WS80s on the car running a safe 24psi, two spares in the trunk, and a lot of warm clothes in the back just in case, we headed out to Parc Expose in Lewiston to freeze our butts off and talk to rally friends.  A few competitors had withdrawn just after recce, not wanting to risk the insane conditions, and there was a general giddy nervousness to just about everyone we talked to.  Ready to go, just two cars back from Gabe and Bryce (sharing our house for the weekend) in a proper turbo Subaru!

We headed off to SS1, Fishlab-Greasy, and even on transit it was clear the impact of the 30 or so cars ahead of us on the road was going to make things really, really interesting.  Lots and lots of perfectly smooth polished ice.

When we launched off the stage start, it was immediately apparent that any time we slowed down too much was going to cost us a LOT of time, so the name of the game was don't stop- the BRZ handles remarkably well for a rwd car in these sorts of conditions but there are limits to everything, I don't think I used more than 20% throttle for the entire rally.  I pretty quickly discovered that the drag of the engine in 3rd gear was actually enough to upset the car, so pushing in the clutch on corner entry became a part of the technique, along with a lot of judging the snowbanks for usability as bumpers.  That mostly worked, more on that later.

The spectator corners for this rally are mostly 2s at intersections and when we found the first one we were in for a rude awakening- I didn't really think there could be LESS grip than what we were already driving on, but we slid straight into the outside bank and had to reverse out at an excruciatingly slow pace... ok, so the spectator corners are more polished than anything else, those will have to be set up for about 200yds out at a minimum.  We eventually made it through the stage, much to our surprise setting a respectable L2wd time although we were almost a full 2min behind class leader Rokus in his VW.

SS2 was Ranch Short, which was actually almost a nice break- still icy, but it was two track and had some grass and leaves and stuff that could occasionally be used to gain traction.  The banks were also not super rocky so it was a little forgiving despite how narrow the road was.  We passed Downey stuck on the side of the road in here, caught up to a Fiesta, and Rokus had a little incident allowing us to snag ourselves a stage win in our class.

May be an image of 1 person, road and snow

SS3, Sage-Orchard, was faster but a little wider, and with halfway decent visibility before the sun really started going down we did well here, really starting to properly learn the dance of getting the car to work on ice and setting up for corners long before we could really see them.  There was one dicey section where we barely made it up a hill with a tight left at the bottom that scrubbed all speed, but we made it through with another stage win in class and the rest of our L2wd counterparts only seconds off.

We then had a tire change service- no refueling, and we didn't actually need different tires since we had started out on our ice setup anyway, so we pretty much just hung out with Adam Brock and unfortunately picked up a 10sec penalty from a particularly grumpy volunteer (later removed) because he wouldn't take our timecard on our minute.  At this point the sun was going down and it was starting to snow.  The next three stages would be repeats, the same loop we did before but now with way less visibility and super polished ice from all the cars going through.  Here's a screengrab from Downey during a transit, for reference:

On SS4, Fishlab-Greasy again, we mostly applied the correct amount of restraint given the conditions, but partway through Hooper's Lexus was crashed on the right side of a straight leading to a right 3 downhill into a narrow section with high banks- when we went around him, I didn't slow enough and was rewarded with a nice loud CRUNCH as we bashed the bank with the left headlight and fender- this pushed us back into the road and we continued, still setting a fast time for the stage but having to stop after the finish and yank the fender away from the wheel to avoid potentially cutting the tire later.

At this point the visibility was so poor that we were having trouble making our transit times, since we didn't want to crash into anything on open public roads.  We made it to SS5 Ranch Short and checked in slightly late, but the stage went really well with us coming in second to Rokus in our class and no big screwups.

Then another terrifying blind transit to SS6, Sage-Orchard again, where we could barely move off the start line it was so icy.  The only way to get the car to move down the road in most places was to keep one rear wheel in the bank so it could grab a little bit of snow, so we did that, slaloming from one side of the road to the other and frequently entering corners on the "wrong" line in order to have some traction to brake and rotate a little before sliding to the outside and picking up the bank again to continue on.  We were eventually caught by a Cosworth Escort, their awd clearly helping them quite a lot, and went into that uphill left that gave us trouble last time with them hot on our tail and almost immediately passing us- then the car ran out of momentum and we stopped, sliding back down the hill with all four wheels locked until we stuffed the rear bumper into the bank.

At this point, we had no option other than to go back down and try again, so with a little wiggling the car was free from the bank and we slid back down into the turn at the bottom.  A Fiesta was coming, and we decided to let them get by before trying again... but they didn't get by.  Here's a shot from their in-car, with subtitles even!

Our car is apparently a Ford magnet, and they slid into our door at a whopping half of a mph (no damage), backed up, and took off slowly up the hill.  At this point we had no options left, Sara had to jump out and push- and so she did, getting the car moving almost immediately, and I took off up the hill with her sprinting behind, in the dark, in full race gear.  I'm not sure how far I drove before the road leveled off, but I know I felt bad about it because it was a long way.  After sitting on the side of the road hitting the rallysafe hazard button (lets incoming competitors know there is a car coming up that they need to go around) for a minute or two, Sara caught up and hopped in the car, huffing and puffing out a "thank you crossfit" and "holy E36 M3 that was stupid" as we took off again.  All told, our stage time set us back a little less than 5min but we were still in the rally!  Another ultra scary transit back to hand in our timecard at the finish for the night, and then back to the house where the Brock brothers had the car back in fighting shape in no time.

We rotated the cars out so Gabe's car could get some attention, and went to bed for some much needed rest after the most insane night of driving of our lives.

fidelity101 UberDork
2/21/22 11:23 a.m.

glad you guys came out, it was certainly a memorable event. you will have to come back when its not ice drift, but its a gamble every year...

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
2/21/22 11:40 a.m.

I've been looking forward to the updates here since seeing the photos on your Instagram. You rally people are nuts, haha. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/21/22 12:07 p.m.

Sno*Drift 2022

Rally Day 2

After a relatively restless night of sleep, we were off the Parc Expose in Atlanta to swap stories of yesterday's stages with those stupid enough to still be running:

With clear skies and a fresh coating of snow from last night's storm, we were hopeful about the stages but also knew things were going to start off rough since the first stage of the day had the bigass hill where the Yaris got stuck on recce.  Just about every 2wd car seemed to be planning to hit that hill like their life depends on it and play bumper cars off the snow banks to make it.

Soon enough we headed out for SS7, where things were... yes snow covered, but it turns out fresh powder on top of an ice rink is still pretty slippery.  Rokus caught and passed us on stage, and when we got to the big hill he was still within sight- we both came in hot, riding the berms up for a few corners before stuck cars started to appear.  Soon enough, we came to a fully blocked section with a Fiesta as the primary culprit fully preventing any forward progress to the rest of us.  We were big time stuck, along with about 15 other cars:

May be an image of 2 people, road and snow

I tried to organize an attempt to push some of the higher cars up, but it was no use- you couldn't even stand up on the hill, so as soon as the cars left the snowbank nobody had any traction to push.  Eventually, sweep arrived and had us all turn around and drive back out- we would all get bogey times for SS7/8/9, and SS10 (a repeat of this stage) was canceled.  Spirits slightly lowered, we headed back to the service park.

The Brocks did a quick once-over of our car and determined it to be good to go.  Downey's car needed a control arm bushing popped back in, and Gabe borrowed a spare tire from us since he had cut one of his taking a gamble on a bank that wasn't all snow.  We didn't refuel since we had only run a few competition miles before getting parked on the hill.

SS11 was Old State-Huff, which was more open than what we had been running previously and actually pretty freaking fun.  We got into a good rhythm on the notes and just slid the car the whole time, although with things moving so slow Sara was repeating herself quite a bit just to fill time.  I think we even got a few solid spectator corners in without just clonking into the far bank or creeping through at walking pace.

SS12 was Camp 30, the longest stage of the rally, and it felt ENDLESS at ice speeds but we had a lot of fun.  We basically set midpack times for L2wd from here on out, just wanting to finish the rally without binning it or getting stuck again if at all possible, and apart from a few slightly overcooked turns we even stayed off the banks for the most part.

SS13 was Mills-Meaford, and would have been a repeat had we not been stuck on a hill all morning.  It was pretty icy from what I can remember, but at this point we had our "safe but quick enough" pace down and just ran there.  It's really, really weird hearing a note like "500 CR 200 R2" and knowing that means you need to start slowing down somewhere in the 500 to make the turn without having to hit the bank to scrub speed.

Back to service, the car needed a splash of fuel, the lights installed, and nothing else.  Adam strategically cleared the rear of the car:

May be an image of car and road

SS14 was a repeat of Camp 30 and it was incredibly slippery the second time around- we passed the SRTUSA car on the side of the road with a broken gearbox and eventually wound up in a line of about 5 cars all just slip sliding our way through with a quarter mile or so of separation.  It was fun, primarily because nobody screwed up and forced the conga line to stop.

At the time control, we asked if we could have it noted that we had to wait in line behind those cars to get our time and therefore might be late on transit and were given a firm "no" so the transit was... unsafe.  It's really, really hard to make your transit times on a rally like this where the backroad speed limits are 50mph but everything is iced over.  We just barely made it to the next control in time.

SS15 was Thunder River, but everybody just calls it Bonfire Alley.  Lined with spectators and huge fires, and people throw gas on the fires as the cars drive by- you can feel it through the glass!  Super icy so we didn't do anything too exciting here, and I haven't seen any pictures yet, but we made it through, enjoyed the cheers and fireballs, and got passed by an Evo that had crashed earlier and dropped back in the order.  We made it!

Transit back to Atlanta for the awards and we were done- Sara was upset because we had accrued some penalties for various transit timing issues, but relaxed a bit when she realized we actually wouldn't advance a position in class if they were removed anyway.

What position would that be?  Well, I kept mentioning how fast Rokus was for a reason but we did ok too, taking 2nd in L2wd regional, 11th in overall 2wd, and 26th overall!

We also were given the Krolikowski Regional Rally Scholarship- $440 for a regional team by random draw, which we're extremely grateful for.  Cindy and Henry Krolikowski competed for years and won, a lot, while also providing huge support for the sport, so an award with their name on it means more than just money.  Henry unfortunately passed away in 2019, and number 44 has been retired in his honor.  Cindy codrove car 927 and took 7th place overall at the event this year.

Who else was on the podium? Well, our housemates Gabe and Bryce also took second place in their class somehow despite it being Gabe's first rally in an awd car, and the overall win went to Mark Piatkowski- both are awesome to see, proving us "normal" people can win stuff too.

Our tow home was, miraculously, uneventful.  This was a wild event but a great one, good people in bad conditions make for cool stories.  I'll post more photos as they come in, there were lots of flashes so I know they're out there.  More hardware for the car!

May be an image of car

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/21/22 12:17 p.m.

In reply to fidelity101 :

We were running from you the whole weekend, I didn't want one of those sweep stickers!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/21/22 8:01 p.m.

Nice job guys. While I keep thinking "what a E36 M3 show" I also keep thinking "I probably would have had a great time in that E36 M3 show since complete lack of traction is the great equalizer" and the e30 has proven to be pretty good on ice thanks to its heavy rear end, but who knows. 


java230 PowerDork
2/21/22 11:36 p.m.

Yay for more hardware! 


Was dealing with ice like that in a 15k lb truck....much less fun 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/22 7:40 a.m.

It is impossible to look cool washing your rally car but here's me and Downey trying:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/22 8:27 a.m.

Some excellent photos- the first from @mack_press on instagram, the rest from Merriman Industries:

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
2/22/22 9:38 a.m.

I love the look of your BRZ as a rally car. I'm surprised there aren't more of them showing up yet and wish they would. I'm getting a little tired of the endless supply of Subaru sedans and wagons and I like some variety.

fidelity101 UberDork
2/22/22 9:45 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to fidelity101 :

We were running from you the whole weekend, I didn't want one of those sweep stickers!

that fear worked for a lot of teams it was pretty funny. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
2/22/22 10:09 a.m.

Congrats on another successful rally!  

chandler UltimaDork
2/22/22 10:42 a.m.

Those pics are great! Nicely done.

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