¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/20/19 9:04 p.m.

This past weekend, I teamed up with Josh (irish44j) to head out to Southern Ohio Forest Rally and crew for Dan Downey and Kevin Brolin in the #142 e30.  It was awesome so I'm going to write about it.  All photo credits to Dan, Josh, Emily, and probably other members of the service crew.


I woke up at 3am and hightailed it down to DC to meet Josh.  When I got there, his Sequoia service rig was packed and ready to go but he was frantically smacking his phone trying to get it to function.  We left and drove for several hours, eventually hitting a Verizon store en route which had some real goobers working there- Josh got a new and semi-functional phone, but he (and his wife, remotely) spent the rest of the day having to fix things they managed to screw up with his plan.  We actually didn't have good enough communications to know where we were going until we got close to Ohio, so we just aimed for the town that we knew tech inspection was in.

Eventually, a brief window of phone functionality allowed us to hone in on the tech inspection area, where we met team Downey and team Pullen, our housemates for the weekend.  Downey had had some trouble making it out to the rally, with flats on the trailer and some brief bouts of unreliability from his totally-not-sketchy Astro van:  

The crew at tech:  

We applied stickers and rolled through tech with minimal issues, although the inspector did give Dan "points for creativity" on his fuel cell/filler setup which is not generally something to aim for.  Spoiler alert:  the filler is in the middle of the berkeleying roof.  This will be important later.  We finished off tech by meeting a local who pulled in with this glorious VW flat rod:  

After the car passed tech, Josh and I left and went to registration, where we had to do the usual rally song and dance of producing insurance documents, buying licenses, etc.  Then we went off to Parc Expose to check out the cars and watch SS1, a tarmac and gravel Super Special:  

Want to see the crazy range of vehicles that rally?  How about these two competitors, parked right next to each other.  Leaf springs vs. infotainment:  

Both were alarmingly fast for completely different reasons.  Also at this event were EvanB and Brian M (paranoid android) crewing for Brian B  (one of the DC rallyX guys), and Kevin (fidelity101) was also competing with his awesome FC:  

After wandering around and talking for a while, the Super Special kicked off and everybody got to watch as the cars went flying past the crowd and around a big gymkhana style pivot turn:  

Dan ran a solid time, lots of cars did an awesome job around the pivot turn, and the freaking Passport blew everyone's minds by actually being fast despite how massive it is.  There was also a Galant with purple underglow and a Jetta with color shifting headlights, both crowd favorites as they ran after dark.

The lack of cell communication meant we got kind of split up at the end, but eventually we all met up back at the airbnb house that Dan had rented at the last second.  It turned out to be a super cool little farmhouse, where pizza and beer were consumed as final prep was done on TJ's Outback, and nothing was done on Downey's car because he gives not one single berkeley.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/20/19 9:38 p.m.


We got up, Dan cooked bacon and eggs, and all the spares and stuff got moved from the Astro to the Sequoia.  Josh and I drove out and set up our spot in the service area, which was  in a neat little valley with some train tracks, then went out to Parc Expose which was along a giant wall of murals:  

After some bullE36 M3ting and corndogs, the cars set off and we headed back to the service park to wait for the only service stop of the day.  Things seemed good and the weather was lovely.  But then, about 20min before the cars were due into service, dark clouds started appearing on the horizon.  We were in for some weather.

The car arrived on time and it began to rain as we got to work.  The car was up in the air, and I was tightening the guibo bolts while Josh snugged up the diff mounts when the rain started to get really heavy.  Then it was raining sideways.  Then the EZ up started to blow away.  Then the wind picked up even more, and the hail started.  surprise

Cue Josh running to pack up everything he could, Dan and Kevin holding onto the EZ up for dear life, the car beginning to sink into the ground, and me trying desperately to get the wheels back on without getting clonked by a giant piece of hail.  It was a blur of people yelling, frantic impact gun usage, lugnuts floating away in muddy water, thunder, lightning, and general confusion.

Then it was time to fuel the car.  Josh and I sprinted through ankle deep ice pellets and muddy water, just so we could stand in the cold rain/hail/driving wind and wait for the car to make it there.  With lightning flashing everywhere, surrounded by fuel.  It was the most metal thing in the history of the world.

When it was finally our turn to fuel, the wind and rain had picked up to the point that it was getting difficult to see.  I hoisted the first fuel jug above my head, and as Josh stuck the thing into the filler on the roof I realized that I was the tallest thing around, in a thunderstorm, literally standing in water while holding an explosive over my head.  Most of the fuel made it in, but between the first and second jug a decent amount poured/blew out of the vent onto me, evaporating almost immediately and making an already very cold situation even colder.

As soon as the car was full, Josh and I took off with the fuel cans and started booking it back to the safety of the Sequoia, but we didn't make it before the hail got heavy enough to really hurt again- so we hunkered down between two enclosed trailers and waited, empty fuel jugs held above our heads for protection from the ice chunks hurtling out of the sky.  Lightning strikes were everywhere, TJ's crew were holding down the timing tent a few yards away, and we were both freezing.  Once the hail let up again we made another run for it, but yet again were pinned down behind a Sprinter when things got nasty.  Eventually the storm let up, but all told it took us 15 painful minutes to make what would have been a one minute walk in normal conditions.  Things were not looking good when we made it back to our service spot, either:  

And please allow this badass picture of TJ's car to remind you that the cars were racing in these conditions as well:  

Once the storm passed, a rainbow formed, ending suspiciously close to the wealthy Irish team's service rig:  

And after we had used the remians of the EZ up as a drying rack, Josh, myself, and TJ's crew went for a walk to survey the damage:  

Eventually, our stuff was cleaned up, somewhat dry, and the radio repeater stopped being broken so people could actually hear what was going on.  The road outside of service was flooded, but drained after a few hours, and as far as we could tell Dan and TJ were both doing very well.  The big casualty of the day was this Volvo 240, which rolled after going wide on a turn:  

Some high dollar cars had engine trouble also:  

We got the trailer lined up on the pavement for Dan's triumphant return, and he drove straight onto it after checking in at the finish control.  Success!  We retired to the farm airbnb and got some much needed sleep.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/20/19 10:12 p.m.


We got up and did it all again.  This time service was at an airfield, which was pretty cool because for $30 spectators could go up in a small plane and see the action from above.  Parc Expose was in town this time, and much to everyone's surprise the Volvo had returned with a new windshield and a few fresh dents in the roof:  

Lots of 80s/90s action in this picture:  

Looking at the results, our guys were doing well, and DC rallycross king Adam Kimmett was kicking ass in his 2.5rs:  

Once the cars set off we got going so we could spectate a stage before service.  It was a long walk to the spectator spot but totally worth it to see some cars at speed.  Hooper's incredibly fast Lexus:  

a fancy and possibly jet propelled Evo:  

and more were seen.  Most exciting spectator corner credit goes to Alan in the Neon, who I can't find a photo of but basically exited the corner with most of the car off the road and the front wheel scrambling for dear life.

One the walk out we encountered a stuck Tundra, which resulted in some pushing and a ride back to our car:  

This muddy dude was a champ and basically shoved the thing out by himself:  

Back at the airfield, we set up our service spot and waited.  Some of the cars that came in were dragging or missing parts, but Dan came back relatively unscathed and we got to work.

One side of our service spot was deceptively soft, however, so the stands sank and there were some tense moments as the car... slowly.... fell off the stands.  sad  But, like the pros that we are, we got it back up in the air, wheels on, and were off to fuel.

Fueling didn't go well.  Not only did I overfill the car, I accidentally blasted Josh in the face with excess gas, and the car got stopped because they thought it was leaking.  Nope, just spilled everywhere, sorry, we suck, please let the car go, blah blah blah.  Basically made a total berkeleyery of the whole thing, then I polished it off by getting gas on the Sequoia as well.  Oops.  At least we had cool airfield stuff to see while trying to forget that service:  

There were only a couple of stages before another service, and I spent the whole thing trying to fix another team's 90s Legacy.  Still not sure what was wrong with it, but at some point Pete (knurled) showed up and we got to have a little GRM meetup in person, so that was neat.

Things were pretty scenic when the cars came back to service again:  

This time we had a bit of an issue with a lost brake caliper bolt, so we very carefully doubled up on jack stands and got a new one in there, then sent Dan and Kevin back out so they could do some more of this:  

Notable issues seen in service?  John Kramer, at the time in 2nd place in open light, found a freaking wire boobytrap somehow and got tied up in it until sweep could (literally) cut him loose:  

Then we made a long drive to the finish line, parked the trailer, and waited.  After a while, we started to see cars, and a lot of our friends were coming in very close to the front:  

And after it started to get dark, we saw four headlights and heard the unmistakable sound of an inline six:  

Success!  Dan and Kevin had made it, beers were had, and results were.... um... there were timing issues.  It wasn't until after midnight that everyone finally got to find things out:  

Kimmett won!!!  To put that in perspective, he was driving a relatively basic 2.5rs and a bunch of the other cars on that list are R5 Fiestas, expensive turbo cars, and all sort of other lunacy.  The guy is seriously fast.

TJ Pullen put a relatively stock Outback Sport in the top 10.  And Downey?  

He did OK too  laugh

What a great time.  Rally is the best.  

irish44j MegaDork
5/21/19 10:22 a.m.

Not mentioned: between Chris, myself, and Dan Fouquette (crewing for TJ and Erin), our collective crew was made up mostly of rally drivers (I drive an e30, Chris a Merkur, and Dan a Subie), which meant that we were impressively bad at navigating our way to pretty much anyplace. Google Maps is the only thing that saved us, as well as a few lucky guesses. 

Other points:

- Dan's borrowed trailer was mucho sketchy, with sketchy tires, sketchy lighting, sketchy ramps (which we had to strap on to keep them from falling off when loading), and sketchy brakes (only one wheel had brakes). A big change from either of our (me and Chris's) respective trailers, which we keep in pretty good shape.

- I had hoped to do this rally myself, but finances weren't available this year. After seeing the fairly smooth stage roads and the high level of tighter/technical areas, definiely going to make a full effort to do it next year. 

- LOTS of BMWs there (and RWD cars in general). I'd say even with mine missing, it must have been a good chunk of the BMWs rallying in the USA. I think there were about a half-dozen e30s there, and a few e36s as well, which was pretty cool to see. As far as I can recall all the e30s finished. The e36s not so lucky - Mike Cessna's first event in his newly-built e36 resulted in a gnarly wreck that totaled the car (driver and codriver were fine though) and Jason Smith blew his transmission early on and had to retire, so that sucks. 

more when I think o fit. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/21/19 10:25 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

I feel like I missed a lot of stuff, but I also felt like I was sort of rambling.  Feel free to add whatever you want!  Maybe we should have addendums from all the GRM people who were there.

Aaron_King PowerDork
5/21/19 10:57 a.m.

Crap, if I had know so GRM people were going to be there I would have made the trip down from Columbus.

EvanB MegaDork
5/21/19 12:13 p.m.

I don't have much to add. It was a fun first experience with crewing. Nothing like lightning storms and being pelted with hail for your first service. Battocchi was easy to crew for since nothing broke and he didn't hit anything. He also had the fuel filler in a reasonable location. 

I found out that the Volvo guys needed a windshield when I got home on Friday, I offered the one in my parts car but it would have to be pulled. I was glad they found a new one locally. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/21/19 12:29 p.m.

In reply to EvanB :

I had half expected the Volvo to reappear with the missing chunk from your truck conversion patched into the roof  cheeky

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/21/19 12:51 p.m.

Fantastic write up. I need to get back to another rally. 

Which makes this as good a place as any to ask if any of you guys are going to do the NASA Central UP Rally in a bit less than a month? I'm going to be about an hour and a half away. 

Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
5/21/19 1:20 p.m.

Looks like you were parked next to Allen/Cordara in the yellow Subaru.

paranoid_android UberDork
5/21/19 1:27 p.m.

SOFR was a cool event, I’m glad I got to be there for some of it.  Unfortunately I had to leave Friday morning, so I missed the “badasses only” service.

Driving down there I spotted a mazdeuce designed decal on a pickup truck.  And I guess it was my turn to wear the same clothes as Nonack, since Josh took care of that at WMWR ;-)

The CUP rally is the same weekend as the National Rallycross in Chillicothe.  I’m hoping to be at one of those events, but not sure which one yet.

ValourUnbound New Reader
5/21/19 4:08 p.m.
EvanB said:

 Nothing like lightning storms and being pelted with hail for your first service. 

And here I was thinking about how terrible it will be if it's windy at OTR next weekend. I'll count my blessings...

5/21/19 8:40 p.m.

Two teams worth of BS E36 M3ting up a nice farm house:


SiF New Reader
5/21/19 8:52 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
5/22/19 6:37 a.m.

In reply to SiF :

The drone footage is super impressive, you were totally right that just picking a direction and flying the thing produces an awesome video.

java230 UltraDork
5/22/19 5:19 p.m.

Awesome ! I need to get on a rally here soon.

dxman92 Reader
6/23/19 6:16 p.m.

Great writeup yes

fidelity101 UltraDork
6/26/19 1:52 p.m.

The hailstorm was incredibly wild. I remember it getting beige in the sky on the last stage before service and counting the distance as thunder and lightning gaps got shorter and shorter. it was so bad we hid in the trailer with the crew next to us in the volvo.  It was such a crazy event but had incredible fun from the very beginning to very end. 

It was a bit of a mini GRM meet up too, long time no see faces as well great to put a face with the name GRMers! 


oh and for that drove video that elise you see there in service has a K20 in it :) 


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