Monday, September 28, 2009

Wild West Rally 2009 Recap

Wild West Fun in a 1975 99 EMS

The Wild West Rally started off rough for us. First we lost the muffler which damaged the rear brake line, had a tire puncture from a cantaloupe size rock, and went off the course twice, rolling onto the drivers side once. Despite all that (and due to some service heroics) we managed to finish, and for Saturday that seemed to be saying a lot with all the DNF's. Most of the teams were back for Sunday though, which turned into an awesome day.

The rally car went into Sunday in near 100% condition, we just had one tire that was a lot more worn than the others (the spare we installed Sat.) The first stage got my confidence up again and the understeer problem seemed to disappear. We revised the routebook notes as we went through the first 3 stages, putting down times we were happy with, and then nailed the next 3 stages after service. We didn't have any real problems all day, although we did crack the transmission on Breakdown 1.

Rally Stages 1, 2, 4 and 5 were super fast with lots of loose gravel and some silt. It was really nerve racking because of how squirrely my car is in the back. There were a couple times when the ruts were pushing us around, but for the most part my only complaint was a complete lack of torque in 3rd gear. If things started to get hairy I had to downshift to 2nd to pull out of it. Stages 3 and 6, otherwise known as Breakdown, were really fun stages for us. I felt so at home on this piece of crap narrow road, and had a great time beating my car to peices on this fun stage. 4 other drivers with more experience than me posted slower times on stage 6 than our time.

Results for day 1 put us 4th in our class out of 6 that started, 17th overall out of 24 that started, but put us dead last among the finishers.

Sundays results put us again 4th in class, and 18th overall out of 21 that started. The cool thing about Sunday is that we actually finished in front of people, 2:31 faster than Phil Meyers, and because of his penalty, 18 seconds faster than Brian Gottlieb. It was funny when he pulled into control late, I thought he might hit me to get to the ATC as fast as he could! Anyways sunday was awesome, the car felt good just underpowered and a bit squirrely at high speeds.

Pomeroy is an awesome town to rally in, and we really appreciated all the free food. This is the best news you can get when your unemployed and out of money. Also thanks to the HAM Radio guy who gave us 2 quarts of synthetic oil to top up with after our roll, thanks to Mike Goodwin for letting us park next to him and bug him to borrow stuff all weekend (!) and an even bigger thanks to the fire department for digging up our toxic waste and delivering it to us at service. It would have been really difficult to get up there Sunday and do that.

Results for us (Car # 178) and all competitors can be found on the Wild West Rally results page.

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