Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rally Colorado 2007

It was a great return to the rally scene at Rally Colorado this past weekend.
3rd place in the national G2 class,
2 first place wins in the regional class,
& one second overall and a third overall in the regional events.

As with any rally I usually have the first stage nerves...
however this time was a bit different as I had not been in a rally for almost two years.
as the timer counted down the seconds my heart pounded harder.
3,2,1,.. before I knew it we were flying down the Wolf Mountain stage,
a fast flowing road with blind crests and loose corners.
Brian McGuire was calling the turns next to me but I really did not hear much of what he said, It was a bit surreal.
We finished the stage with a respectable time, ahh what a pleasant surprise.

Warm up over... time for business.
The next 3 stages are some of my favorites, rough and technical.
I got into my groove and actually started to hear what Brian was telling me.
Elkhead flats was one of those stages which no matter how much I enjoy it I cant help but remember "my corner" on this stage.
Or maybe it should be called Corrado corner, the place where I had my worst crash to date ( 9-03 ) with my old VW Corrado. I believe it was a double front flip with a twist ending in a tidy mess.

Some of my best times of the day were on this stage, it was time to move on.
The rest of the day went well till the Stokes Gulch stage where communication problems hampered my ability to keep on the gas over 100 mph blind crests.
We lost time but pressed on.
By the end of day one we were in 3rd place in the national and had won 1st in class in the regional, 3rd overall.

The next morning I awoke to see LOTS of rain had fallen overnight and it was still coming down.
Uhh Oh... mud fest!
I scrambled to get the crew together so we could get to grooving tires to shed the mud we would soon encounter.
(something I should have done last week... Dooh! )
We were able to get only 2 tires done before the race started, but it was better than nothing.
The first stage of the day was Sage Creek, fast, technical, and slicker than snot.
I passed a subaru in the first few miles and nearly went off many times but made it to the end in one piece.
Stage 2 "Salt Creek" was new for this year and very fast and flowing.
Thankfully it had a very solid base of well packed gravel so mud was almost non existent, at first.
The organizers decided all of the other roads were so rained out and muddy that we were to run Salt Creek 4 times in a row to finish the day.

The rain continued to fall as we started our first run on Salt Creek and was not a big deal until the drivers side windshield wiper broke in the middle of the stage.
Let me tell you, driving a rally car in the rain without wipers and trying to keep it at full tilt is pretty exciting and very challenging.
We finsihed the stage and tried to fix the wiper. It turns out the internal mechanism had broken in half so the drivers side was finished but the passenger side still worked.
We tried Rain X on the next stage which was not so good, however we managed to drop 14 seconds off our previous time.

Then Brian suggested the euro look for the wiper, so we adjusted the passenger side wiper to clean a V shape in the middle of the window,...
Mmm much better, we drop another 5 seconds.
Then my inner "MacGyver" decided to move the wiper even further to the drivers side, tape and zip-ty the other wiper arm to it, Viola! a new twin / single wiper!
It worked great.
As we rolled up to the start of the final stage the rain stopped.
I was almost disappointed I would not get to use my new invention.
We dropped another 7 seconds but it was not enough to capture 2nd place in the national, we were 3rd.

I did manage to stomp the regional competitors with a 1st in class and second overall. ( watch out boys, Im back )

All in all we were happy to have finished, and even happier to have placed well.
I would like to thank my sponsors,

Thule Car Rack Systems, Salta Motorsports, & Go Fast Sports
My totally amazing service crew, Andy, Erik, Brian & Erica from Salta, Mom & Dad, Kurt, Matt for his tire groover, and my lovely wife Jen who took all these great photos.
& of course Brian McGuire for riding shot gun & calling the turns.
I also must thank the event organizers and volunteers for an excellent event.

I could not have done it so well without everyone's help, Thank you all so much.
Best regards,