ICEngineering Subjects

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Black River Stages - Actually Rallying

I'm lazy so I didn't update yesterday after our first day of rallying in New York. We had heard a lot of stories about waiting around at stage starts during NASA events, but we didn't realize how totally un-exaggerated those stories actually were. At the very first special stage, everybody just sat and waited for nearly an hour because the emergency crews weren't in place yet to be able to run the stage. We waited around a lot more than that at other stages, though one time was because two Evo X's went off badly enough on SS4 that the stage was canceled. In the end, we only ran 4 of the 9 planned stages. So...that was disappointing, but a good way to get familiar with rally again.
Here we are leaving Parc Exposé

Day 2 was more interesting, though we still ended up with a stage cancellation due to delays. The stages were really exciting though, with some big air on the first two stages and some fast but fairly technical elements on the other three. There was a lot more waiting around too, which can be fun when used to socialize with our fellow rallyists, but not as cool when it causes a stage cancellation.

One of the most exciting stages was Goose Pond which is known for being pretty heavy on the jumps. It did not disappoint. At one point, we ended up so detached from the ground that we had no chance of correcting our trajectory and ended up shooting off toward the side of the road. Sean had the wherewithal to correct it though, and I didn't really understand the severity of the situation until I watched this video. Excuse the terrible camera placement that heavily overemphasizes the importance of the rear view mirror...

Crazy jumps at about 0:30

As much as I'm complaining about missing a stage though, we ended up being very lucky that the stage was canceled because our fuel gauge lied to us and we ran out of gas while on the transit back to service. If we had tried to run the final stage, we would have ended up with a DNF. Which would have sucked. Thanks to Michael Hall and Carl Lynn in the super badass Mitsu Mighty Max for flat towing us back to the finish of the rally.

The adventure wasn't over though, as when scores were posted, we were showing up as last place by a MASSIVE margin due to a one hour (!) penalty. The penalty notice said "At TC14B was due at 16:39:00 but arrived at 15:39:00." This was ridiculous because it meant that we traveled at least 30 minutes back in time during service, so I filled out an inquiry form to get that changed. I didn't really know how to state it, so I did it bluntly.

This actually worked

So we got our hour back and ended up finishing in 3rd place in Open 2WD Light, just a single second out of second place. I'm happy with it though.

The other thing is that this was Dmitriy's first rally in his new car and on the suspension that I built, so I was being paranoid and asking him about it after every stage. It seems to be holding together just great and Dmitriy has been saying that it's performing well, so that was a huge relief.

Gorgeous car!

They ended up third in Open 2WD Heavy, so overall this rally was a great success! Huge thanks to our crew chief, Kyle Steinkamp, and our transporter/random advice giver Matt Bushore for getting us through this weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Black River Stages - Day 0

After a long-ish tow through Canada, we've arrived safely in some part of New York. I'll go look for it on a map now.

I suppose it looks something like this

Thanks to Matt Bushore for towing us out in his pretty scary ambulance over such hazardous terrain as narrow-ish bridges and Toronto traffic. Some nice scenery though, especially over these "Thousand Islands."

There's a thousand of them! All apparently inhabited by rich people

Upon reaching our destination, we put some stickers on the car and got it through tech with minimal hassle. Then, we sat through a 3 hour long novice orientation which was surprisingly helpful and entertaining.

Tomorrow, we don't have to get to Parc Expose until 2 PM, so we have some time to sleep in and work on the car. Unfortunately, we discovered that our skidplate doesn't quite clear the new motor's oil pan and we have some loose relay connections that make our lights stop working. So luckily we have some time to fix these things and hopefully shop for some snacks. Yum.

Sean has mandated that everyone have fun, so...wheeee!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Busy gap, Black River Stages in 1wk

It lives! Tonight I drove the GTI, with the new-to-me 9A 2.0l and new-to-the-world body harness with way awesome switchpanel (and hopefully, improving from garbled stock wiring, way awesome reliability for all projects to come). This is cutting it very close considering that we need to pack up next Wednesday night, something which has been both a source of stress and motivation. (what if the new trans was bad or engine has fundamental damage which I didn't know about? etc - - but it is OK so far!)

See also the glimpse at the new gauges and switchpanel, and shove your face into the cat on that, catalytic converter...displacing the muffler because the header displaced it! That thing REALLY trumpets under load, pretty smooth sounding at speed.

I think Kenneth and I have been putting ~20 hours a week into that car for the past three weeks, heh, or that's what it feels like. Because now it's go time: we're going to Black River Stages next week in Watertown NY. Matt Bushore will be towing us out with his terrifying ambulance rig, we're all signed up and paid, and the hotel doesn't know what's about to hit it (a lot of really tired people, that's what...)

Dmitriy, who's been our fearless crew chief, is returning to his permanent role - which is driver for his own car. We've been lucky to have him, but we're really excited to run with him on stage, especially with his sweeet new suspension, I don't know how we're going to keep up! (of course, see below post for Dmitriy's new suspension). But - we're very excited to have the intrepid Kyle Steinkamp with us again, he'll be our crew chief, and between him and Matt we'll be in good hands. My goal is to finish with no major damage to the car (or at least, due to driver error). I've gone through a rear suspension each rally so far, so at least, I want to finish with intact rear wheels...

Stay tuned, we'll have many updates, pictures and video in the next two weeks!