Friday, March 2, 2007

100 Acre Wood Post Mortem

And I thought Winnie-the-Pooh was a friend of mine!

The 100 Acre Wood this past weekend was the best of all the 13 that have ever been conducted. Awesome congratulations to Tom vonHatten and his entire committee for what could end up to be Rally of the Year!!!

Now to our woes.

First many thanks to Carl Meyer at Webster Groves Subaru for having faith in us and sponsoring us for this event. We did a dealership promotion at his store in Webster Groves on Wednesday afternoon/evening and turned a lot of heads (and a few people who actually came in to chat!)

I swear the sun came up an hour too early Thursday morning. Tom and the intrepid crew tackled the concept of a pre-event Notes Familiarization Pass (NFP). It gave those of us with the ability to attend an opportunity to see all the stages with our stage notes in hand for editing. This is only the second time this has been done in Rally-America/SCCA history (it has been done over on the NASA side before) and it was extremely well received. I'm afraid the 100AW crew has put other committees under pressure to offer the same.

Friday morning was sorta wasted tinkering with the alignment on the #28. We opted not to go do the shakedown stage as we were aware of it's inconsistency with the real stage roads....there was really nothing to learn.

By Noon we were in the Parc Expose at the Salem Wal-Mart lot. It was cramped, but adequate and I understand the committee had a hard time securing even that much space. But it served well for Friday's stages.

Off to the real racing. We were kinda pokey on the first and second stage, but the third stage we felt pretty good...several places higher on the ranking for Scotia Valley S-N! Then we sorta slipped back into mediocre again. I'm getting used to notes (edited notes at that) and Justin's getting used to it being OK that the car slides!!!! By the end of Friday's racing we were in fourth position in PGT. Matthew Johnson and Stephan Verdier (yeah, the RETIRED Stephan Verdier) were defining how to drive PGT while the Hansons, Kenny Bartram, Pat Moro and us were tightly bunched trying out for third. Good racing!

Oh. did i tell you it had been "Chamber of Commerce weather" Thursday and Friday? We obviously pissed someone off at the C of C, cuz the weather went all to Hell the next day. Absolute CONSTANT rain ALL day. But that didn't bother us too much, 'cuz we didn't run all day. On the first stage (Southern Loop) at the long low water bridge after Billy Mead's house we hit the water too hard and momentarily shoved the radiator back. That cracked a mounting arm, which ended up putting a 1/4" hole in the radiator. The car immediately started to steam up. Justin was sliding farther and farther down in his seat to be able to see out the bottom of the windshield! then we passed Matthew...pretty much wrapped around a tree, but displaying the OK sign. This sucks! Our chief competitor has gone and done something stupid and we're not going to finish the stage, 'cuz we're overheating like crazy. Two miles later we pulled over and spent the next hour displaying the OK sign in a thunderstorm.

Steve Lauer our absolutely fantastic crew of the week came and got us (following Rob Wright's fabulous service route instructions....thanks, Rob!) and using a latex glove and a bumper mount device had us running and driving back to Salem in no time. Justin offered him the right seat on the spot!

We caught up with MJ at the local Chinese Buffet and just sort of chilled the rest of the afternoon. None of us felt much like watching rally cars. We'd all seen plenty.

MJ says he's got another shell and 7 weeks to get ready for Oregon. We're trying to put that trip together, 'cuz the tow out's good for two events (Oregon Trail in April and Olympus in May).

Oh, just to add to the PGT misery, Hanson's totalled their PGT car while running in second position I think on the second to last stage. PGT stands for Pushing you Guts To win!