Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wellsboro, was not so well.

After a hectic five week rehab of the car (read below about the exploits at Oregon Trail), we all convened on Wellsboro, PA for like the gazillionth running of STPR.

I drove over with Mike Houser of 100AW Map Guy fame, and Justin drove in with his Dad and Paul Devco. Eric Fraser and Rob Jozwiak came down from Windsor ON (eh?) to help out on crew.

We had secured the "Farmhouse" at Ski Sawmill about 18 miles south of Wellsboro as the PGT compound. Us, Matthew Johnson, Pat Moro and Travis Hanson all had crews staying there and it was an absolute brain trust of PGTers...most importantly Subaru WRX PGTers. I think at one point we had 28 people sleeping around the house. (There are 34 beds, so it's not like people were sleeping on the kitchen drainboard or anything).

Justin was suffering from some plague and sounded awful, felt awful, but soldiered on. The car seemed to run OK and drove down the road straight, and after Oregon, that's about all we could hope for.

Friday opened up to paperwork...registration, scrutineering (Justin's fog allowed him to leave the log book and insurance papers at home....that should have told him something). I brought a new Peltor Amp (the old one shot craps again at Oregon), so we would at least be able to talk to each other. We went out to run the shakedown stage.

We agreed to run through at 7/10 and just start to regain the "rhythm" of the car on gravel. We were doing exactly that (slow and smooth) when right before the end of the 3.4 mile practice stage the engine just quit. No warning, no sputtering....just stopped. Since the Finish was on an uphill, there was no getting the car to the end. Hansons came by and towed us around and back into the service....where it was nmow beginning to pour rain.

Par Moro had suffered a split "Y-Pipe" in the turbo intercooler system earlier and replaced it only to have the new one split. Lo and behold that's what happened to us. Callnig every Subaru dealer within 100 miles from within Pat's box truck yielded NO Y-Pipes. Back to the Farmhouse.

Before the night was over, Moro and Pritchard had fashioned repaired Y-pipes using threaded iron pipe, radiator hose and clamps....lots of kiddin'. Reminded me of McGiver!

I'll send you over to Justin's Blog for the gory details....but suffice it to say...we were slow, tentative, getting better and then the gremlin hit...or maybe it was just a sleeping gremlin from Oregon. Seems the right front control arm broke...and it probably started in Oregon, but it became evident on Stage 6 where Justin was spinning the wheel wildly to get the wheels to turn. We felt insecure enough about this situation (imagine the steering falling apart at 90 in a tight left-hander).

So if we scrape together enough rubles we'll take a shot at Maine. We saved a lot of money staying at the Farmhouse, and we DIDN'T significantly break the car, so we'll see. This car is frustrating...but then and Ex-Verdier, Ex-Langbein car simply coulnd't be expected to be of showroom quality. And now WE'VE put our stamp (literally) of approval on her!