Monday, February 18, 2008

Off to the races!!!

Heath (my driver of the year) arrives at St. Louis International Airport at 9:00 tomorrow night. From then on we're on "Rally Time."

The car should be in pristine condition, and will have new seats with side head restraints on them. I became a believer in those at Oregon last year with Justin as we smacked a bank with MY SIDE so hard I watched the side window just 'pop' out. The amazing part was using a combination of the HANS device and the side movement protection of the seat, I never had even the slightest twinge of neck pain. I'm a fan! So that was one of my provisos in getting into Heath's car this season. We would both have that protection.

Heath's car is well equipped with a Coralba C-Giant Rally Computer. This thing has more computing power than computers the State Department used during the Cold War. The manual which I downloaded from the web is about 1/4" thick. Matthew Johnson had it's little brother, so I'm somewhat familiar, but this mother can get complicated. It will start a clock at the start line when your wheel first moves (thus eliminating your need to remember to start a watch). At the finish it will give you Time, Distance, Average Speed, Top Speed, and probably current status of the Dow Jones Industrials! If we've stopped to fix a flat (no, no, no, no, no!!!!) it will tell us what speed we need to travel in order to avoid road points (I thought that was MY job!). Anyway, I've been studying up on it and I'm ready!

Heath's been reviewing in-car videos of Matthew Johnson and me and Dennis Martin and me just to get used to the cadences I use. They are different for both those drivers, so i hope Heath has an idea what he WANTS. Matthew could hold 3+ actions in could Dennis mostly. Justin would have to be hearing the action he's just about to enter. So pacing is totally different with different drivers. We'll be working that out.

Strategy? Well Heath's youth has him a little frustrated at his starting position (32 out of 56; 10th PGT car out of 13), but that's of no concern to me. This season is going to be a process. Placements will fall into place when they fall into place. A couple of things will happen at 100AW. First, we'll get a benchmark to build on. Between 100AW and our next event, Oregon Trails, Heath has finals (at Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI) and NO TIME to rebuild a wrecked car. So we're certainly hoping that will not happen. We'll end up with a lot of in-car to analyze. I remember after Oregon '06 (first event with Johnson) I spent hours and hours pouring over the tapes and talking with Matthew and it made a world of difference for STPR. Heath and I will be doing the same thing.

Heath and I do get to run recce (see all the racing stages before actually racing them) on's legal....a couple of the national events are starting to allow this. that will give us time to sort out a little about how he wants to hear things, as well as how he actually sees things. The co-driver sits on the passenger side and basically makes changes to the notes that the driver dictates. Neither of us have much experience with recce, so I'm pretty sure we'll mostly just benefit from a day behind the wheel and a good look at the roads. I remember being totally worn out after recce last year with Justin, but we were attempting to do some major eticing to the notes (that didn't work so well!).

So off we go for the '06 season. New driver. New Crew. Lots of old friends in PGT to go chase! And starting on my home turf. Can't wait!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Latest rally prodigy teams up with wise old mentor for Rally-America 2008 Season.

Nunnemacher at 100AW, 2006

Nunnemonster Rallysport announced that their driver Heath Nunnemacher will team with veteran co-driver Kim DeMotte for the 2008 Rally-America Season. This pattern falls in line with that last two successful pairings of Kyle Sarasin with Mika Johanssen, and Chris Duplessis with Martin Headland, both relative youngsters riding with experienced co-drivers in mentor roles.

Nunnemacher spent the 2007 season with his mom Heidi Nunnemacher sorting out the 2002 Subaru WRX and getting valuable seat time while training at Team O’Neil Rally School and Car Control Center in New Hampshire.

“I watched Heath and Heidi most of last season, while co-driving for Justin Pritchard and Dennis Martin, and being very comfortable with the PGT environment, (DeMotte and Matthew Johnson teamed up as National PGT champs in 2006) watched his speed factors steadily increase. Heath’s going to continue to improve and give the regulars (Stephan Verdier, Pat Moro, Travis Hanson, the Conley’s and more) some great competition.

“I’m totally excited about having an extremely experienced co-driver call the notes for Heath this season.” Heidi Nunnemacher told us. “I’ve had an incredibly fun time co-driving for Heath, but he’s ready to go to a new level, and he needs someone like Kim with the experience to help get him there. I’m delighted to continue to crew and can’t wait to see them compete.”

Nunnemacher is a full time student at Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI, sometimes known as Rally U. since a vast number of graduates are deeply involved in the sport.

DeMotte is Management Consultant, Speaker and Author who’s developed the Corporate CoDriver Programs for Executives wanting to improve their communications and relationships with their direct reports.

The team’s first event will be the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in Salem, MO the weekend of February 22 – 23.