The day dawned bright and sunny…ok not even close.
The night before the rally we expected big storms and sure enough that’s what we got. The power was out in Bobcaygeon at 9:15, which meant we got a free beer – because they had no cash registers – but also got no dinner, as it was still in the fryer. Yes we are so athletes. Anyhow it was a night of writing notes by cell phone flashlight, drinking beer and eating fig newtons while the Jeep filled up with water. Always a good start.
The quarry road is and was awesome as usual. The Loom Lake road, on the other hand, had taken a beating in the last coupe of years. Still, it seemed doable, at least from the Jeep. And the notes only had a few holes in them, so what could go wrong? Plus although we had no dinner and no coffee and no breakfast, guest chef Ryan made us French toast and other kind people brought coffee! So we were all set…
We should point out here that after the Sprint, which was really fun, we decided to stiffen up the rear suspension and turn up the rebound, as guest co-driver Ryan and regular driver noticed it bottoming and then bouncing over some of the jumps yumps etc. So we did the stiffening and it seemed to drive fine, at least on normal gravel roads.
(In these pics you can see the marks where the bottoming happened. We also beat up the exhaust, but it turns out that didn’t matter…)
This is relevant because on the first stage we went down the quarry road and then into Loom. (Yes, that time we followed the route as designed). Quarry was great and Loom was pretty rough but ok. However onStage 2 out of Loom we had a yump followed by a dip with a rock in it, which was a surprise for us and not a good one. We flattened one tire destroyed one rim and mangled the other, although it still held air.
That rock also claimed Zoltan’s oil pan and part of Gary’s Focus before it got to us. Here’s some video.
Anyhow, that necessitated our first ever Competition stage tire change. Took about 10 minutes which seems long when it’s happening. Is long actually. Guess we should practice that.
Anyhow we got to the end of the stage and noticed that at some point the exhaust had come off, so we fixed that – more or less – and carried on.
We swapped the second bent rim at service and used pipe clamps on the exhaust so all was well-ish, save we only brought 2 spares and they were both now on the car. We decided to go much, much slower on Loom after that…
Sadly our ‘conserve the car’ strategy failed us at the start of the last stage, because the car didn’t start. As near as we can tell the battery was shaken to pieces internally, because the alternator seems to work and the battery sometimes does but won’t charge properly. Guess we should have asked Gary for a jump start… 🙂
So now we need a new battery, exhaust, under car protection for one control arm, and we should be good to go for Bear…if we can keep the electrical gremlins away.
(Above is the catalytic, now empty of expensive bits…need on of those also).
Hope to see you there!