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Old 02-17-2001, 05:44 AM   #1
richeich
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Join Date: Apr 2000
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2001 Impreza 2.5RS
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Talking Two Stooges And A Rally Car

Well, my friend and I did our first TSD Rally last weekend. I drove, he navigated. Man, what a hoot! The night stages were especially fun. Maybe that was because we finally got the hang of it. Anyways, my friend Ed likes to write, so I thought I'd share his story. (Oh, by the way, my car is a Legacy GT, and I never told him it was a rally car.)

Rich

Two Stooges and a Rally Car.

So there we were, dark, cold, and lost, hurtling along a country road
through the night. But we were having a great time, I think. I lifted my
eyes from the instruction sheet to glance at the road ahead. There were
trees - lots of trees - coming toward us with very little pavement visible.
It had gone off to the right somewhere, but we hadn't. Rich hit the brakes
hard and threw the wheel over.

It all started innocuously enough at a parking lot over in Catoosa. My
friend Rich had wanted to do a rally for some time, and this was the perfect
introduction. This was to be a simple time-speed-distance event for various
classes, from fully prepared vehicles equipped with sophisticated computers,
down to pencil, paper, and stopwatch equipped stooges like us. Neither of
us had ever done anything like this before, so we expected to learn a lot,
and probably blow chunks in the process. I had to plead, um, negotiate with
She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed for an all-day kitchen pass.

This event had 10 stages, five in daylight, and after a dinner stop, five
night stages as well. Rich drove his Subaru Legacy, nicely equipped with
performance tires and wheels, and powerful driving lights up front -
something we would treasure a little later. Other entries included a Ford
Expedition, a Mazda 626, several Miatas, a Nissan Z-car, a Ford Taurus SHO,
and a ratty looking pickup, among others.

The drivers and navigators were a diverse bunch too, ranging from
twenty-somethings to retired couples. This is a driver's event in that
skills of the driver and navigator are more critical to success than the
performance of the vehicle. The goal is precision driving, arriving at the
end checkpoint exactly on time. If you're over or under that time, each
second counts as one point. The objective is to finish with a score of
zero. Rich and I didn't expect to do terribly well, and in fact, I was just
hoping to get through it without getting hopelessly lost. That would be a
major embarrassment.

Rally driving presents two enormous problems to us guys. First, we have to
read the instructions. Then we have to follow the instructions. But we're
guys! We NEVER read the instructions for anything. I believe this is often
referred to as a 'fundamental conceptual change.' We actually pored over
the instructions and we followed them - for the most part - and only got
lost once. I just had to toss in that 'for the most part' because there's a
cap speed. That's the theoretical maximum speed that we were allowed on
each section, and it's below the speed limit. If you don't make any
mistakes, you should never have to exceed the speed limit. We made lots of
mistakes.

But as the stages went by we learned how to drive them more effectively.
Mostly that involved developing better communications between the two of us.
I had to learn what information Rich needed and provide it when necessary.
His references were the speedometer and odometer. That also meant that I had
to learn what information he didn't need, and I had to stifle the screams of
terror. I kept my head down, watching the stopwatch and reading the tulip
instructions.

I'm not serious about those screams, of course, but there were a couple of
moments that night that got my attention. Once, Rich accelerated hard from
the start area and my much-maligned sinuses kicked back, causing some
extreme dizziness for a few seconds. It seems trivial, but I was afraid
that I'd topple over inside the car. It was that bad. Fortunately it
passed quickly.

Then there was "Surprise," an aptly named section. It was after dark and
relatively short, but it had more than one surprise. Rich cooked it a
little too much going into a corner. I looked up just as he stood on the
brake and threw the car over to the right. The car dove and rolled enough
that the left front tire hit on the fender! Good driver that Rich. I'd
have put us in the trees.

The last one that got my attention was a short, steep hill somewhere near
Verdigris. We were going up it when Rich said, "Whoa!" I looked up from
the clipboard to see - nothing. There was no road, no trees, only the sky.
The drop from the crest was very steep.

But most of the drive was not as exciting as those few moments. We
developed a good rhythm. I'd tell him how far to the next reference point,
and how long it would take to get there. Then I'd count it down in ten
second intervals or less, depending on the situation. Gary (the
rallymaster) told us at the start that we should be exiting a corner when
the count hit zero. We got better at this as the day went on. We learned a
lot and we expect to do better the next time.

Would I do it again? Of course!

Ed

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is middle-aged.
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Old 02-17-2001, 05:54 AM   #2
NotAnRS
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Talking

Great story guys. Almost mirrors my first TSD many years ago. You forgot "in the pitch black, in a torrential downpour". What a challenge.
Picture of my first TSD rally at: http://www.mongrelmotorsports.homestead.com/racing.html
Hope you guys do it again. We're still doing them and love every minute.
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Old 02-17-2001, 10:02 AM   #3
slidewaysmike
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You should submit that story for the next issue of Monkey's Trunk.

Mike
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Old 02-20-2001, 02:23 AM   #4
hacman
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Great stuff! I missed my first TSD (The Deep Doo Doo rally in Ohio) by a few days on the entry, so I won't make that mistake again! I'm planning on attending the Glacier Trails rally in Wisconsin May 5th, and can hardly wait!!

Do you guys have any pics of the rally?
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Old 02-20-2001, 09:21 AM   #5
Damon
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great story! i personally think you should send that in to "grassroots motorsports" and see if they would publish it.
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Old 02-21-2001, 03:59 AM   #6
richeich
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Thumbs up

Hey hacman, I've got some pics, but they're all before the start. Mostly of the cars, and the driver's meeting. I don't think anybody was taking any action shots.

I'll talk to my friend Ed about getting it published. He's kinda funny about his writing. If he thinks it's going to be submitted somewhere official, he may want to try and get it 'perfect'. Dang artist types!

Thanks for the compliments guys. It was a blast. To tell you how bad we were, and how much we improved, we accumulated 52 points in the first three stages. And then accumulated 9 for the remaining 7 stages. We went from 10th after the five daylight stages, to 5th overall after the five night stages. We actually got 2nd best for the night stages.

Rich
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Old 02-21-2001, 04:56 AM   #7
hacman
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Rich - I wouldn't mind seeing the pics anyways.

What kind of prepping did you do to your car pre-rally? I have the rear diff protector on it's way, and I'm thinking about getting the Drakken or Webkris skidplate. And next week, I'll do the mudflaps. I want to do a lighting setup as well, but I want it to be removable, and don't want to drop the $250 for the bar alone with Rallispec. Any pointers?
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Old 02-21-2001, 07:31 AM   #8
Subie Gal
GC84Ever
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1970 FF-1 & '70 Van
02 WRX/01 RS

Lightbulb

my pals and i set up my lights...
the bar cost nearly nothing...
you just have to be creative - make you own...

i also have a Primitive Racing rear diff protector and skid plate....

map light, mud flaps, fire ext, first aid kit, warning triangles, etc. these are the things you'll need to have before tsd'ing...

<IMG SRC="http://www.subiegal.com/images/TBird/boo%20boo/first%20stage.jpg" border=0>

j.
www.subiegal.com
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Old 02-21-2001, 08:30 AM   #9
JayP
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Rich- you've inspired me to post my one and only rally...

I participated in a TSD rally about 5 years ago. It was put together by the local Porsche club but everything was allowed to run (conversion vans sight seeing-- no joke). My brother and I took the MGB I had been autoxing.

I had the 'B ready to run. Full of fuel, tools in the boot (remember, this is an MG) and snacks. Since this was more a novice event, so the only tools allowed were the odometer and watches.

The notes given to use were pretty clear. The -problem- was I was using low profile tires, where the 'Bs odometer was calibrated to the tall gumballs stock cars. Doh!!!

We missed some turns, well maybe several. I took the time to speed thru some sections while my brother shook his head saying we were going to be way too early for the next point. I think we were 5 minutes late... Doh!!

A whole day of driving with the top down in the sun, and only one pitstop in an outhouse in Virginia... Then we realized we were in Virgina!! Again, this was an MGB... the fuel gauge dosen't work. We had racked up a few hundred miles, the hot-rod carb isn't fuel efficient and to top it off... the fuel tank has a concave dent reducing the amount of fuel I can have in it.

We listened for sputtering in the corners and made us really pay attention to the notes. We didn't want to get off course and run out of fuel. We'd -still- be lost in VA.

We made it back without problems and placed before the conversion van. I figured I had about 10 miles of fuel left!
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Old 02-21-2001, 08:20 PM   #10
richeich
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Okay, here's one of my car waiting for the start. <IMG SRC="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1472522&a=11714536&p=41656565&Sequence=0" border=0>

The rest of them can be seen here. http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Album...522&a=11714536

I didn't really do anything to prep, other than the normal things you'd do before a road trip. This was a relatively simple, short rally all on paved roads. I do have some H&R Springs to lower the car, and will get some struts to match before I install them, so I can do it all at once. Because of that, I plan on getting the front skid plate and the rear diff protector as well.

Rich
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Old 02-22-2001, 05:03 PM   #11
adhowe70
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When it comes to rally, lower is not better. I have damage to the underside of my car from a off-course excursion on a gravel TSD rally. We never left the road, just drove down the wrong road. BIG water bars. My tow-hooks have less paint on them now and my bumper was paint-free on the underside.

If you are going to do much TSD rally, do NOT lower the car.
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Old 02-23-2001, 02:18 PM   #12
remarcable
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If you're going to do any offroad driving (especially at night) Don't lower your car.

Feel free to put stiffer suspension on it but don't lower the car.

Dips, bumps, and trenches are very hard to see at night even with some good lights. Also, you never know how deep that upcoming mud puddle is and what is waiting under the water for you.

I've bottomed out my outback a number of times and every time I was VERY glad to have the extra height. My front skidplate has no paint on the underside, and neither does the rear. My side underbody where the jack points are has been crumpled a bit due to almost high-centering the car sideways, and also a faulty jack I used which slid sideways under pressure.

Of course, you can't really see any of this damage due to the fact that the car is usually coated with a nice layer of orange south carolina clay.

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Old 02-23-2001, 02:27 PM   #13
richeich
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Don't worry guys, if I get around to lowering it, I won't be doing anything that would risk tearing out the underside. From what I've read of the Thunderbird Rally story, the one we did was baby stuff. Honestly, if I was to really get into it, I'd buy an older car that could be my dedicated beater. I don't want to mess up my purty white car!

Rich
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