The year is over, where has it gone!
Since last time we’ve had another two events, the Karri Rally and the Safari Rally.
It was one of those days that I should have just stayed at home. To start the day, felt terrible, had to stop a couple of time during Recee – this is not going to be pretty.
We get to the start of stage 1, finally with a bit of motivation, and less of the feeling of being sick. And the start has been delayed. After everything was resolved, and we were about to start again. 3, 2, 1, go – Off the line in first, 2nd, then into third and the throttle pedal felt dead, shift to 4th and she’s jammed at 100% – great. It was a long straight, so spent the next few seconds fishing around with my foot to see if I could pull the pedal back – nope. Shut the engine off and coasted into the T junction at the end of the straight. At this point, we managed to get 13 seconds into the stage when the pedal jammed – the day is just getting better. Pop the bonnet and can see that an adjustment bolt has backed out of the throttle assembly, jamming it open. By the time I get some allan keys out, take the bolt out, get gloves, helmet etc back on an a couple of minutes has been lost. A car had gone past 30 seconds prior, so we took off again. On the last corner of the stage, we followed Steve Oxley’s lead and turned left and did a doughnut, rather than simply turning right.
We make it to SS2 for our proper start position – ok, time to start the event now. While not fast, we complete the stage without any further dramas,
About 500m from service, we turn back onto the hwy, no power, running on 3…
Into service, and after a few minutes of troubleshooting and swapping parts around, we have a dead coil pack. No problem, just get the spare from the electrics container that I take to every event – well, that would have been the answer if I had not left this container at home…. Searched all of the Commodores in the service park for a v8 one (LS1 coil pack) – nothing. Day over.
Took lots of spare coil packs this time. Didn’t need them though…. Hopefully this is the sign of a better day.
This event is hopefully the turning point for some more speed next year. For the first time this year my trust in my own notes in the high speed sections has taken a step forward, getting them right and trusting them is critical for ‘safe’ speed.
All was quite uneventful until the final stage, the sting in the tail – in the dark. I love night stages, although this one turned out a bit less enjoyable than normal. The first problem was the dust, intermittent but very thick in places. Coming around a corner, perfect visibility, then a wall of white. Making it even more fun was an issue about 5kms into the stage. It felt much like Collie when a rose joint broke in the rear suspension, every time you brake hard it flicked the car sideways – nothing to do but keep going.
Stopping with what felt like a handbrake, and the thick dust made for an interesting 15kms. Three overshoots in the dust made for a tense stage, but we made it through the stage and back to service. It turns out that it wasn’t broken, just a puncture.
We ended up losing 40 seconds on that stage, but at the end of the event it didn’t change any of the placings, 2nd two wheel drive and 5th outright was a good result for the last round. Hopefully we can take this new found confidence into next year, and get a bit closer to the front.