With the drama of the week behind us, we arrive in Nyamup, unload, setup camp, cook a simple dinner and get off to sleep ready for the day ahead.
The wheel alignment that I mentioned in the previous story was never done amids all of the running around of the previous days. It’s dark now, I’ll just do it in the morning.
When the morning finally rolls around, we head off for recce. When we get back to the service park, its raining, cold, and the tarp is covered in puddles of water. The perfect time to lay down under the car and align it…
After finding where I put my big boy pants, we got the alignment where I wanted it. Time to race.
Stage 1 – A high speed and short blast to get warmed up. Took a couple of corners to get into it, but all feels good. Just over 2 minutes and the stage is complete.
Stage 2 – The total opposite length, this one is 35kms, with a mix of fast and tight and technical. 2kms in there is a creek crossing, we hit it flat and bottomed out on the exit – somthing that would come back later. About 1/2 way into the stage, on the tight, slow hairpins and junctions, I can smell oil simmering. With this on my mind, and the constant checking of oil pressures and temps I didn’t have the best second half of a stage.
Stopping at the stop control at the end of the stage, smoke pours out from under the bonnet. I can see flames from the drivers seat – great….. We pull forward away from the officials tent, shut the car off, jump out with the fire extinguishers, carefully pop the bonnet.
Just some small flames on the extractors, with no wiring or anything above it, decided not to use the extinguisher, and within 10 seconds it had burnt itself out. One of the officials that was there pointed to the dip stick – it had come out by about 30mm – yeap, that old trick. It had been spitting little bits of oil onto the red hot exractors. Its now wired closed.
Back to service. Jo asks me where my bumper is. Huh? The old girl has no back end, the creek crossing started the process of tearing it off, depositing it on the stage a little later. Appologies to all the other competitors that had to avoid it – sorry!
Stage 3 is a repeat of stage 1. Got too deep into the spectactor point, and made a very slow exit wheel spinning in the soft sand on the outside. Ok, don’t do that again.
Stage 4 – About 18kms long. I really enjoyed this stage, another good mix of fast and technical and had a good rythm and made very few mistakes in the slower corners. I didn’t know at the time, but we were 4th fastest outright on the stage, I’m still lifting in places where I didn’t need to, but we’re going ok.
Stage 5 – Another run of the 35km stage. There were a couple of sections that had turned from hard packed ground to deep silt – made it difficult to keep the car in a straight line in many sections, and a lot of other corners that were perfect on run 1 where now covered in fine dust, making them much more slippery. Slower than the first pass through, but everyone else was slower too – we were closer to the cars in front this time, so another good improvement. Another 4th fastest outright. Still can’t catch Nick, the 2wd that is in front of me, but happy none the less.
Stage 6 – Another repeat of stage 1. Got very taily a couple of hundred meters into the stage, and had to lift in a fast section to tidy it up, so we ended up with a slower time. Got the spectactor point right this time though :).
Stage 7 – A repeat of the 18km stage 4. This time in the dark.
With very little wind, the dust was bad in a lot of places. A very scrappy stage from me, it was so hard to see a lot of the time. The stage that I loved so much on the first run was no fun the second time around. A big overshoot lost us 10+ seconds, and after that I turned my attention to just finishing the event. 5th fastest on the stage, so still good considering.
We get back to the finish, with some bunting in tow, park up and wait for the cars to be released from post event checking. All of the placings that I listed above I didn’t know at the time. I had been looking at Nick’s times every other stage, to try and judge if I was improving or not, but I hadn’t looked at any results.
In the end we finished 4th outright, and second 2wd car – That’s our best outright finish to date, so I have to be happy with that.
Next event is the Forest Rally, a round of the Australian Rally Championship and a big two and a bit days of competition – we can’t wait.
Now, as the car is straight, no major damage, and because I am me, she now looks like this:
It is time for a paint job as she is looking very scruffy!