It’s been a long time – Forest Rally 2018

Getting here to type has been a struggle recently, so this one has been a long time coming.

When we left off, the car was in pieces again, after a successful event – who would have thought….

The weekend after it was on at full speed, with less than 4 weeks before the next event, so in real world time that was 4 to 5 days.  At the end of day one I was in trouble, again.



Over the next few weekends there was lots of late nights, and with the help of my beautiful wife putting in hours and hours of sanding and assembly, we ended up here, the day before scrutineering:



So that was all completed, and now it was time to modify the car.  For a while, I had wanted to try a different spring rate, as I felt that the handling could be improved.  So pulled the shocks out, swapped springs, re-greased the front inserts and put it all back together.  Time will tell if this was a good idea or not!

Then, we were off to Busselton for the next event.


The first two stages were a bit of a struggle, the car needed to be driven differently, and the brake bias took a lot of fiddling to get right, but it felt like it could be driven faster.

Four stages in, and I was getting the hang of it, and at the afternoon service I was closer to the usual faster guys than before – time for a bit more of a push on the repeat stages.

The Koala repeat stage was good, everything felt right, was fast but not taking any big risks.  Next up was Ferndale repeat stage, about a minute into the stage, we rubbed the ground in a compression, nothing hard, just the usual rub that happens when you are in deep ruts.

Dash starts flashing, Oil Pressure Low – How, that wasn’t a hard hit, surely that was not enough to hurt anything, maybe a wire fell off, or the sensor broke…..  Side road here, pulled off the road.  A quick open of the bonnet and the sump guard is crushed up into the sump, with the sides of sump being bulged out – flattened.  The knocking sound was a sure indicator that she was very unhappy inside, and we are out for the day.

After the stage is complete, we get towed out of the stage and we wait for our trailer to arrive.  Its nearly sunset by the time we are loaded up and are on our way back to Busselton.

I’m usually not one to give up, but the fact that I am a computer programmer, and not a mechanic, means that an engine swap, or a partial rebuild is not a fast process.  Its 6pm now, so 9pm by the time I get the car home (yes, i left the other engine at home…..).  It is going to take me a minimum of 6 hours to swap it, as everything needs to be swapped over, all of the intake, water pump, all inlet and outlets for water and oil, all of the sensors, wiring, crank angle sensors etc…  So that takes us to around 3am, if all went well.  2.5hrs to drive back to Bussleton and that brings us to 5.30am, giving me an hours sleep before getting up for day two.  Add to this the fact that the tune for the standard motor is going to be very different to the tune that is in the car – its a risk that we decided not to take, a day’s competition on no sleep with a car with a bad tune wasn’t worth it.

So that was it for the event, day two was not going to happen…



A huge thanks to Powertex Solar and Energy Solutions for coming on board and sponsoring us for the event.


One comment

  1. Hi Mike, not a great outcome but its called racing. If it was easy they would call it winning. Rallying is not a format I would choose as it is very high maintenance requiring a much bigger budget and network than I have. Your dedication and technical knowledge is impressive, but it needs time and money. I hope you get a better run in future, if not, change formats before it burns you out. Good luck Morgan McBride

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