Month: December 2018

The last penultimate round

Collie was supposed to be the second last round of the year, in the end, it was the last.

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Photo by Drift Images

Stage 1 started well, but only a few KMs into the stage we hit something hard when I cut under some bushes on the inside of the corner.  We had hit what I later could see was a very short tree stump.  Instantly the steering wheel was not straight and more, and the front end was not longer as responsive at is normally is – great…

Before Stage 2, a look under the car showed a nice big bend in the steering arm, and the stage didn’t start well either, while still trying to push as hard as possible, we had a big overshoot.  Just need to survive until service and fix this thing up.

Stage 3 completed without any serious mishaps, but while pushing as hard as we could, we were still losing time.

By the time that we got back to service, we were in 13th outright, and down in 4th 2wd.

We changed the arm at service, and we ended up about 10 seconds late out of service, earning us another 5 seconds in penalties.  I was less than impressed, and it was game on to claw back as much of the 40 seconds of time loss as we could.

SS4.  Pushed hard, but without making any silly mistakes, we took fastest 2wd by 10 seconds, 25 seconds faster than 3rd place and this was enough to get us back into 3rd 2wd.

SS5 was another push, but a small mistake meant that we could not beat Dave in his escort.  This stage would prove to be a tough one for us against the escort.  Beating 2nd place 2wd by 6 seconds on this stage, and 14 the stage before was enough for us to pass them.  Now to try and catch Dave in the escort.

SS6 still going, close to the limit but never over it, we took another 9 seconds out of his lead, but were still 27 odd seconds behind.  At this rate we will not make up enough time.

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It was decision time at service, keep pushing hard with the hope that we could make up more time this loop, or take the points, as we were still ahead of our championship rivals.

I left service with the intend of making sure we finished, with all that we had taken out of Dave’s lead in the last loop it was not going to be enough to catch him.  A DNF here for me would mean that the championship was over.

It was a long drive out to the next stage, lots of time to think, ponder, doubt and dream.

41931851_1901565873471386_8620043193213255680_o.jpgPhoto by Blake Rattenbury Photography

Start line of SS7, one of those cartoon scenes was playing out on my shoulders, the devil on one side, the angel on the other.  Win it or bin it, no make sure you finish, 2nd is the first loser, think of the big picture….

Pulled the straps tighter, the devil had won.

Finished fastest 2wd again on this stage, but it was only by tenths – not enough.

SS8, fastest 2wd again, but only by 2 seconds this time, faster than the first time through this stage, but not nearly enough.

SS9 – In the dark this time – maybe I can make a difference in the dark.  Fastest 2wd again, but only 9 seconds taken back, it would not be enough.

Dave would finish fastest over the stages, but little did I know he had an issue and could not get his car to start before one of the stages, and collected 40 seconds in penalties for being late getting to the start of the stage.

Dave drove really well, and for me he won this round, but the records will show that we got the points and that was important (so I thought at the time) for the championship.

Once the car was steering straight, I was really happy with how we performed, and my driving and notes are getting better and better each event, and I’m getting my confidence back, so overall it was a good event for us.

At this point, the championship was still a long shot after our double DNF at the forest rally when I broke the motor, we needed to win and have the White’s finish well down the points, something that had not happened all year.

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Photo by Blake Rattenbury Photography

Due to the area of forest that we were going to use for the next event being closed for a prescribed burn, the event was not able to be run on its original date.

The organisers were able to move the event to another location, and on different date, but unfortunately there were not enough entries to the event to make it viable.  I thank them for all of there hard work in trying everything to get this event to run, but it was not to be.

With that, the year was over, and so was the championship.  Congratulations to Alex and Lisa White for winning the State 2wd Championship.

Onto next year, my priority is to have a replacement engine built, and retire the stock one that is in there at the moment.  I haven’t gotten very far yet, have just been collecting parts and getting one of my old worn out engines stripped down ready for machining.

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The head has also been stripped, and I am in the process of cleaning up the ports and then that is off to the machine shop to be cleaned up.IMG_20181201_181955.jpg

Hopefully I can also get the time to build myself a new set of exhaust headers as well, the current ones being a factory set from one of the Autech edition S15s which are too small for what I’m trying to do with this car.

After the Forest Rally when I had to go back to the stock spare motor, we have been down just over 50hp, so I am really looking forward to this new engine, as it is a much more comprehensive build than the old “good” motor so should make more power than I’ve ever had before.  I’m looking forward to having the extra grunt, to see what we can achieve next year!