High Desert Trails Rally has a unique place in our hearts. This was the first rally we entered our WRX in. That same rally and first stage (competitive) running of the car was our first, First in Class win [CRS GT]. A Return in 2012 led to a DNF (Did Not Finish) due to a technical failure, and fast forward to last weekend, 5th in Open Class and 8th Overall. Happy just to finish…
This weekend was also special, as my regular Co-Driver was again missing or panning for gold somewhere. Our regular Crew Chief, Frank Ansbro, was coerced into the “silly seat” as my navigator and co-driver. I don’t know how you prepare someone for this exactly, you can teach them all the rules, anticipate some common confusions and problems but until you sit in that seat and try to do everything a co-driver does, well it’s not until then do you get a sense or appreciation of it, what it takes and how hard it really is. Frank did a fine job for his first outing. Recalling what it was like the first time we took stage, I cannot complain at all.
The car was expected to blow up, it’s been spitting oil out of our exhaust since Gorman Rally, and we just haven’t had time to track down the problem. I threw a bottle of Slick50™ down it’s throat as a peace offering and it seemed to get us through. The car ran well and kicked up more dust than smoke. With Frank getting used to the notes, I had a chance to concentrate on my LFB (Left Foot Braking), at higher speeds as well as some of the more technical flowing sections. I got some good seat time, managed a personal best top speed of 115mph, and didn’t crash. Success in my book.
The event added some extra distance which presented an unknown to the previous years running, and though it was a bit narrow, it was flowing technical and fast, as you may see from the one stage/video the gopro™ battery lasted for. (Note to self, don’t leave the view screen on while recording next time). I personally really enjoyed that bit, and ended in a small water splash which is always fun. & sorry to the guy who broke down just passed it on the reverse running that I splashed quite extensively later in the day…
The competition was fierce, especially as we competed in our production based and setup car in the Open AWD class. Our regular class was killed off, maybe because they were sick of me?? So in a production car, with a new co-driver (no experience), looming engine problem, and I forgot to mention a disconnected Rally computer (Fancy Odometer) we managed a 5th in class and 8th overall. Not to shabby. As any good driver I have plenty more excuses, but the fun & finish out-weighed any regret of a better finish.
As always, thanks to everyone that supports us, helps us get here, watches our kids while were gone and volunteers on stage. Without you we couldn’t do this and we really like doing this. Rally is an addiction, it’s a drug of sorts but it’s also a family of another kind, a motorsport were there is a lot of support of each other and it’s always great to get to spend a few days with all of them.
Photo / Video Credit: 2013 Motorsport Memories