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Archive for January, 2011

More Development at Mt. Hood 2010

Monday, January 31st, 2011

While we hadn’t had the chance to shake down the car yet, the car got some significant summer time upgrades including a new turbo fastening system, an improved and revised cooling system, as well as a new ported cylinder head. Touting the new and improved version of the G5 Golf, the Demon Rally Team made the trek to Hood River, Oregon.

This Mt. Hood Rally was held on October 23, 2010, and while it wasn’t a new rally, it was a new rally for the team to compete at. Being a local rally took a lot of the big event pressures off the team; local rallies are our rallies, we are the top guys and we are in charge here. Unfortunately the rally didn’t come without our typical and untimely pre-event glitches.

In the weeks and days leading up to the event we decided to take the car out and ensure the tuning was up to date as well as the performance of the cooling system and all of the other crucial systems the car employs during a rally. While I didn’t have the opportunity to assist in testing the car, two members of the crew were able to put the car through its paces on the east side of the state. Unfortunately I got the call no team owner wants to hear just a few days before the event. Third gear was gone in our new transmission. I went on a late night rescue mission to get the car back to the shop. The transmission was pulled and we were able to source a stock transmission prior to the event in order to make it. There would be next to no time available for testing prior to the event.

Bright and early prior to sunrise, the Demon Rally Team left Seattle, Washington, and arrived in Hood River, Oregon for recce and relaxation….Or so we thought. We passed the car through tech after hard-wiring a switch for reverse and got registered for the event. While the crew stood by at service, we headed out to pre-run the stages and make notes in reconnaissance or recce as the rally world calls it. Recce went well and we packed up for the evening.

We woke in the morning and decided to drive the car up to town for fuel and to get a couple more miles on it before the event. we made it to the local gas station, only to find that the car wouldn’t re-start. A quick jump start and we were back on our way to service. Unfortunately enroute to service the car began sputtering and dying. It was a sound I was familiar with, just a few months earlier I had driven the car to a local car show and encountered the same thing, the battery was dying. Luckily when we rolled into service, we were able to locate a loose wire for charging and get the car re-fired and made sure the battery was charging. Finally we were ready to race.

Stage 1, 17 South, started with typical butterflies and apprehension about the car’s longevity. Not having driven the car in anger for nearly a 6 month period, waiting in the control zone gives you time to reflect on how much you wish you had been able to beat on the car at least once in its new configuration, and hoping that loose wire was the only thing that would be a problem at this event. Off into the stage I realized how dearly I missed the transmission that should’ve been in the car, the gearing was well off and the open diff was sucking the car into loose gravel relatively consistently. The stage was a smooth fast flowing stage that reminded me of my favorite stage I’ve ever competed on, the Brooklyn Tavern stage. Recce proved to be working well, despite the fact that our numbers were just a hair off for the corners, luckily we weren’t pushing very hard and I got used to the notes about 3/4 of the way through the stage.Nonetheless we set a decent time of 6:15 over the 6.2 mile long stage, averaging close to 60mph. Our time was 5th overall, 29 seconds off of the leader, and just behind Brian Svedin’s Open class 4wd Subaru Impreza. We were 1st in 2wd by just 5 seconds in front of Dave Henderson in his Group 2 2wd Mazda 3.

On Gilhouley North, stage 2, we were excited to run on the tight, twisty and technical road. Writing notes for recce on this stage was a challenge because of the number of tight and varying degree of corners on the stage. When we started into the stage, Don was kicking butt on the notes and rattling off instructions like a true stage rally veteran. I was happy with our effort through the stage and we set a time of 6:43 over the 5.15 mile long stage, averaging over 46 MPH. We tied for 5th overall with Victor Bartosek and his fire breathing open class 4wd Audi Quattro at just 33 seconds off of the fastest time. Interestingly we were second in 2wd a full 21 seconds behind Dave Henderson. Hendo was definitely putting his Mazda 3 through the paces and pushing some limits. I’m excited to exchange stage times with him in the future.

For Stage 3, Fir Mountain South, we knew we would have our hands full. Pre-running the stage in Recce let us know that this stage was the toughest of the event and would definitely be the roughest on the car. Little did we know how rough it would be. The first four miles of the stage were nearly flawless, The car was performing fairly well, despite having to tighten up the new fasteners for the turbo between stages; a big thanks to car #203 for that 10mm wrench! Part of the way into the stage a photographer caught us running a hair too fast into a corner, while it wasn’t the fastest way through it made for some good pictures.



Unfortunately another two miles into the stage something let go and we coasted to our final resting place for the rest of the event. While we didn’t hear or see anything from inside the car, someone caught us on video from above shooting a five foot flame out of the back of the car!

Five Foot Flame Video!

While it turned out to be another testing event for us, we our hoping for a solid debut with a few more upgrades in early 2011. We’ll see you out there, sideways.

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