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Doo Wop 2009 Report

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Since the car isn’t finished, we did what we could to support our favorite rally and our sport in general. 

Tom volunteered to work some corners and brought a couple friends along with him who were new to spectating.  He got a couple pictures as well.

I co-drove for Californian driver Andrew Lockhart in car 394, a MkII GTI just like the one we’re building right now. I got to play with some nice toys (Peltor headsets and a Coralba rally computer, for example) and got a couple points for the co-driver championship. Andrew’s goals were to finish, have fun and learn some new things, and all of those goals were achieved.

Day 1 started off with a missed shift at the start line, getting the bugs out of the system early. Stage 1 and 2 are tarmac stages that I know well, so I told Andrew to go as flat out as he felt comfortable. He did well, finishing 2nd in Gp2 and then shaving 14 seconds off the second run. We headed up to Pico for some gravel fun. A couple 90 degree spins slowed us a bit, but we still managed 4th in Gp2. however, a quick look at the voltmeter showed that the battery was no longer charging. We headed back to service to diagnose and hopefully repair the problem.

After wrangling with the alternator and charging the battery for some time, we decided to risk another stage since there was no spare alternator. We headed back up to Pico left. We made it through the stage, but the car gave up about 500 yards from service at the bottom of a hill. We got a tow from the Tabor ladies back to service and proceeded to borrow a spare alternator from the other VW team of Meyers/McKenna and replace it. I offered a bit of help by turning a wrench or two and getting the lower alternator bolt out, earning me the nickname “Alternator Bolt” for the remainder of the rally. Thanks Dan!

The last two stages went flawlessly and we finished the day 2nd in Gp2 after Tennis/Trowbridge got stuck and gave up 1st to Crane/Nielsen. 13 Corners was a fun stage with some excellent banked and twisty turns. I look forward to going up that road again if they include it in the Olympus stages. After heading back to the HQ hotel and enjoying the lovely pizza party, we turned in for the night. We woke up to a dusting of snow and some cold winds.

The theme of day 2 was cold. While sitting the car warming it up before leaving parc expose, the heater fan started smoking a bit and stopped turning. Bad news. We made it out on time, but had a steamy window for a few miles. Luckily, the airflow from the rolled down windows was enough to pull the heated air from the heat system and defrost the window. On stage, you’re allowed 1 inch of window gap. We took advantage of this and braved the cold wind in order to have a clear windshield on the snow Smith Creek stage. We lost quite a bit of time due to the windshield and the snow, but made it through the stage and got ready for a shortened Brooklyn stage.

Even in the snow, and only running half of the stage, Brooklyn is still a great stage for rally. It was unfortunate that the road was not yet in rally condition after the major washout in recent winter storms. We set 4th fastest times on both runs, setting a consistent pace for finishing day 2. Others were not so lucky. At this point in the rally, 3 cars were out, two with major accidents and one with engine failure. By the end of the rally, two cars rolled and one car hit a tree and damaged the rear suspension beyond repair. One of the rolled cars would be tugged over and continue, however. Andrew had set a goal to finish and we were determined to reach that goal.

We took the last three stages well and finished 3rd once and 2nd twice in Gp2. During the last service, I found some loose bolts in an A-arm. After hearing a rattle the entire day, and searching all over the rear of the car, I was lucky to find it before anything catastrophic occurred. This lead to finding a loose wheel bearing and two stripped wheel studs as well. The rabbit guys again came to our rescue with two replacement wheel studs and we were back on the road.

After the last stage, the times were tallied up and we had finished as the 4th 2WD car and 4th on day 2. The competition between the Gp2 cars was amazing, with the top cars finishing within about 20 seconds each day. The awards dinner at the Oakville Grange was amazing as always, just like the whole rally is.

Thanks go out to the organizers and the volunteer workers for a great rally. I personally would like to thank Andrew and Dan for letting me be a part of their team for a weekend. The DemonRally team also extends thanks to our guests for the weekend for being so hospitable. Hopefully we’ll be seeing everyone from our new car at Olympus!

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Packing up the last of the supplies…

Friday, March 6th, 2009

The Demon Rally Team is headed to the Doo Wop Rally early tomorrow, though not to compete.

We’re doing our part to keep our favorite rally going.  Tom will be working corners and Don will be co-driving for an out-of-state competitor.  We hope to be able to update this site and our Twitter feed as the weekend progresses.  We’ll send tweets and posts about rally results and news if possible.  Also, we’ll be testing out the tracking system and if it works, you can follow the path of the Lockhart/Burress car through the rally!

For spectating information, visit doowoprally.com

See you on the stages!

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Slow and steady…

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Car prep updates:

Engine installation work continues. Definitely going with a crank sensor for a distributorless ignition system. Installed the oil cooler and oil catch can with braided stainless lines and AN fittings. Rear brakes are installed and ready. Placement is finalized for co-driver footswitches (ODO reset and Horn). At this pace, Olympus is now looking like a maybe. We’ll be taking this weekend off for the Doo Wop Rally.

Tom, Suzy and a guest will be working as road marshals on corners on the Pico stage on Saturday and a morning stage on Sunday.

Don will be keeping in practice by co-driving for Californian Andrew Lockhart in another VW Golf. They’ll be testing out the DemonRally tracking system if possible, while aiming for a finish, some fun, and a Gp2 win, in that order.

Keep checking here for updates over the weekend!

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