Random rubbish from the motor sport world

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Day 1, Rally Greece

And in rally news, organisers and fans are in shock and needed medical help after Marcus Gronholnm on his skateboard has actually not only managed to finish a day but also in fact be in the lead.

“My legs are a bit tired but I had a good day, you know its hot and I need a beer as well as …. now why cant I have Petter’s gorupies? All I get is these fat guys on the Internet who think I’m a legend, but this is no good! I want nubile women with huge breasts… but yes it was good day oon skateboard” he commented.

Petter Solberg also amazed rally fans when his Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 not only finished an day but was in second place. Petter immediatly threw a wild party to celebrate and was last seen buried under Norwegian females.

Third was Sebastian Loeb, driving his car under remote control.

“It was ummmm a challenging day. It is ummmmm hard to drive while ummmm your balls are being rubbed by a ummmmmm Asian lady but mmm it was good, very good. We ummmm do well” At which point the reporter fell asleep under the effects of Loeb’s Anti Charisma field.

The only driver to have problems today was Subaru’s young Australian Christopher Atkinson the Third, celebrating his fourth birthday. His booster cushion was swapped for a whoopie cushion at the start of stage 3, which he didnt notice until midway into the stage.

“Mother fucker Petter had it on mother fucking timer the the cunt. Five km in and Glenn thought I was shitting my bowels out. That cunt Petter, he knows I cant reach the fucking pedals. I’m soo going to bite him on the knee caps!”

Day two of Rally Greece continues tommorrow

posted by admin at 9:11 am  

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Shakedown 2006

It’s run and won for another year. In 2005, it ws the first true rally for the VR4, since then it’s done a few rallysprints, a whole load of khanacrosses and motorkhanas, a track day, a demonstration day, had thousands spent on it…..

And now we return for the car’s second rally a year later.

Didnt really expect to be only doing on rally a year so far, but I suppose if the Shakedown is the only one, then it’s a damn good one to be doing. Fantastic organisation, friendly people, good and challenging roads, a compact format and pace notes.

It was in fact the first time I had ever used pace notes. I have to say that I loved the experience.

The VR4 has so many incremental upgrades that it’s no where the same car as the last Shakedown. Nor was the team, Peter beign in England I had John instead – and I think that was for the best. John’s got a level head, he’s also pretty good and not a frustrated driver like Peter is.

The first stage gave me the biggest surprise – the VR4 was 3 minutes and 40 seconds faster than last year over 24.13 km. I simply was floored by the time, even with John off the notes for half the stage and a few driving errors, 17:55 is a more than respectable time. I would think dropping into 16 minutes would be highly possible.

Stage two was Gum Valley and again, comparing times to last year there was over a 1:30 improvement. A minute and a half over 9 km and an almighty moment off the road to boot as well.

Boost pressure was a long way down from what it should have been and remained that way for most of the day. At times, boost was below standard levels, so to see the times we were doing is pleasing.

Stage three was quick and short, we ran without notes as the notes we had were FUBAR. Airstrip and actually short braking myself after braking just after the 200 m sign (160 kph) means the brakes are damn good and I have no real complaints on that behalf, nor of the car’s handling. Just wish the power was there.

Stage four, and our times were getting better again, did manage to turn the boost up to 9-10 psi. Had a ball around the high speed areas and a nice big jump

Stage five, I would say this is one of the best stages I have driven – we only recce’d it once, but it turned out to be brilliant when we thought it wouldnt be. Had a lot of dust problems, but still managed to stay close to required pace. I have to apologise to Molly, I thought she gave us all the dust problems, it turned out it was Andrew who had stopped in stage. In places it was decidedly nasty as we got closer to Andrew and there was no breeze to clear the dust. Probably cost us 30 seconds but that’s rallying.

Stage six….. Headlight failure. I only had headlights from one km in. Our time was hurt as a result and I have to say that trying to keep my pace up with no real light was simply stupid. I really should have backed off more but didnt. I dont think I’ve sweated or manhandled a car as much but it paid off as by this point we were 6th outright.

Stage seven, Lights fixed but badly aimed, got dust problems and the lights glare in my face as a result. Nearly a minute slower than daylight.

Stage eight, just that Bindo blast again, still liights issues and no notes. And by now a crushed exhaust. However, held onto 6th outright and managed to drive the car home.

Well done to all officials and organisers for a superb event, well done to the Lada crew for perservering.

Did anyone see a nude girl in Stage 6? My co-driver claims there was one. And never saw Matt’s cow, I bet it was already off to the pub to be turned into dinner.

So in summary, did much better than I expected, still could have done better but of course that’s all part of development and learning. I am going to fix the damn boost pressure problems and get a light pod, there’s no way I want to drive at the speeds I was with shoddy lights again.

posted by admin at 9:18 pm  

Saturday, March 18, 2006

VR4 meets dirt once again

Finally got the car running after the crank pulley fuck up. But that wasnt the end of it – I had a few other things to fix and last night found a broken seat mount. Lads and ladies if you want to go rallying, remember how much punishment even a dedicated and built car takes!

In testing the VR$ this week, found it’s quite agile with the new suspension and 17psi is a tad TOO much boost. Backed it off to 12psi, got a boost leak somewhere but not really a problem now. And so finally the car is in fighting shape to race. And race it finally I did, 6 months after it went into the workshop for the Suspension of God. Just a pissy motorkhana but it was good to break the car in and also knock off a lot of rust.

Westlakes Auto Club grounds is my ‘home’ grounds, still 200 odd km from home but worth the drive. Packed the VR$, filled it with RON 98, added a bottle of racing octane boost (70 points) for that fine noxious but sweet racing fuel scent. I might just divert and say some octane booster DO work. Just be prepared to pay 20 dollars for a bottle – been using Nulon Pro for a while and makes hte VR4 quite happy. 105RON means the ECU has no reluctance to let the boost go up and I can run a touch more advance.

The big decision was rally tyres or road tyres? Road tyres work at Awaba and the VR4 has had some handbrake issues and understeer misbalance with rally tyres. And I have done well on road’s there before so the decision seemed obvious – no, not with a water cart wetting the surface down. Awaba is diabolical in the wet so the switch to rally tyres was made.

And I forgot Awaba drains fucking well so after a few runs it dries up. However firwst run it was mud, mud, o so slippery mud.

Well anyway, car one does it’s run, then the VR4 lines up. Now it does has a reputation for being worthwhile to watch, so there’s a few other drivers having a chat, one eye on the course as I line up. A bit of a course check, a bit of a rev to settle myself down then decide to try a full blown rally start. Build the boost up, let it sit at 4500 rpm… boost lights on…. just let the clutch begin to engage….

Drop the clutch and nail the bastard for all it’s got.


I wasnt expecting that. My head slammed into the headrest as the car fires down the course – The new suspension has far better traction ability and the button clutch just dumped all that torque straight down. First flag, turn in, hard on the handbrake… and the fucking thing even turned! Lost time oversteering and eventually being a clown and showing off, but bloody hell, this wasnt anywhere near the same car from last year.

The other drivers are staring at the obsene traction display on mud. I look back and the entire course has four well defined wheeltracks now cut into it. Oh yeeeeessssss. Joygasm time.

The event has six tests, two runs at each. I’m bloody rusty for the first three tests, end up 4th outright at the break, 5 seconds off the pace of first outright, 4 off 3rd, all three those specials Awaba tends to have – basically purpose built for the grounds and pretty much unbeatable due to their power to weight and tiny size. I’m first sedan, with three other sedans damn close, one by about .02 seconds. Pretty good for a barge like the VR4 or in fact any AWD, they tend not to do well with the smaller tests of a motorkhana. Class D is for big cars and usually they get hammered by the smaller ones and specials – last year I managed to win outright with a Class D (VR4) which was unheard of and upset a few of the small car drivers. Still, did note most tests I’ve lowered into personal best times so that’s gotta be worth something. Test three I’ve lowered it by 5 seconds, but to be honest the VR4 never has done well on that particular set of loops. But it was doing okay today. Making a lot of mistakes trying to adapt to the car, going too wide and missing where I should turn mainly. But the handbrake is making the car turn really well, things feel right and I can make use of the front end grip

Fuck I hate being 4th outright tho. Happens too often for my liking, even if it’s doing pretty damn well, the best the VR4 has done is I think is 8th at an Awaba motorkhana. Make a few adjustments to my mental state (ie get mad), line up for test four and proceed to do my best time I’ve ever done around the particular layout. Test five I also know my best time and I lower it by 1.5 seconds, second fastest on test. Test six…. nailed it. Fastest by a second.

Fourth outright end of the day, the guys breathign down my neck ended up in the dust by at least 4.5 seconds to fifth, sixth 7 seconds behind. Nearly snatched 3rd, missed by .01 seconds. 1st outright got away by a bit, but not much.

Okay, I hate being fourth. But running down the specials and running away from cars that I couldnt beat last year…. I should be pleased. Very pleased. The VR4’s offseason work has made it faster and I can measure the difference. Now back to the garage to make a few more changes in the next few weeks – there’s a group of specials I’m detirmined to beat. Having a barge beat them will certainly be an upset and one I reckon now I can do.

But first there’s a rally to do.

posted by admin at 9:26 pm  

Monday, March 13, 2006

Don’t Try: Homestead 12 March 2006, RallyCross

Well, another month, another Sunday Rallycross at Homestead where I destroy my best official time in the fun run by 6+ seconds. I need to always remember that if I try I will overdrive, and that my subconcious and body are familiar enough with my car that they will do a much better job of driving than my concious mind ever will. My concious mind’s job now is simply cone locator and route determination.

I know I promised in car for this event, but my ghetto camera mount broke and the footage it captured before it did looked like utter shit. The camera my friend let me borrow is worthless for quick motion, and I simply don’t have the funds for a decent one.

Anyway, the weather was pretty nice, topping out around 83 (28C) on the reflective white mix of ooglite and sand. I showed up around 815 and got to work changing my tires. I purchased some SPF 50 on the way down so I was protected from our favorite ball of gas, so no sunburn this time, hooray. But something was wrong. I felt weird, like my brain needed to take a giant shit or something. My head was full of fluff and my body was doped on a mix of tired and light adrenaline, which for me is the absolute worst state to get anything done. I plied my trade with the competency of someone who’s never raced before but thinks they know what they are doing for the first two runs. The times are frankly embarrassing and the only thing that makes me feel better is many of the other regulars felt that the course was a lot slower than it looked and was extrodinarily easy to overdrive.

Lunch rolled around. Lunch turns me into a thing that lets me pretend to be competent and human, and my post-Lunch times were flat out superior and not actually embarrassing. With a full belly and a light need to piss, I let go some. The very curvey course became fluid and more natural. Except for a missed shift on the last run, I was pretty satisfied with the whole thing until I again nuked my time on the fun run.

So yeah, don’t try.

posted by admin at 1:23 pm  

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rallycross: 12th of February 2006

Homestead Motorsports Complex

As I posted a while ago, I got rally tires for my birthday, which was the cause of much joy and celebration. They make an obvious world of difference on a loose surface, but I hadn’t tried them on Homestead’s very rough mix of small/medium sized limestone rocks, sand and rough limestone base. Ft. Meade is a different animal, basically pure soft mud and dirt. Mostly I was concerned about tire wear, and was very glad I opted for the medium compounds when all was said and done. While I like autocross and even managed a mid-pack (10th GS, 97/152th PAX) result last outing a few weeks ago, I live for loose surface escapades. We have a lot more room to work with at than the autocross guys, and we use it.

The weekend couldn’t have started any better. My Dad and I went fishing on Friday night, which he hadn’t done for nearly 6 months because of all the hurricanes and I hadn’t gone in longer than that. The experience couldn’t have been better. We came home with fish. I had a fresh grouper sandwich out of the deal, which I caught. Yum! Saturday, I had volunteered to help set up the course. It was very helpful to see it beforehand and sleep on the best way to get around it. Then I had a party to attend. I had some drinks and went to sleep around 1 on my friend’s soft, carpeted floor because the last thing I wanted to do was either stay up longer or double-back to get my car. I was up at 645 and drove home to have breakfast and collect my helmet, tires, and clean my car out more. A brief family encounter left me wired the wrong way, and I forgot that the temperature was going to go down and the wind would go up.

Still, Rallycross! At Homestead, too, where I don’t worry about destroying my car: just my tires. As annoying as my start had been, I was racing. After I slapped tires on the car and watched the first group run, I was trading ribs with a friend in a WRX on the awful stock Potenza RE92s. We were running nearly identical times. After lunch hiding from the wind in his car, we lined up again and somewhat to my surprise, my Dad showed up. I had a good amount of fun that run, putting in my best adjusted, scored time of 223? (100th seconds). I ran a 219 with three cones for the final run, the result of trying too damned hard. After wrangling some volunteers for the fun run, I guessed a reasonable time of 218 and lined up. I did not come close to 218. No, I squarely thumped it by 10 seconds, raising more than a few eyebrows and earning compliments. Even though it didn’t count, it showed me that I need to be more relaxed and that I’m familiar enough with the car that driving the 240SX instinctually instead of aggressively nets me the best results. I’m still very much new to motorsport. It hasn’t even been 2 years since my first outing in Australia, and I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit. Now I have to wait for the next event.

posted by admin at 8:03 am  

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mitsubishi out of WRC in 2006 and 2007

Well….. fuck

What else can one say? Maybe they will be back in 2008 but you really think so?

So we have just Subaru and Ford next year. Well, didnt Chris Atkinson sign on at the right time?

posted by admin at 7:07 pm  

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

December 10: Rallycross @ Ft. Meade

Recently I purchased and installed a Koyo dual core aluminum radiator for my 240SX because hey, I do race it and overheating is scary and dangerous. I was on the original single core radiator that probably came with the car. This was on Thursday. I gave it a good but mostly legal thrashing for 15 minutes, mainly by keeping it in second gear and near 50. It didn’t go over half, everything seemed to be going well. I popped the hood and found that the larger of the two fans in the assembly I got from a junked Sentra was not spinning. Uninspired, I simply moved the ground wire to another bolt, turned the ignition back on and watched it spin to life. Cool.

Saturday rolled around and I got up early to nab 4 Altima steelies for $30 bucks. Thanks Bob’s U-Pullit! The truck tire place down the street mounted my rally tires for another 30, and I was good to head to Ft. Meade for the night rallycross. Ft. Meade is south of Orlando by about an hour, and it ends up being a 4 hour drive since I live south of downtown Miami by 30 or 40 minutes.

Little floppy green glowsticks taped to about a hundred cones in a grassy field looks amazing.

I ended up in the 2nd running group because I didn’t rush to the booth and I prefered to wait and see what the other drivers did. I’m not super-experinced and sometimes you pick up problem areas and things to watch out for.

After the first group’s runs were over, I dashed out to my car and lined up. The car seemed to be liking the cooler central FL air, I think some of my sensors aren’t what they used to be. I consistently dropped time in my first three runs, which is important.I did think about my fan issue, but they were fine.

More of a MR-2, a Volvo 240s with straight pipes, a prepped Impreza, a 2006 STi owner testing the car out some, a pair of 80s VWs, and a maniac in a modded WRX finished, I lined up again.

I launched, and after bouncing up and down a good bit, I noticed that the cluster lights and radio face was flickering occasionally. The temp gage wasn’t flickering at all. It was heading for the top. Halfway through, I backed off since this car was my ticket home. Back at the staging, I popped the hood and after 10 minutes of futility with fuses and my ghetto wiring, my race was over. Damn. Doubly dissapointing because last time a blown strut forced retirement. Upon review in the morning, the larger fan was physically damaged. It wouldn’t even spin anymore.

Special and most apreciated-ness to Mr. and Mrs. Black, who graciously let us run on the property helped me get the 80 amp fuse I needed to make it home safely. Thanks to everyone who came out, maybe I’ll finish an event at Ft. Meade soon!

Rallycrosses and a track day have brought some important weaknesses in the stock bits:

I need new, stiffer springs. The stockers simply aren’t stiff enough. Any suggestions?

Different struts are required. Again, stiffer. I have an Aussie friend who thinks some rebuildable adjustable Bilsteins would be the answer for a student on a budget (me). His brother runs them on an RX-2 with little fuss.
Even though this sounds like a good idea, I’m open to other ones.

But really, what I need most is a daily driver.

posted by Chris at 1:06 pm  

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Skoda’s situation becomes clear

Well, looks like Skoda is officially – in and out of WRC

Out – They have dropped out of WRC as a first tier manufacturer

In – they have handed over the cars to two teams – one whom is a privateer and driven by Jan Kopeck, the other a second teir team run with Red Bull sponsorship. The Red Bull Skoda team will be run by Austrian Raimund Baumschlager and his Baumschlager Rally and Racing [BRR] Team.

Already confirmed as one of the drivers for the Red Bull Skoda outfit is 21-year old Austrian Andreas Aigner. Aigner has been gaining WRC experience in recent seasons as part of the Red Bull Junior Team. A second driver with international experience will be confirmed shortly.

Both teams will do 10 rounds, Jan Kopeck doing the 10 European rounds while I have no idea what rounds the tier two teams have to do but Red Bull will also do 10. Skoda will use this time to decide wether to retrun to teir one.

Not unexpected and probably the best that could be expected. Who this ‘Internationally experienced’ driver is – worth speculating. Duval wiht his ties to Red Bull springs to mind and of course Colin McRae who proved the Skoda is a damn good car. Roman Kresta and Toni Gardenmeister also I suppose could be there but I say unlikey.

posted by admin at 10:27 pm  

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Stephan Sarazzin resigns for Subaru

Subaru announced Stephan Sarrazin is signed to do 4 rallies next year and be their test driver.

Sarrazin is a Prodrive signed driver in Sports Cars so it makes some sense to keep him for the tarmac events. And he is fast on tarmac. Still, what does this mean, why only four events?

My view is that Subaru are covering the weak link of their team – Chris Atkinson’s lack of experience on tarmac. Sarrazin is no Atkinson and it’s obvious Subaru think Atkinson could be a world champion. He’s potential to win is now pretty clear and with the fact he’s now done a full year, this’ll make it easier for him and hopefully will be steadier. Speed’s no issue. Atkinson will be free to just run on tarmac and do what he can without the pressure of manufacturer’s points scoring.

Very interesting in the end, especially given Ford apparently was after Atkinson to partner Gronholm. We will be following Atkinson with much interest next year

In other news, Duval has been linked to Skoda IF they stay in the championship next year. Certainly there are plenty who want them to stay and I do too. Not just that we need more manufacturers, the Fabia is a terrific little car and in a team better funded would be a world beater. Skoda seem to make a habit of that, make really good cars and not have the funds to run them to their full potential. As McRae proved, the Fabia is worth a shot with in 2006. If Skoda dont do an official team, maybe a good second tier team could grab them?

Lets hope they will be back

posted by admin at 8:41 pm  

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Not exactly the best year for rallying

One of the things I guess that surprises me is that rallying is as safe as it is. Yes, it is, the cages, harness and seats makes a rally car one hell of a safe place to have a mind blowing crash. Usually, you can just walk or occasionally limp away. However, this year saw the death of Michael Park, a very popular and successful co-driver. He died in a collision with a tree while calling the notes for Marrko Martin, who’s future has to be in doubt. This was the first death in 12 years to the day at WRC level- Roger Freeth died at Rally Australia and of course the tragic post-it note of that is the driver there, Possum Bourne died in a recce accident in New Zealand 10 years later at the Race to the Clouds.

Now, in 1986 when Group B was about, there were quite a few deaths, but since then it’s been pretty good. Park’s death was a shock and a reminder it could happen to anyone.

News today however to me was more surprising – in a way deaths on-stage arent something you want but they happen. At any championship level it happens because while the cars are very safe, you are travellign at very high speeds and if you go off, you stand a good chance of hitting somethign very solid. Normal road cars wouldnt stand a chance. Now, before I sidetrack myself, the point today of this entry was that Richard Burns died. Not in a car, but from cancer. That really doesnt seem fair for someone who was young and highly talented to be taken by cancer and not doing something he loved.

Is that a bit…. morbid of a comment? I dont know. But, Park died quickly doing what he was good at. Burn’s life was sucked away over two years most unfairly and I dare say most distressingly by a silent killer. I know which way I would prefer to exit this world.

Anyway, may both of you rest in peace.

Hopefully next time there’ll be some good news to type about.

posted by admin at 1:54 pm  
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