Random rubbish from the motor sport world

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

AWABA Khanacross 26-03-2006

What the fuck is khanacross I hear you ask? Simple. It’s like what is called Rallycross in the USA, except it’s…. rather better. Since I saw ‘rallycross’ when I was in the USA last year, I have to say you guys have gotten shafted as it’s a bit of a joke really. Blame SCCA I might add, it’s not the competitor’s fault what you get served is a point and giggle. Now before you think I’m talking through my ass, I would download a video I’ve offered up. I think you will see why I have a dim view of SCCA rallycross.

Khanacross is on defined tracks, usually max speed of 80 kph allowed. No straight longer than 150 meters. One run on each test, which is then reversed. Penalties are 5 seconds for a marker, 10 seconds for failing to stop at finish garage, Wrong Direction is either slowest time +5 seconds or double fastest.

NSW has a state championship, which is generally about as hot a competition as you can get for Khana in Australia. The serious guys really ramp up car prep, it’s not unusal to see 300 hp Datsuns or specials flying about. Most of the drivers are retired rally or current having some fun and practice. Like the retired former State rally champions who have a habit of showing up.

A Special is an open wheeler built to basically give the finger to the rule book. You have manatory safety, you have mandatory minimum wheelbase size (2 meters long by I think 1.3 wide), must be 2wd. Other than that, you can go stupid. So, imagine something smaller and lighter than an Atom with a rear mounted Holden 3.8 litre V6. Or a SR20DET. Or a superchaged 1.6 litre Suzuki.

So I think if you can grasp that, you know why I bang on about specials being a touch hard to beat. They also come with directional brake systems that increase manuverability.

The Datsuns are usually not far behind, fibreglass panels are allowed, extreme lightweighting etc. 200 hp plus 800 kg with good chuckability = gold.

It’s basically run what you bring, with classes strictly on wheelbase with just about anything allowed, with the exception competitors under 18 are grouped together, Specials grouped together and AWD grouped together.

I havent tried my hand at a State level Khanacross in years if memory serves me right so with the VR4 once again packed, fuel turned into the noxious mix that the car runs so well on, newly vented bonnet and far, far too fucking early in the morning for a Sunday, we’re off to see what can be done against some rather serious competition.

First thing I noted is how long it took for the VR4 to get to operating temps with the vented bonnet. 40 km on the freeway before it really got happy and still noticably down for the entire 180km trip. Power was a bit up, as well as fuel economy better. Still had 3/4 tank when I got to Awaba.

Second was the mud. We’ve had a lot of rain after the last motorkhana just last week, so the ground was a guggly, stick mess of sandy clay mud. Awaba is fucking awful in these conditions, slippery and traction pathetic. Even for a AWD. Sheesh, this was not looking good. And changing tyres in the slop is just what I always wanted to do.

By the time drivers breifing came about, 40 odd other competitors, 10 specials, big hp Dattos and Hondas, Toyota Sprinter (AE86 for the Doriftu fags) RX7, RX2, V8 Commodore, supercharged Subaru Brat and RX turbo had arrived. And one VR4 tucked away.

We do the convoy run to get a track sighter and as I suspected, it’s slippery and is going to cut up fast. And as luck would have it, the first run no one wanted to go first as a result, who wants to run in front of everyone on a shit surface?…ossrun1and2.wmv


Not once but twice.…nacrossrun3.wmv

And if I didnt talk my way out of it, it would have been run 3 too, still faced up 3rd car. Nearly went off twice, run two being sucked off the road by a mud pit in second gear and as you can hear occasionally, even the VR4 was scrabbling for traction. And also much to my dismay, competitors who I would usually beat worked their way late in the running order, so I was at one fucking serious disadvantage. So a lot miffed with my luck, went to a thankfully much grippier fourth test…nacrossrun4.wmv

And I think you’ll notice the rather obvious killer tree suicide attempt.

Right, so I’ driving like shit, the car feels awful, the road conditions for three tests treacherous, I’m pissed off, moaning about my lot in life. And the woes went on at lunch when the interim results had me 17th outright.

Fuck, I was upset.

Little did I know there was a results problem.

After lunch, tests much drier. Car feels better. Bit low on power I think, handling not what I like, woe is me again.…nacrossrun5.wmv

Nearly went off again.…nacrossrun6.wmv

And was pretty furious with myself as the rather loud murmurings in the cabin show.…ossrun7and8.wmv

Test 7 (3 in the reverse) usually shows up the VR4. Actually felt allright and was a bit happier. And I did get a chance to eyeball the results fromt he test and saw I was about 7th for that test. Okay, that wasnt so bad now, that’s usually the worst test. Test 8 finished the day and managed to grab a time only .5 sec behind the fastest special. Allright, not so bad then.

I do have to thank Goons for the fitness tips last year, I’ve been pretty heavily into swimming and biking, I’ve definatly one hell of a lot more able to cope with racing. Still, the VR4 is one heavy and hot thing to throw about, 3 litres of drink downed and still needed more.

Decided to wander up and check results. Got a real shock to find out they had ballz up the interim and hadnt been 17th. I was 5th and well and truly in amongst the specials, .2 in front of the fastest Datsun.

Final results. 3rd outright. 2.5 ahead of any sedan. 7 seconds behind 2nd.

Okay, I’ll stop whinging now. I dont think I was driving like an old man after all.

Actually was quite surprised in the end, I thought it was all going wrong and yet it was in fact going quite right. Yeah the early start in three tests did hurt but not by much, average of 1.5 seconds faster in reverse directions. Handling was iffy, but was that the car or the road conditions? I dont really have times to compare as the last daylight Khanacross I did was when the car was newer and I didnt really know how to drive it. I remeber doing pretty well then, but it was also no state level event. Also that event the car had no restrictor, thence more power. I dont run a gazillion psi boost in competition as the ECU doesnt like it. I got to work out a way to make it hold 14psi for an event – short spurts of 17 psi proves it’s got the power in fifth, but first/second the ECU tends to somehow restrict boost, except if I wire the controller the wrong way and stop the waste gate opening. Not going to do that for an event, I rather like my motor in one piece.

Car underbonnet temps definantly lower and I can tell air is passing through via dust marks behind the vents. I think tho I’ve got a fractured IC pipe, dragged against a ditch I think. That’s no biggie tho.

Right now the VR4 comes off the road for a month and being readied for the year’s first rally. With a 4th and now a 3rd under the belt this year already, it’s looking good. The car is faster and feels better.

Could I have won the event? If I drove perfectly, yes. I did make a lot of mistakes and I feel like it wasnt a partiularly good day at the office, but the results say otherwise. I got to get the car turning better around tight corners.

Or maybe I should shut the fuck up with the whining and get a clue. Big heavy cars shouldnt beat specials, even with AWD turbo. Even if the VR4 is quick, still has to be driven fucking hard. I should be happy that my performances last year and this year have been so good.

Funny how my car speed’s picked up since the ex left. There’s a message there, right?

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