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Patrick's 1999 RAC (Rallye Auto Charlevoix) Event Notes

Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 22:52:01
From: Patrick Richard

Hey all,  (Just got back from RAC)

So here is the story (long so skip if ya don't care - or don't know me !!):

We started saturday after the re-seed a surprising 9th on the road. After the 1st stage that day, which was actually really hairy IMHO, we starting 6th O/A and were in 6th place according to the stage by stage (stage 5 claimed Nichols, McGeer (although not for good) and another GTi (also not for good, but long enough)).

We should have chilled out because the next PGT car was over a minute behind by then (and this was the 6th stage). Clarke and John Paynter gave me hard advice before the rally: "It is basically 2 stages (ed: each run twice, so actually 4: Pax I/IIand Bataram I/II), and the rest are sprints. You can't win the rally on the sprints, but you sure can lose on them..."

Good words to be heeded... this was a 2 minute stage (sprints)...

So starting stage 6 (B2 in the book), I think that is when things got to my head :-). We were right behind Sylvain (again) and it was near the beginning of the rally this time ! I was thinking "wow, I can't beleive we can actually see Buffum and the Sprongls actually start the stage from INSIDE the car !!!" (that is exactly what is said on the in-car cam).

And being naive, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was eyeing up making a window in front of the 2 Golfs (dunno their names - sorry dudes) thinking about overall positioning and TV and all that. So anyhow, I was feeling maybe a little invincible, and we were cruising on this stage (oh yeah - this is important - the night before we blew the head gasket and my bros were up *all night* putting stop leak and pepper into the motor - so on this stage I was pulling extra gears only to find out that that is actually a faster way to drive - Lincoln can stop making fun of me and my rev-limiter reliance now (!) ).

Then Ian yells "No ODO!!", but I didn't stop the car. I didn't even slow. I actually thought it was the dimmer switch (same thing happened when you look Claire and mine's "Sketch Air" shot in the LSPR footage when we land on the nose - didn't even see it coming but then the ODO came back) so I figured it would come back in a sec or two. Then Ian yells "No, really, No ODO !!!". Then I freaked because we came into a sharp blind left at the same time with boulders on the right and I thought "oh - oh, this might be a hairpin that was in the book", so I threw the car hard, and it turned out to be an ok turn, no biggie. But since it was so tossed sideways we hooked a bump on the inside which sent us the other way (since the wheels were pointing right) into a couple of boulders. In the in-car it just looks like brain lag WRT the driver (heheee). So I goofed pretty good. I have now hooked an inside bump on the drivers side and caused an accident in 3 out of 7 rallies. This time I had to pay ! tsk tsk tsk...

Anyways, from outside the car looked pretty bad, but the car was still driveable. The right front A-arm was just 3 inches shorter (heehee). It being Quebec the cool spectators on every corner pushed us out and we made it to service (only one car came by when we were in the boulder), but we couldn't put a new A-arm on because the holes didn't line up (due to the frame getting bent). It was about 1 inch too short between the rear holes of the A-arm and the front holes, but actually it isn't so bad in my opinion. We were able to get 1 bolt out of 3 on, but the important one (the ball joint) was never gonna fit. Thus my first DNF.

I figure a weekend on the frame machine, a new quarter panel and motor, and we're ready to go !!!

Heehee... 3rd time on the frame rack in 6 weeks ! Need to maybe actually prep the car I think... Next year for sure I need it to be strong and welded and stuff.

That is why I just got home - I was sorting out logistics today to get it ready. I think its a go !!

So I learned a lesson, actually a bunch, but all in all, it was a good thing because we got to spectate, and never having ever spectated a rally before, RAC ROCKS !!!! Thousands of people in the woods (Pax), thousands in the streets (St. Irenee). Cool. Damn cool. Just wished I would have stuck in there because it would have been nice, (I actually needed the $$) but now I know:

  1)  when ODO dies slow down
  2)  don't think about overall position - I mean ... "as if"
  3)  I ain't invincible
  4)  now I know why everyone says that you should have a strong car and stuff
  5)  don't freak when driving - bad for health and wallet !
  6)  DNFing aint that bad - as long as it is at RAC !
  7)  Now I know why everyone is laughing at my "stock" car - it aint the way to finish
       if you have a small off
  8)  Doesn't matter how strong car is - sketch == DNF
  9)  You actually have to try to stay calm in a big event
10)  Shows for the spectators are cool, but crashing ain't

I still don't think we were driving over our limits though, just that we made some bad judgement calls in terms of how hard to push and all, but now I know. So I'm all cool with it and everything. First DNF is always tough I guess !

Tall Pines, here we come (keep 'em crossed) !

P.S. I'll post the in-car to the net as soon as I get a chance !

- -Pat

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