2011 Mt Hood Rally – 3rd Gp2
The Crane Rally Crew gets passed in the dark for third after leading
the 2wd cars at the Mt Hood Rally in Oregon.
Every rally is special, but the Mt Hood Rally carried extra
significance for the Crane Rally Crew this year. We were excited
because of the unveiling of the new rally transporter, tentatively
named Van VanLandingvan, and the debut of the PurplePanda’s new heart,
a 20 valve motor for car 206. There was also a certain trepidation,
due to the team’s recent performances at Oregon events. We needed to
eliminate the curse of DNFs from the Oregon Trail Rally this spring,
and have a solid finish for our championship hopes. The Norton
Championship had me in the lead but a tough competitor from
California, George Doganis would be racing here. The Pacific Northwest
Rally Championship was also going to be interesting, because Dave
Henderson (Hendo), the solid leader was no longer racing in our class.
There was a small chance of catching him with a good finish here, and
at the Big White rally in December.
The 2 wheel drive competition was amazing. Charles Buren from
Safe Drives organized a prize fund to encourage some extra effort
from the 2wd teams. Over $1000 of cash and prizes were on the line
(details here). 13 teams were working for cash, and after the second
stage, 4 of them were separated by only 6 seconds. Dave Clark was
driving Henderson’s old car, on loan from AllWheelsDriven, and
going very quick for his first time in a FWD car. The old red SAAB 96
of Garth Ankeny was also in the fight on the tighter stages. Before
the final stage, after 40 minutes, and ~30mi of racing, that spread
was just 15 seconds, with yours truly leading.
The Mt Hood Rally ran on just 3 roads, to make 7 stages, so every mile
counted. Gilhouley proved to be the decider on this event, it was run
3 times. 17 road, the second and 5th stage would prove to be my
highpoint, setting the fastest time on both runs. Unfortunately, Fir
Mountain, the longest stage of the event was canceled on the first
running because of motorcycles loose on course. On the second running,
the course was blocked by the Subaru Legacy of Chris Caylor, who had a
big roll, meaning every competitor behind the wreck (all the 2wd
teams) got the same time.
With the pressure on, and the light fading, we sped through Gilhouley
for the last time. Believe me when I say we went as fast as we could.
Or you could believe the ContourGPS camera, which caught us making an
exciting save halfway through the stage. We crossed the line with a
time 16 seconds behind both Honda teams, Brian Gottlieb, and George
Doganis, who tied for fastest 2wd time. George took the win, his 3rd
against me, and Brian, jumped from 4th to 2nd, beating me by only 1
We were thrilled to lead such a strong field, with so much on the
line. Thanks to the organizers, and volunteers who put on such a great
event. Another thanks to the strong Group 2 field for such a tight
race. And thanks to our teammate Dustin in the PurplePanda, for a
mechanical DNF halfway through the first stage – the Oregon curse has
passed on. His engine was strong, and pace was quickly catching up to
the new power.
The Last event of 2011 is coming up! – and I still need a WIN!
See you all at the Big White Winter Rally on Dec. 3 in Kelowna B.C.
Results: Maintained by RallyData.com
Event page: www.MtHoodRally.com
Contour Videos: Contour.com/users/acrane
Youtubes from the Contour GPS camera: http://www.youtube.com/user/a0adcran