It has been far too long since our last post. Everyone has been busy preparing for Mexico. Adam decided to wisely call off racing as his build was too far from ready, and the time and money investment was too much for an incomplete car. I, possibly unwisely decided to forge onward. Adam got Van Vanlandingvan ready to go for the trip, while I prepared the Purple Panda.
Jeff and I left Seattle Friday Morning March 1st and headed on our way. We had a wonderful lunch in Pendelton Oregon and made it to Provo Utah the first night. We got up at 530am and kept hauling the next morning until we reached Los Cruces New Mexico. We had a good time and met some nice Bartenders at the M5 club that night.
Once again getting up at 530 we bolted through the endless desert that is Western Texas and arrived in Laredo in the evening. Sadly, as I write this we are still in Laredo. We got up this morning and headed for the border, didn’t have issues crossing, but because they think of the box van as a commercial vehicle we were denied a temporary permit. We spent 12 hours at customs waiting for brokers to try and figure out how to get us through. Around 630 we decided to call it quits and headed back across the border to get dinner and a bed to sleep in. We think we’re going to be able to get across tomorrow, but if that fails we’re emptying as much into the rally car as possible and driving the last 600+ miles to Leon. Here’s hoping for us not being forced to that.
I just wanted to share a great experience I had. I was looking for lights for the upcoming night stages of the Olympus rally. I went to http://www.visionxwholesale.com/ and talked to Rick Freeman, their Accounts Manager. Far too often good customer service and knowledgeable representatives are hard to find, but I can say that this was a truly pleasant buying experience. If you guys ever have any lighting needs don’t hesitate to talk to Rick.
Hello Rally friends. The weekend of Olympus, September 22 and 23rd, is upon us, and set to be an incredible race. Last year’s Open Unlimited class winner David Higgins is returning with a healthy lead in the championship. Ken Block, one of the only Americans in history to score points in the WRC championship is bringing his 2012 Ford Fiesta. While the Open class may be roaring their way through the hills of Shelton this year, let’s get to the most exciting thing about Olympus, this year has the most exciting 2WD line up you will probably ever see in a Rally America Event. Below I am going to go over the competitors I know and tell you what I know about them. If I miss some it’s only because I don’t know enough about them, so be sure to check out the spectator guide as well as the entry list here to pick your favorite.
TEAM PANDA-CRANE: Who would I be if I didn’t talk about us first? Adam Crane is busy building Corolla Rally Car 2.5, Hatches. In the meantime Patches, as always, is running like the pieced together monster it is, and will be bringing all 114HP to Olympus with Adam’s incredible piloting with it. The Purple Panda suffered a friendly cliff dive through a tree into a roll last winter, but has a new front end, brand new 2.5” exhaust for the 20V to breathe through, and is ready to roll. Dustin is hoping that the configuration is finally in a stable place and will hold the car together long enough to finally put his arch nemesis Dave Clark firmly in his rear view mirror.
DAVE CLARK: Speaking of Arch Nemesis. Dave Clark is an extraordinarily talented driver in a pretty new 1985 Toyota Celica. This will be the third race for Dave Clark in this new car built by Barrett Dash. He has plans to drop a turbo 1ZZ in this car soon, so this may be Dustin’s last chance to beat him before he has a real motor on his hands. Keep a close eye on Dave, he’s a textbook case of driving talent making low power go fast. Also, his wife Jenatte is by far the brains of this group.
WILL ORDERS: Talk about power. Will’s 1989 Silvia is packing a turbo and he has no qualms using it to project him and his car to victory. He’s already shown what he and his car are capable of, squeaking a 2WD victory out of the hands of the capable ACP at Oregon Trail and coming in 4th overall. This man from Australia is to be feared and admired, if your eyes can’t catch him coming by, make sure and listen to the sweet turbo music echo through the hills.
ANDREW COMRIE-PICARD: ACP as he’s known is currently in second place in the nation for 2WD. He’s got a turbo Scion xD. He’s an experienced, talented driver with a record to prove it. Look for an epic battle between him, Chris Duplessis and Will Orders for the win here at Olympus.
CHRIS DUPLESSIS: Chris has instructed at both Dirt Fish Rally and Team O’neil schools. He has spent the last year racing at the WRC Academy level. He has a healthy lead in the 2WD class and looks to keep it here at Olympus. Chris is fast, and well-known here in the Northwest.
DILLON VAN WAY: Dillon is a 2WD staple in Rally America. He is the 2009 2WD champion. He’s a young driver with a lot of talent. If he can keep the axles in one piece look for him to do well.
TOM BURRESS: Tom Burress is wicked fast. His turbo Golf has plenty of power, and he drives it like a man with no concerns. Lucky for his brother and co-driver Don, he is also extremely talented. Sadly the turbo power proved too much for the gearbox at last year’s Olympus and Tom blew it up besides a few of the higher gears. He’s got a new gearbox this year and it should hold out much better. Tom is my wildcard bet for the winner of 2WD at Olympus this year. Tom also gave me a ticket once, I forgive you Tom.
BRIAN GOTLEIB: Brian Gotleib has been getting quicker and quicker the more I see him. He’s got a sweet Civic and an even sweeter service rig. Chat this guy up in the pits if you’re interested in all there is to Privateering a team.
KRIS DAHL: I don’t know a lot about Kris, but I believe his Dad and him have been rallying for a while now. He’s got a very solid Civic that always looks clean. Look for a solid quick finish in Olympia.
GARTH ANKENY: Garth has an awesome ’69 Saab 96, and you won’t believe how fast he can make it move. You’ll find Garth at just about any event in the Northwest. If you need tires he’s your guy. In all reality he is the guy to go to for anything car building wise, because he knows everyone. Classic Rally for the win.
DAVE HINTZ: Dave has one of the first BMW M3’s I have seen rally in the Northwest. He’s like a Mathematician behind the wheel. Clean lines, clean car, clean race.
BARRETT DASH: Barrett will build a car, Barrett will race a car. Come talk to him if you are interested in building a rally car. Look for consistently fast times in his Mazda 3, which was used by Dave Henderson last year in the Pacific Northwest to crush the 2WD competition.
JOHN REED: John Reed sucks. And by that I mean he is awesome, and his car is awesome. As far as I know this is the first rally Corolla to get a Beams 3SGE swap. Adam is currently working one into the new car, and needless to say, there is jealousy that he is getting it done. Really can’t wait to see this car.
NATE TENNIS: Nate Fing Tennis. This man makes a Saab look like a damn Porsche out there. Tennis has been teaching at Dirt Fish recently, and it is great to see him out again. Look for some scary speed coming from him.
SEAN MEDCROFT: Sean Medcroft decided to use all 250HP of his Ford Merkur at last year’s Olympus rally and a tree moved his cage two inches inside the car. While he may have learned his lesson, his wife and co-driver quickly made him forget, and so another Ford was born. Sean is a great driver, and definitely someone to talk to about rallying. When it comes to consistent quality in a rally car, Sean is king. His cars are well thought out, solid, and built strong.
BRYAN WATSON: If my memory serves me correct, my first memory of Bryan was at Mt Hood 2010, where he managed to roll his VW into oblivion. Well now he is back with a Rabbit, and a turbo the size of Wiscaaaaaaanson. If the manifold bolts manage to hold the turbo on, look to see that bright green monster flying. This car laughs in the face of 16 valves.
EDWARD MCNELLY: I don’t know him, I’ve never met him. But he is here with a Fiesta R2. Come say hi to me Edward. Look for him to do well.
DERIK NELSON: Deep in the mountains of the Dirt Fish Rally School, a cloud has been cast over the 2WD rally world. Rumors are Derik Nelson has a BMW M3 within 100 lbs of the minimum weight limit for it’s engine. This is the first time you will see this car, this will not be the last.