We put the Hurt on Dirt

Posts tagged “drift

’86 Day 2013

Friends, it’s been too long since we’ve done an update to the blog. It turns out that winning events and prepping the Corollas for 3 events in 3 months is kind of time consuming. – Sorry, we’ll fix that this fall.

’86 Day, or August 6th is when Corolla people like to celebrate the Toyota with the heart of gold, the AE86 Corolla Sport! This year, we’ve decided to put together a gallery of shots from the past year’s rallies featuring the Panda-Crane Racing Corollas, #Patches, and the #PurplePanda. Highlights include WRC Mexico, Oregon Trail Rally, and Nameless Rally (the Idaho Rally was a low light, and won’t be mentioned). -Enjoy the pics and check out the quick essay about why we race these things below.

 

IMAG0516

Crane-1552

WRC Mexico Panda

Why the Corolla? We get asked this all the time and below are a selection of bullet points and stock answers we give to people.

  • Fun. The drifters know, stringing together turns is a blast.
  • Reliable. This is known. It is a Toyota after all.
  • Pedigree. The fact that there is a ‘Hot Version’, the GT-S with a Limited Slip Differential on the option sheet should be a clue.
  • Easy to Drive. Ask me to blaze away in your Saab or Subaru? I will understeer it into a curb. The Corolla gives me the ‘touch’, narrow and balanced, with great feedback. Ask me why my stock mirrors are gone (I clipped them on chicanes or trees, the fenders were untouched).
  • Enthusiast love. People complain about the ‘Drift Tax’, where prices on parts went way up when drifters started catching and crashing their AE86 Toyotas. We love it. The cars are rescued from junkyards, and any parts are always available.
  • Maintenance. Tiny FWD engine bays, with weird mounts and axles going every which way are cramped and awful. Longitudinal is the way to roll.
  • They look rad. Seriously, you’ve seen the pictures . . .
  • Suspension. We’ve got it. FWD cars (Honda . . ) don’t.
  • Balance. Throw a cage in a Corolla, 50/50 guaranteed.
  • The 1.6l 4age engine. Wikipedia will tell you why.
  • Economy. Everything is relative, but relative to some of the starter cars that show up, the Corolla is faster, fun-er, and cheaper.
  • SpeedHunters.com. Go check their coverage of ’86 day.

So, That’s all we’ve got. Come to MegaBurger in SODO Seattle on Tuesday August 6th around 7pm. We’ll be there showing off some well run Corolla Rally Cars. The hot tip is that we’re also building better, faster Corollas (#Hatches) as we speak.

 


Crane Rally Crew 2011 Wrap-up

I wanted to end the year by compiling some of the information that I think is important to the Crane Rally Crew. It will be a long post, with lots of bullet points. If I can get my infographics team on it we’ll have a colorful update sometime later. The goal isn’t to bore anyone to death, just to show you how deep our love is for all things rally. It will also be a way to compete against Dustin.

Stay tuned for a fun future announcement in February, and thanks for all your support in 2011!

Events-
Twin Peaks Rally Cross
Olympus*
Oregon Trail*
Idaho*
North Nevada
Mendocino
Mt Hood*
Big White*
*with Dustin in the Panda

Co-drivers
Britta         -The Gold Standard
Sean           -Mendocino
Don             -Idaho

Blog posts-
13 if you’re counting this one.

Video views-
contour -adam 2,351 [57 videos]- dustin 2,497 [10 videos]
youtube -blocked at work
Crane Rally Crew match books handed out ~212
Candy handed out to Volunteers ~32lbs

Stage wins-
OA             0  CRC
2WD          13 CRC        1 PANDA
Gp2           14 CRC         1 PANDA

Placing in Gp2
1st         0
2nd        6 CRC
3rd         2 CRC                1 PANDA
DNF       2 CRC                2 PANDA

Championships – CRC
North West Rally               2nd Gp2
Norton Championship       1st
South West Rally                2nd 2wd
Bilstein Cup                         2nd

Borders crossed
Oregon
Washington
Idaho
California
Nevada
British Columbia

Vans
Rumbles -RIP         8-10mpg
Van-Tastic                13mpg

Offs
Nevada                 – great video
Mount Hood         – ended up in 3rd, from 1st
Big white               – ended up in 3rd, from 1st

Tires used
Rumbles                -5,         3 blowouts
Patches                  -18
Flat tires                -1 onstage
Tire Brands used        Hankook, Lassa, Silverstone
Tire compounds used        hard, med, soft
Favorite tire                Silverstone
Wheels Destroyed        -7 -don’t use soft Volvo wheels

DNFs
Panda         -2
Patches      -2

Subarus Beaten
couldn’t begin to count.

Engines Used By Panda Team
3  – Bones, Reddy, 20v

Biggest competitors
Patches – George Doganis, Hendo, Gottlieb
Panda – Dave Clark, Patches
Biggest Fans – let us know in the comments

Most Missed Competitors
Cody Crane
Lou and Randee
Tom and Don
Sean and Jeanne
Kris Schofield
Dirty Drifters

Most lusted after new car
Scion FR-S

Most discussed topics- ME!?

Hardest working Crew-
Ken

IOU hall of fame
Sean Medcroft
Robert Gobright
Alan Petersen
Gaylan
Garth Ankeny

Best rally
North Nevada, loved the roads and length.

Most exhausting rally
Idaho, a long solo drive out meant I was never rested.

Biggest ‘flub’
Big White
Cameras destroyed – Sorry Contour, I don’t even have the footage.
Gb of footage collected – 43Gb
Scrap Metal Sold- ~$800
Event Summary -2011 -CraneRallyCrew

Twin Peaks Rally Cross
DNF – Crashed in the 3rd Qualifier while leading -Video
footage of the crash made it into the ESPN3 Broadcast
Olympus
5th Max-Attack (2wd) – $500 (our largest Prize to-date)
11th         OA         Day1
2nd          Gp2        Day1
14th         OA         Day2
3rd         Gp2         Day2
Oregon Trail
13th         OA         Day1
4th         Gp2         Day1
DNF         Day2         DNS Day3
Idaho
8th         OA
2nd         Gp2
North Nevada
6th         OA         Day1
2nd         Gp2         Day1
4th         OA         Day2
2nd         Gp2         Day2
4 fastest 2wd times
Mendocino
3rd OA
2nd Gp2
3 fastest 2wd times
Mt Hood
8th         OA
3rd         Gp2
2 fastest 2wd times
Big White
13th         OA
2nd         Gp2
4 fastest 2wd times


Premier of the Purple Panda

Hello everyone!  If you don’t know me I’m Dustin, and I am the driver of the Crane Rally Crew #2 car, otherwise known as the Purple Panda.  I’m gonna try and do a quick run through of my entire first rally season and then we can get into the spectacular ending of Big White Winter Rally.

Olympus was my first rally.  We scrambled to get our car completed and rally worthy, and thanks to help from a group of my friends (Ken, Noah, Tristan, and my brother KC), and Adam’s old suspension and engine, Jeff and I were ready to give our go at tearing up some dirt.  We picked up some tires from Garth Ankeny the day before the rally, and fought our way with a few minor changes through Tech.  Day one started out pretty bad, it was Jeff’s first time co-driving, and my first time driving at speed, and after a missed call on turn five we found ourselves smashed into a berm.  Luckily the Panda took it in stride, and aside from a new smirk from the bumper she was ready to keep going.  We made it through most of the rest of the day when Bones(the motor) started overheating.  This issue was remedied, when I realized that in haste I had wired the fan backwards.  Soon afterwards the troubles came back again in the form of my gear box.  It started whining like a combine on a wheat field, and 2nd gear did not like being used.  We came into pit and filled the gear box with oil, 2nd was still being resistant, but the whine went away, and I came to the conclusion that I had ran the box dry.  I guess I didn’t have the time to check that, my bad, but I’m gonna blame it on my crew chief Ken.  So way to go Ken, but thanks for hunting down some gear oil.  Bolted on the HID driving lights and prepared to go.  Sadly as most of you know, tragedy struck the race in the form of a fatality.  Another competitor, Matthew Marker was killed in an accident while competing and the rest of the day of competition was cancelled.  I didn’t know Matthew, but from all accounts he was an amazing man.  He will be missed.  The next day we got up early and headed out to the stages.  There wasn’t a lot of stand out moments, other than the end of Taholah, which managed to take out several cars going all out on a fast stage trying to make up some time.  Sadly this list of cars included a good friend of ours Sean Medcroft and his Merkur took a bad slide into a tree.  Though the car did not survive, it was good to see that he and his wife were ok.  First Rally Finished!
Oregon Trail has an amazing has an amazing spectator stage and it was super fun to show off for everyone.  Thanks to the Tabor’s for organizing an amazing rally.  Sadly it appears that the overheating issue from Olympus reared it’s head in the form of a warped head gasket.  Bones was shoving coolant out the overflow faster then I could manage to replace it.  We had the car running ok despite the coolant issue, and thought we were going to make it, however some rain got inside the car and shorted out our Main Relay shutting the car down completely near the end.  Adam’s car blew up the rear end and we scavenged his main relay in time to start the third day, sadly mid day we got stuck in the mud, and though we were able to get pulled out, trying to rock the car back and forth emptied our coolant and did the head gasket in.  We started out for a stage and the car was jumping and pulsing around like a pissed off Bull, and Jeff and decided to call it a day instead of risking blowing bones sky high.
Idaho Rally was amazing.  Ken and I threw a motor together just in time to make it there, however the piston rings weren’t great and so we ended up with limited power.  The roads basically felt like floating, every turn was an amazing drift, and I felt like I could safely push the car to the limit in every curve.  Sadly day one was all uphill, and as fast as I could go, my power limited us putting in any really fast times.  Day two was supposed to be in reverse, but the organizers decided to run the stages the same way, disappointing to me, but the Subaru drivers seemed excited.  Note to Organizers, MORE DOWNHILL!!!  Dave Henderson ended up winning again, with Adam in Second, and myself in fourth.  Other than that it was an amazing rally, and I can’t wait to come back next year with the 20V.
Thanks to Vedran at Spitfire EFI, and our good friend Jireh Ward for getting our 20V race motor running, the engine was amazing, and I was ready to kick some ass.  If you ever need standalone Megasquirt work I strongly recommend Vedran at SpitfireEFI.com in Bellingham for everything.  He does amazing work.  We got through Tech faster than we ever had with no problems and we were ready to roll the next day.  Sadly we didn’t make it past stage one.  The engine felt amazing and the car was handling perfect.  I felt slow at first, but the more comfortable I got with the car the faster it let me go, so the faster I went.  The engine was begging for me to let it go, 8,000 RPMs and she just wanted more.  Then the passenger tension rod popped out.  Easy fix, but I couldn’t fix it on the road and the day was done for us.  Really really disappointing.  To make matters worse, the hydraulic e-brake let go while the car was sitting and the Purple Panda rolled further and tried to do a swan dive off of the cliff.  Luckily it didn’t do any damage.  Thanks to Hendo for the amazing party after the race in Hood River, please please do that again next year.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand…
OK, let me start this one off this way.  I love the snow, I love driving in the snow, if there is one thing I hate about Seattle, it’s that it doesn’t snow enough.  This was my event, and I was super excited.  Even though the Panda was leaking every fluid besides fuel, she was ready to make some rooster tails.  Not many people know this, but when Adam and I first found the panda she was sitting in a field and we pulled it out for an ice race in Canada.  With a few belt changes and some new tires I managed to tear up that frozen lake, so she is as much used to the cold as anything else.  Anyways, after the first stage we found ourselves in second place behind only Adam in the 2wd class.  After we passed Adam on the second stage in a snowbank, and compared our times we found ourselves the fastest of the 2wd class.  Victory is intoxicating, after we found ourselves stuck in the snow on a ridiculously horrible snowcross course, and almost disqualified for a minor no seatbelt penalty, we were a solid minute behind a golf driven by Eric Grochowski.  We headed out to the full stages and I was hellbent on getting that minute back.  The next stage was Gem Lake.  The first half of Gem Lake is a very tight section with snow banks all around.  I felt slow, and looking back at the video I certainly could have gone faster.  The second half of Gem Lake opens up into wide sweeping curves, and I figured I could power my way into a better time.  Sadly the road had a different idea, it was slippery as all get out.  After Pinballing between two snow banks and almost getting stuck, I just kept going.  I really should have taken that as a clue to the conditions.  I entered a right 4 way too fast for the conditions and found myself going nowhere but sideways.  I put the pedal down hoping the 20V would keep me on the road, but once I crested across the center of the road I was done.  Myself, Jeff, and the Purple Panda flew off the embankment, found a small tree and then rolled once down the hill.  We’re fine, the trees gone, and while extremely damaged I think we will have her back on the road in time for next years season.  Be afraid, be 20 valves of fury afraid.
Thanks Garth for getting us some great snow tires last minute, and thanks Pat Darrow, Hendo and crew for bringing them to Canada for us.  And a huge thanks to Dave Clark Motorsports for building us an amazing cage.  Thanks Jeff for being an amazing co-driver.  Thanks Ken for dealing with my shit and working on the car, and also Whitney for letting me borrow him.  Thanks Jireh for being an amazing Mechanic and getting the 20V to run.  Thanks Vedran at SpitfireEFI for wiring the hell out of that 20 year old bucket.  Thank you everyone for helping me make it through a whole year.  And most importantly thank you Adam and Britta for sucking me into all of this.  I never ever ever ever would have made it to a single race if Adam didn’t have a car for me to copy, donate countless hours of free work and fabricating to get the Panda running, and give me someone to try and keep up with.  You’re mine next year.   See you all next year!
-Duh Duh

Big White Winter Rally – 2nd Gp2

The Big White Winter Rally was a Big Adventure.

The Crane Rally Crew returned to the Great White North fully prepared to finish the Big White Winter Rally. Last year deep snow and improper preparation led to a disappointing end for us, halfway through the event. This year, with help from Sean, Kris and Robert, everything was ready with minutes to spare. Speaking of spares, our good Portland OR friends managed to bring  up ten rally snow tires! Thanks Garth, Pat, and Blake.

The Big White Resort hosts the Rally, and Jennifer and the rest of the organizers made sure everything was set up for us.  Great roads, nice venues, killer parties. We even got help finding hotel rooms. An extra nice treat this year was a 2wd prize fund, sponsored by Rallysport.ca. The Spirit of the Rally award of $400 dollars, sponsored by Valley Mitsubishi came home with Dustin in the Purple Panda, along with a great story he’ll post here later. Despite a few delays, the event wrapped up right on time, and everyone had a hot meal in the Happy Valley Lodge, while awards were handed out to the volunteers.

We went for the challenge, and stayed for the Competition. Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila make up a 2wd team from Calgary AB, with an impressive string of class wins, they started 3rd on the road. Dustin and Jeff, in the Purple Panda, promised to win the novice class. Roads were a mix of nice compact snow on a hard base for the shorter stages, to complete compact Ice at the end of the long stage. Unfortunately, setting the fastest 2wd time on the first stage made me competitive, which is why we were challenged by a snowy ditch on the second stage. Halfway through Black Forrest, I dropped the co-drivers side tire a little to far into a soft snowy groove. We were caught and spun 270 degrees, ending up with the back end in the ditch. We lost ~9min while I used a shovel, wits, and floormats to rock the car back onto the stage.  While our fast stage times continued, so did our ditch time, with another off on Gem Lake South. A late call from Britta, along with a competitors fallen warning triangle managed to snow bank us for another 10 minutes (there is footage of the recovery on youtube). We were now 20 minutes from the rest of the 2wd field and decided that one more trip to the bank would finish us. While cruising to the end of the stage we saw Dustin on the side of the road with the OK sign but no car in sight.

Thanks to Britta’s co-driving, we got through the last dark and slick stages without incident, only to find we’d snuck our way onto the 2wd Podium in 3rd. The 2wd Mitsubishi got stuck too along with 4 other cars on the same stage. The champagne spray was a first for the team, and I can’t wait to see the photos. We ended up taking 2nd in Gp2, and a $100 dollar check in spite of our troubles.

We finished the season with 7 rallies, and only one DNF. Look for a full season review with some fun stats in the next few weeks.

rally results are here: Big White Results

Videos are Here: Youtube & Contour

Pictures by our Media Manager Noah are here: Big White Album


#742 – Crane Rally Crew wins the Norton Championship!!

After an epic season of rallying, the Crane Rally Crew got enough points to win the inaugural Joshua A. Norton Rally Championship. The championship consisted of  “five rallies in four states, in six months” and as the only team to run all 5 events, we had a certain advantage. That’s not to say we were dragging our feet out there, aside from a mechanical DNF from 2nd place at the Oregon Trail rally, we finished the rest of the events on the Gp2 podium. While we were at it, we claimed fastest 2wd stage times at Reno, Mendocino, and the Mt. Hood rallies.

We’d like to thank:

Jim Robinson for organizing the Championship.

SafeDrives for the 30% off coupon.

and of course the other competitors, the volunteers and the organizers, who allow us to race.

Our next, and last event of the year is the Big White Winter Rally on Dec 2nd in Kelowna BC. See you there!


Pre-Big White Winter Rally

The early entry deadline for the Big White Winter Rally is November 21st, so I put in our entry Today!

My problem last year was a lack of preparation. This year I’m trying to get everything together ahead of time. How am I doing so far?

I’d like to thank Sean Medcroft for some wiring insparation, and Robert Gobright for some Van help.

The Purple Panda is already wining – they put their entry in last week.


For Sale!

Here is a list of stuff that I’m trying to get rid of. And here is the gallery of stuff.

16.5″ wheels from the old box van

exhaust off of an AE86 GTS Corolla

wheels for a Corolla

interior from a Corolla

Suspension parts for a Corolla

wheels for a volvo

file cabinets

Scrap Metal


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
second.

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


Van-Tastic!

Rumbles the box van died on the way back from California. {see post below}
It took two full months of shopping with some suprises and
disappointments, but we now have a replacement.


Here are a couple of names I’ve come up with, we’ll let you know when
something sticks;

Adri-Van Newey
Rudolph
the Iron Giant
Tommi Makki-Van
Sebast-Van Loeb
Calamity Van
Van VanLandingvan
Count Van Vanstien
VanTrap
Van Damage
Vani-kahna II
Eskaflowne` Kong
The transporter
Turbo Two

The new van should be the last I’ll need, so I’m aiming to perfect the form with this one.
Expect to see Aero and handling mods,
Along with specifics for rally service.
And eventually, some sweet graphics too.


Mendocino Rally 2011

Who wants to hear about Mendocino Rally?
It was a brand new event with some fun road*s.
*there was only one road

It was also the only event I’ve ever driven that gave me a blister.

That’s right, the road has so many tight turns that the thumb and heel of my left hand had real live blisters by the time we collected our trophies.

It was so twisty that my puny radiator fan (at only 9.5volts – thanks Sean) couldn’t get enough air to cool the motor.  We overflowed the system on almost every stage.  Average speeds were slow.  There was some fun technical driving going on.  We set the fastest 2wd time on the first stage, and the last stage, but everywhere between I was keeping an eye on the temp gauge.

Back to the trophies, we finished 2nd in class.  Again, we were behind George, and again the Mosers were very quick but broke down.  This time we were also 3rd over all.

Lucas Oil sent us home with $75 and a case their best gear oil.

Since I made this swing down south, we’re looking good for the Emperor Norton rally Championship – we’re in 1st! Had we not broken down in Oregon, I’d feel a bit better.  Henderson is fast on his home roads, at the final championship event, Mt. Hood Rally.

Now for the bad news, followed by some “rally thanks”

The Bad News is that Rumbles the box van is dead (long live rumbles).  Climbing out of lake Shasta on I-5 on our way to Seattle, he overheated, and died.
The Funeral procession (tow truck-van, and rally car) went directly to the wrecking yard.  A final resting place with a view of Mt. Shasta. – I’m looking for a new van now.

The other bad-ish news, when I hit record for the incar video, I had my Contour GPS set to photo mode.  The results are on YouTube.  On the last stage, there is a nifty warp speed effect, that turned out pretty neat.

Rally Thanks goes to Sean M. my co-driver, the organizers, volunteers, and Portland Friends.

 

Things are looking good for the end of the year, there are still some events to do: Wild West Rally, Pacific Forrest Rally, Mt. Hood Rally, and Big White Rally.


PRE – MENDOCINO 2011

It’s been a month since Crane Rally Crew completed the North Nevada
Rally, which means it’s time for another rally.

Nevada had some great challenging roads, and good 2wd competition.  At
the awards presentation Jim Robbinson, the organizer for the Mednocino
Red Tail Rally [http://mendocinorally.com] invited competitors to race
on BETTER roads, with MORE cars!  We worked it out, and due to some
fun logistics, our name was on the entry list within the week.

Once again Reigning Co-Driver, Britta, will be sitting (not really,
she’s got important stuff planned) out the event.  I’m looking forward
to having Sean Medcroft as co-driver.  He’s a seasoned driver,(he’s
already written off a rugged, RWD, Merkur Xr4ti Gp5 car, at a
MaxAttack! event), a brilliant mechanic, and a complete unknown in the
Right Seat.  He’s coming with the blessings and motion sickness
patches of his co-driver Jenne.

The car is ready for the new twisty California roads, despite being
locked in a van for the past month in Reno.  The reliability of
Patches couldn’t even be dented by driving like this:
http://goo.gl/kRwE7 at NNR.  Our plan is to unload it, dust it off,
and hit the stages. After Califonia, it’ll finally get back to it’s
home in Seattle, where I can lavish all kinds of attention on it
before Wild West.

Here is a list of the states we’ve raced in this season,
Washington,
Oregon,
Idaho,
Nevada.

After this weekend, Crane Rally Crew can add California to the list.
All we need is a Canadian event to round out the Pacific Perfecto.


North Nevada Rally – 2nd Gp2

The Crane Rally Crew is having a busy year.  We’ve done the Olympus Rally, Oregon Trail Rally, Idaho Rally, and now the North Nevada Rally.  It’s a lot of fun checking out new stages, and racing new people.  The stages were great, and the rally well run.

We’d like to thank our friend in Reno for his hospitality,

Team Rally – for their help moving around Leviathan, our service rig during the event,

the Volunteers and Organizers, for letting us race.

here is a quick breakdown of the stages, and a link to the videos:

Stage 1 – Ragged Top – our first run on Nevada Roads, a 4.9 mile stage that runs uphill to a peak then back down.  The car was getting warm, and I wasn’t sure of its temp limits, so I  took it easy on the uphill.  Some deciptive crests lead to a close call on the downhill.

Stage 2 – Copper Queen.  Another up and down stage, 5.1mi long, this one is less technical and more wide open than the first.  Very few crests or  drop-offs.

Stage 3 – Ragged top II, a repeat of Stage 1, with the same tricky crests.  I was more comfortable with the temp guage, so we kept it floored on the uphill.

Stage 4 is a repeat of stage 2.  This video is fun because of the shadows being thrown by the low sun through the car onto the dashboard.  Also look for one of our main competitors, Tom Moser in the VW Golf parked on a hill.  His car overheated,  and started leaking through the heatercore, leading to a very steamy cabin, with no visibility, then a quick stop.  We set the 6th fastest time.

North Nevada Rally – Night stages 5, 6, 7,8.  These are reverse runnings of stages 1-4, which were run in the afternoon.  Since we had over an hour to service the cars, the sun had set, taking with it some of the breaze that was keeping the dust away.  In my RWD car I found it very hard to set up for the corners when the entry is covered by dust, and my times reflect that.

Stage 9 – Wild Ass I.  This was the first stage Saturday.  Starting in a sandy open area  along a foothill, then racing up and over a ridge.  There was less elevation change than the other Saturday stage,  Purgatory, but run this direction, it was mostly uphill.  This one had some great dips and crests, with only two hairpin corners to interupt the flow.  At 9.5 miles it’s the 3rd longest stage of the rally.  By keeping it clean, and not worrying about overheating the car, I think we supprised the 2wd leader G. Doganis, by besting setting the fastest 2wd time.  Look for the jump after the cattle guard in the middle of the stage.  Also look for George’s fender liner, and tire tracks at a tricky left 3, before the final straights.

Purgatory, Stage 10.  this 10.5 mile stage was the longest and most fun of the event. It has it all, fast straights, fun crests, cows, hairpins, rocks, uphill and downhills.  You’ll have to watch it all.  Starting on the flat pastures, with a series of straights with dips into hard corners, then past the cows, along the bottom of a ravine, through some gates, then up some loose tight steep hairpins and down the other side, just as steep.  we did hesitate because of the engine temps on the uphill, but then so did everyone else.  once again I was faster than George, raising my hopes of a 2wd win.  Dust in the car and on the camera lens makes this video a little fuzzy, so check out stage 12 for a clearer view and faster time.

Stage 11 was a repeat of 9, George had caught on to my quick times, and beat me by 4 seconds.  We improved by 5 seconds over our first pass.  The video is more clear, which is nice because we took the jump a little quicker this time.

Purgatory II, I was on fire.  Or it felt like it, it was hot out.   We raced across the desert, flying over crests, and through gates. George put 12 seconds on us though, and I considered our pass faultless.

Stage 13, Purgatory East I, or hell backwards.  The whole character of the stage changes when you flip it around.  The initial climb is endless, my car was overheating even on the start line.  It was a matter of putting to the top, and letting the momentum do the rest.  The last third of the stage was a blast.  Which is why I didn’t start the camera until we were on the downhill.

Stage 14 of the North Nevada Rally, Ass Wild I.  We were excited to run some stages “down hill” and things were going great right until I heard my co-driver Britta whisper “exposure outside”.  At that point we headed off the road to what we expected to be a nice roll, our first.  Instead, after flinching pretty hard, we noticed that we had more racing to do, and headed down the wash on a 4wheeler track, untill finding a spot where we could regain the course.  After waving at the Radio Marshal, we spead off into the last half of the stage laughing all the way – even more so after the huge jump!

Stage 15 a repeat of 13, we did better, the off on 14 seemed to loosen us up a bit. We beat George again,  which felt nice.  The setting sun, and shade on the last half also felt nice.  Not nice was seeing Will and Ben on the side of the road after the first mile, their ecu couldn’t take the combo of heat, and uphill.

Stage 16, a repeat of 14, we were happy to still be in the rally. We took the jump easier, though we were spooked by Team Rally, the #530 Subaru, who rolled on the stage.  The dust was still clearing as we came past them.  I forgot to start the camera, so we have the last bit and not the first.  If you think the sun is bright in our eyes, you’re not the only one.

RESULTS PAGE –  http://www.rallydata.com/Results/NorthNevada_2011_ClubScoreBoard.htm

EVENT PAGE –  http://www.northnevadarally.com/


IDAHO RALLY 2011 – 2ND GP2

Idaho Rally 2011.

Smooth | [long version]

I ran the Idaho rally in 2009.  It was a round of the MaxAttack! 2wd rally series, so I had planned on showing up with a new motor, and racing my way into some money.  2 things stopped my high ranking ambitions; 1st, the motor I built (Scotty) spun a rod bearing forcing me to refresh my old motor (Bones), leaving me back with 90 wheel horsepower.  2nd, the road we used  for the final day of the event ended up being FAST, and since we raced it both directions, twice each way, our 5th place turned to 6th as Hurst’s killer Mustang kept setting 1st overall stage times.  Regardless, I had a fun time on good roads.

I missed the Idaho Rally in 2010 due to a conflicting event, but made sure to talk to some competitors and others involved.  Some said they wouldn’t go again, and others had fun, but thought that there was too much focus on the spectators, and not enough on the participants.  Entry fees were relatively high, and transits were long.

2011 is our year to do as many rallies as we can, but I was hesitant to sign up for Idaho.
Way back in April at the first event of the year I was standing around waiting for the final stage of the Olympus Rally (Taholah) to start, and Sean Medcroft said “Walk up the line,and talk to Dick and Marie Rockrohr. They are organizing the Idaho rally this year. trust me, you’ll go after listening to them.”  They addressed some rumors I’d heard, and sold me on the event in just 2 minutes.

Entry fee? – includes pace notes and free recce (a $200 value)
Transits? – 25miles to the start of the stages, then a cloverleaf layout made transit a non issue (how would you like to drive 200 yards from the finish to service, then a mile to the next stage?)
Roads? – only 3 stages run a maximum of twice each direction (I hesitated) Dick said this “You will never  run on roads nicer than these, and as a bonus the average speed should be around 40mph (The average on Taholah was over 60mph, we hit 102mph once, and competitors with actual power were over 120mph)”  A light, lower powered car like mine would have an advantage on tighter roads.

Dustin (driver of the Purple Panda) and I got our entry fee in just before the early deadline, then got to work making sure everything else was good to go.  Dustin needed to put together a motor after overheating issues at Olympus and Oregon killed Bones (and his 100% finish record) and get new Volvo wheels for his trick new struts (matching the upgrade I made before the GRC event).  I needed to do something about tires (for Rumbles the van and Patches the car) and get help with the ring and pinion, which caused our DNF at Oregon.  Thanks to Sean Medcroft for showing me how to set up a new ring and pinion, and for letting Dustin borrow the trailer.  Ken (service chief) and Dustin put together an engine from the pile of parts he’s got, and I tried not to be a bad neighbor while cutting, drilling and welding to put on his new struts with TSS Fab control arms.  Despite our best intentions, preparations went up to the last minute again.

As an added twist, I would be running this event without my usual co-driver Britta.  Don Burress agreed to ride with me once it became clear that the Demon Rally team wouldn’t have their Volkswagen done in time.

my drive out was long and uneventful. I now consider changing a tire on the fully loaded van on deadman’s pass a non-event. Maybe I’m some kind of Rally Robot.

In order to run this event “cheap”, i ended up camping at the organizer’s house with Don and a few other competitors.  Thanks for the hospitality! *and everything else you did to make the event fun! Cheap always ends up being relative, I spent as much on gas as the entry fee!  That was offset by all the free food we got over the weekend, supplied by Larry Miller Subaru, Port of Subs, the Polaris dealership, and the Idaho Rally Group.

Registration and recce went fine, except a recce video i tried making ended up showing nothing but a series of pictures.  a series of pictures of an amazing set of roads. They lived up to the hype. the surface could have taken 50 cars doing 3 passes instead of 20 and 2. They were smooth, varied, and exciting.

The Drivers meeting and start of racing was done in a unique way because of the Non-car competitors (UTVs, ATVs, and Motorcycles).  We had an early meeting, then a long long “transit” to the start of the first stage.  This was so that the ATVs could get dropped off, and wouldn’t be traveling on the HWY.  Idaho has a special permit that lets off road vehicles travel on some roads as they transit to off road areas. If we’d worked this out a little better after reading the Sups, we could have had a relaxed breakfast during transit.  as it worked out on Sunday we ended up going back to the camp to grab the camera equipment and my driving suit.

Harris creek uphill.
The first stage was a treat. After spending ~30mins talking to all the competitors, the first car took off. We were ninth on the road and because of the small entry, we all got 2 minute dust windows (that wasn’t enough for Dustin, who caught the GEO in the middle of the stage). It was exciting figuring out how much traction the new LASSA rally tires had on this new surface. I had figured that the as the tight part opened up I would end up more confident, but was distracted by the temp gauge which started climbing along with the road.  Don was on the notes from the start and didn’t get lost all weekend.  I’m pretty sure we had both contour cameras going for this stage, one on the crew, and one over the shoulders.  We were the second fastest 2wd behind Dave Henderson in the Mazda3.  Not to spoil the results, but the closest we could get was a time 1 second behind his. by then end of the weekend, he’d put over a minute on us.  good driving Dave. I’m not sure how we were stacking vs the AWD guys, they were a varied bunch.  Behind us were Barret Dash in the Flying Sentra, Dustin Embrey, and Jen Imai in the Geo.

service
the service area was real close, and we were given plenty of time to get there.
it was nice to check times with everyone, before service.

Grimes pass
woo hoo!  this is the one.
the one that I didn’t have any cameras running on.
it was just as long physically, but the time was LOOONG, because it was such a varied stage.  it starts with some very fun crests, which i got to see during recce.  with out that I may have been one of the cars making tracks in the bushes on the side of the road.
I think everyone made it out alive.

Alder
after a fun transit down a single lane road, we started alder.  When describing the road to Dustin, who didn’t recce I could only say “DRIFT SHOW”.  This stage was the debut of the bumper cam. hopefully it will look as fast as it feels.

service
free lunch! thanks for the BBQ – Polaris dealer

grimes again – same direction
CANCELED!! oh noes!
a UTV made it onto the course, and ignored the 0 car.  I hope he didn’t ignore the sheriff.
with the schedule moving, we turned around and within 20 minutes we were racing Alder again (the benefits of a compact course).

Alder
this is as close as I could get to Hendo.  The downhill helped.
once again, full media coverage.
only one iffy moment.
with roads this smooth and kind of wide, it’s tempting to turn in too early, which leads to a poor exit and a quickly disappearing road.

the only complaint is that we didn’t get to race the “downhill” of Grimes and Alder.

here is what I loved:
short route
awesome roads
hospitality


Olympus Rally – Max-Attack!!

Hi,

This is going to be an exciting update.

We got the car fixed after it’s crash at the Global Rallycross Championship event at Twin Peaks.  The Toyota Corolla has earned a new nickname “Patches”, because of the . . . well, patches that I’ve made each time I back it off the road, or crunch it into something solid.  The harsh part of the incident at Twin Peaks was that when the wheel hit the concrete block, it was forced back into the fender, right where one of the fuse panels lives.  The fuse panel was crushed into little bits of plastic and metal (which is why the car died, and I wasn’t able to continue for the next heats). There was some stress when I had a hard time sourcing a replacement, but I now have the car back together, and a spare.  Big thanks to the Dirty Drifters, a Portland area fun club, and the NW Drift/ Corolla forum, HachiRoku.net.

See the media page for links to videos of the Rallycross event, and the damage to Patches.

The Olympus Rally.

Olympus is a fun event and this year it was extra special.  In the Northwest, our standard season opening event is the Doo Wops Rally.  Everyone loves the club feel of the event, and the competition, as many teams debut new cars or upgrades at this event.  Doo Wops was canceled this year so Olympus was the first event of the year.  Olympus uses many of the same roads as Doo Wops, the event we started racing at in 2006 and have done every year since, so we’ve got an advantage over the National competitors.  That advantage would be important because Olympus was the first round of the Max-Attack! series.

Max-Attack! is a 3 race championship that encourages Full Pace, 110%, Pedal to the Metal racing between 2wd teams.  The goal of the series is to show that you don’t need a blue Subaru and tons of cash to go quick, and have super close competition at a rally.  Often the Max-Attack! winner places in the top 10 over-all, beating a field of up to 60 cars, with over half of them being all wheel drive with turbos.  Max-Attack! get us excited because at the end of the event they hand out CASH!!  A $5000 dollar purse is up for grabs for the top 5 2wd finishers.

The Rally.

Here is where we take a deep breath for Matthew Marker, a National competitor who will be remembered.  I will look at every DNF (did not finish) differently from now on.

We did well. We ran a “clean” rally, kept the pedal down and came away with 5th in the Max-Attack! standings and a giant novelty check for $500!  The competition was tough and turbo and ECU problems dropped ACP in the Scion Racing Tc down to 6th at the end of the scored stages. Everyone knows the weekend could have ended up differently if the entire event was run without incident.

Here are the results:

Max-Attack! – 5th 2wd, $500! -Max-Attack! Wrap up video!

Ray Damitio rally, Regional day 1 – 2nd in Gp2

John Nagel rally, Regional day 2 – 3rd in Gp2