Monday, July 22, 2013

Convention – Final Update

I’m back home again. Not sure how many miles I put on my truck, but I’m thinking it was nearly three thousand. The two events I participated in after attending the Concours (see previous posting) were the Rally and the Autocross.

The day of the rally, Thursday, started VERY early for Ariel, Victoria, and I with a 5:30 AM alarm. The schedule I had downloaded a couple weeks back said we needed to arrive at the host hotel by 7, so we left my sister's house at 6, and were right on time for the rally and econo-run participant’s meeting - only the meeting had been moved to 8. Arghh – should’ve looked at all the contents of my registration package. We found a Burger King and breakfast killed the hour. The first thing we found out once the meeting commenced was what kind of rally it would be. Last year’s was a Gimmick Rally with participants answering questions about sights along the prescribed route (the most right answers wins), while this year’s was a Continental Rally with only mileage for the three legs determining your score (don’t make any wrong turns and correct your mileage for the three legs based on the initial calibration leg). Because we were a team of three, we were assigned to the Touring group with the quip that, having extra people, is typically more harm than help when you’re trying to follow the route instructions. After a few questions were answered, we were sent to our cars to line up for the beginning.

With Ariel and Victoria directing, spotting street signs, and recording mileage readings we nailed it! We came close to missing a turn once, but I slammed on the brakes and we were able to stay on course. We saw a lot of lily-pad filled ponds, drove through cool, shady woods, and passed by LOTS of cornfields before arriving at the end of the event – a restaurant. I pulled up the calculator app in my phone and we corrected the miles for each leg using our calculated calibration value and turned in the paperwork. Since it was too early to eat, we headed back to my sister’s home via a stop at a Qdoba’s.

Click here to view a set of photos from the retaurant parking lot at the end of the rally.

That evening I double-checked the latest schedule and verified the autocross racer’s meeting was set for 7 the next morning, so I hitched Glinda back up to the truck in preparation for another early morning departure. I bid my good-byes that night before turning in early.

The next morning, I threw the last of my luggage in the bed of the truck and drove the 45 minutes to US 131 Raceway. I arrived and unhitched Glinda setting up next to a racer name Phil from, appropriately, Philadelphia. He was unloading a beautiful yellow Corsa off his car trailer. I had a nice chat with him and his wife while we prepared for the day’s event. Around 7:15, I started wondering why no one seemed interested in a driver’s meeting, so I asked Phil who responded that it had been moved to 8:30 with the tech inspection to occur the hour before the meeting. Irr. Then I was told by one of the tech inspectors that I didn’t need to be inspected since Glinda already had her green sticker of approval from Monday’s event. Double Irr. I could’ve had ninety more minutes of sleep if only I’d known. Oh well, that’s the price you pay for not staying at or near the host hotel.

The driver’s meeting started late, so I had plenty of time to walk the course and attempt to memorize all the twists and turns defined by the myriad of orange cones. I eventually found out I would be running in the last group of the day, meaning I probably couldn’t start my ten plus hour drive to Blacksburg until at least 4 PM. It was going to be a painfully long day. As soon as the meeting ended, the announcement went out for the first group to go get their cars and drive them over to the staging area. I immediately hunted down the event organizer and pleaded for him to let me into this group. After explaining the long drive I had ahead of me, he graciously allowed me to join the early group.

My three runs were nothing special (other than being an absolute blast to drive) – I’d just hoped to go faster each time around. The second run I missed a gate (it was one you had to pass through both entering and exiting a straight/hairpin/straight combination and I forgot to go through it as I left that portion) so my time didn’t count. My two usable times were (if memory serves) 97 and then 95 seconds. The fast time of the day was set by a racecar at 68 seconds. Glinda still had a bog whenever I floored the accelerator and I just left the transmission shifter in Drive the whole time, so both of those negatively affected my speed. The final results for all the cars haven’t been posted at the time of this writing.

Click here to view a set of the photos I took at the Autocross.

The final results for the rally, however, just came out, and …. wait for it …... WE WON OUR CLASS! I still get goose-bumps just typing it. Our final score was .05 miles from perfect. The second place team was only .02 miles behind us.

By the way, I promise I'll put pictures up tonight and share the link.

No comments:

Post a Comment