1999 STPR


STPR was an extremely busy weekend for us, and we didn't even compete! We flew up with the intention of spectating, and ended up with so much more.

We picked up the truck from storage, with the intention of competing in the smaller TSD rally the day before STPR. However, it was pulling slightly to the right, and a little investigation showed that the front right brake caliper was sticking. So we bagged the TSD, which was unfortunate, since it benefitted the Special Olympics. Instead, we headed over to the practice stage. Got to see lots of cars run through, which was good, since we would wind up seeing very few the next day!

We met up with Charles and Mark that day too, they are from Hickory, North Carolina, and run a red CRX, number 69. It turns out they had no crew, so we stepped up to help them out with that. We also signed up to work Stage 12, which was the second to last stage.

We got the pictures from the practice stage developed the next morning, and handed them out to the competitors the morning of the race at Parc Expose. Everyone was stoked, especially the Irish team the Allens, and Garen Shrader acted like he had never seen a picture of himself driving before!

Left town after the first couple dozen cars started and headed to the first service area. Weren't there too long before our car came in. Overheating problems, and we decided to wait until the next service to change out the radiator.

Headed to the next service, which was back in town, and Car 69 pulled in much too early, and we knew there was a problem. The radiator blew up and dumped everything only a couple of stages after they left us. We replaced the radiator in about ten minutes and got to work on our truck. Bleeding the brakes on the front corner solved our caliper problem, and we changed the oil while we had it up in the air.

Drove out to Gastonia, which was service three and the start of the second divisional rally. Left the service truck there and headed back to town, and then down to stage 12. We worked the start, and Jeff and I got to countdown the start of the stage for everyone and chit-chat with those few who had made it that far. The field had been narrowed from 78 starters to 45 at this point, and this stage and the next would claim another four casualties after it was all over. Karl and "Eme", who autocross in the Raleigh, NC region, were working the start on that stage as well! And perhaps the strangest part: A couple hours before the start of the stage, a car drives up with three women in it. They had just left their senior prom, and come here. It was the medical crew!

After the stage finished, and sweep went through, we headed down the stage on our way back to town. Suddenly the truck started pulling to the right, and then whap! whap! whap! whap! Our driver's rear tire was in shreds! We had been driving around on our "travel tires" which are a bit worn, and this one had just blown up! We had two spare tires in the back, but they were smaller than the travel tires, so we had to replace both rear tires. We weren't even competing and we had triangles out on stage!

Get back to town, and lots of folks are milling about near the results, but mostly just staying awake for the pizza. Finally get back to bed around 5:30 in the morning, which made for almost 24 straight hours of rallying for us.

Get Jeff off to the airport the next morning, I have to transport the truck to the next storage spot, Greg Healey's facility. In my state of extreme lack of sleep, I only hand-tighten the lug nuts on the rear wheel when I put on a new travel tire. This makes for a scary off ramp experience four hours later... ahhhhh!