2002 Rapidan

Rapidan 2002

By Codriver Andrew Frick

Ok I guess I can share my first rally experience. I think I got smorgasbord of things happen during my first event as a co-driver. Even though there were a lot of crazy problems I really enjoyed myself and will happily co-drive again at the next opportunity. And as they say that is rally. I know this is kinda long but I am just putting down most of what I remember from the event.

Just before the first stage as we were pulling up to the control, while my nerves were already at their highest, the intercom started to cut out. It was so bad that we decided to abandon it for the stage. And then during the stage I got completely lost in the route book. Part of the reason was that the mileage in the book were not matching up with what I was seeing on the odometer. I didn't help that I hit the stage mileage reset button in the middle of the stage instead button to reset the delta. So I was basically left to try and determine which corner the book was describing based on feel. This didn't work so well for me. I ended up getting to the end of the instructions about 6 corners before the actually finish of the stage.

Stage 2 was better since we had fixed the intercom and I didn't have yell. But once again the mileage was way off. After the stage when the odo read 1.6 miles for a nearly 5 mile stage we realized that the factor must have been left on the number for Anders' RX-7.

Stage 3, with the intercom working and the mileage now corresponding to what was in the book I was finally not lost. And we seemed to be going really well. Anders was nailing some nice hairpin turns, until both front tires went down and debeaded. With the truck not steering we decided to abandon the stage and DNF'd the first of the two rally sprints.

I was pumped for the second half rally sprint that started after lunch. Since all of the mechanically difficulties seemed to sorted out and I wasn't getting lost in the book any more. The first two stages of the afternoon went really well. I was getting more comfortable with everything and Anders was driving well. He even had time to crack a couple of jokes about lactic acid build up in his arms during the stages.

So going into the last stage of the day we were in 3rd place in our class with a 1 sec. lead over the 4th place car. About 1 minute into the stage I looked up to see medium sized pine tree directly in front of me. I would guess that it was about 2-3 inches in diameter. I looked at and was thinking to myself that could mess up the truck if we hit it. Well like a good rally driver Anders nailed the tree on the co-drivers side of the bumper. It made a lot of noise but the truck was still going so I didn't care. About a half mile further down the stage we went through a double caution hard right that was severely off camber and on the exit of the corner the motor just died in the truck. Anders pulled it over and we jumped out to place triangles. I displayed the OK sign to the next car through and then set it on the back window of the truck. Anders during this time had found the problem with the motor. The battery mount had broken and the battery had fallen over, disconnecting the wire from the coil to the distributor in the process. With the wire reconnected we got the truck refired, collected our triangles got back in the truck. About half way through rebelting myself I realized that he route book was still on the back window of the truck. I reached around and grabbed it and finished getting buckled after Anders had started driving again. That whole incident cost us 3 minutes on the stage thus losing 3rd place.

So my first rally was a great experience. I want to thank Anders for being patient with me on the first couple of stages. Also the prerace advice from Carl and Eric helped make the job a lot easier.