1999 Sunsetter

Sunsetter

We organized the purchase of our ProRally truck in such a way that the 12 hour drive wouldn't be wasted: on the return we ran two rallies that were given that weekend. We picked up the truck on a Friday, and started heading toward Sunsetter, a brisk, largely off-road TSD. The RX-7 had a big number 12 on the hood, the number for our rally on Sunday, which was an all tarmac rally. The truck didn't garner much attention, it was an appropriately suited vehicle for the task. The RX-7, however, attracted much sympathy until it was understood that it wasn't participating. No one wanted to see a car that pretty get beaten up!

Good thing too: there were some rough roads on that event! It was really very difficult for us at first, indeed, the first half of the rally we had difficulty switching from the "classic" TSD style of navigating to the ProRally style of exact mileages. As always, you have to stay on course to stay on time, and that's tough when you're looking for landmarks instead of concentrating on the mileage, as intended.

Night fell just before we got to dinner. We were last on the roster, so by the time we arrived, there were other teams already leaving. Some quick pizza, and then it was time to turn on the big lights! We had a chance to get ourselves together, and then it was time to learn how to drive in dust! The stages seemed even more brisk at this point, and on one of the last sections, we ended up "in the beans".

Not being used to the truck or gravel driving, coming around a corner pretty quickly and having the rear wheels drift out unnerved me... Letting off the gas and correcting shifted the weight forward and sent us into a tailspin. A little excitement, and we managed to get into second before the truck stopped moving, and drive out of the plowed field. There was a checkpoint only two corners later, and we had a great score for that leg!

Amazing performance from the truck considering we had just seen it for the first time the day before. Thanks to Greg Healey for putting together a solid vehicle.