thedonproject
rally / doo wop rally 2009

The rally rabbit was being cut into pieces for scrap and the new car wasn't even remotely done yet. Therefore, Andrew Lockhart would be my second driver that wasn't my brother. He has the honor of being the first person I've told to go faster on a stage, though.

Andrew is from California and was planning on coming up for Doo Wops. His sister normally co-drives for him but was unable to make it. I gladly accepted his offer and learned a lot from the experience. His car is immaculately prepped and has a fantastic Coralba rally computer. He drives a VW Golf, so I took the opportunity to learn about the minor differences in the car to the Rabbit. I also got to see some of the new stages, like Palix, that would be used in future Olympus rallies. All good experience.

Mr. Lockhart is a solid driver and has increased in speed since 2009. We started the day a bit slow, but picked up the pace as day 1 progressed. We finished second in Gp2 for the day in the end. On the transit from stage 3, the alternator died. We got a tow from the Tabor ladies in the RSX and borrowed an alternator from Phil Meyers with the promise that we'd buy it later or return it if his went out. I assisted with the change, too, making it look like I knew what I was doing for a bit, even. I used my VW expertise to get a lower alternator bolt out, earning the nickname "Alternator Bolt" for the remainder of the rally. Experience!

Overnight, it snowed. Did I mention Andrew is from California? Add on the fact that the heater fan burned out so we had to run with the windows cracked to defrost the windscreen and, needless to say, he started day 2 a little timidly. We ran Smith Creek with a time of 7:54 while the top 3 in the class ran 7:20 down to 6:26 (Nate Tennis!) I believe it was near the start of this stage when I said "I think you can pick up the pace a little here." That's pretty much as forceful as I get in this job. You see, I'd run Smith Creek at sub-6 times with my brother and knew you could go flat out on pretty much the whole start of the stage up to the "jump."

At any rate, Andrew picked up the pace and ran Smith Creek the opposite direction about 90 seconds faster. A shortened Brooklyn Stage (due to weather damage) was a disappointment, but his times were improving as the day went on. The last three stages were Palix and during one of the services there, I got to look like I knew what I was doing again when I noticed some control arm bolts that were loose. The car was making a sound I'd heard before in the Rabbit but couldn't quite place it until I remembered about our bent A-arm problems and took a peek up front. Day saved! In the end, Andrew brought it back to 4th in class and 11th overall, including a 2nd in class run on the last two stages. A solid performance all around.

Photo by Aaron Kathman