Rally is a form of racing where prepared, street-legal cars drive as fast as possible down gravel roads. My job as co-driver is to read a set of notes that describe the road ahead to the driver. My brother and I were inspired by seeing it happen on TV so he built a car and we formed a team. It really is that easy to get started. Now, when our team car is unavailable I co-drive for people I like.
|Overall podiums||2WD/Gp2 podiums||AWD podiums||Mech DNF||Crash DNF|
|2 of 73||28 of 69||1 of 4||13 of 73||8 of 73|
|2015||Cascadia Intl. Rally Championship||O2||4th/5|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp5||10th/12|
|2014||Cascadia Intl. Rally Championship||L2||4th/7|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp2||6th/20|
|2013||Rally America NW Region||Gp2||4th/15|
|2012||Rally America National||2WD||19th/26|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp5||6th/6|
|United States Rally Championship||2WD||14th/34|
|Pacific NW Rally Championship||Gp2||5th/26|
|Rally America National||2WD||9th/20|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp5||2nd/4|
|United States Rally Championship||2WD||11th/29|
|Pacific NW Rally Championship||Gp2||11th/40|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp5||4th/5|
|2009||Pacific NW Rally Championship||Gp2||7th/33|
|2008||Pacific NW Rally Championship||Gp2||24th/33|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp2||14th/18|
|Rally America National||Gp2||4th/24|
|Rally America NW Region||Gp2||5th/25|
|2006||Pacific NW Rally Championship||Gp2||7th/20|
|Rally America Western Region||Gp2||15th/34|
-  Idaho Rally 2016
Day 1: DNF/22 in 2WD, DNF/45 overall
Day 2: DNF/22 in 2WD, DNF/45 overall
Combined: DNF/22 in 2WD, DNF/45 overall
Idaho rally was a bit of a disaster for the BRZ part of the Nameless Rally team, I'm afraid. I lucked out and flew in late so I could skip recce, which was awesome. I've raced the Idaho roads four times before this and didn't really need to see them again, so I took advantage of an extra work day. Steven rode with the team owner and former service chief who had rented a rally car and entered the race so they could get some pro tips.
Their rented rally car fared better than the team car, however. On stage 1, we lost oil pressure and smelled burning oil about 3/4ths of the way through the stage, so we coasted downhill to the finish and preserved the engine. After we got our time, we popped the hood and saw that the car still had oil, but definitely had a leak. Given the very short transits in Idaho, we headed back to service. The oil pressure sensor had broken and was leaking oil. The team found a plug and we soldiered on, sensorless. We made it through the next three stages decently, even setting a top 4 time on stage 3. However, stage 5 finally earned us our first non-mechanical DNF.
We came around a blind right-hand corner and an 88 pound rock lay in wait. It took out most of the suspension on the co-driver's front and bent the fancy strut as we spun 180 degrees. We would not have been able to continue, but Idaho really drove that point home when we ended up in some very soft dirt along the side of the road and instantly dug in for good. Eventually, sweep extracted us from our hole and then brought us to our service crew. We repaired the damage on stage and drove the car on the trailer for the next day.
Day 2 started decently, with a top 4 time in very dusty and glaring conditions. On the second stage of the day, however, the repaired suspension gave up and broke part way through. We managed to, eventually, cobble it back together and make it another half-mile to mile or so until it let go again. We were within a pretty short distance to the finish, so Steven ran up the stage to find the proper tools. We ended up borrowing a wrench from some folks camped by the stage and repaired the car enough to continue at a slow speed. Our stage time was almost 90 minutes slower than the slowest time! We talked to sweep and told them we'd transit the next stage to get back to service. After this ordeal it was understandable that the team did not wish to continue until the car was properly fixed, so we did not continue on the rest of the stages. A disappointing result, but in the end not too damaging to the car and still educational for testing purposes.
-  Olympus Rally 2016
Day 1: 3rd/13 in 2WD, 6th/28 overall
Day 2: 7th/12 in 2WD, 13th/25 overall
Oh, Olympus. Why are you so mean to me all the time?
Continuing the Cascadia Championship campaign with Steven Redd in the monster Nameless BRZ, I traveled to lovely Shelton, WA to do battle in the forests. We continued our campaign of trying to finish while testing the limits of the car, and we were successful in achieving those goals, but not without some difficulty.
Day 1, we started the day working out some small kinks and making some safe mistakes. In the afternoon loop, we made grand improvements after some suspension changes and waking up. The technical nature of some of the Olympus roads were hard for the powerful BRZ to navigate and required some re-thinking of techniques. We made it through and finished decently.
Day 2 was definitely more dramatic. Somewhere on the stage before service, we lost an axle. We're still not sure where, but we lost power and had to limp to the end of the stage. We drove back to service and found the axle hanging by the brake lines. Probably 5 or 6 miles of gravel and tarmac roads and it just hung there. That was lucky, because the team didn't have a spare of the expensive, custom axles. The service crew rebuilt this axle as quickly as possible using gorilla tape, rubber gloves, and zip-ties, then got it back together so we could continue. We went on to finish the day with some penalties for leaving service late and still set some decent times as we gathered more testing data for the team. Another batch of points for the championship and another Olympus survived.
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2016
Day 1: 10th/15 in 2WD, 22nd/30 overall
Day 2: 9th/14 in 2WD, 16th/26 overall
Day 3: 1st/10 in 2WD, 4th/21 overall
2016 is going to be an exciting year for my rally career. With my brother slacking on getting back at it, I took an offer of a year-long (hopefully) campaign for the Cascadia Cup with Steven Redd and the Nameless Rally Team. The right seat in their monster custom Subaru BRZ tempted me to set aside my disdain for Subarus in exchange for RWD and the most powerful car I've had the pleasure of riding in.
Oregon Trail served as the first rally in a testing and tuning campaign designed to improve and strengthen the car as a showcase for the quality of Nameless products and a promotion for Dick Hannah Subaru. The team is a solid group of professionals and talented fabricators and mechanics. The car is beautiful and simple, and is vastly popular with fans. It drew large crowds at PIR on Friday night and I spent a lot of time promoting the team's work and sponsors.
On stage, the monster lived up to it's reputation and was a beast. Our goal for the weekend was to learn the car and get all those horses under control. Friday, we spun twice and stalled once, but never in a truly dangerous spot. Saturay morning, it seemed like things were going to go the same, with a spin on the first gravel stage of the weekend. We got stuck on the lip of a ditch. A photographer ran down from his spot and helped me push the beast out of the ditch. We continued on our way, a bit chagrined. I will say, I picked up the notes immediately after that, because I am awesome.
Lesson learned, we sped on our way through the rest of the new Oregon Trail stages in southern Washington (thanks for some new roads!). Steven learned a bit about what to do when things literally go sideways and we learned more and more about how to tame the beast. I started letting him go a bit, first on 5's, then on 4's and we were setting better (top 20 overall) times. We finished the day 16th in the regional and 2nd in Gp5 (but 9th in 2WD), with a lot more confidence in the car and ourselves. However, that last stage at night was probably one of the top five most frightening stages I've been on. Massive drop-offs and no concept of where they are kept me tense through the whole stage, that's for sure.
Day 3, we moved to the straighter stages out by Dufur, which the powerful BRZ had a distinct advantage on. Stage 16 was our first top 10 time (tied with 1st in 2WD national!) and a little spin on the last stage was the only thing that kept us from a regional podium. We won our class over the very talented Hintz brothers and even bested Tim O'Neil, which is quite an accomplishment. Most important, however, was the first finish for the car in a few years after being driven by some top talents from around the world. We successfully completed all the stages and achieved our goal of testing the car, with a bonus of some trophies to take home. Next rally for the team is Olympus and we're hoping to repeat that goal at our home rally.
-  Mt. Hood Rally 2015
DNF/3 in Gp5, DNF/23 overall
Via the power of the internet, I scored a ride in a sweet car: An Audi 80! That sweet, sweet 5-cylinder sound was mine for the weekend! Plus, the driver, AJ, was a nice guy that had helped out a team I was on in the past, so the choice was easy.
However, our results left a little to be desired. Stage 1 went well. We finished mid-pack and 2nd in class and the car sounded AMAZING. Stage 2, the return through stage 1, went a little less amazing, however. A right 3 caught us out and we got into the loose stuff and slid slowly off the road. I probably could have been a little more positive as we went off, and maybe my driver could have poured on the power to get us back on stage, but we ended up stuck in some little trees. There might have also been some suspension/set up issues. Anyways, I tried to push out the car, but we had to wait for sweep. They tugged us out pretty vigorously, but it's a toss up how the suspension got broken. We drove out, but the car was dangerous at speed and, without spares, we were forced to retire. Sorry I couldn't help the team do better so I could listen to that sweet five-cylinder for longer. Ah well, maybe I'll get another shot later.
-  Idaho Rally 2015
Day 1: 9th/17 in Open, 11th/42 overall
Day 2: 7th/17 in Open, 9th/42 overall
Combined: 7th/24 in AWD, 9th/48 overall
I did it. I went over to the dark side for a rally. I rode in a... SUBARU!
I had promised Roger Matthews a co-drive when he was considering the NASA 2WD challenge and things worked out with his regular co-driver so I got my chance at Idaho. But a few weeks before the event, he sold both of his 2WD cars and bought a well-known and well-sorted Subaru. (If I'm honest, he did this before he officially asked me to co-drive, but it's a better story if I lie). The goal: finish and learn about the nuances of AWD.
And finish we did. No drama, just getting business taken care of. Steady times and improving the feel of the car. I worked on my timing a bunch and started to push Roger a bit by the end of the event in the faster corners. The car has a lot of power, it's just a question of knowing what it will do and trusting himself to save it when things go too sideways. I think he'll be having fun in it for a while, despite it having too many drive wheels.
Overall, it was a significantly pleasant weekend from start to celebratory ice cream bar finish. The previous owner came out to service and was a massively nice and positive person. His wife was amazingly nice as well. And, even Roger was really nice. It was nice. And, as a bonus, I learned a little about birding, since all three were avid birders. I did try to mess with them by yelling "I saw a bird!" at every random thing I could.
-  Olympus Rally 2015
Day 1: DNF/12 in 2WD, DNF/34 overall
Day 2: DNF/11 in 2WD, DNF/32 overall
The Olympus Rally and I have a pretty tumultuous relationship. 2015 was no different, though the team had higher hopes. Al Kun brought back the big orange Volvo with a special surprise: turrrrrrrbo power! However, I think I'm starting to really like naturally aspirated engines for their reliability. Well, turbo engines seem to be reliable, just reliably destroying themselves in small ways at every rally.
Al's turbo Volvo didn't wait around to blow up. We made it through the first stage, but not the second. We spent a significant amount of time hanging out with the volunteer start crew at stage three. I think we might have limped there or got flat towed there by our awesome PNW sweep team, but details are as hazy as a coolant-covered windshield. After my brother drove out and picked us up in the service truck, him and Al tore into the engine and diagnosed the problem. Turns out the head basically melted over cylinder 1 and bad things happened after that. Like cylinders full of water/coolant. Turbos are dumb.
With a lot of encouragement, we got Al to commit to continue the next day. We tried to find parts locally but were struggling. It was looking bleak for the rally until fellow rallyist and generally good person Cody Crane volunteered to drive up a spare Volvo head and picked up all the other necessary parts from Portland. The boys worked until the early hours of the morning slapping that bad boy on the ol' Volvo so we could try again on Sunday. I'm pretty much useless in service, so I just ate snacks.
After the fine work of the service crew and help from others in the park (Robert Culbertson and a couple other folks I can't remember), the Volvo once again breathed fire. Sunday went much better! We almost finished! I mean literally a couple hundred yards from the finish line. Had it been downhill or had we been able to see out of the windshield at all, we might have continued blasting steam and oil into the world until we reached the final stop. And then probably have to be towed back to service, to be honest, but still. Had the car not blown up again, we might have placed 3rd in class, even with some stage times within 10 seconds of the leader. This time, it wasn't the turbo's fault (probably), the skidplate detached itself and smashed into some important parts like radiators and what not. In a post-race teardown, Al tells me the head needs replacing again, though. So... turbos are still dumb.
-  Mt. Hood Rally 2014
2nd/3 in Gp2, 11th/16 overall
Mt. Hood slimmed down this year and was a one day + recce event. Six runs of the 17 Road (three north, three south) and a central service? Sounds like a fun day!
Being a somewhat itinerant co-driver this year, I put out the feelers and got an offer from Dustin Embrey in the famous Purple Panda. Looks like I'm staying mostly rear-wheel drive this year, as the Purple Panda is one of the two local RWD Corollas. Dustin was running a backup stock engine set up, having blown up his race motor at a previous event. Our goal was to live up to the high speed factor that Dustin had.
Recce was uneventful, and I think we finished both passes 2nd overall! We headed back to the cheap hotel in The Dalles and I worked on co-driver homework while Dustin unloaded the car to do some last minute tuning with Vedran from Spitfire EFI, who also works with my brother and I. Rally family! Anyhow, as they were out tuning, the battery died and I had to drive the truck out to rescue them. No problem: throw the battery on the charger overnight and pick up an alternator in the morning. Finding an alternator turned out to be a bit of a struggle, but eventually we succeeded and swapped the alternator in the parts store parking lot. Ready to go!
We found, after the first stage, that the power was going to be an issue. The 17 Road is relatively straight (but still fun!) and extra power can be applied despite an overnight rain. We did not have that power available and were down 12 seconds on the first stage to the lighter and peppier CRX. Our goal quickly changed and we aimed for that CRX as straight as a rear wheel drive car could handle. Stage 2 got our stage time within 5 seconds, but still behind the charging Honda. Notes only need a couple minor changes over the first passes and my rhythm was decent. Dustin was pushing it harder as the day continued and we got used to the car and the teamwork. We returned to service and basically just ate lunch (a nice change from services recently) and Vedran did some more engine tuning to try to sneak some more power out of the stock powerplant.
The second loop of stages saw us improve that stage time to 1 second behind on stage 3 and then lose 10 more seconds on stage 4. Back to service, we hung out and meditated on how we could improve. Well, the only option was to keep doing what we were doing and hope for the best. Stage 5 saw us hit our fastest stage time: 6:00 flat for an average of just over 60mph on stage. As we came into the finish control we knew we had finally done it. The officials put the white board with scores up in front of us and we scanned for the CRX.... 5:56. I definitely yelled "God Damnit!". It was a great fight, but I guess both our teams found the magic on that stage.
Stage 6 was a different story. We were pushing harder than ever when we drifted wide a bit and found a bump in the ditch. Not a particularly tough hit, but something broke in the steering and the car was frighteningly unresponsive. We slowed to a crawl and Dustin wrangled the car out of more than one potential off. Two cars passed us as he turned the wheel and hoped during every corner. Left turns seemed easier than right turns, but the car wasn't making terrible noises or anything. We couldn't figure out the problem as we slowly made it to the end. We finished 2 and a half minutes slower than our previous stage time and the sweep crews were getting excited about finally being able to tow a car off stage, but we finished.
After the end of the stage we pulled off the road and started to diagnose the problem. The wheels were straight, the steering rack looked fine.... it turns out the splines on the inside of the steering wheel had given up holding on to the steering column at some point. That could have been catastrophic, but we lucked out. Now, how were we to drive the 6 miles back to service? After some consideration Dustin came up with idea that he could stick a tire iron down the steering situation and grab the steering column nut. Boom! Steering wheel. We were in business. We made out way as safely as possible back to service and incurred a 10 second penalty for lateness, but we made it. And still secured 2nd place in Gp2, 11th overall out of 16. Adventure!
-  Idaho Rally 2014
Day 1: DNF/9 in O2WD, DNF/52 overall
Day 2: DNF/9 in O2WD, DNF/52 overall
Combined: DNF/27 in 2WD, DNF/59 overall
My Cascadia Cup with Al took a pause as he got his car back together, so I gleefully accepted a ride with fellow VW rallyist Bryan Watson. He has a custom turbo Rabbit that I have drooled over many times and I was stoked to have a chance to ride in it. Idaho is also an awesome event and less of a car-breaker than Oregon or Olympus, so I was looking forward to an easy finish and some good luck for Bryan, finally.
What I got was quite an experience. On the very first stage, the throttle linkage broke and we were stranded on stage. Bryan worked feverishly and used umpteen zip ties to get the car functional again. We managed to limp along for maybe a mile until the temporary fix gave up. Then, I got to check a box on the rally expert list: drive the car using a strap for the throttle. How it works is the driver operates the brake and steering (clutch/shifting if necessary) the normal way and the co-driver pulls on a strap connected to the throttle body in order to make the car go. Most nerve-wracking thing I've done in the car, probably. BUT IT WAS AWESOME. We made it back to service, but left service late due to the nature of the repairs. We got to the start of stage 2 and were ready to go. We started and the car died about a mile and a half into the stage with electrical failure. Some relay blew up and we were stuck again. Sweep came to rescue us, but some interesting decisions from the organizers left Bryan on the side of the stage with the car for the repeated run and we missed two stages we probably didn't need to. Finally, the car made it back to service and we finished stage 6 under our own power. However, it seemed the clutch/transmission had experienced some existential crisis over the course of the day. It was not sounding great. Without the motivation to stay up all night and dig into the transmission, we decided to continue until it blew up...
... which it did on the way to stage 1 of day 2. A fellow competitor in a BMW towed us to parc expose. I stayed with the car this time, while Bryan rode with one of the ATV's to service (or maybe he rode with sweep, I don't know). I ate breakfast with some interesting locals and talked a lot about rally in my firesuit to dudes with denim overalls on. It was kind of great, other than the fact that our rally was over. The crew came back to pick up me and the car and we went and spectated. It was disheartening to DNF both days for me, as I'd hoped I could help Bryan to some good luck, but it was quite an adventure.
-  Olympus Rally 2014
Day 1: 6th/13 in Gp2, 26th/45 overall
Day 2: 7th/10 in Gp2, 30th/35 overall
Al Kun and I continued our attack on the Cascadia Cup at Olympus. This has traditionally been an event that I don't finish, so we were going to do our best to get through this one. The rally started well and the team was working great. We were sitting 5th in class, ready to start moving up. The rough roads had some different ideas, though. Underbody started dragging and coming off after the first few stages. Eventually, the skid plate protecting the gas tank was dragging under the car. At the end of a stage, we had to back over it to rip it off. We threw the remnants in the trunk and pressed on, of course! A bit later, perhaps unsurprisingly, sweep told us we were leaking fuel. We drove to the little store on the transit route and pondered our options. Do we continue with a leaky fuel tank? How can we patch it? Al called good volvo friend and spectacular mechanic Sean Medcroft for advice. He told us that rubbing a certain brand of soap on the hole would somehow patch it. The most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. We tried it and, like some kind of magic, it worked. We checked into the next stage a few minutes late, but still on the road. If you can believe it, we continued like this for the remainder of the day, rubbing soap on the tank after every stage. Tried to reattach the skid plate at some point, but ended up dragging it back to the final service. The headlights died after the last stage and we got a tow by a kind subaru owner since the car was completely dying often (lack of fuel?). But we made it through day 1. The mechanical and fuel issues plagued us through the three stages of day 2, but we finished 3rd from last and gained some crucial Cascadia Cup points, bumping us up to 2nd place.
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2014
Day 1: 7th/13 in Gp2, 27th/41 overall
Day 2: 6th/12 in Gp2, 24th/39 overall
Day 3: 9th/12 in Gp2, 29th/38 overall
Good buddy Al Kun needed a co-driver for the Cascadia International Rally Cup and I was game to do the whole thing while my brother takes 2014 off. We started our campaign at Oregon Trail, a rally Al has never finished before. With some difficulty, we managed to reach that goal. On the first stage, we pushed a big rock out of the way for the PIR folks right in front of the massive crowd. Mistake out of the way, the rest of the first day was just getting through the track stages and getting a rhythm. Day 2 I somehow got us an early check in penalty somewhere and am still kind of mad about that. But we finished that day, as well. I'm writing this a long time after the finish, but I think day 2 started hinting towards some unfinished build issues. Day 3 brought those issues to a head. Electrical problems and an exhaust leak, maybe down a cylinder at the first service. Finally diagnosed as faulty fuel pump that worked much better when the tank was full of gas. Left service VERY late, but were allowed to continue as last car on the road. Pressed on and finished the rally. Tough event for the newly re-prepped car, but we persevered and finished 3rd in Cascadia Gp2. Out of 3, but still.
-  Olympus (Nameless) Rally 2013
Day 1: 2nd/21 in 2WD, 4th/43 overall
Day 2: DNF/18 in 2WD, DNF/38 overall
Combined: DNF/21 in 2WD, DNF/43 overall
The most fun at a rally that we've had in a long time. Easy services at a central location, great local competition, super roads, and great weather. Day 1, we worked on shaking the rust off and finished 2nd in class about 2 minutes behind the spectacular Derik Nelson. For a moment, we were listed as 2nd overall (our highest placing) but a stage was dropped due to massive confusion and delays to competitors up and down the order. Right decision, but we wanted that 2nd place!
So, day 2, we vowed to push harder. First stage, we tied Derik. Second stage, down by 3s. Third stage, down by 6s. Fourth stage, down by 9s. Sitting 3rd overall for day 2 (2nd overall for the weekend), we started stage 11 of the rally. It was going amazingly until a baby-sized rock flatted the front right and broke some things. It was perfectly placed in our line and around a bit of a blind corner. Our Olympus bad luck strikes again! We attempted to continue but loose gravel and the flat dragged us into a ditch and we did some minor logging on the way. Eventually, Adam Crane paused his rally to tug us out. We changed the flat and finished the stage. However, just about a mile from the end of the last stage, stage 12, the diff gave up the ghost and the car had no more go. Another DNF for Olympus!
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2013
Day 1: 6th/15 in Gp2, 30th/47 overall
Day 2: 4th/13 in Gp2, 17th/43 overall
Day 3: DNF/11 in Gp2, DNF/35 overall
Entered the Oregon Trail Rally with Barrett Dash in the Mazda 3 and had a nice time out by Mt. Hood. First day we got some rhythm at PIR after a long day of recce on Thursday. Finished 6th in class. Second day we headed out to some proper stages and did much better, finishing 4th in class and a solid 17th overall, even after patching a small leak from a crack in the oil pan using a pretty awesome rally fix: soda can + JB Weld. Rough roads the next day bashed a much more successful hole in the oil pan, draining all the oil out on the first stage and the transit to the second stage. For some reason, Barrett thought it best not to blow up the engine, so day 3 ended early for us. A good time, nonetheless.
-  Olympus Rally 2012
Day 1: DNF/21 in 2WD, DNF/47 overall
Day 2: 10th/19 in 2WD, 24th/43 overall
Combined: DNF/9 in 2WD, DNF/26 overall
Yet another challenging Olympus rally for the Demon Rally Team. We DNF'ed the national rally on stage 3 after losing a wheel (to be fair, we treated it poorly before it ran away). Came back for the night stages and the second regional, but got two flats on our nemesis stage: Nahwatzel. Drove out of the stage and changed one after the finish. Made the decision to save an expensive wheel and waited to borrow a spare. Unfortunately, earned a big penalty for late check in that my co-driver charm couldn't get us out of. Live and learn, I guess. Day 2 we ended up 24th overall and 3rd in Gp5 after penalties, but would have been 8th overall and winning G5 without them even with two flats on a 20 mile stage. Not too shabby, really.
-  North Nevada Rally 2012
Day 1: DNF/5 in Gp2, DNF/10 overall
Day 2: 7th/8 in Gp2, 11th/14 overall
Al somehow convinced me to fly to Reno and do the Burning Man Rally (I mean, North Nevada Rally), with him. It was quite an adventure. First of all, the Reno airport is empty. I think I was the only person on my plane and definitely the only person going to Reno in July. For example, the check-in counter was closed when I got there for my flight home. And it was in the afternoon!
Friday morning, we did recce before the rally way out in the desert. It really is by the place where they have Burning Man, by the way. The Sheriff talked to us for a bit and didn't seem too happy with cars driving by, but we assured him we weren't there to do drugs and hang out in his desert naked, so he warmed up to us. After recce and lunch, we did some stages I can't remember anything about. I do remember a mechanical DNF after the end of one of the stages, however. Something electrical gave up in the old Volvo and we had to do some lengthy roadside repairs or something. It was dark and we were in the desert. No service crew to speak of, but some volunteers hung out with us until we got the ol' girl back to the truck. Drama for the weekend over, right?
Saturday went better, Al was setting some good times until we hit a rock and half-spun, getting stuck on some embankment. We tried digging and prying and everything to get off of there, but no luck. I think we got a slow flat and changed that while it was stuck on the berm, if I remember right. Little did we know that the organizers had paused the stage half-way through so that some fire equipment could drive the road to go put out a fire. They didn't want to stop and tug us off the bank, but eventually, sweep did and we were allowed to finish the stage with a time that was about 60 minutes slower than the next slowest time. So, rally over. NO! Al was determined to get a finish after a string of bad luck, so we pressed on. Two more uneventful stages with no problems, and only one left to go for Al's goal of finishing...
... when we got a second flat. We destroyed the tire and rim to make it to the end of the stage and then were met with a dilemma. We had to make it to the final time control in order to finish. It's not like our crew could come get us anyway, since it was just us. Also, there was no one left to tow us back there, but more importantly, the spare was already pretty flat and there was about 15 highway miles to go. So we did what any rallyist would do: we bolted that flat tire on there and pressed on regardless. We rolled into the time control very late but I used some co-driver charm and got our declared time written down and we finished the day with no penalties. We finished the day on three good wheels and one pretty haggard one (and one destroyed spare). We finished. Rally is the best (when you don't have to pay for it.)
-  Idaho Rally 2012
Day 1: 3rd/15 in Gp2, 14th/39 overall
Day 2: 2nd/13 in Gp2, 12th/34 overall
Combined: 3rd/18 in 2WD, 13th/39 overall
The 2012 Idaho event saw a dramatic increase in popularity from the positive word-of-mouth after the wonderful 2011 rally. I was lucky enough to score a ride in the solidly built Mazda 3 of Barrett Dash. My ride with Barrett was not so dramatic, but just as fun!
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2012
Day 1: 7th/18 in Gp2, 22nd/42 overall
Day 2: 3rd/16 in Gp2, 13th/40 overall
Day 3: DNF/15 in Gp2, DNF/36 overall
At the last minute, I accepted a ride with Nicolas Schonbeck for his second rally. He was renting the Tabor Acura and I was looking forward to a chance to co-drive the heck out of the car that towed us to service at Doo Wops 2008. We finished the first night in 7th and worked out some kinks. The second day went better, with us finishing in 3rd after a little frustration in the car, but some good talks. Day three went well until the last stage, when a smCr 20 L4 120 turned into a smCr 120 somehow. The fence post disagreed with our trajectory and ripped the co-driver rear wheel off. We were just a mile or so from the finish and it was very disappointing (and expensive), but a lesson I'll always remember: Every 20 is now an "into" in my notes.
It was extremely nice being an honorary Tabor for the weekend. The northwest's finest rally family took good care of Nicolas and I. Their service crew was great and I was hoping to repay them by getting their fancy car back in one piece. That didn't work out, but I still enjoyed the weekend immensely.
-  Mt. Hood Rally 2011
2nd/13 in Gp2, 7th/31 overall
After finding out that we wouldn't be making the Mount Hood Rally due to not finishing our re-prep, I scoured the entry list for a blank co-driver seat. Knowing of Brian Gottlieb's increasing speed in the Dirty Drifters Honda, I sent him a message. He graciously accepted my offer to co-drive.
Brian was also prepping his car and got the engine in and running on Wednesday. I drove down with my co-driver housemate Jason Grahn late Thursday and we made our way out to the rally Friday morning, Brian in the RV and me in the Syncro Vanagon.
Recce went well and Brian got to practice writing notes. I was the last to sleep of the Dirty Drifters crew as I was working overtime on the notes. I was looking forward to a day in the woods.
Stage one was a little rusty for the both of us. Brian was a little wild in a few corners and I turned two pages at once, like a noob. The car was also a bit nervous, as it was creeeping dangerously high up the temperature gauge. The temperature problems would plague us through the rally, but the car never quite overheated all the way. Surprisingly, we led after the first stage. We hit a better rhythm on stage 2, but fell to fourth by 6 seconds. Stage 3 was cancelled due to idiot motorcyclists storming the stage. We maintained our fourth place on stage 4, but lost another second to Adam Crane.
Competition was tight between Douganis, Crane, Clark and us. We were all separated by only 7 seconds at the end of the first loop. On the first stage of the second loop, we fell another 8 seconds, despite feeling ecstatic about the notes and the driving. We were let down again as stage 6 was cancelled due to a car blocking the road that had rolled.
After the delay, we entered the last stage. Unfortunately, dark was falling. Thanks to some coercing by Rebecca Ruston, the lights were still on the car. We decided to remove the hood (a feature of the Dirty Drifters Honda) and do the last stage with it stashed in the rear of the car as an attempt to mitigate the overheating issues. Brian's night experience paid off on the last stage and we ran the exact same time as the same stage during the day. Two of our competitors could not match that pace and we finished second in class, seventh overall.
However, this rally adventure was not over. The awards party happened. Then the after-party began. At a local bar, a few people had arranged free beer for anyone with a rally wristband. Jason and I, as well as a couple other fellow rallyists, closed down the bar. I drove Jason around as we looked for a lodging solution. None was available, so we decided to drive back to seattle at about 3:00 AM. I was feeling awake, so I drive for about an hour and a half before we stopped at a rest stop for a nap. We finished the drive after a healthy three hour nap and a healthy breakfast at a Shari's along the way. Adventure!
-  Mendocino Rally 2011
5th/11 in Gp2, 7th/14 overall
My friend, Al Kun, invited me out for the first of a number of interesting rallies we'd do together. I road-tripped down to the Bay Area to participate, because I'm always up for an adventure, right? Well, Mendocino in 2011 was very interesting. And by interesting, I mean hot. Like over 100 degrees outside the car kind of hot. He brought along some Camelbak things full of ice to try to cool us down, but my people are from the cold north and I was dying in the car. To top it off, this was a tulip-only rally, and the tulips were very sparse. So I was basically riding along in an oven with nothing to do to distract myself from my terrible choices. The before-party and after-party were nice, though. And we finished with no drama (other than my melodrama about the heat, that is).
-  Idaho Rally 2011
Day 1: 2nd/5 in Gp2, 8th/18 overall
Day 2: 2nd/5 in Gp2, 10th/18 overall
Combined: 2nd/6 in 2WD, 8th/18 overall
For my first Idaho Rally experience, I flew over and met up with Adam Crane to give RWD another shot. Adam is great to work with and has a fun driving style. On gravel, he can work some magic, getting that Corolla sideways at will.
Idaho is a fun adventure. We camped in the rally organizer's backyard for this one (Thanks!) and I hung out with a bunch of co-drivers afterwards and we shared secrets of the trade. The rally itself was pretty uneventful for the team, Adam just drove well and things went smoothly, as I recall. Good times!
-  Olympus Rally 2011
Day 1: 1st/16 in 2WD, 3rd/36 overall
Day 2: 1st/15 in 2WD, 5th/35 overall
National: 2nd/6 in 2WD, 11th/22 overall
Olympus 2011 is an event that many in the US rallying world will never forget. On Smith Creek, a classic Doo Wop stage, a rallyist from the midwest, Matthew Marker, lost his life. His passing had a profound effect on a number of rally people on all sides of the sport and was, from my understanding of the situation, a true accident that none of our safety gear could have prevented. A number of rallyists make it a point to do some kind of memorial activity for the driver of car 65 every Olympus.
It is hard to talk about results given the circumstances in which they were obtained. We had dual-entered the national rally and the regional rally in order to participate in the Max-Attack championship that year. Needless to say, the national rally was over after the news of the fatal accident was shared. After some discussion, the regional continued on the second day as a tribute to the sport that Matthew loved. We did our best to honor him on the last running of some of the northwest's greatest stages, for after the loss of Ray Damitio (the organizer of the Doo Wop rally series) and then this accident, the stages have not seen a rally car driven in anger since. It's a great loss, but not as great as the loss of Ray and Matt.
-  100 Acre Wood Rally 2011
Day 1: 3rd/14 in Gp2, 8th/25 overall
Day 2: 3rd/12 in Gp2, 8th/22 overall
Way back in 2008, a young gentleman by the name of Billy Mann got in contact with me via the internet and this rallying forum I frequent. He was planning on attending the West Virginia round of the Max-Attack championship in his VW and needed a co-driver. VW? Max-Attack? Sure, I'll fly out to the middle of West Virginia and help out!
Well, long story short, his VW acted typically VW and blew up the engine. I was left with a plane ticket I couldn't use. However, I had purchased a cell phone for meeting him at the airport, so I guess you can credit Billy with convincing me to join the future. At any rate, Billy owed me a ride of sorts.
He invited me out to Missouri in 2011 to take a co-drive in his new Honda. We got along pretty well and his required style of notes didn't take too long to get used to, so it was a positive experience. Billy is getting fast and has a good crew, so he has a bright future ahead of him in the midwest.
We ended up finishing 3rd in class and 8th overall on both days. I got to test out my GPS tracking device and get some Gp2 points for the season championship. After the rally, Brian Gottlieb let me take his rental car back, so I spent the day wandering around St. Louis. It was an awesome weekend adventure.
-  Big White Winter Rally 2010
DNF/3 in 2WD, DNF/13 overall
For my return to the cold, white winter rally, I was lucky enough to be offered a ride with one of my favorite competitors, Adam Crane. His RWD Toyota Corolla is always a blast to watch and he has a ton of fun driving out there, so I was looking forward to the weekend.
We decided to drive the rally car up from Seattle to Kelowna, a 7 hour drive (plus border crossings). After a grueling, noisy ride, we were treated to a fine hostel room to prepare for recce the next day.
During recce, our poor 2WD car got stuck in some deep snow on an uphill section that was later cancelled. The rest of recce went swimmingly, however, and we made it through all the stages at least once before we ran out of gas. After a long haul to get more, it was back to the empty hostel for another night of preparing for the race.
We woke early and headed down to the start. About 200 feet into the initial transit, we found the upper radiator hose had frozen, causing the engine to begin to overheat. Adam put on his thinking cap and quickly rerouted the hot lower hose to bypass the heater core and melt the ice in the top hose. Unfortunately, this left us without a heater for the duration of the rally. Press on regardless!!
The stages were fun and the sun was out. We only had one incident, but it was to be our last incident of the rally. On a fast corner, the rear end drifted into some deep snow and no amount of cajoling could get the car to get back on the road. We slid off and took out a Charlie Brown x-mas tree, damaging the right front corner, breaking a lower tie rod, and ending our race. It was a decent off to participate in, as I got to see it coming and tucked up like a pro co-driver would.
We got flat towed back to Big White, but now we were left with no transportation home. Northwest homies Brian Gottlieb and Rebecca Ruston offered to tow Adam's car home and let us drive their car back to Seattle. We took them up on the offer and enjoyed the ride in their magnificently prepared Honda. I even took a bit of a drive on the way back and enjoyed the car tremendously. That's saying a lot for a Honda.
In all, my second Big White was quite a rally, even though we ended with a DNF. I'm looking forward to heading back in 2011.
-  Mt. Hood Rally 2010
DNF/3 in Gp5, DNF/28 overall
The Mt. Hood Rally was a bit of a disaster for us, as the engine overheated and died in the middle of the race. It was pretty exciting for a couple photographers/volunteers nearby, as the car blasted some flames out the back, apparently. Also, we did get a taste of recce for the first time. So, I guess it wasn't a total loss.
-  Olympus Rally 2010
Day 1: 3rd/6 in Gp2, 14th/18 overall
Day 2: 4th/5 in Gp2, 16th/17 overall
In 2010, Olympus was scheduled to use the Doo Wops roads, so because I missed Doo Wops earlier in the year and since our car was still in the middle of some necessary upgrades, I begged and pleaded until I got a ride with another Californian. This time, I was introduced to Al Kun and his big, orange Volvo.
Al is probably the nicest guy in the entire world and I was happy to help him get a trophy in what I think was his second rally. I think this was my first RWD rally, as well. It went pretty smoothly, but we did have a small incident at a chicane on Taholah where a tree got in the way of the Volvo. The Volvo didn't care too much about it and we continued on. Later on the stage, though, the hood broke free and I checked off another rally achievement as we drove a bit with the hood up before pulling over, strapping down the hood down and finishing the rally.
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2010
Day 1: DNF/24 in 2WD, DNF/36 overall
Day 2: DNF/24 in 2WD, DNF/36 overall
Day 3: 1st/19 in 2WD, 9th/30 overall
The new car had terrible luck on day 1, breaking an axle and putting us out of contention for the max-attack competition (you had to finish every stage). On day 2, we had some problems with overheating and maybe the fuel pump or maybe just getting enough gas in the tank because we ran out right in front of the spectator spot on Fir Mountain. We borrowed some gas from some spectator or something and made it back to service. However, we were deep in the dust of the competitors who had passed us. The last stage of the day, Tom got some red mist and we just barely got through a hay bale chicane at a very high rate of speed. The second one we totally blew at a similar rate of speed and it smashed up the front suspension a bit and we limped to the end of the stage and waited for our crew to rescue us because our day was done.
We showed them who was boss on day 3, though, winning our class, 2WD and finishing 9th overall regionally despite some nagging issues. A new car is tough and needs to work out some of these issues before it rules, of course.
-  Big White Winter Rally 2009
1st/3 in 2WD, 7th/9 overall
Good friend and fellow NW competitor Kris Dahl sought me out for a Northern adventure. He was planning on entering the first annual Canadian Big White Winter Rally in Kelowna, BC. Never having rallied on snow before, we were both in for an adventure.
Though we didn't finish particularly well, we eventually made it to the finish and only needed to be towed out of the snow banks twice. The car took no damage and we proceeded as best as we were able. This was also my first full recce event and I took advantage of the opportunity to ride with a driver who had recce'd before and learn some tricks. It was bitterly cold up there, but it was an adventure I won't forget.
-  Wild West Rally 2009
Day 1: 1st/6 in Gp2, 6th/24 overall
Day 2: 1st/6 in Gp2, 4th/22 overall
Six years after we spectated the Wild West Rally, we finaly got to return. Though the venue had changed drastically, we gave it our best shot. We were also keen to get our revenge on the last running of the Pomeroy roads, since that's where we had rolled the rabbit a year and a half earlier.
To get back on the road quickly, we purchased the currently dormant Golf of Jim Thompson (who we had raced before). It's a well-sorted build by some of the best in the northwest and we were confident in the abilities. We had big plans for the car, but ran it at Wild West with few changes. The debut of the new car was spectacular, with 1st in class on both days and 6th and 4th overall finishes. Day 2 solidified our competitve bond with our favorite driver, Cody Crane, as well. Both of us pushed each other to go faster over the years and our battle at Wild West was a bit legendary. After this event, we wanted more power, though, so we began the process of adding a turbo and customizing various parts of the new car over the winter. Maybe we would have been better off just running it as is? Time will tell.
-  Doo Wop Rally 2009
Day 1: 2nd/7 in Gp2, 3rd/27 overall
Day 2: 4th/7 in Gp2, 10th/26 overall
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.
-  Wild West Rally 2008
Day 1: DNF/7 in Open, DNF/21 overall
Day 2: 1st/7 in Open, 2nd/21 overall
My first ride with someone other than my brother. Jay Woodward's car was also my first and only open class car (so far). Unfortunately, a bad note on my part caused Jay to set up for the corner completely wrong and then we found some brushes and a barbed-wire fents. We rode out, but had two flats and could not continue day 1.
Day 2 went much better and the powerful FrankenProtege missed out on an overall win by two seconds behind John Lane's monster Volvo. We traded times with John and my future roommate, Jason, for the day and the competition was fun. They won stage 1. We jumped ahead in stage 2. We held that lead all the way until the last stage of the day, when they got us by enough to take over first. It was an exciting day that helped erase the disappointment of day 1.
-  Olympus Rally 2008
Day 1: DNF/6 in Gp2, DNF/22 overall
Day 2: DNS
They say, "In rally, there are two types of drivers: those who will roll and those who have rolled." The Demonrally Team switched camps on stage 2 of Olympus 2008.
Olympus had some road trouble in 2008, so they moved out east to the little town of Pomeroy. Vastly different from the forest roads we were used to, these roads cut through the rolling farmland of the Palouse. They tended to be a little wider, but a bit looser around the edges. Well, on stage 1, we were somehow well adapted to the terrain and won the stage in our little rabbit. Probably a fitting send off for the old car.
On stage two, we got a bit wide on a series of fast corners. I thought nothing of it and looked down to get the next note and the next thing I knew, we were on the roof. Tom said "Are you okay?" and I replied with "We have to get out." I didn't know where we were other than in the middle of the road. We got out and got the next car slowed and around us and took some time to analyze the situation. Once the car was in the loose stuff, it appears that our usual technique for a save dragged us into an embankment. The driver's front corner dug in, spun us an immediate 90 degrees to when the co-driver's corner dug in and flipped the car upside down, where it may have spun another 90 degrees or so. In the impact or escape, the in-car video set up got dislodged and killed the video, but it all happened in probably less than a second, anyways. We were going fast, remember.
Well, that spelled the end of the lightweight rabbit as the crash was too much for the easily bendable car. We salvaged what we could and sent the rest to the scrap yard. A couple people bought pieces of the car that are still on their garage wall today. It was a fine car, but we hated it anyways. That just makes you go faster.
-  Doo Wop Rally 2008
Day 1: 1st/13 in Gp2, 3rd/31 overall
Day 2: DNF/12 in Gp2, DNF/30 overall
At our third Doo Wop outing, we started to push the limits of the car. Through the traditional three runnings of the Taholah stage, we pushed hard. If it weren't for a couple taps of some chicane barriers, we would have placed second overall and beaten all the Open class cars for the day. The Northwest powerhouse, Dave Hintz (with new co-driver John Ford) had some mechanical problems and DNS'ed the second stage, leaving us to fight with Woodward/Grahn and Mager/Dumaoal for the podium places behind VanBogart/Barber whose second stage time was fast enough to put them 30 seconds up. Without those pesky barriers, we'd have beaten Woodward/Grahn in the FrankenProtege by 2 seconds. So close!
Day 2 started with us winning the first and second stage OVERALL. Stage 3, Pico, went well and we finished third overall. However, as we exited the stage, we found some fuel pump issues that we tried to fix in service. Various problems with the new fuel pump and our back up to the back up caused us to exceed maximum permitted lateness and we were out of the rally. With nothing to lose, we were allowed to run the last four stages as a fun run.
Apparently a fun run for us means setting the fastest Gp2 stage time on the famous Brooklyn Tavern stage and getting our name on "the list", smashing the 8 year old record by 9 seconds and tying the PGT record. Now that the future of the Doo Wop Rally is in question, this record may stand for a long time.
-  Lake Superior Performance Rally 2007
National Results: 1st/5 in Gp2, 16th/37 overall
Tom and I made a long trek out to Michigan to race in the 3rd round of the Max-Attack series. Inspired by Jake Himes, who had recently passed away, we finished top of our class and 16th overall, achieving 4th place in Max-Attack and winning a cash prize for the first time.
Getting there was not without it's adventures. The tow was completed by Tom, my father, and a crew member or two in a borrowed truck towing a borrowed enclosed trailer over several days of I-90 in October. I ponied up for a flight to 'da UP and arrived in style at the tiniest airport I've ever been to. All of this for our first out-of-region rally. We'd entered in the national rally, as required by the Max-Attack rules back then, and planned to dominate.
In our early rally days, we ran on tulips. Your choices are tulips, organizer notes, and self-written notes these days, but back then it was tulips and organizer notes. In the northwest, we were used to our tulips being pretty detailed. In the midwest, they like to leave 1.8 mile gaps between instructions. Since the rally starts late on Friday and goes until about 2:00AM, those details would have been handy. On the in-car video, after wrestling us from the brink of death for the millionth time, Tom remarks "So, notes next time?" Yes, indeed. A number of our fellow rallyists thought we were crazy for even running tulips in the first place, particularly when comparing times (We got the fastest Gp2 time on the first stage, for example.)
The roads on Friday night were also amazingly rough in parts, which is part of the history of this longstanding event. They did invent the POR ("Press On Regardless") rally spirit, after all. Well, After finishing a grueling night of rally, we made arrangements to borrow a set of organizer notes from another team. I had never read notes on stage before, so we learned as we went. Not to diminsh our result or anything, but all but one of our competitors had crashed out or broken on Friday and our goal was definitely to finish, at that point. Not the Max-Attack spirit, but a necessary return on investment. After we heard that the last Group 2 team had a mechanical DNF, we definitely cruised to the finish and got used to notes. It would have been nice to continue to trade times with them, but we lucked out and were able to finish.
It was an emotional finish for the team. A difficult rally, a long tow, a red cross on two different stages (one of those cancelling both runs of the famous Brockway stage that we had hoped to try), and our own tribute to Jake Himes really made us proud to be on that podium, even though we were the only ones.
-  Olympus Rally 2007
Day 1: DNF/11 in Gp2, DNF/36 overall
Day 2: DNF/11 in Gp2, DNF/37 overall
After our problems at Oregon Trail, we were determined to do well at Olympus. On the first day, we were out early on the first stage after with a mechanical problem. Something with the axle and the diff went horribly wrong on the transit to parc expose and we were that one team working on their car in the driveway of our state capitol. We patched the ol' rabbit back together but couldn't make it through the first stage.
Overnight, the boys in service made the rabbit whole again and we were ready for business. Stage 1 was awesome, with a top 3 time. Stage 2 of the day, however, went less spectacularly. This was the famous Nahwatzel stage, in the 26-mile version. We were ready and dedicated to putting down an awesome time. It was slightly rainy (okay, pretty darn rainy) and we made it pretty far into the stage before it got the best of us, not for the last time. The in-car video clearly demonstrates me calling a hard left for my brother, but the distance was unknown and the handy instuction pointer was behind some bushes, and the corner was in a heavily logged area, so there were not trees to read. With all of these things against us, Tom missed the corner and we slid wide into the stumps for our first crash DNF. Eventually, we dug and leveraged the car back onto the road, but the front suspension was too damaged to continue, so we waited in the rain for our crew to winch us onto the trailer.
Valuable lessons were learned that day and our first serious "off" was finally behind us.
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2007
Day 1: 7th/9 in Gp2, 33rd/37 overall
Day 2: 6th/8 in Gp2, 24th/34 overall
Day 3: 6th/7 in Gp2, 19th/29 overall
National: 5th/8 in Gp2, 22nd/46 overall
2007 was the birth year of one of the best ideas in US rally since the beginning: Max Attack. It was an overlay championship aimed at providing cash prizes to the fastest 2WD teams. We did set some fast stage times, but various troubles kept us out of the prize money, if I recall. We didn't actually DNF, which is very important for our first national entry, but we did finish a half-hour behind the slowest car.
I recall overheating problems on day 1. We also had the coil fall off the firewall at the very start of one of the stages. My brother and I got out of the car and I was just going to set up the triangles when he yelled out that he fixed it and we hopped back in. Luckily, the cars behind us were held at the start by some astute volunteers. The crowd at PIR was applauding when we fixed the car, though! Due to those issues, we finished four minutes behind the last car on the first day (the shortest).
I think our luck didn't get any better on day 2 and recall spending some time in the forest entertaining passing cars with various phases of the moon. Sweep must have tugged us out and let us continue, but we finished day 2 a colossal 22 minutes behind the pack, 47 minutes behind the leader of our class.
So, on day 3, we had nothing to lose. That's usually when we perform best, so we threw down our best work. Stage 14 marked our first top ten national time, beating all the other 2WD cars. We would have earned our first overall regional podium as well. However, I misread a bulletin and didn't understand how service was supposed to work on Sunday. We earned a 10 minute penalty for getting some fuel from our team and were quite upset about that. I hate penalties to this day and I don't think another penalty I've gotten has been my fault. To close on the positive, though, we forged a friendship with Jake Himes, who ran Max Attack that year and a photo from our day 3 run ended up being on the official Max Attack t-shirt.
-  Doo Wop Rally 2007
Day 1: 1st/13 in Gp2, 5th/46 overall
Day 2: 2nd/10 in Gp2, 12th/39 overall
Our second Doo Wops and our third rally. This time it was ON. Though the two runnings of Crane Creek were canceled due to snow, Taholah served us well on the first day. We had a heated battle for 1st in class with Nate Tennis and Janice Damitio in the black Saab. Nate currently teaches at a rally school and was naturally fast back then. We got him on the first running by 10 seconds, he beat us by 12 on the second run and we took back two seconds on the third run to tie! The tie breaker went to us on stage wins, however, and we won our class on the first day. The field was deep that first day, with 46 cars starting.
Day 2 began with Blue Slough. If there were more tarmac stages, I think we might fit for a tarmac specialist gig. Our little Rabbit finished the stage in 3:14 on the second running, third overall past some very powerful STI's and Evo's (minus a couple seconds for us rubbing a chicane or two). We tried to maintain our first in class, but Tennis beat us soundly on the first running of Pico and a flat on the second running made sure we couldn't catch him. We gave it a good show on the famous Brooklyn stage and cut 29 seconds off our previous years time, earning a 7:23 and a 7:20. On the last stage, we came across Mr. Tennis in a badly overheating Saab just past the finish line. We offered to tow him in, but he got a tow with one of the later all wheel drive cars, I believe.
In the end, we finished 1st on day 1 and 2nd on day 2 in class, finishing 5th and 12th overall on each day.
-  Oregon Trail Rally 2006
Day 1: 1st/5 in Gp2, 10th/32 overall
Day 2: DNF/5 in Gp2, DNF/30 overall
Day 3: 2nd/5 in Gp2, 23rd/31 overall
Our second rally and the first experience with all the national teams there did not go so smoothly. We still managed a 1st in class on day 1 and a 2nd in class on day 3, though!
-  Doo Wop Rally 2006
Day 1: 5th/8 in Gp2, 29th/40 overall
Day 2: 1st/6 in Gp2, 15th/36 overall
Combined: 2nd/8 in Gp2, 21st/40 overall
Our first competitive stage rally. Things started slow for us. We finished 7th in class on the first stage, second to last in class, navigating slowly through the snowy Crane Creek stage. We were even passed on stage by Michel Hoche-Mong. We slowly increased the pace until stage 5 when we had our first off. A bit too peppy into a medium right, Tom took evasive action and avoided some small trees to plant the car on a little hill of dirt. We were stuck. I got out and basically hauled the car off it's perch so we could finish the stage. We probably lost about 6 minutes in the weeds.
After surviving that, day 2 was we found our legs. We finished 6th and 7th overall on Blue Slough, the tarmac stage, and then proceeded to win our class for almost all of the last 6 stages. On our first visit to the famous Brooklyn Stage, we ran an 8:06 and shaved it down to 7:49 on the second run.
After finishing 5th in class on day 1 and 1st in class on day 2, we ended up finishing 2nd in class for the series and 21st out of 40 overall. We also won the Novice class! While the results were good, we also got to experience the rally culture that would keep us hooked for years. Two VW compatriots rolled their cars (most notably, Derek Bottles, who was one of the fastest in the PNW). Our service guys bought airsoft guns. I almost loaned the transmission out of my daily driver to a VW rallyist from California. We ate at the Oakville Grange for the first time. We formed friendly rivalries with Adam Crane, Nate Tennis, and Cody Crane. We came in 2nd in the series to the driver whose car we would later buy. We met most of our extended rally family. And we keep coming back for more.
- Raindrop TSD 2005
3rd/4 in UNL, 7th/28 overall
Our last TSD while the car was getting built. We had a functional rally odometer for this one, putting us in the unlimited class. A TSD is a good way to test your odo!
- Oregon SCCA RallyX #5 2004
The internet has no results for this event.
We drove out of state for a rallycross in a muddy field. The last test of the car before it's rally debut, right? Well, it'd take another year and a half to get it on stage, but that was the plan, at least.
- Flaming Geyser RallyX 2004
3rd/19 in Gp2, 16th/109 overall
The first of two rallycrosses we did before we started rally. This one was held in a field at Pacific Raceways. Some folks think RallyX helps you with your driving skills on stage rallies, but that's a debatable point. They're relatively fun, though.
- No Alibi TSD 2004
Combined: 5th/8 in SOP, 18th/26 overall
Our first and only brisk TSD took us across the state over two days of gravel roads. Without A/C in the rally car, we were forced to run with the windows down the whole time. It was dusty, but fun! Pretty much the closest you can get to the rally experience without building a car or exceeding the speed limit.
- Sno-Git TSD 2004
The internet doesn't remember everything...
My brother drove my car out for this one because the rally car was getting prepped, I believe. Not our best TSD, but still a fun experience.
- Raindrop TSD 2004
5th/8 in Novice, 26th/32 overall
Throughout 2004, we continued to hone our rally communication skills while the car was being developed. TSD's are fun!
- Ketchum If You Can TSD 2004
?/? in Novice, ?/17 overall
Our second TSD in the rabbit. Took place in lovely Skagit County. Details are lost on the internet, but I did have some kind of trophy from this around at one point. It was a bottle of ketchup. Pretty clever, but it eventually turned an ugly color of brown and got "lost" as well.
- CSCC Armageddon XXII Redux TSD 2004
1st/2+ in novice, ?/21 overall
Tom and I participated in our first TSD in the pre-rally rabbit. We entered the novice category and planned on learning how to navigate time controls and get our communication in the car down. We also got to drive the car around and test out a few things. We ended up winning the novice class by 485 points!
If you're interested in rally, I highly recommend a TSD. They're cheap and get you a little taste of the organization of the events. While they don't work on your driving skills too much, they work on your rally skills for sure.
Detailed rally history: