One day rally with a good team in a nice car? Why yes, I think I shall. Will it end well? No, this is rally, it is mean to people that don't deserve it.
The compact Tour De Forest schedule meant I could drive out to my local rally the night before, wake up at a reasonably-not-too-early hour, do recce for a bit, and then rally all afternoon. It is a luxury to have rally so close and this was a nice one to be my 50th.
Pat's Volvo was all shined up and ready for people to say "It's so clean" to a million times. We had a solid plan to drive moderately conservatively and get as many stage miles in as possible. The team was assembled, the car was upgraded and ready, we had lunch prepared... what could go wrong?
For the morning loop of stages, everything was smooth sailing. Competition in O2WD is tight these days with places 4-10 separated by only about 20 seconds on the first stages. After the first two e were in the mix for a solid lower-mid-pack finish, maybe even more after gaining comfort with the car. Stage 3 was a bit slower, but we were a little more conservative over the longer stage in order to get that finish!
The plan was the same for the second half of the rally. Stage 4 went well and we picked up a bit of pace as predicted but still felt controlled and risk-free. Stage 5, disaster struck seemingly out of nowhere. Our instruction 9 pacenotes were "Left 5 short into right 5 over narrow bridge 60". The 5's were perfectly sensible, the setup for the bridge was no cause for alarm, yet just before the end of the narrow bridge, the Volvo dipped the front left tire into the gaps between the bridge planks and slammed into the hard berm on the far end. The impact bounced the front of the car up in the air and then we skidded into a pretty smooth part of not-being-on-the-road-anymore, except for the log that the Volvo decided to rest upon. Volvo's are solid so we discussed our options and tried backing out onto the road to continue. This worked okay, but the front left was quite broken and when we continued, the Volvo decided to join a NASCAR team and only turn left. That would have been fine, but there wasn't a lot of road on the left after we got out of the slight clearing. We were headed for what looked like a bit of innocuous grass in front of a little hill which, in fact, was a quite deep drainage ditch that the car was very happy to take a nap in. We gave it some beans to try to get out, but in the end had to scramble for the triangles and OK sign. A little bit of fire was doused by Pat and the extinguisher and we waited for sweep in disappointment.
It sounds like the damage to the car is kind of a lot, so I'm hoping Pat is able to get it back on the road soon. I do hope to get another ride if possible, but would understand it completely if he tried his luck elsewhere give our team record so far! Either way, let's hope for some luck for the both of us at the next rally.
Photo by me.