Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Halloween To Remember

On Saturday Oct 31st I woke up at 4am to drive out to Shannonville and take part in the PMSC Pumpkin Spice Rallycross with my friend Herman. We were to do our seven runs each, and be back home in the afternoon. However, after a series of events you could not make up if you tried, I only got to sleep at about 6pm the following day, having stayed up pretty much the entire weekend. This is the story of the craziest Halloween I've ever had, and a simple race that turned into a weekend-long adventure.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Another Weekend of Racing (Day 2)

It was the morning of Sunday, June 21st as we woke up in Bancroft after having done a lapping day at Shannonville the previous day. We were in Bancroft with a mission - I was in second place in class in the MLRC rallycross championship, behind Mat Janiak. If I won this race, I'd have a chance at winning the championship in our class. My chances were slim - at the KWRC event, despite us putting in a newer engine and running good gravel tires Mat was so much faster we struggled to understand where he found the extra time. After seeing Mat's run times at that event, we really thought I'd have no chance against him at MLRC, but that didn't stop me from trying.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Another Weekend of Racing (Day 1)

My friends invited me to attend a lapping day at Shannonville on Saturday June 20th. We already had the MLRC rallycross booked for Sunday, and figured - why not - it will give us a chance to spend some time with the car, practice our driving technique, and really get ready for the competition runs on Sunday. Sure tarmac and gravel are very different surfaces, but racing is racing, and there's no such thing as bad seat time.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kitchener-Waterloo Rally Club Rallycross

On June 6th we had the pleasure of attending the first ever rallycross put on by the Kitchener-Waterloo Rally Club. We were absolutely blown away by how smoothly the event was run, and how technical and fun the track was. A massive thanks to everyone who made this event happen.

Photo by Darin Mayes

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kitchener-Waterloo Rally Club Rallycross Is A Go!

After months of planning and a couple unfortunate reschedules, the KWRC Rallycross is finally happening this Saturday June 6 at the Agricultural Society in Rockton, Ontario! The course looks absolutely fantastic - probably the longest rallycross course we've seen, and the entry list is full of very competent drivers and a few stage rally cars. It feels a bit intimidating but really exciting.

The car has been running like a champ with the new motor, hopefully there won't be any surprises. The gravel tires are mounted and ready to rock, though admittedly we've never tried them and have no idea what grip levels to expect. Should be an interesting day indeed. Come cheer us on - we'll be numbers 8 and 23. Entry is free for spectators and grandstands will be provided.

Monday, May 18, 2015

RallyWagon Gets a New Heart

As I've mentioned in a previous post, we had to postpone our plans for the WRX swap in order to stay in the same class for this race season. But we needed to do something about our tired old motor as it was getting far too unreliable and underpowered. As luck would have it we managed to get our hands on a parts car - an 02 Impreza with an alarmingly rotten body, a clutch so worn it slipped in any gear at any speed, but a decent EJ251 with the only real problem being leaking gaskets which is an easy fix.

Lanark Highlands Forest Rally 2015

My friend and I managed to catch a glimpse of the last stage of the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally from the Gemmills Road spectator area on May 2nd.

It's amazing what a rally car flying through the forest at full speed looks and sounds like. You hear the crackling and popping of the exhaust before you see anything, then within a blink of an eye a blur of brightly-coloured something speeds by showering everything behind it with stones and leaving a thick cloud of dust. Then a minute or two of silence, until the next car comes flying past. There's nothing like it, and no photo or YouTube video can even begin to describe what it's like. If you're into rally I urge you to get out to the next event and see what it's like for yourself!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Day I Bought My Dream Car

Why do we fall in love with cars? How can we love an inanimate object made of metal, glass, and rubber that has thousands of identical copies? It's a concept that's impossible to understand by non car-people, but as a car-person I promise you it's not that far-fetched.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fun vs. Competition

Our initial plan with the wagon was to start driving it on the old 2.5 naturally aspirated motor while collecting parts for the 2.0 turbo swap. As soon as we had everything we needed, we would find some time between races and do the swap. We'd be bumped up to the turbocharged AWD class, but so be it. That is until I saw the 2015 MLRC Rallycross Championship Standings and realized I was in 2nd place in class followed by Danil in 3rd.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Our Introduction To Rally Pacenotes

Last weekend we were fortunate enough to be introduced to the confusing world of rally pacenotes by our friends who have been running stage rallies for years. Our minds are still overflowing with information, so this post is my attempt to make sense of it all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ice Lapping in Muskoka

For a couple years I've been seeing pictures of cars doing timed runs on a frozen lake in Muskoka. On Sunday I finally got around to checking it out, and wow, what a fantastic event! The organizers plow out a very fun and well-designed track just under 1km in length. It features a straight, a couple technical chicanes, and a tight hairpin that gets extremely difficult to manage as the ice gets polished by the cars.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Our Epic Weekend of RallyCross (Day 2)

We awoke to the sound of the alarm clock at 7am, having stayed at the hotel room in Belleville for about 4 hours and slept even less than that. I was so sleepy I was barely functioning and Danil realized that he was sick. We were so out of it, we even contemplated skipping the RallyCross in Bancroft and heading home, but our determination to finish what we've started prevailed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Our Epic Weekend of RallyCross (Day 1)

Our weekend began at 7am on Saturday Feb 28, when Danil arrived at my house in our wagon, which was so full it took quite a bit of creativity to fit the only two things I had with me - a backpack and a camera case. We had enough parts and tools to do pretty much any small repair imaginable (timing belt change included). We may have been over-prepared, but we didn't want to risk it when driving over 1000 kms and doing two rallycross events in one weekend. The car was so loaded by the time we arrived in Weedsport, our rear tires wore a hole in our shiny new Sparco mud flaps.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's decided - we're clinically insane!

After having no more than a pint of beer, Danil and I realized that the next rallycross is in upstate New York, on Feb 28. It's an evening race starting at 3pm, and running into the night. The one after that is in Bancroft (about 5 hours north), at 9am on the following day. After giggling like two schoolgirls we looked at each other, and thought - life's too short to miss rallycrosses, we'll attend both!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our First Podium Finish

This Saturday was the wedding of my close friend at which I was to be best man. This Sunday was the first MLRC rallycross of the 2015 season. I couldn't possibly say no to either, so I've decided that I'll attend both despite knowing that I'll be up all night on Saturday and had to be in Bancroft at 9am on Sunday. Sleep is overrated anyways.

The wedding went on well into the night and by the time I got home it was so late I questioned whether there was any point in going to bed at all. By the time my head hit the pillow it was 3am. We were to leave from my house at 5:30, so the alarm was set for 5. Surprisingly at the first hint of the alarm I hopped up and got ready in record time. Outside I was greeted by a duet of boxer engines (our rally wagon and another Impreza of a friend who came along to watch), and we were on our way shortly.

Walbro, Bro!

Our fuel pump gave up the ghost, which was mildly annoying. On the upside, it gave us a much needed push to start work on the EJ20 swap by changing out the fuel pump to a Walbro unit we already had lying around. Pretty straight forward swap, most of which involved scrubbing off the dirt from the fuel pump cover so as not to get any into the tank. The back seat also had to be removed so as not to bend the float arm while removing the assembly and wiggling it back into place.

At the RallyWagon headquarters, somewhere in Ontario

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Spongy Brakes Fixed

Our Impreza's spongy brakes were driving us nuts ever since we bought it. The pedal was very soft through about the first third of its motion, and then worked as normal. Pumping it several times (or left-foot braking like a boss while flying sideways through a rallycross course) improved the feel briefly, only to be soft again after a bit of normal driving.