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.

Walking out to the car, it seemed that it wasn't in the best state either. The passenger-side headlight was broken, the driver's side fender was dented, the front fender liners were cracked and hanging down onto the wheels, and the whole car was covered in a mix of sand, dirt and salt. If we would have told someone we rolled it, they would probably have believed us. Nevertheless, we got in and limped the poor thing up to Bancroft.

As we got to Bancroft we pulled into a gas station to fill up before the race. I spotted another Subaru at the station and pulled over to the pump next to it. "Morning" - I said as I walked out of the car and caught the glance of the driver. "You must have had a hell of a drive!" - he replied - "You guys are driving up from the race in the States, aren't you?". I was floored - turns out he was a fan of the blog! That means someone actually reads the drivel I post here? Wow.

We got to the venue about a half hour before the driver's meeting, and immediately went to work getting our car into half-decent shape to compete. We cleaned the windows, duct-taped the broken headlight together so we don't get glass all over the course, and went to town with a drill and zip ties repairing our broken fender liners. By the time we were finished our wagon was good as new... almost.

At the driver's meeting it was clear that the podium for our class was pretty much decided. NV Auto's drift driver Riley Sexsmith showed up in his wagon, along with a few very talented drivers running proper rally tires. And to top it all off, Crazy Leo who just got back from his WRC season in Europe showed up in Can-Jam's GC which also fell into our class. Yup, it was time to shake hands with our competition, pack it up and head home. Or at the very least, kiss the podium goodbye and compete amongst ourselves.

As I came up to the start light for my first run I thought to myself - what the hell are we doing here? I've never been more sleepy in my life, and Danil who was sitting next to me should've been in bed with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. But as soon as the light went green, I dumped the clutch and went for it. I don't think I've ever gotten so much air on the first jump, and after the second jump I got so carried away I completely missed the corner and plowed straight on into the snowbank. I quickly grabbed reverse, backed out, and finished the run losing no more than a few seconds.

Were wondering if we should introduce ourselves to Crazy Leo, but we were a bit hesitant. After all he did have about 40 other fans just like us, eager to talk to him and with all that he also had to find time to compete.

We did end up approaching Leo and after talking to him for just a few minutes we realized what an incredible person he is, and how passionate he is about the sport. He didn't just answer every single question we had about car setup and driving technique with a lengthy lecture, but he actually got in the car with us and gave us so much information I could barely absorb it all. We couldn't believe our luck. And to think that we considered missing this day!

The cherry on top of the cake was when the results were read out. James read the results, and as he got to Class 3, he announced third place, and I heard my name! Me?! I don't know if it was the practice runs at CNY, the lack of sleep, Leo's guidance, a timing glitch or all of the above but somehow I managed to steal third! In a field of amazingly talented drivers. Leo came in first in our class of course as he managed to keep it shiny side up through all 5 runs this time.

Wow, what a weekend. Just over 1000 kms, 4 hours of sleep, 2 countries, 2 rallycrosses, 26 runs, 3 trophies, 1 broken headlight, and 2 tired friends grinning ear to ear. We knew we were up for an adventure, but we couldn't even imagine what this weekend had in store for us. Thank you CNY. Thank you MLRC. Thank you CanJam and Crazy Leo.

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