Monday, February 19, 2007

36th T-Bird Rally, Feb 17-18 2007

The 36th sort-of-annual T-Bird (actually the 50'th anniversary of T-Bird #1...a few years in hiatus I guess) was my 2nd T-Bird and Stephen's 3rd. I had to miss last year on account of an awesome honeymoon trip to New Zealand. ;)

All cars are welcome at T-Bird.

We competed as part of 6 car team called..........wait for it..........Team eis munky!!

The team consisted of:

  • us in Stephen's 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon (calculator class).
  • Peter and Tim Ryce in a 1988 Mazda 323 GTX (unlimited).
  • Gil Stuart and Briane Carriere in a 1967 Volvo GT123 (historic).
  • Rob and Lucille Anderson in a 2006 Subaru Impreza STi (novice).
  • Gord Ryall and Jen Daly in a 1991 Subaru Legacy (calculator).
  • Alan and Emma Perry in a 1997 Audi A4 (paper)
This T-Bird was a decidedly less snowy affair than the 2005 version. Less snowy == more muddy this time of year. Some of the mud was so bad that the final regularity of day 2 had to be cancelled!

As usual, T-Bird started off in Merritt under the glowing pink neon trim of the Best Western motel. The 1st regularity of day 1 passed without incident. We were car 25 so I had plenty of time for calcs before the start of the reg. We ended up zeroing three checkpoints in a row only to be 10 late on the final checkpoint. Reg 2 was also successful...we scored just 12 points and had some fun hydroplaning across potentially car-swallowing puddles. By the time we arrived at Rally HQ in Vernon, we only had 47 points on the day; good enough for 17th out of 48 cars.

After grabbing dinner at HQ and getting the results, we headed off to our 'hotel' for the night. For a change, we happened to be staying at the nicest rally hotel ever: Chez Michael and Joan in nearby Coldwater. Heating, hot water, no domestic disputes at 2 AM, good rates (free!) and excellent company! What more could you ask for?

Day 2 started out with some mud, then some snow and then some cancelling due to mud. We were a little shocked in reg 1 to find car 26 right on our tail about halfway in. I was pretty sure we were on time and I was right for a change...they dropped back after awhile but not without getting a 52-early on a checkpoint. Ouch.

The second reg of the day ended up producing what has arguably been one of the most butt-clenching moments of our rally careers to date. We were approaching an acute left at km 23.84. It was nice, wide and flat. Stephen could see it coming and was well prepared (especially after the recent ice-racing days at Burns Lake). To make things even more perfect, there was a checkpoint at the turn and we were only 2 late. Anyhow, back to the butt-clenching...

Stephen gave the car a little flick to the right and turned into the corner. The car started oversteer slightly and Stephen was maintaining a perfect drift around the apex.


Unfortunately, there were 24 cars before us to polish up the road and we started to fishtail instead of straightening out nice and smooth.

As we started heading for the snowbank, car drifting forwards and to the left (no more rotating at this point), we saw a rather large tree approaching from the left. Regardless of how slow we were moving, the car is no match for a tree. Even with the pre-damaged special rally bumper Stephen keeps installing every rally, this tree would have laughed at the bumper had any altercation between the two arisen. We just kept coasting with no traction across the glass-like road. Snowbank approaching, tree right behind it. The tree was now dead centre in front of the car and we were still heading on a trajectory about 45 degrees left of straight forward. Getting closer. Tree getting bigger. Not sure we're going to miss it. Poof! Snow everywhere! No crunching noise. No crunching noise? Yay!! Here's how close we came:

After we let our sphincters unwind for a couple seconds, we sprang into action. I ran back to the corner to put out our triangle (didn't want anyone trying to park in the same spot) and Stephen grabbed our spiked floor-mats to see if they could give us enough traction to get off the bank. Sadly, we were quite a bit 'off' and would need a pull. Car 26 went by as we were trying to extricate ourselves with the mats we were almost ready with the but car 27 was kind enough to stop and let us hook up the tow rope to get us out of there.

Credit to Warwick Patterson of Formula Photographic for the photos. All photos of the 'off' are copyright Formula Photographic.

Unfortunately, we tied up the road for a minute caused a bit of a log-jam for a few cars behind us. The next checkpoint about 4 km down the road saw us 260 late. Better late than never.

Here is the T-Bird thread from
NASIOC that also discusses the events of the day.

By the way, did I say mud?

After 2 days of rallying, we finished with 331 points (most from the drift-gone-bad) for 25th place out of 48 cars. Sadly, our team effort did not do so well. Out of 6 team entries, we ended up last on account of a DNF or two. You have to finish first to finish first.

We didn't come away empty-handed though! Awards were given out for the 2006 year and Stephen and I were awarded 2nd place driver/co-driver in the 2006 BC TSD championship for calculator class.


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