Wednesday, October 19, 2011
2011 LSPR Report, cont'd.
So on the way to Houghton, Tim was convinced the GTI would break early in the rally. "I have a really bad feeling about this" was the exact quote as I recall. Now I was equally convinced the car would barrel-roll several times on the 1st corner of the 1st stage (how could it not with that ride-height and suspended by Audi quattro springs?). Given the choice, I'd rather break. But that's just me.
Neither happened. In fact, by the 3rd Stage, I was completely comfortable in the car. It seemed totally hooked up, the ride was compliant on all surfaces and the car was mechanically perfect. Tim was beginning to go faster and really tossing the car around. The car was on friggin' rails. By dumb luck and circumstance, it seems that we stumbled into a suspension setup that had no right to work, but did. Even the ride height turned out to be an advantage as the roads turned to deep mud. With normal ride-height, we probably would have been stuck at least a few times.
As mentioned previously, the weather Friday night was abysmal. But everyone continued on, including the start/finish control workers standing outside all night long.
Now the GTI has a very small fuel tank (12 gallons?) and we knew we were going to be in fuel trouble in the stages around Kenton Service. The last Special Stage started around 11:53PM and then there was a 70 mile transit back to Houghton. There are no late-night gas stations anywhere in the vicinity. We had an extra 5 gallons in a Jerry can strapped in the back and used it after Special Stage 6.
After running Far Point 2, there was no way we could run the last stage of the night (Bob Lake 2) and still make it to a gas station. So we bailed out and made a beeline for Baraga where there was an Indian gas station open 24 hours. We pulled in on fumes.
Saturday's first Special Stage was Menge Creek at 10:52AM. The day was relatively dry and the road conditions were fantastic. The day's stages were based around L'Anse and consist of some of the best gravel roads anywhere. What a great day of driving!