By Adam Craig, local resident and Olympic bound: Doo Wops Rally - It’s been a while since we over here at Adam and Carl’s Fun Giant Team have filled your in box with some drivel and, if you’re lucky, a photo. Hopefully this means that you’ll actually read this one. It’s kind of an ace in the whole though. It’s about Rally Racing. Everyone loves rallying, right? That’s because it’s awesome.
To quote a bumper sticker spotted at Tech on Friday night “Real Cars, Real Roads, Real Fast”. Sounds like a good time, right? It is. Especially when it’s, for some unlikely reason, sixty degrees and sunny all weekend on the Olympic Peninsula of Western Washington. The Doo Wop Rally celebrated it’s twentieth anniversary with this edition.
Race director Ray Dimisho, a sprightly eighty years old, has put on the race every year since it’s inception in 1988. He also happened to co-drive for John Lane in his fire breathing 500 horsepower Volvo, which happened be the Series wining combination. Ray, with his hundreds of times over the weekend’s stages, probably had a bit more information to give his driver that I did. Since the Doo Wop is a down-home event with a very reasonable $300 entry fee, they only provide a “Route Book” to make it though the stages. This book provides directions to the individual stages as well as outlining intersections and hazards on stage. It is NOT a play-by-play descriptor. That would be what we call “Pace Notes” which are strictly prohibited at this event, keeping a simple, level playing field. This meant that other than calling out hazards and keeping Carl on route between stages I pretty much sat in the passenger seat and enjoyed the badass driving that was going on.
It didn’t go on for very long though. The Wheels of Teal is settling into a somewhat concerning pattern of first stage brake failure. For about a mile I was observing quietly, with growing concern, the manner with which Carl was frantically pumping the stop pedal. This pumping of the brake didn’t seem to be producing any type of slowing sensations, which made me read instructions like “Double Caution, road drops left over crest, exposures right” with increasing concern and volume.
Carl eventually confessed that we had no brakes. Just as we crested a rise at about 90mph and were greeted with our neighbors and competitors stranded in the middle of the road in their Sentra. We both went for the horn and somehow squeezed by, rocks audibly ricocheting off from their car. Awesome. We made it through the next few miles of stage (not very) gingerly and limped back to service, which happened to be right on the beach in the little Indian village of Taholah. Nice. Fortunately, our crack automotive diagnostic skills identified the problem immediately from the puddle of “Super Blue” brake fluid dripping onto our service area floor (tarp). A new line was dug out of the spares pile and we had things fixed up in fifteen minutes flat. Perfect. Now back to going 100 on one lane roads through giant potholes.
The rest of day one passed without incident, we drove the anemic little Impreza for all it was worth on a bunch of really straight, really fast roads into the setting sun. Ending up 2nd in Group 2 and 9th overall on the firsr (partial) day of racing.
Day two dawned a bit wet but rapidly clearing. The car was clean and ready to go for a change, so we had time to stop at the used car lot and check out a BMW with the help of a curious passing Local Law Enforcement offer on the way to the first stage. That Bimmer would have been markedly better on the Blue Slough road, four miles of Tarmac that we ran twice in a row than the gravel tire shod rally cars that were racing on it. We still had a good time though, some gratuitous ditch hooking and wet pavement drifting for the spectators, always starts the day off right. Up next were two opposing ten-mile loops through the Pico Stage. Tight roads, lots of elevation, lots of sunshine and perfect dirt. We drove pretty quick in between making some tasty sandwiches at service. With the Group 2 ringer, Tom Burress, in his ’77 VW Rabbit getting towed home with a failed fuel pump, we were suddenly in a decent battle with Adam Crane in his patchwork Toyota Corolla. Trading stage times by a second or two on each run is always good fun.
The afternoon of rallying kicked off with the classic Brooklyn West Stage. Seven miles of mainline logging road that’s been called one of the greatest rally stages in the U.S. Turns out it is. Two lanes wide, perfectly graded and with perfect camber. Now if we only had enough power in the little WoT to make it up the hills with conviction and actually need to be concerned about the cautions and “tightening” turns… Another good stage time nonetheless, thanks to Carl’s aggressive downhill attack style… He is the NMBS Super D series champ, after all… An out and back on the extremely open, extremely fast Smith Creek Stage, which found us shifting from fifth back into fourth even on the downhills to keep the WoT making the most noise possible, brought us back to Brooklyn East as the sun set. Fortunately, we tested out the driving lights before the stage started, then plugged them in correctly so they actually worked. Carl kept it clean as our nemesis for the G2 title spun into the weeds passing the spectator area.
First for the weekend in Group 2 and 7th overall. Not too shabby for having one of the lowest top speeds of the field… We both agree, a new engine with more oomph is imperative before any more rally racing happens. My how skills develop and needs change. It’s a slippery slope that I’m sure will get expensive quick… So if any of you know someone who wants to sponsor a pretty fun Rally Team, let us know.
In the meantime, cruise on over to my website and check out a little point of view video from the weekend. You should also check out the rest of the site, which my good buddy Josh Edgar just gave a new look in the name of free rent on Chardonnay Lane… There are a bunch of random photos, some schedule info, and some other random stuff, like a link to Tara Llanes’ Road to Recovery Fund. (hint)
Let’s see here, it’s been a while since we’ve done an update about anything, it being the “off season” and all. Here’s a few things that have been going on.
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