Photo by John Doutch - from RallySport Magazine - Gallery - Category: 2011 Alpine Rally
I’ve never done a multi-day event so was very excited at the prospect of 3 days rallying. Jon was no doubt excited as well but it was somewhat tempered by the effort required to remove his turbo engine and replace it with a naturally aspirated one. First attempt was a powerful peripheral port but after testing that out a couple of weeks prior it was clearly way too peaky and wasn’t going to do the job we needed for such an event. Bruce Power was kind enough to lend us his class winning Bridgeport engine which was extraordinarily generous but also invited much effort to get it fitted.
We arrived the day before the media day so things were all very civilised with time to settle into the accommodation and get the final car preparations done. Our run at the media day gave us a chance to run the engine on dirt for the first time since being put into the car. Our run was uneventful and all was looking up!
Day 1 – Strong start on stage 1 with JW under strict instruction that he didn’t have too much time to settle in and he had to go hard. Well that all came to pieces when the engine completely lost power mid-stage on Stage 1. It struggled through Stages 2 and 3 before being driven home for some serious investigation. A blockage in the carburettor was found so with the adoption of some advanced filtering technology (aka pantyhose) we were ready to have another crack on Day 2.
Day 2 – Some really tough stages in the morning but with the engine going strong we were feeling pretty positive again. On Stage 12 things got very hairy when we were caught in a huge random storm involving massive rain and even hail tinkling in through the roof vent! After that the sun came out and the afternoon progressed well.
Day 3 – Hearing the wind and rain pelting down on Sunday morning I fully expected that the day would be completely cancelled. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that only 2 stages were cancelled and we were on for another day. We had a few issues with timing and started a little down the order. Another great day, though not without its moments. We had our first full spin of the event, almost got bogged, had a near miss with a tree and then it was off to the service break to collect ourselves before the final 3 stages of the day. During the last stage all the warning lights on the dash flashed on and off continually.....I thought it best to keep quiet and JW did the same. At the end he told me he was nursing it to the end, to DNF on the last stage would have been devastating! Such relief and celebration to get to the end, a great achievement!
So onto the many thanks from Car 20:
Thanks to the event sponsors for making this great event happen.
Thanks to the organisers for doing an absolutely outstanding job, for being responsive to the changes and cancellations and putting on an event that was tough but great fun!
Thanks to the volunteers and officials who braved awful conditions and still managed to have smiles on their faces.
Thanks to the scorer and the CRO’s, especially for promising not to put us on the "difficult list". Seriously, thanks for your assistance in sorting timing etc.
Thanks to our fantastic service crew – Brady, Michael, Andrew, and Sonja.
Thanks to our sponsors including Revell Steering, Murray Coote and Gary's Motorsport Tyres.
Thanks to Bruce Power for lending us your precious, prize winning engine. I don’t know where we would have been without it!
Thanks to our official – Christine Bethwaite for making the trip down and officialling for us.
Thanks to JW for outstanding car preparation and amazing driving and for giving me the chance to do my very best Blonde ballast impersonation. J
Last but certainly not least, thanks to my husband for staying home with the kids. Who would have thought they could all manage for 5 days without me?!?!?