A racecar Noob, a Sube and the Mexican 1000 Rally

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by oregoncoast, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

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    Well...they're still married, so that's a plus!! :deal :lol3 :norton
  2. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    A random photo from the M1k of Paul and Laura pulling up to pit. My lens cover didn't open up all the way due to the grit... :D

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  3. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Without the lens cover opening it made a peek a boo shot of the car. :D
  4. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

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    Duh!
    Sorry about the delay in posting the race report. I know David has already written a bunch of stuff from his perspective and I hope Cory contributes as well. I'd love to get my wife to type up her thoughts too!

    I think I forgot to mention that like many prestigious race vehicles....our Subie had been named. Laura has this patient that she sees on a regular basis. This woman is someone Laura has really grown to love. When this woman heard about our race she began offering up names for the car. She is a life-long resident of the county where I live and so she began offering up some old Indian names. Some of them were pretty good, but none of them jumped out at us as “the one.” That is until she told us what her nickname was growing up.....”Dirty Dorothy.” Yeah, that’ll work. The real Dorothy cried happily when heard the news:

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    Day 1 -

    We did the ceremonial start and headed out to Laguna Salada.

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    While waiting, we watched Mike Noval, the Dude's friend, pull in. Within seconds, transmission fluid was just pouring out from the bottom of his custom Rally Raid buggy. :cry Unfortunately It would be the end of his race before he even had a chance to start. No pictures.

    Mike proved to be very supportive of our efforts and as major financial investor in the rebirth of the NORRA Mexican 1000 a few years ago, he loved the grassroots, and budget racer aspect of what we were doing...and the fact that our $700 Craigslist Subaru was able to make it to the finish when his $70,000 buggy had issues at the beginning. Thanks Mike for the kind words of encouragement throughout the race!! :clap

    Approaching the start..
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    During the past two Mexican 1000's, I had issues keeping on course in the beginning of Laguna Salada and it ended up costing me dearly. Apparently I was not the only one, because this year, they marked the beginning through the OHV park to get everyone to the lakebed without issues. It was soft, whoopy sand and we had to go pretty slow to prevent bottoming and slamming the skid plates. On a bike it would have been fast and fun. Once we got to the dry lakebed, we were able to crank the Subie up to 11!

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    Laura was getting into her groove as navigator and we were hitting speeds of over 80 mph. We were having a lot of fun and smiling ear to ear. The car was doing great and we even got a high-speed pass in on a competitor in a jeep. But then it happened. As Rick so aptly called the “Curse of Laguna Salada.”

    The Tally so far from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 M1K:
    Laguna Salada 3 – Outta Sight Racing 0

    We were cruising right along when I felt the left rear tire come down and began smelling rubber burning. I assumed we had a flat so we stopped and the jeep we had blazingly passed, drove on by :baldy

    Well it wasn't a flat. It was a bent rear strut. And we were only about 45 miles into the 75-mile special! :cry We had spare struts, but they were in the Dude's truck, which was sitting at Chapala, more than 200 miles away. I told Laura, "We are done." She got mad thinking I meant we were done with the rally. I explained that I just meant we were done for the day, and that we would figure out a way to get off the lakebed, get the spare struts and be able to start tomorrow.


    The strut was bent and therefore pushed the wheel forward and inward so that the tire was rubbing on the wheel well and the strut itself. Laura asked, “Can we get the wheel out so its not rubbing?” I called her a genius! I went through the spares bag and grabbed the spare wheel spacer that Richard at Mywheeladapters.com had donated to us!

    Remember, those lug-centric wheel spacers that were going to fall off, climb up into the cabin and bitch-slap me to death? Yeah, those ones. Well, here we were, in the middle of a dry lakebed, only 50 miles into a nearly 400 mile race day, and I was adding a second one to the rear of the car!! Guess what happened?

    The additional 1.25” Lug Centric wheel spacer got the wheel out far enough that it was no longer rubbing on the strut. Now we just needed to get the strut pulled back straight so the wheel would be somewhat centered in the wheel well. But how? Well, I remembered how the guys driving Brutus the Bronco in the 2011 M1K were able to finish the race by ratchet strapping their entire front end together.

    Then they appeared from nowhere: Four local guys in two trucks. They jumped straight into action, one of them filming the whole thing with his phone (still haven’t found the video on youtube). They grabbed a bottle jack and I grabbed a cheap harbor freight ratchet strap. We got the strut straight but realized the cheap strap probably wouldn’t last a few feet, never mind 300 miles. I started to grab the good straps holding the spare tires but the guys produced a strap more suitable. We used both straps and put the wheel back on. The camber was all screwy and it was still going to rub a little, but we could drive it. One of the guys tightened the lug nuts up and told us to drive slowly. I grabbed the torque wrench, and I’ll be damned if that guy did not get every single nut to the correct spec! These Laguna Salada Guardian Angels would not take any money for the ratchet strap and sent us on our way! Viva la Mexico! The NORRA sweep truck happened by. I asked them to relay the info to the Dude at Chapala.

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    This was the lame orange Harbor Freight strap. We added a second one provided by the local guys. Notice the stacked wheel spacers :eek1 :lol3

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    Laura and I started moving and we were very pleased with ourselves...we had worked through our first major obstacle. I was bleeding a bit from a cut I got on my hand. Laura looked at it and said that maybe I had to bleed a little as a sacrifice before Baja would let us continue.

    We came upon the other rally car, the real rally car; the white Mitsubishi driven by Ron with navigator Adam. We had met them the day before at the hotel. Ron races stage rally and Adam told me he was an accomplished co-dog. He was surprised to hear that Laura had no navigating experience and actually preferred not going to fast and occasionally got carsick.

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    Well, the Mitsubishi looked a little banged up. It had hit a dip at a high speed and it slammed the radiator back into the motor among other things. They were just buttoning up their car. They asked if we just wanted to stick together to make sure we each got off the lakebed. We agreed to wait until they were ready to move. When they were ready to leave, I told Ron to lead because I was not sure how fast I could go and I didn’t want to hold them up. He told me he would keep me in his rear view to make sure we made it out. He must have forgotten because they were “outta sight” almost as soon as we started moving.

    I started looking at times and realized that we about 12 miles from the finish and we might actually be able to make the stage finish before it closed...thus saving a big time penalty. The car had been driving all right but the tire was rubbing on bigger dips in the trail. We decided to go for it and I put the hammer down! We were easily reaching speeds of 70 mph and cringing every time we’d hear the tire rub on fender. Laura did a great job of not appearing completely freaked out...and I guess I did too! We were flying and were just a small ratchet strap away from complete failure. We made it to the end of the stage before they closed and were able to avoid the penalty for timing out! We considered this a victory and pulled over at the end to “modify” the wheel well to try and prevent the tire from rubbing. The Mitsubishi was at the end of the stage, on jacks with Ron’s two paid Mexican mechanics repairing his car. The mechanics were driving Ron’s Subaru Outback as their chase car. A Subaru chase rig? Who the hell brings a Subaru to Baja? :deal

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    Some pliers...

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    a hammer....

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    Viola....fancy fender flares.

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    Unfortunately, they did not have a spare Subaru strut for us to borrow until we could get to the Bivouac that evening. They did have some ice-cold water though and that really hit the spot. I helped them straighten their skid plates by jumping up and down on them, and banged the crap out of our car’s fender and wheel well. Then we hit the road again!



    With the damaged strut and more than 300 miles left in the day, we decided to skip the 2nd special at Laguna Diablo because I remembered just how brutal the soft sand and whoops near San Felipe can be at the end of that special. There is no way that ratchet strap would hold up to that kind of abuse and there was no way we would be able to make the start of the last special that went through Coco’s. This fact of running out of time before the starts of special stages closed will show up again...and not just because we were slow! There is an inequity with the way NORRA does their timing which gives certain competitors much more time (as in several hours) to reach a given stage start than other competitors. Which is a huge advantage if one has a mechanical issue that needs fixing. I will flesh this out later in our story....

    The start of Diablo is west and I didn’t want to run the risk of breaking down during the roundtrip out there just to check in. Well this turned into an additional 120-minute penalty, which I didn’t know about until the end of the rally. Although, I think even if I knew about it at the time, I would still have just kept heading south toward my awaiting struts at Chapala and in order to make the 3rd special start before it closed.

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    We headed south and were able to maintain posted speed for the transits and make it to the start of the 3rd special before they closed. We fueled up north of San Felipe and got some drinks and snacks, opting not to stop and eat a proper meal.

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    The last special through Coco's corner was only 38 miles, but we were told to expect it to be a couple of hours due to our damaged car. We got our only flat of the entire trip on that section of road. It was brutal and we passed several other competitors broken down.

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    We made it to Chapala and Ted, Mike and David were waiting. I wanted to continue on to the finish so we would make it before it closed, but it was decided that we would change the strut right there. This took quite a bit of time since many of our tools were with Cory at the bivouac with Luke’s bike.

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    We rolled into Bay of LA after the finish was closed. We got to our hotel just in time because some other competitors were trying to steal our room!

    Desert racing, like any racing, has its share of douche bags. However, if there were an award for douche baggery, then the two guys described below would get my vote:

    These unnamed competitors/chase crew came over to us as soon as we pulled in exhausted and beaten and told us that their good friend had sustained some horrible burns and they were awaiting for their crew which consisted of paramedics and they wanted to stay at the same motel with their friend so they could treat him. They wanted to trade rooms with us and have us stay in thier hotel across town. I found out they had already tried to convince the motel owner that one of them was me, which is why the owner asked me for my ID.

    I explained to these, um, gentleman, that my wife was a trauma nurse and she could treat their injured friend right now. They said their paramedic team members would be there soon and that their friend needed IV fluids quick. I told them we had IV fluids and a full trauma pack and if he is burned, we should not be delaying his treatment. They kept coming up with reasons not to have my wife look at their friend, which at that time sounded a bit fishy. Then the burn victim arrived in another car. My wife went over to assess him while I got our room key. It turns out that the burn victim was a guy we had met at tech inspections in the UTV #199. He had already been to a proper clinic, treated by a doctor, had been bandaged up and had his pain managed adequately. Oh, and they were in no way affiliated or friends with the two guys that were trying to take our motel room. Of course, the two “gentlemen” left pretty quickly after they saw my wife talking to the burn victim and his friends. What a couple of douche bags; using such a ruse to try and get a better room. I’ll let Karma deal with those guys.

    All of the restaurants were closed down but we were able to get Margarita’s and quesadillas at the NORRA headquarters hotel. There was not much to do with the car, so we all went to bed to get an early start. Well, except for Cory, who stayed up most of the night helping Luke rebuild his bike.

    Day one was now in the history books for Outta Sight – we had completed our goal of the day of making it to Bay of LA and leaving the car in good enough shape to start the next day! Laura and I were having a great time and it was awesome having her with me. She never got discouraged and was smiling a lot! It was fun trouble shooting with her and figuring out solutions and strategies for the day. We were proud of our accomplishments and she got to experience what racing in Baja is about – survival, endurance and never giving up.

    On our drive to Mexicali, I had told Laura that while I would love it if we had no issues at all during the entire race, I doubt that would happen. But, I also told her that when shit goes bad in Baja, and you work your way through it, those are the stories you keep telling...and those are the ones people want to hear. Otherwise, its just, “We had no issues, it was fun!”

    And where is the real fun in that??


    Early Morning day 2, Dirty Dorothy is ready for action...

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  5. DustyRags

    DustyRags Idiot

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    Fantastic report! Keep it coming! :clap
  6. LC Garage

    LC Garage On Any Sunday

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    btw, my dirt track Monte Carlo's name; "Large Marge" :lol3
  7. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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    x2 :clap:clap
  8. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman PROUD 2B Riff Raff!

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  9. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    They need a Honda Element.
  10. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Dang OC I was sure with you having Laura along you'd get through that first section with no problem. You need to keep going back until you can slay that dragon :deal even if it's when the race isn't running.
  11. AUWalker

    AUWalker Been here awhile

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    :clap Well done to all of those involved!!! This story was amazing!!! Hope to one day do something like this!!

    Thanks for sharing!
  12. z@ch

    z@ch Turn it up to eleven

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    We want more, we want more!

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  13. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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    Nice improvise to gettcha movin again . . . . . . !

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  14. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Mosquito bait

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    So what bent to let the wheel move forward? The control arm?
  15. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman PROUD 2B Riff Raff!

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    I know there are more stories, you aren't out of struts yet.... :rofl:1drink

    :lurk






    :hide
  16. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    No, at that point we certainly were not out of stuts yet... :D
  17. oisterska

    oisterska d00b

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    Is this all we get? Update? I want more! Love the report and congratulations!
  18. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    More? You can't have more! :wink:

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    I'll chime in asap... :evil
  19. LC Garage

    LC Garage On Any Sunday

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    :lurk
  20. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    You'll get nothing and like it.