Blossom ORRC Rally – 4 Jun 2011

This event was a complete bust! But we finished in second place in Intermediate class.

We arrived 45 minutes before the rally was to begin, because Gary was 20 minutes late to my house.

By the time we unloaded and registered, we barely had enough time to choke down a sandwich before starting out.

First couple of sections were not difficult, but we missed a turn due to inattention and took a 6.5 minute TA.

Section 5 was a line drawing of map that could be read correctly if viewed through the back of the page (it was drawn backwards). No streets were labelled nor were distances given. A road had been closed due to wind damage subsequent to the organizer’s inspection, so we had to guess which way to go. We missed a checkpoint due to the route change.

Section 6 instruction sheet was missing from our package, as well as the other Intermediate team’s. We had no clue what route to follow – only the beginning and end points – so we missed at least one checkpoint.

Started to hear a faint grinding noise around section 4 and it got progressively louder. By the time we were totally frustrated with section 6 and the missing instruction, I was reasonably certain it was the left front wheel bearing. So we went to the end of section 7, which an intermediate break point. All our friends were already there, so I borrowed Perry’s floor jack and raised the front of the car. Tim asked me which side while I was jacking and he immediately tried to rock the left tire. Then he spun it and we could all hear the ball bearings rolling around like so many marbles in a fish tank.

So our rally was done and I went into damage control mode. There were only two teams in Intermediate, so all we had to do was collect the remaining two route cards, enter a finishing time on each, and hand them in at the end of rally point, which is where the rally began. We took the most direct route to the end point and handed in the cards. By the time we’d loaded the car, Tim and Perry had completed the second leg and they said the instructions had not gotten any easier, having missed two checkpoints themselves.

So we should have been scored in second place unless their car broke down completely, but our score will be very high – probably 150 or so. It almost feels like “start and park” in Nascar! At least we got home around 10:30, instead of 2 AM.

As it turned out, we were scored in second place, so now we’re one point behind our rivals in class. We’ll have to step it up a notch next time out in August. I have since replaced both the front wheel bearings and the car is running perfectly.

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