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2012 Black Bear - Martin/Ferd Nissan 240SX in-car videos

Posted by Ferdinand 
2012 Black Bear Rally - Registration and Recce:






We had plenty of adventures at the 2012 Black Bear Rally.

This first video starts off in Martin's shop as we're loading the mighty Nissan 240SX into the trailer. Very unusual for us, we were packed up and ready to go several hours ahead of our typical last second departure time. Since we had extra time in hand, we decided to stop in Perth to visit Jerry Dowell at Whiticar Auto Body.

Jerry has been good to us in the past, fixing the Nissan up for us to make it presentable for Targa Nfld, and Whiticar Auto Body is a sponsor of our Motorsport Club of Ottawa. So we thought we'd bring him some more business and get an estimate on what it would take to keep Martin's truck alive for many more years. Despite the depressing list of odds and ends revealed, Jerry says the truck is actually in very good shape. We hit the road reassured the truck would hold together at least until after we returned from Black Bear.

Along the way we passed a beaver lodge equipped with a satellite dish and Canadian flag. Only in Canada, eh.



We arrived safely at BBR HQ in Gilmour, got registration completed, and took to the stages for Friday Recce. We were one of the very few teams given permission to use our rally car for recce. Our only other option is to use the big truck, but we'd really be screwed if that got damaged.

The only problem with using the rally car is that it has no air conditioning, and it was a REALLY hot day. Even worse, as we lined up to wait our turn to start into the first stage for recce, Martin suddenly noticed the temp gauge on the car was pegged at full red hot!! Oh-oh, that can't be good.

We were hoping it might cure itself once moving to get some air flowing through the rad. But it didn't. So we were forced to turn the cabin heater to full hot in an attempt to bleed some heat off the engine. That improved the temp gauge situation a little bit, and it did wonders for the already sauna-like temperature inside the car!

Dying of heat exhaustion, we had to open all the windows on the car. But that meant we were filling the car with dust instead.



Distracted by worries of our engine potentially blowing up at any moment, and driving blind while choking on the thick dust, recce wasn't quite as productive as it might have been.

After sweating off several pounds, now covered in soggy mud, we survived recce without blowing a head gasket and limped back to the service park, where Martin discovered that he had wired the radiator fan backwards. It was blowing hot engine air forward through the rad, rather than pulling cool(er) ambient air back through the rad. Oops. That was easily fixed with thankfully no permanent damage done.

After that we declared the provided stage notes as being good enough, and decided to sleep in the next morning, rather than suffer through another round of recce.

2012 Black Bear Rally - Registration and Recce:




2012 Black Bear Rally - A1 Egan North 1:






With the radiator fan wiring corrected, the engine temp gauge was sitting rock solid at its usual mid-scale position. Phew. Big relief. That means we don't need to pump heat into the cabin anymore. However, it was still deadly hot anyway inside and outside of the car.

The first casualty of this extreme heat was my GoPro camera. It's mounted within its waterproof (and airtight) case on top of the car's black roof, where it has been baking in the direct sunlight and brutal heat while we patiently wait for our start time. Apparently the GoPro has a feature to automatically shut itself down if it overheats, which it did a mere 20 seconds into this video. Bummer.

Fortunately the Chasecam recorder inside the car still works, albeit at a lower image resolution.

This 20 km long stage starts off on a wide, smooth, and scary fast section before turning off at 4:10 into the video onto the narrow, rough and twisty stuff. The organizers wisely gave everyone a two-minute dust window between cars. Still, there are sections where the dust is hanging between the trees, making it difficult to see.

At 5:30 I get a little too far ahead in the notes and that throws us off our rhythm for a moment until Martin is again confident that I'm correctly back on the notes.

At 8:35 we come to a rough stone water crossing leading to the Tee-Left spectator location, after which the road gets really busy with lots of very fast bends over crests and dips. It's difficult to read and spit out the notes quickly enough without biting off my tongue.

At 9:40 there's a nasty Brake Caution L4 into R3 over Crest. It comes up very suddenly and it's really hard to read and say all that quickly enough because the road is also very bumpy at that point. Martin later said that right there he saw a coil spring sitting in the middle of the road. Coil springs don't normally fall off a car unless there's some major suspension damage done first...

Sure enough, starting at 10:00, we come upon the stranded Tonik car of Warren Haywood and James Drake, safely pulled off at a radio location. James put his GoPro camera to good use recording the passage of the following cars -




. I was busy struggling with the notes, so I never even saw them. But as we flash by, you can hear Martin say, "There's Warren."

At 11:25, turn left, more twisty stuff. 12:55 Caution Dip, and 13:15 water splash, taken nice and slow to prevent the engine from cutting out, which it does for a moment anyway.

At 16:00 we come to a Tee-Right back onto the fast wide road and a short sprint to the line, finishing 5th quickest on this stage. At the finish control we spot Michelle Laframboise/Dean Hopkins, who started 2 minutes ahead of us, just leaving the time control. We get a little excited thinking we must have nearly caught them, but in reality we were only 16 seconds quicker than them.

Ryan Huber and John Vanos were blisteringly fast on this stage, a minute and a half faster than us. Holeeeeey! See their neato helmet-cam view here:






2012 Black Bear Rally - A1 Egan North 1:




2012 Black Bear Rally - A2 Peanut 1:






At the start of The Peanut stage I noticed the GoPro camera wasn't running. It's reporting that the battery is dead. Damn. Too late to swap in a fresh battery. So again no GoPro for this stage. I did fix it for the 3rd stage though.

Someone with the YouTube name of "KIL390" posted a video of cars launching into this stage. See: Black Bear Rally '12 Stage 2 Start -




The shockwave of our passing knocked his camera over, or more likely we fired a rock at it.

Normally there are two deep water crossings on this stage. The first one, at 3:04, is completely dry but still very rough. Quite a lot of this stage is noted as "ruf".

At 3:25 we come to a rough uphill section, "100 ruf up". We clout a big rock on the way up. It was either this rock, or another one we smacked on the next stage, that started an oil leak from our differential.

This rough uphill bit is followed by a "deceptive L4 over Crest with Rox". Lots of bowling ball sized rocks littering the road here. Martin zig-zags around the worst of those.

At 5:03 we spot a warning triangle, "Somebody off." It's Chris Martin and Alan Ockwell. The 2nd water crossing is also completely dry, just rocks. Their car snapped a front strut here, pulling the car around and up onto its side. Chris and Alan were both fine and, other than the broken suspension, there was surprisingly little damage done to the car. But their day was done.

Ian Crerar/Doug Draper, next car on the road, stopped to render aid and help those guys put out a small fire, losing 2.5 minutes in the process. This temporarily dropped them down the posted results, but they would surely have been granted a time allowance for that. Ian and Doug were running consistently faster times than us.

At 6:20 we come to the Tee-Left for another three minutes on the fast road back to the finish. We're really not pushing all that hard on this section. Maybe we're still distracted by Chris/Alan's wreck, or maybe we're trying too hard to ignore that new worrisome whine coming from the differential that we can hear whenever Martin lifts off the throttle. Either way, we don't seem to be fully focused here and the notes aren't flowing well.

Whatever. The results after stage-A2 show us as 3rd fastest on this stage and now sitting 3rd overall, although Ian/Doug should still have been ahead of us given a time allowance for stopping for Chris/Alan.

2012 Black Bear Rally - A2 Peanut 1:




2012 Black Bear Rally - A3 Egan South 1:






Finally, I replaced the GoPro battery with a fresh one and it worked fine from here on. The HD image quality of the GoPro, mounted on the roof, gives a much better impression of the speed we're carrying.

We start with a short sprint on the fast road, before turning left at 0:50 onto the narrow twisty road.

At 1:23 you can catch this brief glimpse of Peter MacDonald plying his trade at the hiding spot from which he shot these photos: Photo1 + Photo2. See full gallery.



This was a good stage. The notes are flowing well. Martin is confident, committed to the notes and giving 'er over all those blind crest.

At 4:15, "R4 up ruf", we smack another big rock. "Ugh!" "Oh, that was a good one." That hurt.

Our confidence takes a big hit immediately after that when, at 4:30, I make a dangerous mistake in reading the notes. "80 L6 opens over a small Crest." That's wrong! The curve actually tightens over that crest.

We came very close to crashing out here. Martin says (among other things), "that wasn't a Left 6."

It wasn't until much later while watching the in-car video and reading along in the notes that I discovered this was entirely my fault.

It's the first instruction at the top of a new page. At first I thought I might have turned two pages at once. It takes me a moment to recover, until I'm convinced I am on the correct page. Then I made a correction to the note, changing the L6 to a L5. Except I changed the wrong one, so I screwed this same bit up again the next time we ran this stage.

The scary thing is, I misread the same instruction exactly the same way the second time. I must be dyslexic. It's written as "80 L6>/smCr". That means it tightens. Both times I incorrectly read it as "80 L6</smCr", i.e. opens over small crest. I don't think I got it wrong anywhere else during the rally. But it is rather worrisome that I would twice mis-read the exact same instruction.

At 6:45 we pass the spot where Warren Haywood / James Drake stopped on the first stage, and James is recording his video of the cars passing by:






At 7:50 we bounce through a bad dip, then 8:00 turn right at the spectator point and through the rough rocky washout.

At 12:35, I'm a wee bit late on the all-important call to turn Tee-Left. Oops.

We are 3rd quickest on this stage, behind Ryan Huber/John Vanos (a full minute faster than us!), and Ian Crerar/Doug Draper (22 secs faster than us). Jeremy Carle/Logan McAlear, who were some 30 secs ahead of us in the standings after the 2nd stage, suddenly dropped down on this stage to 8 minutes behind us after they sideswiped a tree and got hung up on the edge of the road.

As we're leaving the time control on the way back to Gilmour for our Service stop, Martin remarks that he can smell oil. It's bleeding from our damaged differential...

2012 Black Bear Rally - A3 Egan South 1:




2012 Black Bear Rally - A4 Egan North 2:






During the Service break we discovered our differential is leaking oil. We might have been able to patch the leak using JB-Weld epoxy, but we couldn't find exactly where the oil was coming from. There's nothing more we can do. Just keep driving...

Always smiling, Chris Major is there to welcome us at the start control of the Egan North stage for our second pass.



With 30 seconds to go before we start, Martin suddenly realizes that his intercom lead isn't plugged in. Ya, that would have caused problems for sure.

At 8:20 we come to the water crossing leading to the spectator location. The GoPro lens gets splashed, so the picture is a little fuzzy at this point. But you can see how close Martin puts the car to the edge of the road. I'm worried about losing the GoPro camera, having it swiped off by a tree branch. After this stage I stuck the camera back up on the roof where it's safer, unless we roll over.



This is a cool blur effect as the GoPro struggles to keep up with the changing light conditions as the sunlight strobes through the trees.



Shortly after this shot, at 12:05, we come to a deceptive small-crest L3 where we had added a note to "keep out" so as to avoid the rough rocky stuff hiding on the inside of the corner. But the car understeers out much wider than intended. Watch the steering wheel angle on the small inset video and see how far the front wheel sticks out as the steering is cranked over hard left.

Despite the drought conditions, at 13:00 there's still some water to splash through.



We're shown as 2nd overall after this stage, behind Ryan Huber/John Vanos. But, with a time allowance for their stop to help Chris/Alan on stage 2, Ian Crerar/Doug Draper are effectively still 1 minute ahead of us. So we're really 3rd overall at this point, still only 16 secs ahead of Michelle Laframboise/Dean Hopkins in 4th.

There are two stages still to come yet.

2012 Black Bear Rally - A4 Egan North 2:




2012 Black Bear Rally - A5 Peanut 2:






While waiting for the start of this stage, we learn that the Mitsubishi of Michelle Laframboise/Dean Hopkins has broken a front strut and they are forced to retire. We hate to see that.

Without Michelle/Dean to challenge us, we now have a healthy 2.5 minute lead over the following team, the Grp5 VW Golf of Patrick Rainville/John Merry. As long as our differential holds together to the finish, we're looking good for a 3rd place podium finish behind Ryan Huber/John Vanos and Ian Crerar/Doug Draper.

But the oil leak from our differential has become serious. At first it was only a few drips, but now it's leaking at a considerable rate. The end might be near...

Jodie Shay however, at the start control of Peanut 2, gives thanks for any small measures we can contribute to keeping the dust down for him.



At 2:10, I falter mid-note, "50 Left...", because I thought I caught a glimpse of..., oh no! It's Ian and Doug pulled off and retired with a blown differential of their own. That really sucks for them. Both Michelle and now Ian are forced out with mechanical issues.

But their misfortune is our gain, as that now puts us solidly into 2nd place overall. We merely need to nurse our ailing car back to the finish. There's a long way to go yet though.

At 4:00 I take a good hit up the backside as a big rock hits the bottom of the car right under my seat.

At 5:30 we pass the abandoned car of Chris Martin/Alan Ockwell. We were advised at the start of this stage that the car was still here, that all is okay and there's no need for us to stop. The car is well marked with yellow tape and a huge OK sign.



At 6:50 we come to the Tee-Left back onto the very fast road to the finish. Our pace may appear a bit hesitant from here on. We're never going to catch Ryan/John for 1st, and we have no need for any heroics to defend our inherited 2nd place. This hyperfast wide-open section of road is intimidating at the best of times. But if our differential, which is really starting to whine, suddenly breaks up at this speed or worse locks up tight, the consequences would almost certainly be spectacular. Hence the need for prudence.

At the finish Michelle comes over to inquire about her hubby Ian. Then, being the good sports that they are, Michelle and Dean wish us luck in maintaining our 2nd place.

Only one stage to go yet, but it's a big one.

2012 Black Bear Rally - A5 Peanut 2:




rkj
Wow, can't wait to watch this one. Thanks Ferdy :wavey:
2012 Black Bear Rally - A6 Egan South 2:






Competitors are dropping like flies. We've lost both the Mitsubishis of Michelle and Ian, and the VW Golf of Patrick Rainville snapped an axle stub and shed a rear wheel on the previous stage. Our differential is hurtin' bad and there's a strong chance we may not make it all the way through this last 20km stage.

That doesn't seem to affect Martin's driving style much though. 3-2-1 Go, we still launch fairly aggressively, and at just 1:08 into the video we slam the poor old car over yet another big rock.

Whatever. Either we make it, or we don't. Keep driving.

At 4:45 we come to the corner where we nearly went off previously on stage A3. "Left 6 opens over small crest." That's still wrong. It obviously tightens over that small crest. It's noted correctly. I just read it wrong. I can't believe I misread that exact same instruction both times. And I had "corrected" the wrong instruction, changing the following L6/BigCr to a L5/BigCr even though it clearly is a 6. Either way, Martin takes it much slower this time and there's no drama.

At 5:40 we turn Tee-Right onto the fast, fun section over the double-dips at 6:35, and then lots of busy fast sixes and fives over crests and dips, until 8:20 where we turn right at the spectator location and through the rough double washout.

It gets a lot tighter from there on, with some difficult lighting conditions as we're driving into the sunset with dust hanging in the air. The diff is starting to whine loudly.

At 10:00, wham-bam, we slam over another big rock. Ouch.

The sudden changes in lighting are rough on the eyes. At 11:44 we go from this idyllic scenery,...



... to only half a second later, shazzam, totally blind!



That's when we rely on our good stage notes, as long as (ahem) "somebody" can be trusted to know the difference between "opens" and "tightens", d'oh.

At 13:05 we come to the Tee-Left onto the smooth, wide, fast road to the finish. The differential really starts howling in pain as the speed builds.

The end is near...



At 13:35 the first tooth snaps off the pinion gear in the differential. Watch the steering wheel when Martin fights the sudden oversteer as the rear end locks up momentarily before the gears crunch through that loose tooth and grind it to dust.

If the diff had locked up completely, for sure we'd have been very suddenly backwards and off into the trees. Martin wisely backs off the speed from here on to cruise the next 2 minutes until the finish at 15:23.

Despite our slow pace, we were still 3rd quickest of the 10 cars to finish this last stage. And, we're 2nd overall in the standings out of the original 17 starters.

Now we merely need to nurse the car back to the final time control at rally HQ, a mere 18km away down the highway...

But, just one minute into the transit, the differential sheds another tooth. Turn up the volume to enjoy the interesting noises generated from the rear end. Another two minutes after that the diff grenades and we lose all drive.

Huge thanks to Jeremy Carle/Logan McAlear for towing us to the finish, despite their own engine overheating issues (among other issues) resulting from their earlier tangle with a tree.

Martin and I pushed the car through the final control, well within our allotted check-in time, but were scored as DNF because of the tow. The rules are clear that we need to cover the entire distance under our own power, including transits.

That bites.

At the end of the video, Freak sums up our day. 2nd place to zero. That's rally.

2012 Black Bear Rally - A6 Egan South 2:




Do you have tinted windows on the Nissan? It really helps to avoid the heat caused by "solar gain".
Quote
Jose Pinto
Do you have tinted windows on the Nissan? It really helps to avoid the heat caused by "solar gain".
yes these tinted windows are really very effective.. I have got them recently..
Quote
BertOneis
Quote
Jose Pinto
Do you have tinted windows on the Nissan? It really helps to avoid the heat caused by "solar gain".
yes these tinted windows are really very effective against solar energy.. I have got them recently..
Anybody else using tinted windows?
Quote
BertOneis
Quote
BertOneis
Quote
Jose Pinto
Do you have tinted windows on the Nissan? It really helps to avoid the heat caused by "solar gain".
yes these tinted windows are really very effective against solar energy.. I have got them recently..
Anybody else using tinted windows?

Yes, our F20 116i has factory tinted windows, and it makes a significant difference in direct sunlight.
The old Citroen has factory tinted windows, the Benz has not.

I am contemplating to have those window tint film done to the side windows and rear, but not near the top of my "to do list" yet.

Those adesive film tint can be usefull at home too, they can save a lot of energy on existing windows.

:cool:
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