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

Posted by Ferdinand 
2012 Black River Stages

This is a rally that Martin and I had heard good things about, and have long wanted to try, except it always conflicted either with Défi Ste-Agathe or Targa Newfoundland. Since we were competing at neither of those this year we thought, what the heck, let's give it a go. It was awesome!

It's actually the closest event to our home location. From Martin's place in North Gower to Rally HQ in Harrisville NY is slightly closer than even our local Lanark Highlands Forest Rally. The only special requirement is a small fee for a National Auto Sport Association (NASA) membership, beyond that a CARS rally licence is fine. You need a passport to get across the border, but even this was by far the easiest border crossing we've ever done at Ogdensburg.

We handed over our passports, the US border officer asks,
"What's in the trailer?"
- "Race car."
"Where you going?"
- "Harrisville, NY"
"Have a nice day."
- "Cool!"

The rally provides Jemba-prepared stage notes, but NO RECCE!! We've never done a rally together without recce. In preparation I watched a lot of in-car videos from previous years and picked out a few critical spots that I thought Martin really should study beforehand.

We could manage most of the stuff without recce, but there are a few tricky spots that pop up rather suddenly. The Jemba notes were way too busy and wordy and I noticed co-drivers were having problems spitting it all out in time to be of any use, with the result that drivers were surprised when those features suddenly popped up in front of them. I knew that was going to be a problem for me too, so I sat Martin down and forced him to watch those bits of the videos. We came up with acceptable ways to shorten the notes, in some cases even something as simple as, "Right here! This is the one!" That seemed to work fine.

The very first stage, Jerden Falls, features one of those especially tricky spots. Except, this one could hurt you if you get it wrong. These guys were very lucky to walk away uninjured from this "big wreck, big wreck, big wreck" which comprehensively destroyed their car.





At the start line for this first stage, Jerden Falls, we were informed there are already three cars off. Wow.


Eric and Sarah covered only 4 minutes of the first stage before the their engine blowed up real good.


This stage has some very fast bits to it. The Nissan will do about 135 km/h at the top of third gear. We're well up into 4th gear on several portions of this stage. Then we come to this dangerous jump.

"This is the one!!"

Because of the tree-line seen over this crest, it's very tempting to already head left from here.


Head left too early though, or left too far, and you'll launch off this rock...


... which will send you airborne into this other rock on the right...


... which then ricochets you over into the trees on the left. Peter and Dominik were very lucky not to get hurt in this crash.


These other guys hit something late in the stage and were also forced to retire. That's three of the fast Open Class cars out already on just the first stage.


Martin and I survived to the finish.


But, due to a co-driver failure, we were scored as 15th fastest of the 27 starters. We were actually 3rd fastest, but were incorrectly scored an extra minute slower. That's something I should have noticed and should have inquired once the official results were posted at the banquet, but failed to do so. My fault.

A second co-driver failure was in failing to properly check our intercom output captured on our video recorder. We unfortunately have no intercom recorded from the entire weekend. Damn. But that just means you get to enjoy all the rear-wheel-drive goodness without having to listen to my constant yammering.

Here's our video from the first (of 17) stages:
2012 Black River Stages SS01 - Jerden Falls 1:



2012 Black River Stages SS02 - Tidd 1

While waiting for the start we hang well back behind Luke Sorensen (the original Luke), because his Saab's engine is running very rich and is pumping out poisonous exhaust fumes making our eyes water.


This short stage is quite difficult. It starts off with a 200 m straight, then "! Jmp 50 L3+" (Caution Jump 50 Left 3 plus). You can get up some significant speed within those 200 metres, only to be faced with a Caution blind jump into a tight left turn.

The natural reaction, difficult to suppress, is to brake hard before the jump, despite the fact that there's another 50 metres of room available after the jump before the turn. Had we been able to check this out with proper recce, we might have been braver on our first run of this stage. But we played it nice and safe this first time, pushed a little harder the 2nd time on SS05, and didn't lift at all over the jump on our third run in the dark on SS08!

At 1:45 into the video there's another one of those tricky mouthful instructions that are much too wordy and descriptive for what comes up very suddenly. Just when you think you're getting into the rhythm of this stage, this suddenly much tighter section jumps up. There isn't anywhere near enough time for me to process, read, and spit all that stuff out in time, nor enough time for Martin to hear it, comprehend what it all means, and slow down enough. The long R5 right-hander tightens significantly down to a R3 with a large rock on the outside which would make a great launching ramp for anyone who came in here too hot, then the road curls tight left behind the rock and immediately right again over a bad crest.

We studied this bit on other people's in-car videos, scratched out the lengthy and confusing Jemba notes and came up with our own short concise description, supplemented with, "This is the one!"

The super wide-angle lens of the GoPro makes every curve look like it's straight. Plus having the camera mounted up high on the roof allows it to see over crests that we cannot see over from inside the car. So this tricky little section looks like nothing from the GoPro's perspective. But check out some other teams' in-car videos for a different view.

At 2:59 we hit the only water-splash of the entire rally, and thankfully the engine doesn't cut out as it normally does whenever it encounters water.


From there on we get some more 4th gear sections until at 4:35, just before the finish, there's a very narrow bridge with steel railings followed immediately by a sharp left (L4-). We almost went off on that corner. Martin says he couldn't swing the car's tail out early enough because of the narrow bridge. We ran a little wide, and got out onto the loose stuff. A bit of a tank-slapper ensued, but it's all under control.

Around the corner to the finish control, and whoa-baby, that sun is bright.


5th quickest on this stage. Not bad for our first attempt.

Here's the video:
2012 Black River Stages SS02 - Tidd 1:


2012 Black River Stages SS03 - Texas 1

Going cross-eyed again due to poisonous Saab exhaust fumes while waiting in line.

But this is a fun stage. This stage flows nicely. Smooth road, nice variety of tight turns and wide-open stuff.

We were given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by the start line crew, and sent on our way.



Have a look at 4:10 into the video. There's a very tight and narrow L3- with trees on the outside edge of the road. This corner is much tighter and out of character to everything that comes before it. It would be easy to get caught out by this one. You can see it in full daylight in this video. Our next two passes are in the dark.

While we were scoping out the competition before the start of the rally everyone told us that Martin Donnelly / Jason Ollerenshaw were either going to crash out somewhere on the first three stages, or they would surely win. They survived the first three stages with more than a minute lead over 2nd place. But they crashed in this corner in the dark on SS06 during our second pass on this road.

We made it to the finish of this stage, 5th quickest again.



2012 Black River Stages SS03 - Texas 1:



2012 Black River Stages SS04 - Jerden Falls 2

With dusk approaching, at the service stop we mounted the rally lights on the car. Then it's off for a repeat running of the same three stages.

At 3:36 in the video our GoPro grabbed this neato image of photographer Joseph T. Meirose (http://www.fullframeworks.com/) blitzing us with his strobe light. It's cool the way this image is blurred from our speed everywhere except in the small area around the photographers which is frozen by their powerful strobe.



At 7:18 jump we are again prudently conservative over the dangerous jump.

At the finish control Michael Reilly / Joshua Benthien take some time out to fix a turbo problem on their Focus.

2012 Black River Stages SS04 - Jerden Falls 2:


2012 Black River Stages SS05 - Tidd 2

As we move up to take our place on the start line, listen how the poor old Nissan 240 creaks and groans from all its arthritic suspension joints.

Having seen this stage once already, we now know we don't need to brake before the jump at the end of the initial 200 metre straight. Martin charges over the jump, then hard on the brakes, and Whoa! There's a warning triangle!

Sean Burke and Nathan Werner have put their Honda CRX off the edge of the road into the deep weeds. They have their triangles and OK sign out, so we know they're alright.



At 1:50, again nice and easy through the tricky bit, but then we get a little lost in the notes that follow. At 2:03 Martin wisely chooses to slow right down, practically coming to a stop on a crest, rather than risk shooting blindly over it and guessing which way the road goes from here.

We're back on the notes right after that and it's hammer down from there on.

At 3:10, splash through the water, and at 4:55 we funnel across the narrow bridge and immediately hard left to the finish. Martin nails it this time.



2012 Black River Stages SS05 - Tidd 2:


Quote
Ferdinand
As we move up to take our place on the start line, listen how the poor old Nissan 240 creaks and groans from all its arthritic suspension joints
I know exactly how the poor old car feels. :smile:

I never say this enough, but I really love seeing all of your rally reports. Besides all the cool videos (and photos), they make me extremely jealous!

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
2012 Black River Stages SS06 - Texas 2:

During the pre-rally drivers' meeting we were sternly cautioned to obey all traffic laws on the transits to and from the racing stages. Apparently the local police were out in full force itching to write us tickets.

Well... somebody got nabbed on the transit to Texas-2 in the little town of "Natural Arch". That bites.

It turns out, we were all so well behaved and law abiding that the local Po-po eventually gave up on the hope of ever catching anyone speeding and instead decided to teach poor Alvin Fong / Amber Stacy a lesson. They were stopped because one of their tail-lights was out!

"What we've got here, is failure to communicate."






Ten minutes further along the transit we came across this bunch of enthusiastic rally fans. They were deep into party mode.



I like this next shot. While we're sitting waiting in line, the GoPro camera vibrates badly and the image is blurred. But as soon as the engine comes up off idle, at "three...two...one", the image stabilizes into this nice crisp shot. And then we're off.


This is the stage where Martin Donnelly / Jason Ollerenshaw fell off the rails on the tight left-hander which I mentioned earlier. This comes up at 4:45 in our video.


They slid wide, smacked that tree on the outside of the curve, then spun nose-down off the edge. Their car is stranded, tail-high, in a very awkward spot.


This is a great stage. Really twisty stuff, then wide and fast to the end. Be sure to watch these videos in full-screen and 1080p HD.

2012 Black River Stages SS06 - Texas 2:


2012 Black River Stages SS08 - Tidd 3

We smoked this stage! 2nd quickest overall, just two seconds off Michael Reilly/Joshua Benthien.

Watch how hard Martin attacks that first 200 metre stretch.

We're a little slow off the line because it's uphill, the road is dug up pretty badly, and we're only 2wd scrabbling for grip. But once the old car gets her legs under her the speed builds up pretty quick. We even got air over the jump this time, then throw out the anchors to get slowed in time within the short 50 metres before the hard left.

This was a good run. Nice and tidy.

2012 Black River Stages SS08 - Tidd 3:


I forgot to mention, in case you're wondering what happened to stage SS07, the third pass on Jerden Falls had to be cancelled because of crowd control issues. Reports of All-Terrain-Vehicles loose on the stage forced the organizers to cancel SS07 for safety reasons.

2012 Black River Stages SS9 - Texas 3

It's the last stage of the night, and we're pushing hard right off the start.

At 1:35 things nearly got out of hand though. Martin is normally so calm behind the wheel, rarely needing to turn the steering more than a quarter turn in either direction, steering more with the throttle than anything else. But here in this fast right-hander we ran a little wide into the deep soft sandy berm and suddenly Martin had to crank in a whole armful of steering correction. That then forced us wide in the subsequent left-hander, and again in the following right-hander. By 1:50 we'd scrubbed off a lot of speed with the car bogging down in the deep sand.

It's remarkable that this was the only "moment" during the entire rally where I was even mildly concerned. That one could have ended badly. But, as usual, Martin had it totally under control. The only consequence was a loss of a second or two in stage time, nothing worse than that.

Martin gathered it all up and right away he's back to his usual calm style. Watch the inset video, top-right, and you'll see how little he ever turns the steering wheel from there on right to the finish. It's just a little flick of the wheel to get the turn initiated, then brake or throttle to pivot the car through the turns, with just a touch of counter-steer each time. He's an artist.

At 4:05 we find the warning triangles for Martin Donnelly's car. It looks like someone tried to tow the car out, but only succeeded in moving it further out to block even more of the road. But the triangles are well placed to warn of the danger. It's a very slow corner anyway, so we hardly lost any time there.

It was another good stage, and we finished the first day ranked 3rd overall. Not too shabby.

Another day and another eight stages still to come...

2012 Black River Stages SS9 - Texas 3:


One last funny story from Saturday, Day-1...

Rally-HQ and all of Sunday's activities are based out of Harrisville, NY. But Saturday's start/finish and service park were all located about 20 minutes south in Croghan, NY, whereas our hotel was located 20 minutes north of Harrisville in Gouverneur, NY.

See map: http://goo.gl/maps/4DK7W

That meant, at the conclusion of Saturday's stages, we had to load the car into the trailer and, rather than tow that all the way up to Gouverneur to the hotel and then back down to Harrisville again the next morning, we left the trailer in Harrisville instead.

Then we stopped for dinner and got to our hotel quite late and exhausted, only to discover we'd left the hotel keys in Martin's jacket which was in the trailer back in Harrisville. And the hotel's front desk was already shut down and locked up for the night. d'oh!

Oh crap, that would mean driving another 20+ minutes each way to retrieve the hotel key from the trailer in Harrisville.

Instead Martin tried every key on his truck's key-ring before eventually coming up with the totally bizarre idea of waking up our next door neighbours, Luke Sorensen's gang, to borrow their room key to try in our hotel door.

Ya right, like that's gonna work.

It worked! :cool2:
2012 Black River Stages SS10 - Jayville-In 1

It's Sunday morning, the sky is blue, another fine day for rallying.

This video begins while we are waiting to start from downtown Harrisville. The lady walking across the road in front of us (from right to left), she's sort of like Rally-America's Matt Johnson streaming live video to the internet, except with no commentary and decidedly lower-tech. She's using an iPhone to stream video to the internet. How cool is that?

While we're waiting, a hot blond in short shorts and a pink T-shirt came up to admire our car and ask us for a ride. We don't have much room in the car, so she'd have to sit on my lap, eh. Tempting as that notion was, we had to turn her down because we were leaving right then. We suggested she check instead with the guys waiting behind us, Hollen Groff & Aris Mantopoulos. Their Audi 90 has more room because it's a 4-door.



From there it's straight to the day's first stage, Jayville-In.



This was my favourite stage. It's very scenic with the fall colours in the trees.





The stage twists and turns and get progressively tighter and narrower towards the end.



It eventually ends in a sand pit, where we wait until everyone has finished the stage before lining up to run it back in the other direction.

Check out the old 2-stroke Saab used for Car-000.



Starting from 3:50 in the video, as we pass this rock...

... the road gets very fast with only slight kinks "R6 into L6+ into R6+ into L6+ 30 L6+/smJmp..." We're cranking along with a good head of steam on, when all of a sudden at 4:00 the string of fast sixes ends with a "30 L3"!

We came pretty close to the trees on my side of the road there. Martin just says, "Add a Caution for that one, will ya?"

At 4:57 there's a short section of tarmac where the road jumps over a set of railroad tracks. Hope there's no train coming...

I wish we had the intercom audio for this one, because it gets incredibly tight and busy towards the end.

At the turnaround, that's Sean Burke / Nathan Werner climbing out of their Honda CRX. They're in for a bit of an adventure on the return run of this stage, when they roll their CRX...

Here's our video:
2012 Black River Stages SS10 - Jayville-In 1:


2012 Black River Stages SS11 - Jayville Out 1

The start line crew counts us down, "Ten seconds..."


This outbound stage is just as busy. No time for relaxing. Constant twists and turns before it opens up to the faster stuff.

At 4:25 we come back to the short tarmac portion. Martin goes charging in at full bore, expecting the grippier tarmac (compared to sand and gravel) to slingshot us through the turn. Except our worn gravel tires (this is their third event) don't actually grip all that well on asphalt. Yikes! It doesn't look that bad on the video, but for a moment there we were both convinced we were going to clang up against that steel guardrail.



At 4:44 in our video, at the end of a "L4+lg>4-/Cr", you can see the tire tracks on the left in the grass leading to the rock which flipped the Honda CRX of Sean Burke / Nathan Werner. Their car landed back on its wheels, albeit pointed in the wrong direction. They had to restart the engine, and get turned around, otherwise they would have lost hardly any time at all. As it was, they only gave up less than 30 seconds to us on this stage.



Here's our video:
2012 Black River Stages SS11 - Jayville Out 1:




And this is the video from Sean Burke / Nathan Werner with their rollover at 3:45:


Quote
Ferdinand
While we're waiting, a hot blond in short shorts and a pink T-shirt came up to admire our car and ask us for a ride.
Uhh, Ferdy? I think you might need to get out more. Either that, or your hot-o-meter seriously needs recalibrating. :razz:

Just got to watch this. You guys are having way too much fun. (And by that I mean "more fun than I'm having".) I mean, especially with the hot groupies and everything.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
Quote
Dave_G
your hot-o-meter seriously needs recalibrating. :razz:
What, you didn't think she was hot? :bag:

2012 Black River Stages SS12 - Goose Pond In

Goose Pond is this event's signature stage. It has a good combination of tight sections versus flat out fast sections, and it features some nasty jumps.

At 4:00 we bend the car on the first of those jumps. It's a very fast section, crossing a raised culvert. It's not a smooth jump, more of a sharp kick, which tends to stand the car up on its nose. On landing the car takes a pretty good uppercut punch to its chin. Watch the left rear corner of the hood, near the windshield. Before the jump it fit flush. After the jump that corner of the hood near the hinge is raised about an inch. The rollcage ties into the strut mounts, so those don't move. But the nose ahead of the front struts is bent.

There's another big jump at 4:35. Always use caution where ever you see a bunch of spectators gathered, because there will be something nasty hidden there.

Going up...


... and coming down. Another hard landing.


From 5:30 on there is a series of jumps culminating in the "triple-jump" which is a series of whoop-de-doos one leading into the next. If you go slow you ride over them without even noticing. But if you go a touch too fast, the first one skips you into the second one, which slams you into the third one, which is how we chose to do it of course.

At the finish control I have a little fright when I can't find our time card. I usually either stick it in the back of the stage notes book, or sit on it. It's in neither of spots now. WTF? Where did that thing disappear to? I have to unbuckle my harness to search for, and luckily find, the card on the floor under my seat.

At the turnaround our buddy Jeff ("one of the other Lukes") comes by to ask how I enjoyed that ride.

2012 Black River Stages SS12 - Goose Pond In:


Quote
Ferdinand
On landing the car takes a pretty good uppercut punch to its chin. Watch the left rear corner of the hood, near the windshield. Before the jump it fit flush. After the jump that corner of the hood near the hinge is raised about an inch. The rollcage ties into the strut mounts, so those don't move. But the nose ahead of the front struts is bent.
Ow, that poor car. :cry: Those landings made me cringe just seeing the video. Can the car be straightened?

Other than that, it looked like a fun stage.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
Quote
Dave_G
Ow, that poor car. :cry: Those landings made me cringe just seeing the video. Can the car be straightened?
The nose has been bent up and down like that several times already. Martin just ties it down in his shop and sticks a hydraulic jack under it to bend it all back into the correct shape.

2012 Black River Stages SS13 - Goose Pond Out:

This is the same stage run back in the opposite direction.

After the finish control we pass Sean Burke / Nathan Werner changing a flat tire on their CRX.

The GoPro camera mounted outside the passenger door vibrates badly whenever the engine is idling. The camera has a "rolling shutter" which scans line-by-line top to bottom, instead of snapping the entire image at once, which is what creates that weird wobbling bowl of jello effect. It goes away the moment the engine comes up off idle.

I tried a different layout using the three separate camera angles for this one. What do you think? Suggestions?

2012 Black River Stages SS13 - Goose Pond Out:


2012 Black River Stages SS14 - Fullerville 1

This stage is crazy fast! The car really gets to stretch its legs here. We were 2nd quickest on this stage.

The stage starts off on a wide smooth road, but at 1:55 we turn left into a narrower trail that's hard to see and pops up very suddenly. I was so pleased that we managed that turn without overshooting it, that I screwed up and stumbled over the following instructions, getting lost for a moment. Martin had to back off on the next blind crest at 2:05 before I found my spot in the notes again. But we're good again shortly after that.

There's a bad corner at 3:15, a blind left over crest that falls away off camber. We ran a little wide there.

But after that, Holeeeeey, there's a bunch of warp-9 flat-out 4th-gear stuff through the trees that makes me think of this quote...

"I think if any of us imagined - really imagined - what it would be like to go into a tree at 150 miles per hour we would probably never get into the cars at all, none of us. So it has always seemed to me that to do something very dangerous requires a certain absence of imagination." - Yves Montand as Jean Pierre Sarti in "Grand Prix" (1966).

See video (full screen in HD):
2012 Black River Stages SS14 - Fullerville 1:




At the finish, there's Sean Burke and Nathan Werner with yet another flat tire, on the right rear.



From here it's a 22 km transit back to the Service Park. They drove as far as they could on this flat, then swapped over to their other flat tire, before eventually arriving at Service with their rim looking like this:




Quote
Ferdinand
But after that, Holeeeeey, there's a bunch of warp-9 flat-out 4th-gear stuff through the trees that makes me think of this quote...
Wow! :eek1: OK, I'm awake now.

Just curious about this no-recce-everyone-gets-the same-notes thing: When you're cruising down a flat stretch of road like that (or any road, for that matter) at Warp 9, your notes are telling you about whatever curves are coming up ahead. But do they also tell you about any hidden ruts, roots, rocks, anthills, etc. etc., that might possibly upset the balance of the car just that little bit to suddenly change an easy blast into a terrifying moment?

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
Quote
Dave_G
Quote
Ferdinand
But after that, Holeeeeey, there's a bunch of warp-9 flat-out 4th-gear stuff through the trees that makes me think of this quote...
Wow! :eek1: OK, I'm awake now.

Just curious about this no-recce-everyone-gets-the same-notes thing: When you're cruising down a flat stretch of road like that (or any road, for that matter) at Warp 9, your notes are telling you about whatever curves are coming up ahead. But do they also tell you about any hidden ruts, roots, rocks, anthills, etc. etc., that might possibly upset the balance of the car just that little bit to suddenly change an easy blast into a terrifying moment?

Perhaps not, You just know how to judge that when you have been at a lot of events before...
:laugh:
Quote
Dave_G
Just curious about this no-recce-everyone-gets-the same-notes thing: When you're cruising down a flat stretch of road like that (or any road, for that matter) at Warp 9, your notes are telling you about whatever curves are coming up ahead. But do they also tell you about any hidden ruts, roots, rocks, anthills, etc. etc., that might possibly upset the balance of the car just that little bit to suddenly change an easy blast into a terrifying moment?
The Jemba notes are surprisingly detailed. Often much too detailed as there isn't enough time to read and speak all those instructions when we're really flying.

Typically the notes will just warn with a "n.c." (No Cut) if there is something nasty hidden in the grass at the apex of a corner. Sometimes they'll even specifically mention "rock inside", or "tree outside" on the exit of a curve.

There might be a note about a "kick" in a turn, which is a sharp crest or rock that tends to bounce you wide in a corner.

We had a new one on this rally, which I'd never seen before, warning of a "skew" jump. It kind of twisted the car in mid-air so we landed only on the left-side wheels.

But there were still plenty of other things encountered along the way that we would have noted differently, or spots that we would have liked to have seen once before (at slow speed), before committing to them at warp-9.
2012 Black River Stages SS15 - Jayville In 2:

I really like the Jayville stage. Fast, then twisty, and super busy. Smooth with no bone-jarring jumps. I really wish we had the intercom audio for these videos.

Again, watch Martin's hands on the steering wheel. He's totally calm. There's no white-knuckle deathgrip on the wheel, just a light touch.

In fact, sometimes he lets go of the wheel altogether and just lets it spin on its own. See from 3:40 - 4:00 in the video as he lets go completely as the car pendulums back and forth from one corner directly into the next.

2012 Black River Stages SS15 - Jayville In 2


2012 Black River Stages SS16 - Jayville Out 2:

In comparison to the previous stage, this outbound stage is not nearly as relaxed. We're driving into the setting sun, so it's hard to see where we're going. And the road is dug up pretty deep by now, with lots of loose sandy berms grabbing at the wheels.

Watch how much harder Martin has to work the steering wheel on this pass. Starting at 2:00 you can see how deep the ruts are and Martin has a much tighter grip on the wheel. Then at 2:18 he really has to chase the steering wheel around to wrestle the car around a tight left-hander.

The second half of the stage is much calmer again.

At 4:25, just after the tarmac portion with the steel guardrails, we spot the warning triangle of Michael Reilly & Joshua Benthein. They're stopped with the hood up on their Focus. Their throttle cable had come off. They stopped just long enough to refasten the cable and were soon back underway.

At the finish line the attentive marshals asked us if we'd seen the Focus on stage, as they had expected that car to arrive at the finish before us. We assured them that Reilly/Benthien were both okay with their triangle out stopped safely at the side of the road with some mechanical problem.

2012 Black River Stages SS16 - Jayville Out 2:


2012 Black River Stages SS17 - Fullerville 2 :

At the arrival control for Fullerville, Reilly/Benthien (having solved their throttle cable problems) came rushing up to resume their spot ahead of us in the running order.

The Fullerville stage is insanely fast.

I never even noticed it at the time, must have had my head down, but Martin says if we had the intercom audio recorded on this video you'd hear him suck in his breath at this spot...

At 3:30 we come up to the "! L3/smJmp>" where we ran wide on our first pass of this stage. Having seen it once, we have no problems with that corner this time. Nice and clean this time.

After that it gets crazy fast, flat in 4th gear again. "120 R6 L6/smCr into R6+n.c into L6..." The really dangerous spot, where Martin sucks in his breath, is at 3:55 at the "R6+ No Cut".

As a rule, we try never to cut into the grass on corners unless we know for absolute certain that there are no rocks or deep holes hidden there. It just doesn't pay to take those kinds of risks. But on this super-fast stretch we're trying to straight-line these bends as much as possible.

Martin told me he was looking forward to seeing this video because he remembers a "R6 No Cut" instruction which he cut a little closer than he should have. It turns out there's a rock at the apex which sticks out right to the edge of the road. If you touch that rock on the way past, at these speeds it would spit you across and straight off into the trees on the left of the road, with potentially spectacular consequences.

The rock flashes past so suddenly at 3:55, you can hardly see it on the video. Martin didn't even flinch on the steering wheel, but says he just had time to suck in his breath.

In this screengrab you can see how close we came to touching it.



At 5:40 we come to the chicane that's designed to slow us down a bit on another one of those long fast straightaways. Martin threads the car cleanly through the chicane, shaving that last pylon pretty close.





"That was wicked fast!"

2012 Black River Stages SS17 - Fullerville 2 :


2012 Black River Stages SS17 - Finish

Another new experience for us, at the awards banquet we were served "garbage can chicken". It was delicious.

While we were out having fun on the stages, the banquet crew spent all day barbecuing chicken.



This was later served up and dished out from a garbage can!



It was because of having my hands (and mouth) full of garbage can chicken that I failed to get around to checking the provisional scores as they were posted mid-banquet. We only discovered too late that we had been incorrectly scored an extra minute on the first stage. We should really have been 2nd overall.

As it was, we're listed as 3rd overall behind Michael Reilly / Joshua Benthein who were actually quicker than us most of the time, if not for an early turbo problem and then their throttle cable issue on the 2nd last stage.

Even with the extra minute removed we would not have caught Kevin Turner / Matthew Rhoads who put in a stellar performance to take the overall win in their normally aspirated front-wheel-drive Subaru. Hats off to them!

Many thanks to all the volunteers and Anders Green who put on such a great and fun rally. I strongly encourage all our friends to give this event a try next year. http://www.blackriverstages.com/
Thanks Ferd! I just found out about this post from a co-worker, and the secret is out. I'm a closet BMW guy as well.

Here's the "nice" iX:


-M

The rest of the fleet: '06 WRX, '01 Forester EJ205, '90 325iX, '71 2002
Quote
X Mon™
Thanks Ferd! I just found out about this post from a co-worker, and the secret is out. I'm a closet BMW guy as well.

Here's the "nice" iX:

Nice white iX, are there pictures from the 2002?
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