Thursday, July 7, 2011

Retro-Runner's First Event--This Weekend!!

So here it is...Retro-Runner's first real event.

I am entered in the New England Hillclimb Association's (NEHA) Okemo Mountain Hillclimb scheduled for this Saturday July 9th and Sunday July 10th.

Retro-Runner is currently entered in the "Rally" class designated for vehicles possessing a co-driver and a Rally America/NASA etc. stage rally logbook.

Two items may bump me out of this class but will not bump me out of the event.  First and foremost is my lack of a dedicated co-driver.  I don't think I will be allowed to enter the Rally class without one.  As expected, it is quite hard to find someone who wants to plunk down some $2K on needed safety gear (helment, HANS, firesuit, shoes, underwear, time, split hotel fees, partial split entry fee, etc.) so I have enlisted the help of one Alex Grabau of Dent Sport Garage (one of the founders over there who has been of great assistance in getting my project built) who, in his "spare" time away from driving his own car in this event, may sit in the right hand seat for my runs--But who knows, that may not work out from a timing, feasibility standpoint for him and I may be left alone.  If I can run in the Rally class on my own I will but if not, I will be bumped down into one of the "hillclimb" classes where most of the entrants run anyways (lower cost of entry and not as high safety standards as the rally class).

The second item that would keep me out of the rally class is if Retro-Runner doesn't pass its Stage Rally tech inspection and get its logbook from Don Taylor of Rally America who will be at the event and will be looking at her.  I don't anticipate any major problems in this but you never know until you know.  Again, this would bump me down into the "hillclimb" class but certainly not out of the event.

As to the event itself, it certainly does not bode well for the Retro-Runner.  Let's start with the fact that I've never driven in real, flat out competition before (no, SCCA RallyCross doesn't count as its a wide open, obstacle free course designed to limit top end speeds with its numerous turns and I only co-drove in Best in the Desert events with Team Xterra Racing).  Then you have the fact that the event is run on asphalt (not the best for big all-terrain tires), requires little suspension travel or ground clearance (of which I have lots) and will be mostly contested by small, light, AWD, turbo'd vehicles like Subaru STis and Mitsu EVOs.  All in all, I should be bringing up the rear of whatever class I end up in.

So my goal for the weekend?  Much like the RallyCross events I entered last year with Retro-Runner before she went under the big knives over the past eight months, I simply want to make every run possible and not DNF.  If you look at prior hillclimb events many competitors do not show for the event on the second day, leaving their first day times to stand or take a number of runs "off".  I want to run every single one possible to get seat time at speed and test out the durability of the platform--of which I have placed my faith in to be one of the key beneficial factors in going with the 2WD, 4cyl Frontier.  So simply if I can stay out of the trees, come home with the truck in one piece and not DNF I will be satisfied with the weekend.  Anything beyond that is gravy.

This is a video of a Suby STi running the mountain a couple years ago.

I will be staying in the Ludlow, VT area at a local motel--hopefully with wifi--and will provide updates here all weekend long beginning on Friday with info/pictures from tech and the hill itself.  I will return from the event on Sunday night with results to likely be posted on Monday or shortly thereafter though I should know the results before I come home.

New England Hillclimb Association Website...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck Dan! I'm rooting for you from California.