Monday, September 26, 2011
Black River Stages 2011: Finished!!
Right off the top the NISMO Stuff Frontier finished 26th out of 36 "car" entries in the event. A quite respectable finish for a first time out.
We received no timing penalties of any kind and suffered no mechanical issues.
Only a single flat tire caused by a rock slicing the front passenger tire's sidewall prevented us from having a nice clean race. As the puncture occurred during a racing stage we were forced to limp the truck the three plus miles to the stage finish at about 1/3 of racing speed. This was a much better option that stopping during the stage and changing it there as the "transit" time between the stage end and "service" allowed us to swap the tire in less than five minutes and still make it in an appropriate amount of time. If we had stopped and changed during the stage, the tire change would all have been made against the clock. I figure we saved about 2 and 1/2 minutes by limping her to the end. Fortunately the tire did not shred itself and no further significant damage was done.
With two stages left after the puncture and having driven the vehicle to the event and no more spares available, I took a very conservative pace in the remainder, making sure to get my finish.
I would say I ran at near the limit of my current comfort zone--not in terms of personal safety but in terms of vehicle safety. Going much faster than my weekend's pace and I knew I would be putting more bullets in the chamber of my game of Russian Roulette. Which is pretty much what stage rally racing is. At some point your skill or luck will run out...Just how often that will be depends upon your skill and willingness to push the limits. Given my lack of skill, I choose not to push the limits and thus save the car (and my budget) to have fun again another day....
Oh and what fun it was. Ripping down roads at what (to me) were stupidly fast speeds given the single lane and tree/rock lined nature found therein was astoundingly exhilarating. Sliding the 4000 pound vehicle around gravelly turns and being brave enough to keep my foot on the floor no matter which way the steering wheel was turned were lessons that I have only begun to learn.
The above picture is the first one I have found of the NISMO Stuff Racer in action. Hopefully more photos and video will be popping up in the next few days and I will post them here as well. I can't wait for my next race!!