Thanks to everyone who has emailed with concerns. For those of you who don’t know, our truck and trailer went off the highway into the median shortly after entering I-5. Everyone is okay. We’re not sure about the vehicles right now. We will post later about how we did on Sunday but we had times between 2:05 and 2:10 so we felt we had a really great day. Results were taking too long so we left. More later!
Archive for the 'Rachel Larratt' Category
There is an article about me in the Lotus Magazine. I have just been told about it and I wrote an email to LM. They’re sending me a copy ASAP and then I will share it here.
Life is fairly exciting. We went to Buttonwillow raceway yesterday. It was only a chilly 100 degrees. Steve performed well as usual pulling some consistent 2:06. I think there may have been a 2:04 in there somewhere.
I really wish there were more than 2-3 road rallies a year and no I’m not talking about bullrun/player’s run/gumball, I’m talking about actual racing. While I enjoyed Player’s Run and I hope to participate in it again but the difference between a rally and a rally.. oh see, there is the problem again! They have the same description even though they’re years apart. I think it’s time I got a second car and left it in Europe. They seem to have more over there. Traveling to Mexico is fun and all but it’s also limiting.
Why can’t I be in WRC already?
WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE FINISH ABOUT THE RACE.
I guess that is what I have to do. I tried to find the copies of the daily results but I haven’t been able to find them. The trailer isn’t in a condition to be moving around inside of it as it’s currently propped up on jack stands and wood blocks. We broke off the jack when it got snagged on a cattle guard while dropping off a car that we towed back from Mexico. I’d probably be upset but this is the second time it’s happened so I really don’t care any more. Time to get an electric jack and some reinforcement. Now, back to the race.
Saturday was the best day of the race for us. We started off fairly slow in the morning as it was full of long straights. To the top 4 the straights may have not appeared long but for every 4kms of straights, we battled through the gears to top out around 120-130 miles an hour. There is nothing more frustrating than red lining each gear just to feel like you’re about to go downhill, backwards. There were 4 speeds sections on the way up and 4 on the way down. The best stage for us was the last one on the way up. It was by far the most twisty stage of the entire event. We came in either 2nd or 3rd on that stage edging out Jerry Churchill’s race prepped Viper by a mere 2 seconds. The stage was half twisty half straights so I was amazed that we were able to make up that much time in the canyons.
Sam Burg was caught up by a tourist train that had stopped across one of the three train tracks that cut through the speed stage. Had the mercedes not lost it’s oil pan and caused a delay on the turn, Sam and Dyana may not be here today. The particular corner/train track had a turn into a JUMP! listed in the route book. We managed to pass Steve Waldman and go four wheels off the road over the jump. The tires chirped a little bit on the landing and we kept on moving. That definitely boosted my confidence for the rest of the day.
We had a great run and were feeling very proud of ourselves until we heard a weird sound during the transit home. Three of our four lug nuts had backed out during the day. We didn’t have a jack with us (the risk of damage to the car carrying a jack that may come lose far outweighs the need to carry one) so we crept home at 30-60mph and quickly diagnosed the problem when we arrived several hours late.
Sunday was the hardest day for us. We had 40km, 30km, 9km, 13km speed stages then a service stop and then repeat in reverse. These were all straight. There was a small section during the longer speed stages but for the most part we averaged 120-130 mph on these runs. The car was floored and we could not go any faster. The hardest part of it was trusting the route book while going over blind crest after blind crest. I have all the confidence in the world in Steve but little in the notes as we had a few mismarked turns over the week.
We were still able to come in 5th over all for the day. So Friday we were 7th, Saturday 6th and finally Sunday 5th overall which left us 2nd in class behind the BMW 325 and 6th overall. I’m still a bit irritated with the fact that had we stayed in -2.4 Turbo we would have come first in class but I don’t understand why the 2.5 liter BMW was in -2.4 to begin with.
I met some great people down at Chihuahua and I also got to spend some time with the regulars from La Carrera. It was great seeing everyone and I’m glad that we all made it home safely. I can’t wait to do Chihuahua again.
Congratulations again to Dough Mockett and Angelica Fuentes, Jerry Churchill and Jim Roxburry, Sam Burg and Dyana Marlett for their 1-3 overall finishes!
I wanted to update today but I figure Steve will make time tonight. I am seriously irritated. My right arm is killing me. I think I’ve somehow developed tennis elbow or something similar. I didn’t sleep at all last night because I was having nightmares and I really just did not do as well as I would have liked to today. I pretty much ate it on the first section of today. It was a long transit and I was fairly slow for most of the morning.
2nd again today and 6th over all. Some time card mistakes were made and if they’re not fixed will have placed the Golf as having beat the Super 88 by 12 seconds, which is simply impossible since the rest of us are a minute behind Doug. The golf should actually be 5 seconds behind us. Even with the minute they were granted today they still came in behind us so over all we just need to make up 24 seconds on them tomorrow. Hopefully the time cards will be sorted out. It was kind of weird how most of the cars had the same times as each other through out the stages and I’m not including the cars that were assigned times due to DNF or non-starts.
I’m done being a poor sport. I’m really tired and sun burnt. Have I mentioned that yet?
We found out at the driver’s meeting last night that we would be starting out in 6th place as there was no qualifying. They put people in the order of “how fast they thought we would go”. I got a chuckle out of being placed in front of people like Sam Burg and Tom Silver who are seasoned racing veterans. Last year Tom was 3rd over all until his mustang suffered from a mechanical. I was always a few seconds off of Sam and finally got him by a few seconds on the last day of La C.
We made our way out of town after starting from Pancho Villa’s memorial. It took a while to gain the confidence in both the car and the route book. It was one of the reasons I had really wanted a qualifying day so that we could judge how the route book related to our car and driving ability. Once we arrived at our starting point, I began some last minute checks. Thankfully I checked the tire pressure again before starting off. We had 30 in the front and 33 in the rear from the spirited drive to the first stage. I dropped it to 24/26 and everything was swell.
Shortly into the stage we passed the Subaru of Michael McBride which had suffered a mechanical and has since dropped from the race. Everything I have heard of Michael suggests that he was the favorite to win his class (-2400 T). Michael and Ed were a pleasure to meet and it’s a shame they’ve had to go home early.
I was a bit concerned with the hudson directly behind us as we had more then 10kms of straights in the first stage. They made what felt like quick work of the one minute gap but couldn’t keep up in the twisty sections. Thank god for that! The first stage was 40kms and it was about 20kms in that I began to see them in the distance. I’m not sure how to describe how menacing the “Quaker Oats” Hudson appears when it is bearing down on the tiny little lotus. Thankfully we didn’t see them catch us for the rest of the day.
The routes today continued to be a combination of both wonderful and terrifying. There is nothing like flying through the mountains on open roads knowing there is nothing coming the other direction but every now ans then you get a glimpse of that sheer drop off the side of a cliff and it brings you back to reality. We have some footage from our Chase Cam and we will hopefully find a way to put it online. The internet hasn’t been fast enough to upload much.
The sad news of the day to report is that Chris Salyer’s studebaker went off road and appears to be heavily damaged. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Chris yet but he and co-driver Wiley are doing well. Tom Silver rolled his mustang in the last stage of the morning. The mustand has also sustained major damage. It has to be one of the prettiest mustangs I have seen. I am not much of a ‘stang girl but this was one I wouldn’t mind having in the garage. Both Tom and Chris are great guys, not to mention drivers and it sucks to see them out on the first day.
We finished 7th overall and 2nd in class. First place went to Doug Mockett (Super 88), 2nd to Jerry Churchill (Dodge Viper), 3rd to Sam Burg (LT special), 4th to Fco. Marquez (Hudson), 5th to Antonio Del Conde (Race Golf), 6th to Steve Waldman (Evo 9) and then finally little old us. We were very close to the Golf all day, ahead in most sections, behind in a couple by seconds and then the last stage of the day we lost the majority of the time to the Golf. I didn’t check the tires at lunch and about 20kms into the last speed section, the rear felt so greasy that anything more than a 2 grade turn was pushing the tires beyond their limits. We were able to pull off a pass but it was not an easy one. After finishing the stage, I checked the tires to find them at 30/33. No wonder. The road was newly paved, the sun had been beating down all day and our tires had become severely overinflated. Note to self: check tire pressure more often!
I definitely feel that my down shifting has gotten out of practice. I have only raced once in the past 5 months and missed a few scheduled track days due to illness. I was feeling it this morning! Tomorrow should be a better day.
P.S. I apologize in advance for how disjointed my entry is. I’m pretty exhausted. We did 468kms total with 196kms of racing. It was a very long day. I’m sure that the next one will probably be worse.
I’m posting this today instead of last night because I was positive I would have had nothing nice to say. We’ve all complained about it to each other so I have worked out some of the irritation with my fellow racers. I have to say that Steve has been great through all of my whining and is probably the best teammate I could have ever found.
We started off from Stinky Motel 8 #2 at 8am. We got a letter translated into spanish from the New Mexico Border Authority with an inventory of our tools and spare parts. While that was being typed for each of the cars we made our way over to Mexico to get the temporary import permits. I was the first one in the line and was quickly denied. I only have a temp registration and have no plates for my truck as it was purchased a few months ago. I was directed to someone else who had to authorize the temp registration. He took a look at my truck and said it was too new and had no plates so it could not come into the country. After a few minutes, more and more racers came out with denials as well. Several of us from California had our temp window tags and nothing else. FOUR hours later we had it sorted out.
The guy who was giving us all of the trouble asked Marcos (the guy helping us) if I was single, in spanish. I tried not to turn red but quickly said “I am if it will make this any easier”. Nothing like living in Mexico to have a simple grasp of the language.
From there we continued to the hotel to hook up the trailer. We had a quick lunch then headed to the border. We stopped at US customs to fill out exportation forms for the cars and then to the border crossing. After the border crossing we drove through town to the final check point 30kms out. We were waived through there. By the time we were actually on our way at full speed it was about 6pm. So I spent my birthday dealing with immigration/customs and as a special gift they gave me what feels like the most wicked sunburn I have ever had. We finally arrived in Chihuahua at our hotel around 10:30pm. If you weren’t keeping track it took us from 8am until 10:30pm to travel 300kms.
The best part about today was sleeping in until 9am. We woke up and joined some friends from La Carrera for breakfast. Shortly after we made our way outside for the tech inspection which consisted of “hey Rachel, glad you could make it down!”, showed we still had all of our proper equipment and that was that. We applied our stickers and sat around for the rest of the day. Steve and I cleaned up some odds and ends but over all it was a relatively easy and relaxing day. I still need to gas up the car but for the life of me I can’t get motivated. I am so excited about tomorrow but I really wished we had run at least one qualifying stage, just to get the jitters out.
Tomorrows first speed stage is over 40kms long. The longest one we did in La Carrera was around 20kms I believe. This is going to prove to be one hell of a ride. I’m hoping to get the video set up late tonight so we can actually post something for everyone to see.
I suddenly lost the ability to continue my through process so I guess I should join the festivities in the lobby and continue prepping for tomorrows wild ride.
Some of you may notice my theme is gone. I’m not entirely sure what happened but it looks like somehow my theme was deleted along with my title and personal “about me” photos. It will get fixed as soon as it can.
Today our small caravan drove 300 miles from Tucson, AZ to El Paso, TX. This is our second night in a Super 8 motel and the only positive thing I can say is that this one smells slightly better than the last one. We drove about 20 miles on a “washboard” dirty road up to JCJ ranch for some good ole Texan Hospitality. We had a great dinner thanks to Jo and Chip Johns at their ranch. I’ve never seen so much western memorabilia in my life. It was pretty cool. The best quote of the night came from Gerie. Something about the Texas flag and boobies. I was amused every time I heard the word come out of his mouth! I think my face hurts from laughing still.
Tomorrow we head across the border. We’ve grown to include about 15 cars of people here. There are some new faces which I’m expecting to see again at La Carrera as they’re using the Chihuahua Express as a test bed. It’s a great idea and it really will help to prepare newbies for the 7 day adventure of their lives. Right now I’m greatful to be running in a 3 day as I don’t think I could do the full 7 days but I’ve been dying to go out on another run. Everyone else I had met previously, most people have brought their La C cars but a few have brought evo/wrx type cars.
We are still classed in 2400+ Turbo which we are neither. I’m hoping their are enough cars in -2400 to make a class or else we will be moved up to 2400+, which is fine with me but I’d rather it not be 2400+ T!!!
Pictures, I swear I’ll start to take pictures. It’s just that nothing really has happened yet. Your best bet is to check Coop’s blog which I’m too lazy to go and look up the link for.
All that being said, I’m going to read more out of my silly fiction book and try to be asleep before 1am.
It’s my birthday.
That’s what I said about today. Mainly because I slept through 250 or so miles of the 500 mile drive. Steve and I made it to Tucson, AZ in pretty good time. We spent most of the time discussing affordable solar power, Hussein, how awesome Steve’s wife Amy is for making us brownies and packing so many road trip goodies and a ton of other fairly random things.
We met up with Gerie Bledso and the One and Only Coop! Coop, Steve and I made our way to a well rated Zagat guide restaurant that I’m still smelling BBQ sauce from. I think I absorbed it into my skin. We have definitely let our adventure begin. I meant to take pictures and start the blogging off right but instead I spent today mostly napping.
Hopefully that trend doesn’t last. Tomorrow we leave at 7am to go to El Paso where we are attending a picnic before heading across the border to Chihuahua.
Sorry to anyone who posted comments recently. I had over 700 spam comments so I just deleted everything to get rid of them.
What a weekend. Fun was had by all, once we remembered to breath. Saturday was hell as we did not have rain tires. We didn’t prep for the rain, we didn’t expect Infineon to be the equivilent of ice, nor did we even bother to buy new tires with proper grip. Our times ranges from 2:35 to 3:01 depending on how many times we spun during a single lap. I got a mention on Gary Faules blog and a very crappy picture taken of me.
We stood in the rain from 7am until about 6pm. It was a long cold day.We had some confusion on some of the rules which got sorted out. On Sunday we did much better, crawling out of last place to about 4th when the exhaust broke off. Now this would not have been a problem aside from the highly flammable nature of the Lotus Elise. My co-driver’s elise bubbled the paint from one lap at Buttonwillow with a detached exhaust and another friend’s exige burnt down in less than two minutes from tar catching up under the diffuser. It wasn’t worth the risk for no prize money and our first day out. We lost about 40 minutes or more of racing and ultimately fell 20 laps behind while we repaired the exhaust. A very slow last 5 minutes worth of lapping gave us 6th which we’re fine with because as has always been our motto “we’re here to finish” or is it “everything is better with bacon”?
We came away with a mechanically sound vehicle and some contact with another car that wasn’t felt and didn’t even come through the wax on our paint. Well as Gary said, “rookies were doing what rookies do which is primarily everything except what they are supposed to be doing”. We are definitely not used to driving in traffic. Racing against the clock with 30 seconds on you and only one car (two if we’re having a good day!) to pass is a lot different than 40+ cars of different speeds on the track at once.We’re in E0 via T2 which I think has us out of our league with the completely stock set up.
Again this comes down to rule confusion which we need to get sorted out. We’re in the lowest speed class, I believe, and had we had proper tires we’d have done better. Our best lap time on Sunday was 2:06 which is a marked improvement over Saturday but there was still a considerable lack of grip. We also had an 8 minute pit stop during our 5 gallon refueling because our can wasn’t properly vented. It was painful. 5 gallons is heavy and holding it up for 8 minutes almost killed me!
From what I’ve heard some other cars have me spinning on video. Hopefully I can hook up with them and get a copy. I would love to post it. I went off during warm up because I was just sliding sideways and then got stuck in the wet grass for the rest of warm up. I got one lap in. It was great. All things aside, I had a great time. The other drivers were really nice and we’ll be back out soon!