Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 3 - second report

Saturday 7th July

Started again in very cloudy weather, so much so that we had not noticed we needed some more petrol.  So our timed first stage had to now include a petrol stop at what must have been the busiest & slowest garage in the area.  By the time we arrived at the start of the timed climb up Gargellan we were almost the last car and could not make up any time without gaining more penalties.  And penalties accumulate at one point for every 1/100th of a second too fast or too slow…. A Subaru appeared from somewhere and blocked the road as we were queuing behind parked cars to get back in front of some who had overtaken us on the climb not realising they were supposed to keep to an average speed.  So we were temporarily stuck out of sequence until they were spoken to.  Just about made it back onto schedule. But its very hard to judge exactly where the front of the car is to 1/100th of a second when it triggers the laser beam.  So more points collected! 

But the weather improved and the sun came out and we met up with Paul B again in his Lancer Turbo on the return down the mountain and drove in convoy for some time with Sandy riding in Paul Bs car to take some nice shots of us in motion.  By the time we got to the end of this first timed section we had thankfully made up for our lost time getting petrol and joined the queue for the next series of tests.  More difficulties in judging car positions gained us more penalty points.  But not too many this time.  More than can be said for the closed level crossing where we were the 4th car in line awaiting the ploddy train to pass.  At least it was not as long as the herd of cows on their way to or from milking the previous day….

We then routed through the Silvertal, Duns & Nenzing at times over some very small windy (no overtaking possible) but picturesque roads to our lunch stop in Brand – a most beautiful resort which will get a return visit at some point outside a rally. What a nice lunch it was too but only just long enough for the car to cool off a bit in the hot sun before starting the afternoon session.

So far this was our best day.  And so far so good.  Our last test at the Vandans village circuit (twice around the closed roads of the village) was going very well and bang on target until the inevitable happened right at the end when the brake and accelerator pedals momentarily swapped places…..Still, even with these unexpected points we still had our best day finishing with around 2900 penalty points (ie 29 seconds adrift over 3 days). 

But many other crews fared much better due mostly to experience and competence (plus a little luck) and we finished 81st out of 167 starters, almost half way down and out of the prizes.  But we did finish second on one test and got only 9 penalties on another so there is much hope for our next event.  We know we can do better next time.  Most importantly we enjoyed ourselves immensely and it was a good way to celebrate the old man’s 60th birthday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 3  - better later than never.

This post is so late as a) I didn't realize there was internet in the hotel room until we were packing to leave.... and b) I came down with some sort of bug thing which caused me to be ill from Saturday evening till Monday and there wasnt enough time (or inclination) to write anything.

By this time the final results are well known: we were 19th in our class and 81st overall. I think this is a not bad (read brilliant) attempt for an absolute beginner and a near pensioner.

Day 3 was harder for me to navigate than the first 2 days and there were three regularity climbs to cope with. We started with drama (panic) at the end of the first climb, we were in line to go through the time gate when another car parked in front of us and blocked us in! We sent our resident interpreter out to sort it out -well done Karin. It appears there was disagreement in the other car as to exactly where to go but we finally got to through gate OK. A bit of a hectic start. Then back down the hill to St Anton for a time/distance test again - we were much better at spotting the sneaky green flag this time!!

Next came the prettiest drive yet, through woods and up to yet another fantastic lunch venue. This time we had to leave well before our check out time as check out was 5.5 km down the hill. Each day was more complicated the the previous one which meant I learned a huge amount over the entire event.

The final event was a scoot around the village of Vandans before going through the find gate and interview on the Finish line.

The Farewell Dinner was up another mountain from the Zamang cable car station. Photos will follow in due course.

I thought the entire event was well organized and great fun.

Photos to follow.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 2 - The longest day.

A total of 298km along some of the bendiest roads, and some fool at the wheel going as fast as is turbo would allow. At one of the first speed checkpoints we wouldn't see the signs because a BMW had driven really fast and was waiting for his average speed to come down - right in front of the yellow warning sign so we missed it. Not pleased - Paul spoke to him when we reached the coffee stop.

We had many timed stages, some went very well, others we will try to forget. At the end of the day we were still 17th in the class but further down the overall standings, meaning the rest of the people in our class had just as much trouble as we did. I won't trouble with the points tally…..

Navigating was not too hard - but the road book for Day 3 looks more complicated, so I hope to keep up the good work.

I am not a competitive person, but was very pleased to find that we cold keep the BMW, a Ferrari and a Porsche behind us on the way up the hill.

Now on to Day 3!
and in the mirror we have....

They're behind you!!

Day 1 Pictures

Clocks, clocks, clocks

Finish Day 1 - Happy Birthday Paul

Friday, July 6, 2012

 Thursday was a big day  - Paul's 60th birthday and the first day of the Rally.

The Drivers briefing was at 11am!! - not pm as announced for the English speakers - and the wished us all good fun for the event. We were encouraged to make sure we look out of the windows to admire the scenery and not get back home and have no idea where we had been.

The SMS service made sure we know what to do, when to start and sent us our Special Stage points long before the full results were put up - a great idea.

We set off at 13.34 - after Paul's birthday being announced to all. We did have the 60 birthday balloons in the back window of the car.

First was a 25min climb up the mountain with hairpin bends and scary drops, we did this too fast!! very surprised and these were our first 500! points - boo hoo. That turned out to be our worst of the day so they were dropped from the total.

Then we had a rolling stage - managed that quite well. Some good navigating was then required to find our way round Ischgl to the Yellow Fox GPS station.

Now back to the top of the hill to end the total stage perfectly on time!! A quick reset and off we go again for part 2. Down the mountain with another special stage towards Goltipohl. This was the most complicated timed stage yet and sadly our second largest points haul of the day - this one we kept......Where did that green flagged secret stage come from? We only saw the finish flag - but not too many points.
Finally two more timed stages in Schruns to the finish.

Paul was announced again and this time we all sang Happy Birthday.
Total points 761 making us 77th overall and 17th in the class. Not bad for an old man and a newbie.
Tomorrow is the long day with about 300km drive and 8 timed stages- watch this space

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Training Day

Training Day: after we acquired the Yellow Fox GPS box we then went to the afternoon training session for beginners. The session was full (all Germans) and the instruction was all in German.  I had to concentrate but it went OK. Between Paul and me we got about 80% of it I think.
Next, we had to drive to Schruns to a carpark to practise the timing systems. This took longer than expected as we got a bit lost again. I wasn't navigating at this point.....
We had to try to pass between two points (70m apart) in 10 seconds. The timing was either laser triggered or a rubber tube. These trigger different points on the car so it was hard to judge. After 3 attempts we managed it in 10.00s!!! For the laser trigger. Hope this bodes well. We didn't better 9.95s for the hose. Hope we can keep up this form tomorrow.
The heavens opened again later in the afternoon so we now have our Wet set-up all organised.
Tomorrow is the big day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Arrived in Partenen, checked in then went looking for the registration, missed it and got turned round at the toll gate. Tomorrow we can go through for free, today we would need to pay. Back to the village and finally found the registration tent. it was pouring with rain at this point. Biblical rain. Ill post a picture once I work out how to using my phone as the modem. 
We read the road book for day 1 tonight - I am now consciously incompetent - let's hope I get a bit better after the training tomorrow. Let's also hope the weather clears.