So they Play-Doh-Fun-Factoried me into the driver’s seat when it was my turn. The visor went down and all the moisture left my body. I rolled up to the starting fella who had very, very specific starting place requirements. I tightened my harness. Clutched in. Cinched gloves. Got the Go sign – and promptly stalled the car.
I’m back, baby.
Watch out, Solberg.
I restarted with anxious gusto and ripped away from the line. The key-on chime and all the lights on Bill’s dash looked and sounded like there was a leaky Titan 2 in the No. 7 tube in a silo somewhere deep below Montana. No matter, I POR’ed that shite like I was outrunning the Staties with a kilo of coke strapped to my leg and a dead hooker in the trunk. I must’ve taken that first turn at 6 or 7 mph. The nerves went away. My smile came back, even if it was like Jack Nicholson’s in The Shining.
As I bobbed and weaved and herked and jerked my way around the course, I discovered something very unique about Bill’s car.
It was broken.
Maybe more broken than my own rally car at home.
When I met Bill at his house the day before, he showed me the half-bald all-seasons we’d be using for the race. No matter, I said. My AutoCross tires were 12-year-old Pirelli snows (the steel belts showing through count as tread, right?).
The transmission sounded like someone threw a bag of rocks in a dryer.
Then, just about the time the driveshaft started hitting the tunnel, he tells me there are no sway bars. Well, there are, he corrected. They’re just not connected.
Oh, OK. Thanks Bill.
Then, just as I’m about to hit the dirt section for the first time, “Oh yeah, it’s an open diff. It’s spicier than stock. But still one-tire fire.”
And arouuund we went.
I swear we Figure 8’ed three or nine times before I got to the finish line – at 2 mph.
But I tell ya, the mud section, the silt section, the glycerin-on-ice section, was like a whole nutha race unto itself. Like slow-motion Scandinavian Flicking. Just when I thought I would hit a cone, I’d let up and the car would ever so slowly rotate back, like doing donuts in a cargo ship.
As the day progressed, so too did the car’s thirst for cones. I’m pretty sure there are still three or four stuck in the wheel wells of Bill’s poor BMW. And rumor has it, Scott Carlson, one of the organizers of this wild affair, has put a hit out on me.
So Bill and I landed squarely in the middle of the pack at day’s end. But it didn’t matter. It was like my Rally Family were like drug dealers peddling adrenaline on Turn 1 and I was instantly re-hooked. Full needle chill. Bill, in his infinite generosity, offered to let me borrow his car for the December 7 RallyCross. But what he really did for me was inspire me to get off my ass and start fixing my own relic.
Rally Cah needs help. Tires. Alignment. Surging idle. Cough syrup in tranny. No power steering.
So I did.
I have about a week, with a holiday in the middle, to finish about seven weeks of work. But I bought a set of snows and I’m inspired to rock.
So stay tuned, the Don’t Call It A Joker Lap RallyCross on December 7 and I’ll post a follow up, whether it’s from my car or Bill’s, which is now fixed – mostly.
Photos courtesy of the infamous Douglas Bolduc over at DaggerSlade Media. Many thanks!