Mark Utecht, my driver in the rally car, posted a nice description of our adventures at the Lake Superior Rally onto the Special Stage forums; I've copied it here along with pictures illlustrating his points along the way, plus links to videos I've found... (Check out the viewpoint from my side of the car here). All my additions to Mark's text are in BOLD.
(Mark's Original Post is HERE; the Rally is based out of Houghton, Michigan - more info on that town is HERE; a Google-Map is HERE).
We had a great rally and are very happy with our results. Nothing I say below should diminish that fact. Thanks to Rob for a great job. Thanks to our crew for the great food and massages. Thanks to Cary Kendall and Scott Friberg for the help when the fit hit the shan.
The Rally started well for us. The gravel pit stage was fun. Thanks to the organizers for shortening it from last year. It was perfect.
Beacon Hill…Holy crap. We were in 5th gear for about 75% of the stage. Doug Shepherd is the MAN for beating us on that stage.
(Below is our in-car-video of us running Beacon Hill)
Camp 18 was my undoing of the event. Early in the stage, there was a left 3 with a large berm on the outside at the exit. It was clear that none of the eight cars in front of us had made the corner as there ware no tracks on the road but lots of tracks into the berm. When I saw that, I locked the car down and we spun. In the spin, the engine got spun backwards and that made restarting the car a long proposition. I think we lost about 30 seconds due to the spin.
(A LEFT 3 is a 90-degree left turn)
We are now sitting 4th in Max Attack and I’m irritated with my mistake. I try to shake it off and promise I will make up for my mistake.
(MAX ATTACK is a two-wheel-drive championship; more information on MAX ATTACK is HERE).
At the service/reseed, we asked that the 30 second difference on the third stage be taken into account. Our request was denied and we were place 15th on the road. Now I’m pissed and I drove like it. We made 40 seconds on the car in front of us on both stages 4 and 5. If it weren’t for the BAD dust, we would have caught and passed both cars. We were 5th OA on stage 5.
We went back out after the next service still pissed. We beat Doug and Karen on both stages with two more 5th OA stage times.
After the last service on Friday, we went out to Herman and Menge Creek. The downhill, sandy twisties on Menge were very tricky in the Mustang. The rear end pendulum just kept swinging bigger and bigger with each corner and I’m sure that’s where Doug made his time on us.
At the end of Friday’s stages, we are back to 2nd in Max Attack. Doug has won 5 stages in G5 with us taking 3 stages and Eric winning the first stage. We also won the Friday regional overall. Henry and Cindy had a flat that took then out of contention in the regional.
(Click HERE for the regional results).
Saturday at LSPR is my favorite rally day of the year. I love the stages and the service in Copper Harbor. Gratiot Lake was shortened this year but we still had the car airborne doing a multi-hop tank slapper in the middle of the stage. I think Rob giggled again.
Delaware Mine is my favorite gravel stage of all. Last year Doug, Cary Kendal and I finished within .3 of a second from each other. This year we topped that. Rob and I beat Doug and Karen by .1 second. At the Delta, I put on a show for the crowd by letting the motor rip in second gear leaving the acute. I have seen the photo of the burnout marks we left. I was told the cloud started brown, changed to blue and then went back to brown as we transitioned from throwing gravel to burning tires and back. I also found out my shenanigans yielded a rock hit to Steve Gingras’ forehead. Who says you can’t aim rooster tails?
(There's another story from this same intersection at Delaware Mine HERE)
On to Burma. This is a stage I shouldn’t win. It is narrow, slow and twisty for most of the stage. Somehow, we took another stage win by 2.9 seconds.
Into service to put on the tarmac tires. I’ve got bling wheels and plans for Brockway. After lunch, we head for the tarmac and I inform Rob of my dastardly plan. I have a line lock in the Mustang and plan to use it.
(Click HERE for a Google-Map of the Brockway Mountain stage).
We check in and pull to the line. I set the line lock and at about 2 seconds to go, I run the engine up and start spinning the tires in place in 2nd gear. At zero, I release the line lock and we spin the tires all the way to the first corner. We heard from MANY folks that it was THE moment of the rally for them. Here’s a secret. It was for me too. Steve Gingras said he heard the engine spin up and then the car disappeared in the smoke. When the smoke cleared, the car was gone and there were two stripes leading to the first corner. Please post your version of what you saw if you were there.
The rest of Brockway was exciting also. I have never had as much air time on the stage since it was shortened. I eagerly await the posting of the photo Jerry Winker got at the big jump in the middle. Even though Doug beat us by 2 seconds, I will not go faster on Brockway in the Mustang. Fear and wisdom took over for the second running along with a fuel delivery issue and we slowed down by 5 seconds.
At service, we swapped the fuel filter hoping that was the problem. Turns out it was not so we limped the car through the last 3 stages trying to preserve a second place finish in Max Attack. Thankfully, we were able to accomplish our goal and despite almost no fuel pressure, we finished.
(Click HERE for the regional results; click HERE for the stage-by-stage results).
Thanks again to all involved for a great event. There’s more to our story that took place Saturday night but I best leave than to someone whose recollection of the events isn’t clouded by an attack by two killer whales and a 9060.
(Click HERE for more information on the rally).