Chapter 1 Paul Bunyan’s Ride

Sorry it’s been a few days since the last post. I was busier then I thought I would be. I will get better at posting during rallies.

The first car started stage 1 Bemidji Speedway in reverse order at 2:30 pm. Bemidji Speedway is a small dirt oval with maybe a 12-15 degree bank. We started on the outfield, did half a lap around the track, then jumped onto the track at about turn three. Then we did some loops on the infield and finished with half a lap of the oval. The grandstands were packed and there was no safe place from the dust. We set the third fastest time overall and were told we went the biggest over the jump onto the track.

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Stage 2, Spur 2. We were the 12th car to leave the line for the start of the forest stages. The car felt great! The new head was screaming, and the new gearbox was putting down flawless power. Catherine was right on with the notes. I felt like this was it; we were going to have a great rally. We were going to throw down some great stage times and put on a great show! But this is rally, after all, and one mile in we went from 7,000 RPM’s flat out in 4th to… Silence… The car died instantly. I tried to re-fire it, but nothing and we rolled to a stop. Catherine jumped out to go set the triangles. I went into mechanic mode. The hood went up, nothing obvious everything looked to be in order and we had fuel at the test port. I pulled the coil wire off about half an inch then tried to re fire the car. If the ignition system was working I would have seen and heard a spark jump the gap. Well the car fired… and then stalled, and the wire fell too far from the coil. I recounted it and closed the hood. Catherine ran back and grabbed the triangle. We belted in and we were off. Four cars passed us when we were stopped we were already four minutes down in the first mile of racing not a way to start a rally.

But we were not out of the woods yet. The car shut down four or five more times before we made it out. The car would not restart until we came to a stop. As we were driving out I was thinking about what it could be. I came to the assumption it did not have anything to do with us being stopped but more the time it took. From going 50-60+MPH and looking for a good place to stop so other cars could pass it must have taken us a good 20 sec. Knowing VW’s, my first guess was the fuel pump rely. When we stopped for the start of the next stage I jumped out and started checking relays. The fuel pump relay was cold but the “109” relay was almost too hot to touch. “109” powers the ECU which would definitely shut the car down as quick as it did. I pulled it out and put a jumper in its place. A jumper is just a piece of wire with two male spade ends on it and will work like a relay that has been powered. The car ran great the rest of the weekend!

Stage 3, Steamboat. It was time to start making up some time. After the mess on stage 2 we were sitting in 17th, down 14 places since the start. I could not clear my head after stage 2 and I was not driving all that great. I knew I was going to have to change that if I wanted to make up six minutes. About 50 meters from the finish, we stopped and pulled out Roman Pakos so I felt a little better about the stage. We still managed to move up 2 positions.

Stage 4, Blue Trail.  Stage 4 felt better. I was almost done thinking about stage 2, and we moved up 3 more positions.

Stage 5, The Paul Bunyan. 22.32 miles! We had a great stage we were just 7 seconds behind the legend Laughlin O’Sullivanan. We made up 6 positions and were only one spot out of the Max Attack! money.

Stage 6,  Kabekona. Back in the Money! Max Attack pays out $500 to fifth place so at least we would come home with some money.

Stage 7, Parkway. We had 1 minute 11 seconds to make 4th. We narrowed the gap to 36.8 seconds, but we could not move up to fourth.

That was the end of Paul Bunyan’s Ride. We placed 5th overall, 3rd in class and we were sitting in 5th for Max Attack, which continued on the next day. I will continue in my next post. Sorry if it’s hard to follow. I have not written that much since… well… never mind.

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