by Ben Greisler
October 23-24, 1999 - Houghton, MI
I just woke up from some much needed sleep after the long tow back from LSPR (um, POR). Alex Erisoty and I enjoyed running the event and were disappointed by our DNF on the second day.
We were very happy that Alex was the winner of the Rookie of the Year award for ProRally. John McArthur gave a very nice speech explaining why Alex won the award (check out his results and stage times) and Alex thanked me for helping him out. We were all proud of his accomplishments. I don't think I saw anything about this in the official press notes of the event, but I wanted to recognize Alex's achievement.
LSPR was a bit of a bummer for us. I was frustrated by the scoring and the route book. I think other co-drivers understand what I mean. This was the first year for a new group of organizers and they need to get up to speed. I fully expect that they will take the lessons learned from this years event and make next years a great thing.
We lost 13 minutes on a stage to a bad ignition coil connection, but were able to make up all that time by the end of the first day (see why Alex won Rookie of the Year?). The second day brought better conditions and Brockway Mountain.
We ran a 3.10 on the first run of Brockway, taking 5th fastest time on that stage (we were also the fastest non-turbo car, being about 100hp down on the cars that beat us). That was Alex's first time up Brockway ever and he took many mental notes.
The next run up was smoother and more precise. When we got to the top of the hill and were approching the big yump at the end of the straight, we were in 6th gear and 8000 rpm. Alex said "Hold on!" and up and over we went. Someone mentioned that there were certificates for air time at LSPR and if this yump didn't earn us one, I don't know what it would take! Apparently we had the biggest yump of the field and landed it perfectly. We were stoked and finished with a 3.05 for the stage (fourth fastest).
Little did we know that Jim Anderson was planning on upstaging us with what turned out to be one of the wildest yumps of the season. I won't go into detail, but let it suffice to say, if it doesn't make it onto Speedvision, there is something terribly wrong!
The next stage was the true bummer for us when an internal transmission problem caused us to DNF. Something disconnected itself deep in the transmission housing leaving us with 6 forward neutrals, one reverse neutral and one neutral neutral. We set up the triangles and OK sign.
Giving ourselves 5 minutes to be bummed, we started to explore the surrounding woods. Down a short trail we found the hulk of a 1930's vintage car complete with Bonnie and Clyde style bullet holes in the doors. Pretty damned cool! Out came the Nikon and we killed time posing for pictures. Along came the sweep truck and they towed us 2 miles to the end of the stage to be met by our service crew.
Our service crew was two MTU students who we volunteered when they were in the wrong place at the right time. We flat towed the car 45 miles back to Houghton and I got some sleep during the ride.
It was a nasty, sloppy, scary, weirdly timed event and we loved every minute we were on the stages. Watch out next year for out Brockway times!
Co-Driver #175 Audi 90