FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2005
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Team Motorcycle Factory
Providence, RI USA -- Things started out very well for the team as they ripped down the first two stages on Friday with a twenty second lead over the next group 2 team of driver Robin Jones and codriver Alex Kihurani. Two exciting events happened on stage 2; First while approaching a chicane the car came in way too hot and Mark (Spence) turned the car at first sideways then completely around as we slid backwards toward the tape and stretched it across our back window, breaking the tape would have cost us a minute penalty. The second notable event on stage 2 was catching and passing a Subaru Impreza," noted Amato. The team was surpassing its goal of just shaking the car down for Saturday's race and on its way to producing a solid finish. Stage three was not run due to the an earlier accident and Team Motorcycle Factory was now looking at defending a twenty second lead with only 5.6 stage miles to go when rally gremlins struck. On the transit from stage 3 to a short service before stage 4 the car shut down. After an unsuccessful attempt to get going the car was towed to service and pushed through the check-in control. The service crew was not able to diagnose the problem within the ten minute service and the team was forced to withdraw from Friday's Rally. The car was brought back to Sunday River and worked on for over 6 hours when at 2:30 am Saturday, crew chief Jay Yargeau with assistance from Yohan Tessier, discovered that the off road module chip had popped off the ECU.
Saturday started off with a 12 mile stage (Middle Dam IN) that ended with all the cars turning around and running the same road in the opposite direction for the next stage (Middle Dam OUT). One half mile into the stage there was a right hand turn with a rock on the inside we went wide and the rear driver side wheel hit a rock on the outside of the turn. We stopped and I grabbed the triangle and made a mad dash up the road as it sounded like we had a flat but Mark (Spence) discovered that the tire was OK. We had bent the rear spindle. Out of breath we jumped back in the car and continued, Amato said as he describes the trip down Saturday's Stage 1. The car pushed to the right for the rest of the stage and Spence adjusted his driving by turning early on left hand turns and giving room as the car pushed to the outside of the turn. This went well and the team was able to keep a decent pace until mile 10 were a large rock pulled onto the road sat on the outside of a left turn. Unavoidably the right wheel hit it causing a flat and steering damage that was cautiously driven for the last two miles.
While waiting to start the return stage we were able to change the flat and inspect the steering. Upon taking the right front wheel off we discovered the tie rod was bent at a ninety degree angle, Amato said. Spence managed to wedge the scissor jack between the fender-well and the bent corner of the tie rod and expanded the jack bending the tie rod closer to straight. With the steering still far from perfect and the rear still bent Spence and Amato decided to drive carefully through the next stage and have the service crew make the proper repairs during the lunch break. Team Motorcycle Factory's service crew along with help from Team O'Neil's service crew managed to replace the tie rod and partially straighten the rear at the lunch service. With the rear still damaged the team managed to put down a very fast time on the next stage Dillon Success I but at the end of the stage the low oil pressure horn and warning light came on. It seemed to be a faulty sensor as there was oil on the dip stick and no visible leaks. The horn and light went off after turning the car off and back on again. Spite the damage to the rear end Spence and Amato really started to click and set the fastest Group 2 time on Marigrande the fourth stage. You are reading each corner a littler earlier and I drove faster trying to catch you before you read the next note Spence said to Amato after finishing Marigrande. The low oil pressure horn and warning light came on again at the end of the stage this time the car didn't start after turning it off. Spence and Amato rolled down a driveway and pop started after the finish time control. The final stage of the day was met with a challenge as one mile from the finish the car was caught up in a series of washouts and stalled. Without a good battery the team was stuck for five minutes until driver Dan Brosnan and codriver Dave Banville in their 1991 Mitsubishi Galant pulled the car from the washout and got the team rolling so it could be pop started and driven to the finish. Facing all of these obstacles the team was very happy to finish the event.
The next event for Team Motorcycle Factory is the team's first Canadian event, in the highly competitive two wheel drive Quebec Performance Rally Championship the RALLYE DES DRAVEURS DE MANIWAKI 2005 85mi north of Ottawa, ON August 12th-13th, 2005. Rallye Des Draveurs is an event totaling 190km (118mi) with 90km (56mi) of stages on swift and winding gravel forest roads.
Special thanks to:
Dan Brosnan and codriver Dave Banville - for pulling us from the washout
Team O'Neil service crew - for help with the tie rod replacement That dude that gave us a quart of oil at the end of Stage 7 Dillon Success I
Yohan Tessier for help trouble shooting our electrical problems Our Ever reliable Crew chief Jay Yargeau and crew member Lonnie Fadley