Yes! Yes! Yes!
We ARE in the Great Race for 2016!
First thing this AM, we drove to the main hotel, left our new car car at the door, and while we were inside for the general meeting, Hal and the crew stickered it up, did a late tech, and Voila! When we cam back out, our new, blue Volvo (aka Sven the Flying Moose) looked like THIS:
While John Classen held court in Rally School, we played hooky to get to work on one last crucially important item: we figured we could just have enough time to fit the Timewise rally speedometer before out start time at 1:55 PM for the Hagerty Trophy Dash. Down at the fairgrounds lot, we set to. Sven’s left front corner went up on the jack, and with some gentle bash, bend, drill, and glue, we re-formed the bracket from the Speedster into one that can read on Sven’s much smaller wheels (to which we glued the requisite magnets). It’s not pretty, but it’s strong and it works.
Unfortunately, that left almost no time for details like lunch or actually mounting the speedo over the dash inside!
Hey! we’re Great Racers, and fully equipped with awesome engineering capability (please see bracket efforts above), so we improvised:
Yes, well, it works. Crude – but Effective (not a bad motto there, eiher). Ethan figured an approximate setting, based on the nominal tire size and we scooted over to the day’s start via the 101 for calibration of the speedo, but running into the heavy traffic that is so much a part of driving here. We arrived just minutes before our scheduled 1:55 go-moment. Exciting. So exciting, I missed sending us to the line at our moment! We left about 30 seconds late. Whoops. But we made it up, as we drove at 10% overspeed for 300 seconds without incident through the back roads and wine country of Sonoma County.
That’s Fat Farley, our new Dash Gnome – a gift from the Trim-Tex team. His belt says “Metal Dents, Vinyl Doesn’t” – an unusual rally motto, eh?
These California hills look dry but the trees have deep roots and stay green. Many of today’s roads were twisty little paths through ranch and farm, often shading us with gnarly old Live Oaks. Nice work, already, John Classen (our rallymaster).
We passed through our first little towns, too. I get a kick out the names of shops. And the HUGE estate gates that are built here for status, I guess. OH, and the local choice of car seems to be top-line, Ferraris, Maseratis, and the like, you know, including more Teslas than we’ve ever seen – over thirty today. It made me wax poetic:
Here, where dollars grow on the vines,
and here where the weather is always so fine,
Many must feel
That their special wheels
Shows they can say, “Hey, I got mine!”
And how about the direction signs to the local wineries? I suspect that these might be even harder to read after visiting the first few…
San Rafael threw us a lovely reception this evening at the Peacock Gap Golf Club. Very classy, as exemplified by the formal outfits worn there by the Wanderign Troubadors of Finland team.
But, OK, I’ve stalled long enough. Here’s the good news: Sven was flawless today – nothing broke and is truly a capable little rally car. The seats are tired, though, and the tubular frames are quite obvious through the old, thin padding, but we can fix that tomorrow with pillows. Ethan drove, I attempted navigation. We had fun! We even figured out the Swedish cupholder between the seats.
Alas, we didn’t succeed at correcting our speedo factor, adjusting it the wrong way to correct for the 2.4% error in the original estimate. So we ran nearly 5% late all day. Rats. But what a couple of pre-race days: we went from top of the world in our big speedster to despair by the road side, through determination to fix it and back to frustrated despair when it would not be fixed. Then up again when we got chance to find another ride. And elation when we found Sven. Now it’s just exhaustion – having gotten him all set up this afternoon – and running well with solid instruments, adjusted throttle, carbs, and steering in the AM and an error-free run all afternoon (except of course for that calibration whoops). But hey, our motto still applies oriri cras calcitrare iterum,” which we usually translate as “Get Up Tomorrow, Kick it Again!”
And so we shall. Great Race, Look Out – Here We Come!