Things I learned at Maine Forest Rally 2005

Trunkmonkey Racing completed Maine Forest Rally the last weekend in July and as my first stage rally I learned quite a few new and interesting tidbits of information. The following is a brief overview:

  1. The navigator is always right (stupid driver).
  2. When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.
  3. When the navigator yells “What the **** are you doing?!?! I said DON’T enter the control!”, shrug it off and refer to Rule #1.
  4. Rally school and past Rallycross experience promotes reflex. When you’re all of a sudden pointed at the woods at 75 MPH you don’t feel any adrenaline…you just countersteer and continue driving like nothing happened.
  5. Mini sledgehammers are a toolkit requirement to fix bent wheels on stage.
  6. Carry LOTS of water in the car for hydration at stage start and stage finish between service stops.
  7. Driving suits have a bottom zipper to assist in Driver and Co-Driver relief. It took us until SS5 to figure that out.
  8. Falken gravel tires have really soft sidewalls compared to Michelins. Start at 30 to 31 PSI and adjust from there (per Nick from Team O’Neil).
  9. Running with your lights on is good for safety but bad for photographs; it looks like your brakes are on in all the photos.
  10. Dust sucks. A lot. Carry rags in the car to stuff and duct tape into all the little crevices that dust will blow in through (cage passthroughs in the firewall).
  11. Figure out where you’re going to store helmets during transit before you get out on stage (we didn’t have time to install our helmet hooks).
  12. Conserve brakes; driving blind at Maine with tulips caused me to do a lot of early and heavy left foot braking and trail braking because I didn’t know the corners. After 15.5 stage miles there was a lot of brake fade even with synthetic DOT5 and Porterfield R-4s.
  13. Park your service vehicles in front of your trailer overnight so no one blocks it in.
  14. The first night stage you do you won’t even notice the photographer’s flashes going off; it wasn’t until I looked at the in-car that I even realized how many flashes there were.
  15. Doing 90 MPH through the giant blowup Red Bull display makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
  16. It’s your navigator’s job to watch the mirrors for traffic that wants to pass. The first time you look in the mirror at 80 MPH and unexpectedly see nothing but hood it’ll scare the **** out of you.
  17. Make sure your navigator has a place for spare pens; dust destroys Sharpies.
  18. Gaffer tape is your friend.
  19. Toilet paper in the toolkit. Just in case.

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