Rock and a Hard Place

We’ve had a couple of long stages so far, 14 – 24 kms.  If you consider the logistics of closed-road rallying, you’ll see that such a stage will be run fairly fast — otherwise, the length of time that locals will be locked out of the road is intolerable.  So we’ve run a couple of long fast stages so far.  And they’re not going well.

My usual method for running on time in touring rallies is to reach ‘on-time’ state early, and then try to minimize speed changes. This has us taking corners rather harder than normal, and running straights rather slower than normal. I tried that on the first long/fast stage yesterday. It was rubbish. The road was wet, hilly, and winding, and the average speed was brisk. It took 2 km just to reach the ‘on-time’ state, and holding it via the technique described above was flat scary.

So, adjusting, I reverted to a late, heavy braking + hearty acceleration strategy. It worked fine on the final stage last night, feeling much better. That stage was mostly downhill, though, and I found new limits today.

AssignedSpeed (CAST): 110 kph.    MaxSpeed (not to exceed):   130 kph.

That’s a pretty small over-cast window… if you brake for curves, and then accelerate to max speed, the time error display crawls….. back …. toward…. perfect. In fact, with the start leading to a steep twisting uphill section, I was going further behind right away. I knew the BMW would do 130+ in third, and so I stopped shifting. The curves could all be taken in third, and when the road straightened – I just took it to around 6,000 rpm and held it there.

But I never caught up, not in 24 km.  We crossed the line at least 12 down.

So what next?
I assume I need to carry more speed through the corners, but as yet I’m not ready to push harder in that direction.
They had a radar gun check station on a straight stretch, and there’s a $250 fine for busting the limit.  Despite that threat — with a closed road, after all — it may be time for fourth.


p.s.  The N52  jumps to 6k pretty quick, and it sounds great. But dang, does it drink fuel when you run like that.

5 thoughts on “Rock and a Hard Place

  1. Sounds very exciting!!!! I really wish we were there.
    Are you running with your “window” in the bank… when you can get to speed? Obviously, tbe main goal is always to stay on the road. Points are better that midnight repair jobs. Radar will probably always be in straights…. can you make up in twistys? Probably not in the wet.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. We do run ahead into our window when we can. There are ‘intermediate timing controls’ sprinkled on the stages. So far the most we’ve seen is three ITCs on a stage. The ending locations are mostly quite a tricky approach, so you’ve got to run early into those or you’re well down.

      Much better day today. Short stages, horrible weather, the wagon’s a joy.

        1. Remember: though OK Falls was tough, it was ultimately a triumph. We remember it as a high-water mark… how fast can you go in deep snow?

          Thursday’s also been good, save for one goofy flying finish. A hairpin left, bear left, acute right, and wooden bridge in the last .90 km. And the CAST? 99 kph. Everybody in GT 20 late. WTF?

  2. I’m beeming!!

    Brilliant strategy (I assume you worked this whole thing out…let the ‘champ’ pull out a little lead…..then panic them into wrecking on the last day) love it

    Don’t forget the Squeelers and team AFRICA in your speech from the top box on the podium

    Party for you guys at our house when you get home……sounds like we need to get the pig masks out

    Have a great drive down the Gaspe

    xox tk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.