¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/21 6:20 p.m.

So, Sara and I just got back from Sno*Drift, and for the first time she went rallying and I didn't- see, our BRZ isn't quite finished yet, and Adam Kimmett's usual codriver is stuck in the UK, so one thing led to another and Sara ended up in the silly seat for this event.  Given that Adam has won Southern Ohio Forest Rally overall and regularly goes very fast, this was a big deal- so naturally I went along to crew, as the only service guy for both his car and Brian Battocchi's.  Both are GC Imprezas, Brian's being a pretty tried and true wagon and Adam's a sedan, freshly built after he tossed his GC coupe into the woods at New England Forest Rally 2019.

Thursday

Both teams signed up for the optional testing on Thursday, so we got out there in the cold and went to work.  Some of the other hardware at the test stage was a little more expensive:

Testing went well, with only a few minor snowbank incidents and no real breakage on 299.  Sara could see over the dashboard (a real concern in a car build around a tall driver) and was doing well with the notes, and the car itself seemed to handle well enough and Adam only had minor complaints about its' low speed handling and a soft brake pedal.  Tire choice was Blizzaks or older Blizzaks so that was easy enough.  Brian managed to bend a control arm on the other test stage, but he and Neil replaced it with a spare before heading to tech.

Both cars passed tech relatively uneventfully, and we had a pretty easy time putting in the RallySafe systems which were new for this event.  We headed back to the airbnb and went over Brian's car briefly to make sure the quick control arm replacement hadn't missed anything, and the minor off hadn't done any damage.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/21 6:33 p.m.

Friday

Friday was recce day, meaning everybody left and I was all alone in the house- luckily we had brought Kila so I had some company for a morning walk on the lake behind the house:

After the walk, Kila took a nap and I ran to the hardware store for some odds and ends, and out to the service park to pick up some late-arriving decals for both cars.  Then I spent the early afternoon doing some cleaning on both cars, and securing a few last minute add-ons (snow shovels) in Adam's car.  Brian and Neil got back early, having done two recce passes, while Sara and Adam got back a little later since they went for three.  Brian, Neil, and I put decals on #11 and did the usual fluid and torque checks, and around dinner we switched the cars out and put #299 in the garage (that's why you get an airbnb and not a motel for Sno*Drift, the garage) to thaw.

How much ice is on top of a skidplate after a test session in Northern Michigan?

Decals, torque checks, an oil change, and a little extra prep work- this car needed a bit more than Brian's since Adam basically finished putting it together earlier in the week.  Deflectors were crafted from old mud flaps and a piece of a truck bed liner, lots of zipties were used, and... the brake pedal was still soft.  After an embarassing amount of brake bleeding, it was discovered that a nut was missing from the booster where it connects to the firewall.  Installed nut, pedal improved, ready to rally:

Sara and Adam reviewed video recce footage to get the notes just right, Brian and I annoyed them by talking too much, and I think Neil was being a responsible adult and actually got to bed early.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/21 7:03 p.m.

Saturday, race day

We set off to get to the service park, and... Brian's tow rig wouldn't leave the driveway.  It was uphill, icy, and his 4wd wasn't really getting the D to all 4 Ws so Adam had to drop his trailer and tow it up the hill.  Towing stuck competitors is usually a staple of this event, it just doesn't tend to happen before the actual racing starts.

At the service park, tarps were set up, final checks were performed, tarps were rolled out, tools were strategically placed, and our very professional one man one dog service operation was ready to party:

I did my best not to E36 M3 a brick over how Sara was about to set off on a very slippery surface in a very recently completed car with a very fast driver who very crashed out of his previous rally, and looked over the cars one more time:

And suddenly they were gone and the service park got quiet.  Emotional support animal time:

Reports of stage conditions said... inconsistent, slippy, sketchy.  Everything you'd expect from an unseasonably warm day on snowy, icy roads:

Both cars were running fast per the RallySafe tracking, with 299 in the top 10 overall and 11 about another 10 back.  Both had some snowbank incidents, but the first service was basically zip ties and fuel for the cars and food and drink for the people before sending them back out.

I don't have the video yet, but I do know that Brian and Neil both said something along the lines of "let's slow down and take it easy" somewhere in the vicinity of this photo:

They later hit somebody's mailbox.

Sara and Adam continued to go fast but had an even more exciting time, getting back in for the second service with the whole front corner of the car a little worse for wear after plowing a snowbank at high speed.  I made a new headlight cover out of a plastic egg carton, applied a bunch of tape and zip ties, hit the fender pretty hard a few times, and it was looking JDM fresh by the end of service:

With the sun going down, "don't crash too hard" was the name of the game for the third and final leg as things got (more) icy.  Not crashing at all wasn't an option apparently so it was more about keeping the vehicular plinko moving in the right direction and not getting stuck or hurting the car too badly.  Both cars and crews succeeded.  It was glorious.

#11, Brian Battocchi and Neil Schafer, 21st overall and 6th in LN4wd:

#299, Adam Kimmett and Sara Nonack, 9th overall and 3rd in LN4wd:

Some Nitro Circus Redbull Subaru guy won the event overall.  Then he came to talk to the badasses who made it into the top 10 and onto their class podium with a newly prepped two decade old car, never having driven together before.  Then Sara handed me a bag of dog poop so I could take this picture:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/21 7:13 p.m.

So, it basically couldn't have gone better.  Cars went fast, Sara did super well in her first event codriving in a fast car, nobody froze to death, and I got to make Subaru parts into trash and trash into Subaru parts.

Now, let me take you back in time.  10 years ago, our first rallycross, Sara and Kila and myself all in attendance- Sara wanted to see what it was like to ride in one of the awd cars.  Who offered a ride?  Adam Kimmett in a GC Impreza.

How's that for full circle? cheeky

paranoid_android (Forum Forumer)
paranoid_android (Forum Forumer) UberDork
2/22/21 8:19 p.m.

Awesome job done by all!  Thank you for the write up smiley

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/22/21 8:34 p.m.

If you've never stayed with Neil before....he ALWAYS goes to bed early :)

Nice write-up. I was sitting here jealous all weekend, just being cold in general, not being cold doing anything fun. 

I'll note that (assuming his didn't come in time), Adam drove that fast probably because he was wearing my HANS. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/22/21 8:37 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

No complaints here, he always gets up early and makes coffee too!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/22/21 8:39 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

No complaints here, he always gets up early and makes coffee too!

At STPR a few years ago he yelled at us because we were making too much drinking/car repairing noise when he was trying to sleep lol.

Also, ninja-edited my last post. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
2/22/21 9:58 p.m.

Thanks for the write up. I need to figure out how to make myself closer to more events. 

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
2/23/21 9:08 a.m.

So cool! I was there volunteering at start/control for stage 4/8/12.  Hard to see from start but I heard the stage roads turned into an ice rink since they ran each stage 3 times. 

Lots of offs and crashes, which is not unusual for SnoDrift but this year was one of the worst I've heard about. Scott Banes hit a tree, Gringas flipped his subaru on its lid on the last corner of the last stage, and several other offs.

When things are back to normal will have to reach out before the 2022 snodrift for a GRM meetup at the bars or something!  Will you be going to Summer SnoDrift or LSPR?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/23/21 9:12 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

I have no idea!  Sara and Adam were already talking LSPR if we don't enter the BRZ so I might be at that one either way.

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
2/23/21 9:13 a.m.

You need some GRM stickers on the car so fellow GRMers can spot it out! 

LSPR will be epic this year, being based in Marquette instead of Houghton. 2hrs closer and lots more to do, I'm sure it will draw more crowds and volunteers.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/23/21 9:16 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

My car will have them, but Kimmett likes the minimalist look and probably won't run a single sticker that he doesn't have to.  And also, thanks for volunteering!

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/23/21 11:58 a.m.

Awesome work. I need to find a way to get involved in more of this kind of stuff. 

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
2/23/21 12:32 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Awesome work. I need to find a way to get involved in more of this kind of stuff. 

Quickest way is to volunteer. Look up events in your area, ARA is where all the big shots run, but there is also NASA for rally as well.  It's super fun and you usually get some nice swag.  Usually the local event organizers take care of the volunteering, so start there.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/23/21 3:34 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to engiekev :

My car will have them, but Kimmett likes the minimalist look and probably won't run a single sticker that he doesn't have to.  And also, thanks for volunteering!

I considered it a big deal when he put a couple stripes on the previous car lol

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
2/23/21 4:18 p.m.

Some clips from a particularly difficult corner- look for Brian and Neil using the berm to slow down at 0:40 and Adam and Sara unlocking the wheels just in time at 0:45

 

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
2/25/21 4:38 p.m.

I missed the chance to pet the rally doggo again :(

 

good seeing you! Glad everything went well and see you at the next one! one of these days....

 

had I not had that 20 sec penalty I would have just beat out 21st myself, surprised how close we were all event long. 

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