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Old 07-22-2014, 12:22 PM   #31
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Great post!

It's funny how much some of your rallyx experiences mirror mine.

Like you-I wish there were more cars in prepared.

I decided to sit out 2014 racing as I want to get some $ in the bank and I make most of my income on the weekends, so taking weekends off to go racing hurts- not even counting entries, car maintenance and lodging.

I'm pretty much living vicariously through your posts...

Sounds like the diff and suspension are working well and as expected car handles and drives a bit different.

Since you have better traction with the diff you can experiment with hooking the front s/b back up and seeing how that works for you.

I suspect it still would be better disconnected but without testing you won't know.

Other than that-as we discussed before seat time seat time seat time is the answer.

Beating many of the other "faster" cars(especially 227-300+hp awd's!) is fun!


My first few races at first I wasn't paying that much attention to the faster classes-I was just happy with my novice results.

I had a bunch of pics and video of some nice cars and a video of a bad ass looking fully caged evo worth 7x my cars worth launching as just tearing it up sideways throwing rooster tails etc.-it looked fast.

A few months after the race -I'm like-hey I wonder how much that guy beat me on my time?

So I look(more than once-bewildered..) and I'm like -WHAT?

I beat the guy handily- I don't remember-it was either my first or third race ever there...

Of course-who knows-maybe that was his first race too..so you can't get too proud.


After that I always check all classes times.

Often I beat awd cars some with big hp.

But don't get me wrong-the good guys in sorted awd's often destroy me.
And mod 2wd as well and often a couple really good guys in stock 2wd too.

It's driver over car for sure.

One bud I made (in a modified class wrx) that I think started racing about the time I did I beat pretty easily for several races.

But as he got more seat time and tweaked the car....I can't get close anymore..

Anyway nice to see that ST out there-that guy has balls.

I don't think he'll catch you though..

Turbo as we discussed has ZERO advantage in 2wd on gravel and his weight will hurt him.

Still like to see more years of Foci out there in the dirt though including
ST's(Fiestas too).
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:43 PM   #32
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Awesome post man!
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:27 PM   #33
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Sorry I haven't updated this in a while! I usually write these up when things are slow at the office but work has been ridiculously busy lately. Also I was in Hawaii for a few weeks.

I've had a couple events since my last post. First up is the one back in August. The only changes I made on the car between the two day event in July and the one in August was installing my new custom front springs and hooking my front sway bar back up. I used the company rallyrs told me about to get the custom springs, I mailed them my SVT ones, they did their calculations, built the springs and shipped everything back to me. It didn't really take that long either; I'll probably do the rears eventually.

I measured the height before and after and with the new springs the car sat a little over an inch higher. So with spacers + custom springs I'm probably at about 1.75" higher than stock SVT in the front. I think it looks good and a bit more rally-ish. I brought my girlfriend out and tried to have her guess what was different about the car. She had no clue and told me to stop bothering her.

I took it for a spirited drive around a large parking lot and quickly decided to reconnect the front sway bar. The handling was a little better with that extra stiffness in the front end. I figure with the new suspension and higher spring rate that traction should be less of an issue and my bigger concern should just be controlling the car. As I think I mentioned before, the slaloms were a challenge with the front sway bar disconnected.

So now for the race...

The night before it rained pretty heavily in the mountains of Frostburg. Next morning, the sky was clear but our racing surface was a mix of mud, large puddles and wet gravel. This would be my first time ever racing on a wet surface so I was excited.

Unfortunately there wasn't much competition... I think it was bad timing of the event. The Great Lakes National Challenge was the same weekend so about 5 of our regulars were up there competing. It was also back to school time so I think some parents were home getting kids ready. We only had about 22 or so drivers and no other competitors in my class. Though this also means we get more seat time since less cars.

The course this weekend is a higher speed one with less tight technical turns. May not be good to go faster in the wet but that's better than the course getting completely destroyed from a bunch of tight turns in wet gravel, mud and water. It was a great course that included an elevation change down across a large puddle. You could get some good speed through there and make quite a splash. I don't think the course workers were to happy about getting splashed but it looked amazing. After that it was a tight slalom to a horseshoe which you could drift around. Very easy to get sideways on the wet gravel.

I was amazed with how well the car held up through the morning runs. Slaloms were much easier, getting the car to slide when I wanted wasn't an issue and I kept traction pretty well considering the wet surface. Before, I was constantly bottoming out and scraping my skid plate across the gravel. Now I would only hear the skid plate hit once on a run at a particularly bad rut. Quite an improvement and I could push the car harder without worrying about breaking everything. Also the car no longer bounced. The better spring rate and dampers fixed that issue. The stock suspension was just too soft for this kind of driving.

The afternoon course was just a reverse of the morning course.

Overall it was a good practice day for me with not much competition. I wasn't really consistent with my times and hit a few cones but it was also an adjustment for me to be driving on such a wet surface. I was mostly comparing times with a couple of PA Subaru guys in my run group. One has a 2012 STi that has been tuned to 350ft-lb torque. I was getting lap times of around 54-52 seconds until we came up on the last run of the day. Somehow everything clicked and I ended the day with a 50.6 clean. Only a tenth of second behind the 2012 STi's fastest time. He and I were surprised and impressed. It just shows how much room I have to improve considering I cut down 2 seconds in one run. Just need more practice!

Here's some pics of the car after the event. I spent a good long time chiseling and spraying mud and rocks off the car. The undercarriage was especially awful... which reminds me I really need to figure out a skid plate for the fuel lines.









Next up is the Northeast National Challenge! Also I registered for MF since my times have been so good lately and I wanted more competition.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:58 AM   #34
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Sure is too bad Prepared 2wd class is so underrepresented.
You'd think cars with some mild mods but still having interiors would be popular..but...
at least in my neck of the woods it's like 2-5 cars max if you are lucky.

Stock 2wd and Mod 2wd on the other hand,are huge classes, at least in SoCal.

But....it sounds like your car set-up and mad skills are progressing nicely!
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:40 PM   #35
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I dream of the day and I fully build an SVT for rally, SBK86
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Old 10-22-2014, 12:55 PM   #36
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Sorry I've been really slacking on these updates. I'm about a month behind.



Early September was the Northeast National Challenge event which consisted of three days. Test and tune on Friday and actual event racing on Saturday and Sunday. No times were being logged for the test and tune cause not many people showed up. It was mostly a relaxed testing day for the people from the New England area who haven't driven on our surface before. They're used to a mostly dirt course (sometimes snowy) and ours is basically all gravel so very different to drive on, they compared it to driving on marbles.

For the event, we had less of a turn out than the organizers had hoped for. Only about 35 drivers. We were hoping for close to 50 but oh well. I think it was bad timing for some; I know a lot of the regular local guys couldn't make it due to weddings, kids going back to school or other plans. About 10 of the drivers were from out of the area. One came from as far as Maine.

Also I changed class to Modified FWD instead of Prepared. My times have been so good lately that I decided I needed the extra challenge and bumped myself up. And I bought myself a set of gravel tires and 15" BRAIDs! Really expensive... my bank account is hurting but they should last me through all of next year.



There were only three other cars in my class, disappointing since usually MF has a bigger turn out than that but still some good competition. There's an early 90s civic that usually dominates MF in our region. His car weighs less than 2000 lbs and the guy has been racing here for a few years. The other is a ridiculous Buick Century that looks nothing like a Buick anymore. It's completely gutted and sounds like a monster. His times have been improving a lot with each race this season and right before this event he picked up a set of gravel tires. The third car in my class was an old VW Golf from Massachusetts. I'm not sure about all the modifications he's done but his car was gutted with a rollcage. I heard he usually does pretty well in his own region back home but it's a very different style of course compared to ours.



So onto racing...

It rained most of the early morning Saturday and my run group (all the 2WD cars so every class of RWD and FWD) was up first. Great because the AWD cars usually tear up the course a lot more but difficult for us since we'd be racing in the rain. At the last event it had rained the night before so we had a wet course but I haven't yet run in actual rain.

The morning was a little rough for me but everyone else was having a hard time as well. Saturday's course was a tighter technical course with lots of sharp challenging turns which made sliding in the wet gravel and mud a lot of fun but not particularly fast. Of course as soon as our run group was done the sky cleared up and the sun came out. I still managed to have a 10 second lead over the other cars in my class at the end of the morning session.



The afternoon session went a lot smoother and I only had one cone penalty. The gravel tires drive a lot differently than my old winters. It's a lot better but just different to get used to since the grip and traction is much more immediate. With the stiff sidewall and sharp edges the tires really bite when I abruptly change direction in loose gravel so I can travel through slaloms and chicanes much faster than before. It took me a few runs to realize this and just trust the car when before it would typically slide out. Now the car would only slide or drift when I wanted it to which was perfect.

At the end of the first day I think I was ahead by about 30 seconds or so. That's a pretty large lead so first place was mine unless I got a couple big penalties or the car breaks down. I was considering just driving it easy to get the car through the next day but then I saw that the guy leading the RWD group with a red RX7 was only 4 seconds ahead of me.



That night we all took over the same restaurant/bar we did at the last two day event. I love to drink but took it easy since my hangovers are typically brutal. Other drivers didn't care and went all out.. not sure if their times suffered the next day haha.

Sunday was a bright sunny day with higher temperatures. This means the gravel is hot and more loose. Also extremely dusty.



The course was set up very differently than the previous day's. This was a long fast course with one large horseshoe turn and some big slaloms. There were also some interesting elevation changes.

The morning session went smoothly for me and I just barely put down the fastest lap time.

My competitor in 2nd place with the Honda had a big problem on his last run. He was able to finish but the transmission mount had sheared off from the frame rail and now his transmission was just laying on his skid plate. The car wouldn't be able to finish the afternoon session.

The rules allow you a replacement car as long as it fits within the class rules. I've known the guy all year and he's helped me out a lot and taught me a lot about driving FWD. I felt bad so offered up to dual drive my car. Basically, two drivers can race the same car. Each driver gets the same amount of runs it's just double the runs (and wear) for the car.

Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, he would just take the DNF for the day but this was a National event so money is involved.



The afternoon course is roughly the same course driven in reverse. I enjoyed this version of the course.. it was a little faster and for the last few runs a rut had developed making a little hill before an elevation change. If you were going fast enough out of the horseshoe the front tires would leave the ground for a moment. Kind of awesome to be going full throttle, feel the car lift off and the engine revs fly up and bounce off the limiter for a moment. By the time the safety stewards noticed our session ended and they changed the course for the AWD group coming up next.

The guy with the Honda was also driving my car for this session. His times were very close to mine but I had the fastest time overall. I'm glad I was the faster one in my own car at least.

The red RX7 had a lot of cone penalties the second day so I ended up beating him by about 20 seconds. However, he did have the fastest lap time.

So I got 1st for MF. The Civic ended up in second instead of last since he used my car and the Buick came in third beating the VW from New England.

For 2WD overall I got first followed by an E30 BMW and then a 1990 Miata in the stock class (this was another guy from new england and he was really quick). The RX7 ended up in 4th overall I think due to all the cone penalties.

Here's the times:http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/...%20Results.pdf

Overall about 30+ minutes of seat time. Most I've done in one weekend. The AWD times aren't really comparable since the courses changed a bit between 2WD and AWD run groups.



Since this is a national SCCA event there's contingency money. Unfortunately, Ford doesn't support the program. The only manufacturers that do are Honda, Mazda, Subaru and I think VW. I was pretty surprised with Subaru, 1st place gets $1250! I did at least get a certificate from Hawk Brakes so yay free brake pads.

MF podium cars:


MA podium:


Thanks to a friend of mine for most of the pictures. They were all taken on Saturday when the weather was nice.



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Old 10-22-2014, 01:51 PM   #37
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Well done, SBK86! You have learned fast and well. It sounds as if you are having fun too!
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:00 PM   #38
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Tx for posting the stories, vicarious racing thrills for sure!

Rally-X sounds like a good time, and like lower level Auto-X it isn't the investment full on Rally or racing would be.
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