Another great year of fun and challenges..Â This year they changed the format backwards in time a bit and I think it was more fun.
We (Me, Mark (Dirtball), Jeff, and Mike(Scrambler Mike)) Started out Saturday morning with a familiar trail and immediately into the tasks. We had to take a strap and pull one vehicle with the other around a circular course with the lead vehicle zig zagging around cones and the trailing vehicle had to zig zag and pass the cones on the opposite side of the lead vehicle. We did ok but allowed the strap to touch the ground once.
With that done we took off down the trails again. Most of the trails we had run before so it was not too bad to follow the directions.
We came up to a nasty hill that had directions to go up it. The only problem was there was a broken vehicle right in the middle of the hill. The axle had come apart and it pushed the spindle apart so the whole tire/wheel/brake fell off. It did not look like it was too bad, so we waited for them to get it back together so we would not loose the points for bypassing part of the trail. After about 45 minutes of sitting in the insistent drizzle they got it back together and we were on our way again.
The hill was a bit of a challenge, but having experience in this stuff, we decided to pull up as far as we could and winch the rest of the hill. It was not worthy taking the risk of breaking and possible getting ending the competition for us.
We came up to another task soon enough. This one was to take plastic balls off of T-ball stands that were placed all over the sides of a gravel pit, and give them to the second vehicle where they had to put them back in place. Needless to say they were not placed where you could just drive up to them. They were at the crest of a major dropoff, and in the middle of a steep hills. We had seen this before so Dirtball had brought along some grabbers that were about 3 feet long to grab them. This was a great idea, but also our undoing of sorts. We could grab the balls OK, but when bringing the ball back into the Jeep, it hit the mirror and came out and fell to the ground. It was not too bad to reach under to grab the ball again, but evidently if you dropped the ball you received no score. Oh well, lesson learned and we were off again…
A while later we came across another familiar place that we had been before. This one was a steep hill with an impossible steep rock face in the middle. As we had done this before, we just drove to the face and pulled cable to get up to the top. We know it is not drivable, so why bother. Up on the top we come on another task. This one was a scenario of you had a stick through the radiator and had to repair it to get back off of the trail. This was not a problem as we have been through this in actual conditions before. The only problem was getting the person running it to understand that we would not do a temporary repair like they wanted. We had the stuff with us to do a permanent repair that you could run on forever. We would solder the hole up permanent. As a matter of fact, Dirtballs rig was running with a radiator that had been repaired a couple of time that way.
After we showed them that we did actually have the stuff to repair it right, we were on our way again.
We were headed up Firebreak 5 and we came up on Larry from Trailready trying to crawl up a rocky section in the middle of a hill. I stopped behind him, and was watching him try a real hard line. I was just saying “that is not a good line” when he slid over the edge of the bank and rolled over onto his side. I can now tell you that Grand Cherokee’s do not like being set on their side. There was a lot of damage. The roof was buckled and the rear door had a big gap at the top. We volunteered to help get him back upright, but he had called his partner down from the top of the trail to help him get it upright.
Once they were up and out of the way, we continued up and over the top. We had to get back into camp for the drivers meeting for the night run, and we had to do the camp tasks.
The camp tasks were the balance beam where the rigs were on the opposite beams and there was a plumb bob apparatus hanging in the middle that you had to balance in the middle without touching the sides of the ring. To do this you had to move the vehicles to try and get the ramps just right. I forgot about the rear steer of my vehicle when the suspension is flexed and did not get enough onto the ramp before going up, so by the time I got up the ramp I was right on the edge and slid off, so we got no points for that one.
The next was the medical task, It was just a couple of scenario’s that we had to explain what we would do if we ran across. We did Ok but missed the part of someone having an allergy. It turned out they were looking for an anti histamine.
Next was a course set up through a pit where you had to drive between cones in a couple of off camber situations. The first corner I went around it felt like the side of the Jeep was off the ground, It was that bad. But the highlite was the end where you hade to run a sidehill above cones that you actually would roll if you tried to go too slow. Dirtball came over this and powered out with both right side tires in the air..
The drivers meeting was next and we had the Time/distance/speed rally section to do in the dark. We got in line and got ready to go when we found one calculator was solar and would not work at night and the backup had stayed on all day and had a dead battery. What a way to start! Jeff and Mike did a great job of guiding us and best guessing our speed from our gps readings. We hit all the check points and got as close as we could to time. Luckily the weather was OK and we did not get into too much fog. Some years there is so much fog you cannot go over 5 MPH without fear of running off of the road. We got back into camp about 2:30 in the morning and got some sleep, hoping to score enough points to make it into the finals, but alas it was not to be. We still had fun and finished everything without any major breakage so in all, it was still a victory..
Till next year… đź™‚