One week before the third Indiana Rallycross event of the 2014 calendar year, the JET team met up at Jose’s house to discuss some last minute plans and to start prepping the car for the off-road action it was going to see the following Saturday. Excitement was at the boiling point during our almost two hour discussion last Sunday. Even though we had only planned to have a short briefing to get everyone on the same page, we couldn’t help but think ahead, past the coming event and into what the future could hold for the team. With a properly running car now, we felt as though nothing could stop us. Then something did, more on that later.
Friday morning, August 1st 7:30am. Jose, Nick, and I congregated at the Discount Tire to which we are all employed to get some final things done on the car. Nick and Jose set about mounting up our new set of tires (Thanks Mark!), while I took to the task of giving the car a final cleaning inside and out.
After about an hour or so, Nick went back home to get his things packed, whilst Jose and I went back to my home to give the car a final thrashing before it was loaded onto the back of our friend Trent’s tow rig once again to make the trip back to Attica, Indiana.
At 2:00pm I picked up Nick and Jasmine and we headed off to another weekend of rallycross.
When we arrived in the town of Attica, we knew that we were going to be slightly ahead of the rest of the team as they all made their way to the small town. Upon contacting Jose, we realized that they had just barely left the Fort Wayne city limits, two and a half hours away. So we had to find something to do. We came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to go to a nearby park, and have a play on all the slides, merry-go-rounds, and see-saws that were in the park. Even though we are still children on the inside, our adult outer selves soon got bored, and hungry. Sustenance was needed. So we decided to explore downtown Attica and see what grub we could find. In doing so I think we found JET’s new favorite, non-racing related spot. The Pizza King.
I know, I know. There are Pizza Kings in other places, but the one in Attica just feels different, and we like that! Soon though, the ‘zza ran out, and simultaneously our interest with the king of pizzas hit the wayside too. So we did the only rational thing we could. Go back to the playground.
After another hour of spinning around the merry go round and trying to not let the pizza have a return tour. We saw the most glorious thing ever. Trent with the Audi on his truck, and Jose in tow! We packed our things back up and headed to the campground where we would be staying the night.
I took Nick and Jasmine out later to a gravel parking lot outside the campground and let them each have a go in the Audi. After they each had their fill of all wheel drive, five cylinder goodness. We returned to the campground where Jose and his family were having dinner. Already filled with pizza, we really couldn’t eat any more. So we joined everyone by the fire for s’mores and conversation.
But soon the light faded out and it was time to head to our sleeping quarters, for a good nights sleep.
We awoke to a cold and dewy morning at Badlands. So we had a quick breakfast, then went to set up our pit and register for a day of ripping about . Soon the other competitors began to shuffle in and set up their pits also.
Mike Weinbrenner was the first to arrive in his awesome Subaru Legacy.
The Knurd Racing boys soon rolled in with their Rally ‘Stang, looking to increase the ‘Merica factor out on course. Cody and Craig also brought a new box of Sharpies and let Jasmine draw a mural on the hood of their #122 Fox Body.
The finished product was a sight to behold. With many of the drivers and team members swinging by to have a look at the newly christened artwork. After everyone was prepped and set up. There was a quick drivers meeting. Then we lined up and proceeded to transit together out to the first stage. New to the Indiana Rallycross system, along with multiple stages, it really made the weekend that much cooler to actually have to travel out to the stages to compete.
After a quick reconnaissance lap, Greg Bugaj was the first out on the road. Always one to watch, he was putting on quite a show, catching air and throwing up huge rooster tails of dirt. His Subaru is always a very photogenic vehicle, providing great entertainment and striking awe in anyone who was watching.
Brian Balliger in his #1 WRX was another great one to watch, the speeds that he carries through some of the corners is astonishing. Clayton Millsap also brought out his freshly rallyfied 2.5rs to give it a shake down before turning it into a full stage car.
Jose went though and finished up two great runs in the Audi. I took over and did my best to wheel the car through the fast 2.25 mile course. The car felt real good. It could definitely use some upgrades. As a starting point though, it feels awesome! Cant wait to turn it into a monster!
Once all the drivers finished up their two timed runs of the course, the officials turned the timing lines around and we set up on the reverse leg of the stage. Greg surprised everyone by catching air at the top of the crest on the first long straight of the reverse course. Flying past everyone griding up for the stage landing just feet away, then proceeding to lock up all four wheels, collecting a row of caution tape, and handbrake turning into the forest. It was quite possibly the greatest thing i have ever seen anyone do in an automobile. Hats off to you Greg.
I had just finished up my first run. Dan Phillips from Indiana Rallycross waved me around back to the start so that I can finish my second run so that Jose can get his two runs done faster. As I was lined up, something happened. Mark Namojlik in the #11 2.5rs, who had just passed by seconds before, clipped a tree in the forest and came to rest down an embankment. Mark was okay after the shunt. His Subaru is going to need some new right side doors though.
The officials called the session right then and there. So we broke for lunch/service and transited back to our pits.
After we finished with service, we all lined back up again and transited to the BadLands Quarry Overlook stage. This short .9 mile course provided for some good fun and technical driving. After I finished my two runs, I let Jasmine grab my helmet and ride with Jose for his two runs.
Nick and I stood by the starters stand, watching the cars run through the stage. We were patiently waiting the arrival of the Audi. I was nervous with excitement. It would be the first time i could see and hear the car running properly out on stage. Those hopes were soon dashed however, by the sight of Jasmine in the drivers seat, with Jose and Craig from Knurd Racing pushing the Audi through the grid. The power steering belt that had been making noise the whole weekend had decided that it didn’t like being in one piece anymore. The battery had drained, and the car was completely dead. We were done for the day. We did have a spare belt, but it was back at our pit, and by the time we changed it, the stage would’ve been closed. So there was no use in going back for it.
Jasmine took my helmet and hitched a ride with Brad Hayosh in his Rally America prepped MK2 Volkswagen Jetta.
Overall we had another amazing weekend. Thank you to all our supporters! Thank you to Dan and all the Indiana Rallycross staff, and thank you to all the other drivers and teams. It was fun to be out there with you guys! Rest assured, we will be back and better than ever for the September event!
As always, you can check out our photos from the weekend here > https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.728423237224900.1073741839.264517730282122&type=3