2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

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2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.05.28 06:01:46 PM

It's time for some LHFR stories and in-car videos.

A1 - Lavant Mill Rd Northbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSWYmTvOD_8

At the start of the first stage we have João Leonardo, with his stick, making sure we are precisely aligned with the start line.

Then, because Martin and I were often overhead on our videos ridiculing the needless popping and banging of the noisy Open-Class cars as they sit on the start line with their engines pinging off the rev-limiter with anti-lag and launch-control activated, Peter now gets a chance to demonstrate what launch-control can actually do.

Okay, it's cool. But it's brutal and sends a violent shock down through the drivetrain. My neck still hurts. :loco:

The few milliseconds saved on the start were hardly worth it, as we were pretty slow for the rest of the stage. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This is a learning season for us both. Peter is still coming to grips with this hugely potent car. And I'm still trying to figure the correct pace for feeding notes to Peter. Sometimes I'm too far ahead, other times too far behind. And other times, like at 4:10, I'm just plain wrong with "Care Left-3 tightens... Care Left-3 opens... Tightens! [#@%!]"

At 5:05, knowing Steve (styvesphotos) would be waiting there, we just had to go extra BIG over the jump!

Mal Swann came out for the first time all the way from out East to run his yellow RX7 at this event. He says he watched plenty of our previous in-car videos to help him get a sense of the roads. But after recce Mal mentioned to me that the videos really don't prepare you at all for just how utterly gnarly these roads are. It's non-stop hidden turns over blind crests, and tricky combinations of corners, for which you need complete trust in your notes. And he was not at all sure about his notes.

Similarly, I think Peter was finding it quite intimidating doing this stage for the first time at speed. We're both far from confident yet. But that's okay. Better slow and safe than doing something stupid this early on.

At 7:30 we come to something odd in our notes which tripped us up on both passes of this northbound stage. Peter insists I'm behind in the notes, which surprised me because I thought I was still good. I hesitate and repeat the note, which by then of course actually is behind and makes me late for the following note, which is really the only important one in the whole string. "L5 crest, 20 R5 into mid-Crest, and R4short into crest, Care! L4 tightens 3"

We'll definitely need to clarify the phrasing of that one for next year.

The rest of the stage went well. We knew we wouldn't be setting any records on this first run, nor were we trying to. But were still a little surprised to find out we were only 18th quickest out of 20 cars. Whoa, there are a lot of quick teams competing here! We will need to step up our game a bit from here on.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.05.28 07:25:45 PM

This second stage was a bit of a mess, entirely my fault.

A2 - Umphersons Mill Rd Southbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLvjmHcWzNw

I was fumbling the notes on this one.

It was okay for the first 2:30, after which I fumbled the first one. How is Peter supposed to be drive confidently when I'm not delivering the notes confidently?

Just after 3:00 we come to a warning triangle. It's David Lamarre /Kelly Mathew out with some sort of engine failure. That momentary distraction right away has me struggling to keep up in the notes. My voice goes all shrill when I'm stressed, which happens when I'm aware that I'm screwing up. It's embarrassing.

Even more embarrassing, I screwed up badly at the finish. There's a tricky right-jump that's hard to describe, so we noted it as a "remember right-jump", but I made the mistake of looking up from my notes at that point. As a result I momentarily lost my place just as we passed the finish boards, except that wasn't actually the flying finish yet, just the yellow boards warning the flying finish is coming up next.

I glanced down to check my watch to note our finish time, leaving Peter to wonder which way the road goes over that next blind crest where the actual flying finish is marked by the red boards. Then it gets weird because Peter starts yelling, "I need a time!" when what he actually meant to say was, "I need an instruction, left or right, which way over this crest!" So now, confused, I'm desperately trying to read my watch, when I should have been reading my notes. Anyway, that was a mess... :oops:

In any case, our pace improved. We were 12th out of 19 for this stage. :chug:

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.05.30 02:40:23 PM

Sometimes I'm just plain wrong with "Care Left-3 tightens... Care Left-3 opens... Tightens! [#@%!]"

Maybe I'm slightly dyslexic. I've always had problems tripping over the difference between "opens" or "tightens". There isn't enough time during recce, or enough room afterwards, to write it out fully as "opens" or "tightens". Instead the shorthand notation for each is "<" for opens, and ">" for tightens. You can see how, when in a rush or under stress, it's easy to get those two confused. But it's a pretty serious mistake to call a turn as opening, when in fact it pinches tighter.

My other new note prone to error is the difference between "kink" and "kick". They look a lot alike, eh.

A normal crest or jump makes the car light, standing up on its tiptoes. But a "kick" will send only one side of the car into the air. Typically it's encountered somewhere within a corner where the car is already leaning to the outside. That extra "kick" then tends to bounce the car up onto two wheels. I'm used to the note normally looking something like, "R5/kick", i.e "Right5 over kick".

A "kink" is something else altogether. Typically it's used when the road squiggles left/right but you can see a straight line right through all the squiggles to the next feature worth noting. In that case, rather than trying to describe each separate squiggle with a big mouthful of busy notes, you can just say the road "kinks" for some distance, for example "kinks 80".

Well, Peter has introduced me to a new use for "kink". For example, in this photo you can see that the road bends left, after which there is a crest. Since you can see straight through this slight bend to the crest, Peter notes this as just a "kink left".

Image

In the video, at 1:32, I'm already stumbling over that as it sounds rather suspiciously as though I pronounced that as, "kick left".

A3 - Lavant Mill Rd Northbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVeCZ01MmjA

At 2:20 we come to the long straight past my friends at Paul's Hunt Camp, after which there is a big crest -- where we nearly crash!

Coming up to that crest, Peter is heavy on the brakes, and the car starts slewing to the left instead of facing into the upcoming right hand bend. For a brief moment there it looked as though we might be heading for the fence, or worse for the lake behind the fence! At the time I hardly even noticed it, but Peter later said that was nearly a big off.

At 3:30 we get another fright when, again going BIG over the jump, in the landing zone we discover Nicolas Laverdiere or Vincent Trudel running back toward us waving a warning triangle. They had just run their Honda Civic off the edge of the road ahead of us, and had their fire extinguisher out to put out a small fire that had started in the dry grass and leaves under their car.

I was trying to take note of the mileage where those guys went off, and right after that my tongue starts tripping over kinks and kicks.

"R3sh into L4/kick and kink L/kick"

Somehow that got fumbled into, "Right 3 short into Left 4 over kick and kink over left kick."

Huh? That doesn't make sense. My brain was still trying to make sense of that while I was scribbling down the mileage, and of course now I'm too late on the next note which is really the only important one as the road goes sharp left over a blind crest. D'oh.

It gets worse...

My brain is still not fully re-engaged when, at 4:20, we come to, "Care! Kink-L/Big Cr into R4lg"

Jeez, did I ever bugger that one up. I'm too busy choking on Crests & Kinks that I'm again far too late warning about the important Right4 that pops up immediately after the crest. Peter wasn't happy about that surprise.

It gets even worse yet...

At 5:47 we come to the bit that we were confused about on our first pass. "20 R5 into mid-Cr and R4sh..." Last time Peter told me I was behind at this point, whereas I was convinced I was good. So this time I'm absolutely certain that I'm at the correct spot in the notes, when Peter again makes some comment that I didn't actually hear. That prompted me to repeat the instruction, which threw me off and again resulted in me being far too late for the subsequent and more important "L4>3". WTF?

Peter says, "Don't care. Go!"

It's embarrassing. It's again my fault. Co-drivers should never argue with the driver. Suck it up and just keep reading the notes.

Right after that we encounter another warning triangle, this one for Julien Rondeau & Jonathan Raymond who had pulled to the side of the road for a short rest stop. This time I managed to note their mileage without breaking stride in my note-reading. Look at me go! I'm a pro.

I don't know what was wrong with me on this stage. I really made a dog's breakfast out of that one. Sometimes my brain just cramps up. It happens.

At the finish control I was sure Peter was going slap me upside the head to beat some sense into me but, bless him, he was more excited about us nearly going off on the big crest at Paul's Hunt Camp.

Despite the overall mess of this stage, and having to slow for two warning triangle incidents, we were still 22 seconds faster than on our first pass. So it's not all bad news.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby morrow » 2016.05.30 09:29:40 PM

Love the videos and commentary, Ferd. Keep it coming! :mrgreen:

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Jeannie (VE3JNE) and Jim (VA3JUS).
Jean MacGillivray, MCO Vice-President (2013) and RallySport Ontario Secretary (March 2011 - March 2014).
Jim Morrow, RSO Region Rally Director (2013).
Jim says: If you're not Rallying, you're not living!

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 01:57:55 PM

A4 - Umphersons Mill Rd Southbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdPRdGW9-Ag

This, our second run southbound on Umphersons Mills Rd, went a little better than the first run. We're only one second quicker, but it felt better. Now we head back to the Service park for our Service break.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 02:12:10 PM

Service - 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSy8w2o8hb4

The car is perfect. There's really nothing required to be done at Service other than clean the windows.

While we enjoy a leisurely lunch break, Jeremy Carle gives the windows a wipe, and even applies some Armor All to give the tires a nice shine.

Image

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 02:24:33 PM

B1 - Umphersons Mill Rd Northbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTdQgHvYTWY

Service completed, we head to our first northbound run on Umphersons Mill Rd.

At the start line we have Justin Fitzpatrick capture some external video of our awesome launch. Check out those cool shiny black tires...

At 4:00 into the video we come to the scene of Matthew Ballinger/Bruce Leonard's rollover. They somehow managed to tear both rear wheels of their VW Golf.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 02:59:17 PM

B2 - Lavant Mill Rd Southbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3JRDhyX9zk

This is a good one to watch. Not that there is anything particularly dramatic happening (thankfully). It's just that this one is a good demonstration of how this rallying stuff isn't nearly as easy as one would like to imagine.

Lavant Mill Road was used in a World Rally Championship event back in the 1974 FIA Rally of the Rideau Lakes. It's a hugely challenging piece of road, twisting and turning over many blind crests. Peter has driven this road many times in his career as rally photographer and we've driven it several times together during recce while making our notes. But, it's still a completely different animal when you're doing it for the first time at speed while trying to trust those notes.

We were not at all confident on this run, neither of us. Way too many blind crests. And the character of the road changes constantly. If you can run this road at full speed attacking with full confidence, it's pure magic. But if you're not completely sure, then it's just plain scary.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 04:50:44 PM

B3 - Umphersons Mill Rd Northbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-QO7nEjmtU

This run felt better. But it was actually 0.8 sec slower than our previous run. Go figure.

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 06:08:23 PM

B4 - Lavant Mill Rd Southbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE887mP6Fu4

There was a small delay at the start of this stage, so several cars were stacked up in the control ahead of us. This resulted in an error recorded on our time-card. Timing errors are ultimately the responsibility of the co-driver (me) to check and correct. My bad (again).

The arrival control marshal noted our check-in time correctly, so no transit penalties. That's good. But he assigned us the wrong start time. He wrote our start time as 16:36, while there were still several cars queued up ahead of us.

When we finally rolled up to the start line, I showed the card to the start control marshal and told him we are to start at 16:36, "36". The start marshal is supposed to confirm that, but he really doesn't care about the actual time, he just punches our car number into his electronic handset, and the countdown then starts automatically to the top of the next minute, which in this case was 16:37 (not 36).

I should have checked that the time written on our card was correct, even before we got to the start line. But I didn't notice the mistake until we reached the finish line...

Anyhow, 3-2-1-Go and we launch into the stage. Ten seconds in and Peter is wondering why the car is filling up with dust. He looks over at me to check if my window is closed. It is. Then he realizes it's his window that's still fully open. I'm surprised as we suddenly slow down, seemingly for no reason, as Peter is fumbling with his power window switch. It's all good. Window remedied, we're back underway.

This stage actually felt pretty good. There are still some spots where I haven't quite figured out a comfortable pacing of the notes. Sometimes Peter is calling "next" because he wants the next note called sooner, and other times I'm too far ahead. We'll eventually figure that stuff out. But overall that run felt more confident.

On our first southbound pass of this stage, on B2, our time was 8:13.3. This time, at 8:12.6, we're a whole 0.7 sec quicker. Is that all? It felt much better than that.

Wait a sec. Hold on there. You can see the consternation in my face, check my watch again, check the math again, the gears start grinding in my head, this makes no sense. We're a whole minute slower this time??? No way. How can that be??? :?:

That's when I realized, despite the fact that our time-card says we started at 16:36, we must really have started at 16:37. That's not good.

I know we can have our stage time corrected later, because the electronic timing system will have a record of our actual start time, regardless of what is written on our time-card. But the bigger question right now is, how do we calculate our check-in time for the next arrival control. We're supposed to use the start time from our previous stage, plus the long-time for the stage, plus the transit time to calculate our correct arrival time for the subsequent stage.

Should we use the start time of 16:36, as was incorrectly recorded on our time-card, or should we use 16:37 as that is when we actually started?

From here, we next go back to the Service Park for a time-card swap and an optional refuelling stop. There I hopped out of the car and ran inside to the timing and scoring crew to report the error on our time-card and ask how we should handle the transit timing calculations. Apparently we weren't the only team affected, as another couple of co-drivers had just reported the same issue. I received assurances that our times would be corrected.

I was also advised to go with what's written on our time-card, which is what I had planned to do in any case. The transit times were quite generous anyway. So even though the incorrectly recorded start time now meant we had one minute less time to reach the next arrival control, we still arrived there with plenty of time to spare and checked-in accordingly. No worries...

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 06:33:54 PM

C1 - Umphersons Mill Rd Northbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg-YeWiKtVY

We made it to the start of this stage on time, rolled up to the start line, and with 5 seconds to go before the green light I realize I'm looking at the wrong notes for this stage. Brilliant. Image

Nonetheless, at the finish line we have one stage with a respectable result.

We took 5.4 seconds off our previous run time. That was a nice improvement. That one felt good. :rally:

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Re: 2016 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally - Peter & Ferd Subaru WRX

Postby -Ferdinand- » 2016.06.09 07:21:22 PM

C2 - Lavant Mill Rd Southbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06LWkVcniEc

One last run down Lavant Mill Rd. And again, this final stage is good! We're 5.2 secs faster on this stage too.

The first 8 stages were just so-so. But these last two were good. I wish we could go back and start all over again, beginning with the pace we had on these last two stages and building from there.

For a first time competing in a gravel rally, finishing in the top ten was not a bad result.

What was bad though, even after the rally was over, I found yet one more opportunity to screw up. I checked the posted results to make certain our stage time for B4, the one with the incorrect start time, had been fixed. And it was. But I should have looked closer.

When they corrected our start time for that stage, it fixed the elapsed time for our run down the stage. But, as advised, we had used that incorrectly recorded start time on our time-card to calculate our transit time to the following stage. When scoring subsequently corrected the start time, the scoring software now showed us having checked-in one minute too early at the following arrival control. So, even though the "correction" took a minute off our total stage times, we instead received a one-minute penalty for checking in a minute too early.

So even though the original error was made by the arrival control marshal at B4, I should have noticed it at the time and asked for a correction on the spot. Then timing and scoring "fixed" that error, thereby instead introducing an unfair transit penalty, which I should have anticipated and checked for in the posted results before they went final. The end result is that it's still all my fault, because it's always the co-driver's fault no matter what happens. :nono:

Fortunately, other than causing even more embarrassment :oops:, the one-minute penalty had no effect on the final standings.

Onwards and upwards. Our next event will be better for sure. :thumbup:


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