Coolest Fairmont ever?
NEFR was a last minute entry for us as we had originally planned to run STPR. Jeremy and I both have pretty hectic travel schedules and STPR was a no-go but NEF...R presented a chance to run but by the time I knew I could enter, Jeremy was already co-drivng for Eric. Jeremy suggested calling MJ as he had co-driven a couple events for Chrissy and we knew that the four of us would have a great time together regardless of how the rally unfolds. So, the entry went in by July 8th and logistics were somewhat sorted. Nater’s truck blew up on July 10th so he needed a ride and volunteered to help move our rig around at service. Jared also was coming to the event and graciously offered his always outstanding assistance. So, I loaded up the 6 used tires I had and went to pick up the car that I hadn’t seen since September of last year and hit the road heading north.
The tow went rather smoothly with only a slightly unsatisfactory wheel bearing adjustment in a rest area in NY. This was a far better result than my last tow back from BRS last year where the trailer lost the jack, a bearing, stub axle, and brakes on the PA turnpike.
We encountered a few last minute tech issues on Thursday when the belts I bought brand new in 2015 were expired and one of the new fire bottles had lost its charge. We improvised a fire bottle mount for another extinguisher and borrowed some harnesses from Team Oneil’s trailer and made it through tech the next morning just before parc expose.
Matthew and I were both excited about the performance of the car and happy to have the opportunity to do some racing with both of our wives quickly approaching their due dates. We were given a start order of 23rd on the road due to a lack of recent events. We went at a brisk but conservative pace through concord Pond stage and the car and notes were mostly working well. By the end of the stage, both front wheel bearings were loose and kicking the brake pads back thus requiring some brake pumping to build pressure. Eric and Jeremy were waiting past the end of the stage with a tow rope in hand. They had blown a coolant hose on the stage and needed a flat-tow back to service. We obliged. The bearings were no big problem, we snugged them up in service and headed out to stage 2 while Eric’s BMW was patched back together with a donor hose.
The car was great and the pace was fast until we reached the first chicane and promptly snapped the left axle at the splines inside the wheel bearing. We drove the next 7ish miles with one axle and were very easy on the throttle to avoid further damage. The next 3 hours were spent watching the cars launch up the road while we waited for a trailer to tow us back to service. No big deal, we would replace the axle and play again on Saturday. We were promoted to 8th on the road overnight based on our pace Friday.
Saturday is a set of 3 stages run twice plus a single run of another stage. We ran the 12-mile Azischohos stage first and the car worked great. A couple of cars were off the road or rolled and we caught the dust of three competitors (whom had stopped to provide assistance to the crashed crews) for the last 4 miles of the stage and slowed our pace to prevent the same fate in the poor visibility. Caught a rock with the right front tire somewhere and had a badly bubbled and low tire at the end of the stage we changed on the transit. Next time through, we would really be able to turn up the wick.
Stage 5 was the shorter B17 stage that is at the end of the old Parmachee stage. No issues and a happy pace was achieved. Stage 6 was a bit slower for us as we both encountered some difficulty trusting our notes in the busiest sections of the stage. We headed back to service and rotated our freshest used tires to the front and culled our blistered and low spare damaged earlier.
Stage 7 was a re-run of stage 6 Sturtevant (Fish Pond) while the spectators were all still in place. We lined up and let some national competitors go around us in the control to ensure that we wouldn’t hold them up with any dust should we have a problem. We could only spoil their events and not gain anything for ourselves so this was the sporting thing to do. A couple minutes later, were on the line counting down to launch in the now deeper ruts that had been forming all day. We were pumped to run the stages again with more confidence but the car demonstrated that it was not wanting any of it by spitting out both left and right axle stubs in the first 20 feet of the stage. The marshals helped push the car out of the way and we again ended up spectating while planning the necessary upgraded axle solutions we are now pursuing. Can’t wait to do it again!
Photo below from Pete Kuncis' highlights gallery
New England Forest Rally didn't go quite as planned but the car is undamaged and we showed that we can still throw down some heat !
Axle upgrades in the planning stages. Will post some more event details later.
New England Forest Rally is in less than 2 weeks. Come on out and watch.
Obviously the MK2 is the best GTI platform
The Quantum Rally Sport TDI made it on the cover of this year's Stage Notes for Sandblast Rally in South Carolina next week. This photo was taken last year during testing with no livery yet on the car other than New German Performance's windshield banners