|September 15, 2011 - Time for Garnish.|
This is a fast, fast stage with a very rough road. It starts off with crests (or "cresty" as it says in the routebooks, which I find to be a very amusing word), gets bumpy, then takes a detour into the small fishing town of Garnish where it becomes extremely rough, then back on to bumpy for another fast section to the end. We were catching air in fourth gear over the crests and really testing the limits of the suspension both on compression and droop. What a fantastic little car. We did punish the skid plates somewhat as you can imagine, and the rear finally buckled under pressure and bent enough to contact the exhaust. No real problem other than a big of vibration - and more importantly, no damage to anything important. If the plate hadn't been there, it would have been our exhaust and diff. We came in 29 seconds late, partly due to our lack of GPS and partly due to my self-preservation instinct on the hammered pavement. 200 km/h is pretty fast when the car's being thrown around like that.
Garnish was followed by a very short lunch, as we had to get back on schedule after the marine Enzo shenanigans. Two runs through Fortune, which is a tight town stage that's like a mini Gander. It works well for us, and we came through with 2 seconds of penalties the first time. The second time, I was faster but we had a tighter time and I think we picked up four. But that doesn't matter, because there was another accident that shut the stage down and that meant no scores for anyone.
So we headed back out to the Garnish course for a run in the other direction, named Frenchmans Cove. Long, fast, bumpy. Going through the town, I ended up using first gear and the handbrake to get around some of the corners and it worked very well. We were still suffering from a lack of GPS on the long cresty bits, which both of our main competitors in Open were using. Still, we were only 4 seconds behind the fastest car in the division and holding on to our lead. It was an exhausting run through the stage, both due to the physical battering and the mental stamina to drive that fast on that pavement for so long. There's no Miata in the world that could have done it faster.
entry 985 - tags: 2011 race, day 4, Garnish, Frenchmans Cove, Fortune, skid plates