|August 18, 2011 - Brandon surveys his new race car.|
In case you missed the announcement on the FM site, Bill broke his shoulder over the weekend and is unable to race. Brandon, trying to act sympathetic but secretly giggling like a little girl, has stepped into his place. Now he's working to get the 2006 ready for the race. The plan to run a set of Corbeau FX1 Pro seats has been set aside - Bill doesn't find the stock NC seats comfortable, but they fit Brandon just fine. He's also working on smaller things such as wiring in the Terratrip rally computer and generally sorting out where everything will go. Reading the rulebook over and over is a big part of preparation for the event, to make sure there are no surprises at scrutineering.
entry 913 - tags: nancy, brandon, accident
|September 12, 2011 - Zach and his homework.|
He's got a lot more of it to do, and the surprising change to Condition 2 for the second stage today really messed with his calculations. He's learning fast, but it's been a challenging and frustrating few days. This isn't quite what he expected! However, despite the learning curve, he and Brandon are currently penalty-free and tied for first with two other teams. It doesn't get any better than that.
Brandon reports that the pace is good - fast enough to be fun, but without the risk of a Miata/tree incident.
entry 961 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, Nancy, Zach, Brandon
|September 13, 2011 - Brandon, hard at work.|
This shot is from Gordon the official event photographer, and he's pretty good at posting daily updates. You can see them here: http://www.gordonsleigh.com/v/Motorsports/Targa/Daily2011/.
There's one new rule this year: anyone spotted cutting corners and throwing gravel on to the road gets a 30 second penalty. On the second stage yesterday, it was pretty hard to tell where the road started on some corners thanks to the gravel present when we went through, but I believe that was a pre-existing condition!
I forgot to mention some extra drama for our team yesterday. As we pulled up to the start line for Southern Harbour In, my intercom cut out. 20 seconds of frantic messing about followed to fix the intermittent connection and I managed to get it sorted, but it got Janel all tense. Looking at the video, I was distracted as well. We took some steps to secure the wires to prevent it from happening again, but it sure wasn't a good way to start a stage.
entry 962 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, Southern Harbour In, Brandon, gravel
|September 13, 2011 - Zach and Brandon are Grand Touring superstars.|
Despite their rocky start tomorrow, they've hit their stride and zeroed the entire day. Yes, they're tied for the lead with a couple of other cars. Fantastic work. It's a different kind of race than we're running, but it's still full of adrenaline and close attention to detail. Anyone who thinks that Grand Touring is the soft option needs to give it a try. Fantastic work on their part.
entry 971 - tags: 2011 race, day 2, Zach, Brandon
|September 14, 2011 - Brandon and Zach have extended their streak and are in a three-way tie for first.|
We're going to send Zach home smarter than we got him, as he's monitoring about nineteen different things at once. We had no idea what we were doing to him when we invited him to take the right seat in this car. It's a difficult, non-stop job, and very different from a Targa-class navigator. There, the work is less complex but mistakes carry much higher consequences.
Here, Brandon poses for the camera as Zach tries to make him pay attention to something important.
entry 980 - tags: 2011 race, Brandon, Zach, day 3
|September 15, 2011 - Most of my reports are about how the V8 Targa Miata is doing.|
That's because I'm fully immersed in it. We don't get to see Brandon and Zach much on the stages because they run right at the front of the pack due to their excellent accuracy and we run closer to the back due to our speed. With 56 cars running at 30 second intervals and a 5 minute buffer between the Targa and Grand Touring classes, that means we're nearly a half hour apart. By the time we arrive at a stage or a service stop, they're gone. Zach is posting to Autoblog so you can hear his side of the story. It's a bit delayed due to the publishing procedures at the mothership, but it'll show up.
As always, the Targa isn't one big story. With 56 cars, there are 56 epic adventures being written. You're only reading two.
entry 981 - tags: 2011 race, Autoblog, updates, Zach, Brandon
|September 16, 2011 - Brandon and Zach, tired and happy at the finish.|
A couple of small mistakes yesterday caused them to pick up 14 penalty points, which unfortunately pushed them to 5th overall in the preliminary results. An excellent result for a first-time team, and two mistakes over five days of demanding competition is a pretty good record! You'll be able to read more on Autoblog when Zach's report is published there.
entry 991 - tags: 2011 race, results, Zach, Brandon
|September 18, 2011 - Brandon and Zach took home some hardware as well.|
They finished 5th in the fairly well populated Grand Touring class. But they placed better than any other novice team, and that combined with their great attitude won them the Grace Cup Novice Award. It was a real surprise - they didn't even know it existed - and there were a lot of big grins at our table.
There have been some questions about what happened with the scoring in our division. We were initially listed as fourth, behind the Subaru STi of Mike Davenport. Well, Mike's Modern-class car broke on the first day. He got lucky - thanks to that cancelled stage, he didn't miss any stages. But the car wasn't going to come back. Richard Burton had a spare car on hand, so he loaned it to Mike. Yes, Mike managed to borrow an Open-class car from another competitor - how cool is that? He rejoined at the beginning of day 2 and ran with our class.
Targa Newfoundland looks for ways to let people drive. It's one of the refreshing aspects about the event, they look for solutions instead of looking for problems. But you can't just swap over to a new car with a fresh engine, fresh tires and fresh suspension without penalties.
Effectively, if you do this, your car is penalized as if it did not start competing until it hit the stage. So Mike's scoring should have reflected a complete day of missed stages (5 minute penalty) plus the maximum time attained by anyone in his division for each of those stages. It's basically as if Mike never drove that first day - although he did get to keep his times towards his Targa plate.
During the rally, these penalties were not being applied due to a miscommunication between the scoring team and the event organizers. Once that was cleared up, those extra penalties (approximately 13 minutes worth) dropped him from 4th to 6th.
There was also a lot going on with the Modern class results. I don't know the details and I won't speculate, but the second-place car was disqualified. At the banquet, the final results were still up in the air. Matt Oldford took home the first place award again, and rightfully so.
entry 994 - tags: 2011 race, Brandon, Zach, scoring, results
|September 30, 2011 - Brandon and Zach's office.|
The tape with numbers on it are to remind the crew what the average speed for a given stage should be. The spare ones on the door are both souvenirs and spares in case another stage uses the same speed. The two egg timers are a Day 2 addition, one counting up and the other counting down. This way Zach knows if they're running on time. There's a pre-stage checklist on the dashboard as well.
Moving over to Brandon's side, you'll see red tape on the speedo to remind him of the overall speed limit. He's also got a GPS mounted to the dash as a backup to the Terratrip, showing average speed. It's a different sort of cockpit than we have in the Targa Miata, fine-tuned for a different purpose.
It should be pointed out that, after competing in the Targa, I drove this car home from Ottawa to Colorado because the space in the trailer was taken up by another car. Race numbers, interior additions and all. The fact that it's a real car with cruise control and A/C made it a lot more comfortable than you might expect - these Targa cars work in the real world too. Although they do attract a bit of attention to be sure.
entry 1004 - tags: 2011 race, ergonomics, Brandon, Zach