Targa Miata
September 20, 2008 - The final results are up.
We're 16th overall! And we got our Targa plate as well, which is what I'm really happy about. You can read the results on the Rally Scoring website. We were just a few seconds ahead of Bill Arnold's final time after his strut collapse.
The times from the final stage were discounted because a number of cars had stopped for the accident. Nobody was zeroing the stage so accurate penalty numbers would have been impossible to calculate. Add into that some changes in the base times for Brigus and the last day was fairly eventful for the scoring crew.
16th! Wow.
entry 588 - tags: results
September 21, 2008 - We had the big awards gala last night.
Lots of awards and applause and food and more awards and more applause. Everything wrapped up at around 12:30 am. Jim Kenzie, the presenter, made a few very kind comments about our team. He praised our behavior in both accidents we came across, saying we did the right thing despite being novices. He also said our car was possibly the best looking at the event and really well prepared. More flattery!
There was a short video shown of highlights of the week. Holy cow, there was a lot of chaos - and that was just the stuff that happened in front of the camera! It showed us how little drama we had all week. We had a couple of small moments, but nothing like what we were watching. We didn't get much screen time, as you can imagine. I can tell you that the quality of the footage was top-notch though, and the TV show should be fantastic.
The Baldhead Racing award for the best-placed novices went to Hugo and Maxime Vadeboncoeur. They're a pair of brothers who drove a CRX extremely well, trading seats depending on if they were dealing with open road or village stages. They put in an amazing effort and finished 8th overall. I'd thought we might have a shot at this award early in the week, but it became clear on Day 3 that we just weren't going to be able to keep up with these guys.
entry 601 - tags: results
September 12, 2011 - Time for a long transit to Gander, where we parked for the night.
The transit headsets I put together are a godsend, making life much better in a loud car.
It was a good day. We didn't get through it without penalties, which is usually a requirement for a good finish. But as it turns out, none of the Open cars did manage to clear it. Our 6 seconds of penalties put us in fourth in the division. The big Challenger that showed up in 2008 is leading with two seconds, followed by a BMW M3 (3 seconds) and the Civic (5 seconds). We're in a good place. We're being cautious and not taking big risks, and we're only 4 seconds behind the division leader.
Attrition is taking its toll already. The Audi is running, but it's not healthy and has 28 minutes of penalties. The Subaru with the blown head gasket was involved in another mishap after the head gasket failure and will not be returning. Jim Kenzie in his MINI is suffering from electrical problems and missed a stage today, which will give him approximately 8 minutes of penalties.
Our car is holding up well. The fuel economy is much better when we're not idling constantly. The skid plates did their job on the big hit in Marysvale. I can see skid marks on them, but nothing is damaged underneath. Perfect. There's a bit of oil consumption but nothing that can't be managed. And the weather is so far, so good. So it's been a good day.
entry 959 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, results
September 13, 2011 - As for us, we're in the lead.
And it's from doing exactly what we planned to do. Running a clean, consistent race and letting attrition take a big toll. The Civic that was running just ahead of us yesterday failed to finish all of the stages today. I don't know why, but it does mean they've fallen a long way back. The BMW and the Challenger both zeroed most of the day, but the BMW took just over 60 seconds of penalties on Gander and the Challenger took 48. We took 31, which puts us in first place in our division! It's still a long way to go, but for now I'm really pleased.
On Point Leamington last year, I drove as fast as I could and took 6 seconds of penalties with with my slower base time. This time, I had a good margin for error and still managed to come in far ahead of my time. It's a good place to be, right where I wanted. We're not the fastest car on the road, but we have the least number of penalties.
entry 972 - tags: 2011 race, day 2, results
September 14, 2011 - The results are posted!
Janel and I knew we'd taken 13 seconds in penalties, and we were 13 seconds ahead of the Challenger last night. So even if he'd zeroed everything, we'd be tied. Well, he didn't. We were the fastest Open Class car through Greenspond, and the stages that bit us also bit others. The end result is that we extended our lead to 21 seconds ahead of Rob's Challenger. There was much rejoicing. It's still a long couple of days to go with many opportunities to either take penalties or worse. Rob's got a long history in the event at the top level, and experience is worth a lot. But no matter what, we're overjoyed with how things stand right now. We'll keep driving to our level and hope that this awe-inspiring little car has what it takes to stay ahead.
Into the Clarenville arena nice and early, and time for a car wash first. There's basically a car show every night as we work on the cars and talk to the locals, and we always make sure the cars are nice and clean.
The forecast for tomorrow looks like it could be wet. There are some tight little stages that will do us well, but also some very fast open ones with aggressive times as the competition ramps up. As always, it's more important to get home than it is to avoid penalties!
entry 977 - tags: 2011 race, day 3, results
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 16, 2011 - The final results have not yet been released for the Open class.
According to my understanding of the rules, we have finished third. It all depends on if one car is counted as a finisher. We were 4:59 behind the winners...and we took that 5:00 penalty for the bad main relay. Sigh. Still, it tells me we could run with the big boys. We got to the end of the week safe and with a car that had proven to be pretty darn reliable. We changed an ignition coil on Day 2 to prevent a problem and identified why it may have been weak. And then the bone stock original Mazda main relay let us down. Otherwise, it took an incredible amount of abuse on fast, rough roads. The predictable handling and excellent suspension let me take full advantage of the huge power. It was actually quite shocking that, even in the wet, I could give it nearly full throttle in first gear if I got moving without breaking the tires free. Bystanders reported that I was coming off the line as well as many of the Subarus in the wet. Overall, everyone said the car looked very well planted and a number of teams were quite complimentary on how well it was set up. We also got a few comments on how the two of us were packed into the car.
I think it was a surprise to a lot of people, and we've proven the car has the ability to win the whole shebang even with a less experienced crew. Maybe someday we'll get a chance to come back and give it another shot.
Our goals were to finish, to bring home a Targa plate and hopefully place well. We managed the first, just missed the second and did fairly well on the third. Both of our biggest challengers failed to make the finish line.

More details later once the results of a number of inquiries (rally-speak for "requests for corrections") have been addressed.
entry 992 - tags: 2011 race, results
September 18, 2011 - The final results have been posted, and we're third overall in the Open division.
Excellent. During the (very long) awards banquet, we got a lot of compliments from our competitors both on the car and our performance.
We managed to squeak out third place by one whole second in the end. The Toyota Corolla (AE86) that was fourth had been slower all week, and was running much further ahead in the pack. He missed the hurricane in Carbonear, and a full minute of our lead evaporated on that one short stage as we sloshed through the monsoon - a stage where we'd been 30 seconds faster than the Corolla just 40 minutes before. We got lucky there, but I think the results are appropriate. There were a lot of inquiries about that downpour, as it affected some competitors far more than others. It didn't end up making any difference to our division but it sure could have.
Would we have preferred to win the whole thing? Of course. We got unlucky with that main relay failure. But we led the event for several days and showed that our little beastie could really move. We didn't make any major errors and most importantly, brought it home safe, sound and healthy. Mission accomplished.
entry 993 - tags: 2011 race, results
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