1107 Takes First in Class at the 24


1107 is super speedy.

Man, does it feel good being part of a winning team!  After taking more than a few hours to get from Washington DC to Fallon NV and getting about 5 hours sleep, Dad and I arrived at 1107 pits around 6am on Saturday morning.  There we joined Our Dear Leader, Jim Graham, Tut and Pepper Cote from Tut Tech Racing, Romy, and Paul.  After a quick drivers’ meeting (where teams were reminded again to not nerf class 11) we were off to the proverbial races.

If you haven’t been following along, here’s a quick catch up:  the 24 race consisted of 12 hours of racing a 41 mile track clockwise, a 12 hour intermission to wrench on the car, and then 12 hours of racing the same 41 miles, but in a counter clockwise direction.  I was in a class 11, which for all intents and purposes is a stock 1969 VW bug.  Sure we’ve got a roll cage, bigger tires, and a little bit better suspension, but it’s still a 1600cc engine with a stock transmission.  To say it’s rough would be like saying Kevin Bacon’s nose is only slightly turned up. (seriously, have you seen his nose?)

After a few laps the front driver’s shock mount tore away from the body and punched a hole in the body of 1107 that looked like it came from a shotgun blast.  Tut came to the rescue with a weld.  Now, I don’t know much about welding, but even I could tell he was McGyvering the crap out of that thing.  But hey, whatever works, right?  We just wanted to get back into it.

                                                
Shotgun blast-like hole in the body of 1107.

 

After an hour, I got in to drive and Tut co-dawged it for me.  He’d already taken two laps so he knew the course really well.  1107 was a little sloppy in the left hand turns, but she was doing okay and Tut was able to tell me how to deal with it, mostly by saying, “GET TO THE INSIDE AND SLOW DOWN!!!”

When we got to the hill section, I became quiet (which is a big deal).  In front of me was quite possibly the biggest hill I’d ever seen.  Seriously, it was like the Mt. Everest of the Nevada desert.  There was a tiny hill at the bottom, so we used that as momentum and you know what?  1107 busted up that hill like it wasn’t no thang.  We were greeted at the top by a very sharp right hand turn.  Had we missed it we would have gone pretty much straight down the other side.

I got through what we called Death Valley just fine, even with the giant sink hole in the silt that swallowed the car whole.  Death Valley was 6 or 7 miles of a box canyon with limited passing opportunities, rocks the size of Andre the Giant, with an uphill silt section at the end.  Aside from 1055 nerfing me about half way up (really dude?  I pulled over as much as I could!), this section was very technical and a lot of fun.

The rest of the day went great.  We didn’t have any problems and we only had to put in a few hours to strengthen the weld on the shock mount.  I was in bed by 10pm.  In a hotel.  And I took a shower.


Dad with a freshly cleaned Parker pumper air filter.

Day 2 found us up early again.  We were ahead of 1166 aka Skittles, and 1177 was out with a bad tranny.  Our goal was to just….Cruise.  VORRA decided on  a land rush start where everyone had to change a tire and then go.  It was really cool to watch everyone starting out on the lake bed.  We started switching drivers after 1 lap to give people more chances to drive.  Tut decided to stay co-driving, so he was with me on the second lap of the day.  There was a delay at Checkpoint 1 for a few hours so Tut and I got to know each other by describing the perfect sandwich and how much we wanted one at that particular moment.  Lesson learned:  duct tape some granola bars to the roof next time.

We got a call on the radio that Skittles was in need of a tie rod and could we stop and help.  At this point we were 4 laps ahead of them and since it takes a village to get a class 11 over the finish line, we stopped.  Turned out the driver and co-driver did not know how to wrench.  Tut put the tie rod on for them and they followed us into the pits.  And that’s how I learned how to change a tie rod.

The rest of the day ran pretty smoothly until the last lap.  We didn’t need to take it, as we had already won, but we wanted to push it a bit.  Not only would an extra lap give Desert Dingo more season points, we still had an hour and a half left and we wanted bragging rights.  So into the car go Pepper (yes, that’s her real name) and I.  She’s driving, I’m co-dawg.  As we were getting strapped in, the guys had the front open and were doing…something.  We couldn’t tell.  Pepper yelled, “Come on!  What are you doing?”  They yell back, “Just tying down your fuel filter.”  Yeah, right.  Turns out they were TAKING OFF THE PASSENGER SIDE SHOCK.  Here’s what Tut had to say about it:

“Took off the shock? It broke off.. not my fault.. I almost freaked out when I saw it stuck into the fuel lines etc. and started to yell to get you girls out and we were done.. but I pulled on the shock and it pulled right out of the fuel lines and… no leaks.. So I un bolted it and dropped it onto the ground.. your dad helped me duck tape the regulator on… It was like having Wonder Woman and Super Girl in the car at the same time.. you two are amazing :)


Romy with the sneakily removed front passenger shock.

We also learned later that we were down a torsion bar as well.  And the light bar, did I mention we had no light bar?  We finished at full dark, a mere 3 minutes before the cutoff time of 8pm.  The last part we were driving pretty much blind, with me reading the GPS and telling Pepper hard right, easy left, etc.


Pepper, Jim, and I throwing the C for Cruising; our race strategy.

A good time was had by all.  Thanks to everyone who helped us out, the other class 11 teams, and Wes and the people at VORRA for putting on such an awesome race.  You can read more words on the Desert Dingo website, and check out more pictures on my Facebook page.  Desert Dingo has a full roster of drivers for the last race of the season, a short course at Prairie City over Halloween weekend.  They probably won’t need me to drive for them until next season, assuming of course that Jim will ask me back.  But as I tweeted a few days ago, “…the milk of human kindness flows through his veins.”

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