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Gazelle Rally 2016…The Vids are Here!

Well, it took a while but our Gazelle Rally videos have published. Roadshow broke them down into three totally amazeball episodes. Check it out!

As always, thanks so much to our sponsors that made it all happen: resqme, Sierra LED Lights, Maxtrax and Total Chaos Fabrication.

 


LeMons: The Fun Way to Fail

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I’m a dirt racer.  Put me out in the desert and I know exactly what to do. Put me on the pavement, well that’s another story. I figured the easiest way to get some pavement experience was to join a LeMons team.  That’s how I found myself under the tutelage of Speedy Cop and his Gang of Outlaws.

Calling ourselves the DC Delusional Racers, we bought Speedy Cop’s old Suzuki x-90 and found a 1996 1.8L Miata engine with 50K miles on it.  Our Haynes manual became well worn, we drank way too much beer, but we finally got the damn thing to start up.

We all had high hopes for the Real Hoopties of New Jersey.  Things started with more wrenching as our fuel cell didn’t pass tech and we needed to modify the support frame.  Which meant welding.  Which none of us could do. Here’s the thing about LeMons: everyone is fucking awesome.  I had not one but two teams offer to help.  I didn’t even have to bat my eyelashes, they just…helped.

The next morning we were ready for the green flag.  We decided to put our Australian driver in first because he A) has never driven the car B) has no race experience and C) has never driven a manual with the shifter on the right hand side. What could possibly go wrong?

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He took the green flag and had an astounding 20 minute run, but came back into the paddock behind a tow truck.  The water hose rubbed against the exhaust manifold, melted,  and you know what happened next.  Ka-BOOM went the head gasket. It had taken us months to get this engine into the car.  Now here we were at the track with limited tools and time.

But true to LeMons, a veritible Miata God came out of the sky and led us through quickly changing the head gasket and checking the valves. Right around 3pm I got suited up, thinking, “Dear Lord, I know I’m kind of a heathen but please don’t let this car blow up on me.” My prayer was for naught as she wouldn’t start.  We started back at it, replacing the fuel injectors, the fuel regulator, and modifying the timing.

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At 1am she still wouldn’t start.

We fell into bed exhausted and out of ideas. The next morning we rustled up a compression gauge (yes I know we should have done this the day before.  Shut your pieholes, I’m learning.) and found that while we had fuel and spark, we didn’t have compression.  Miata God said he would help us pull the engine and look at the bottom end.  After a few hours we got the engine and transmission out, checked the pistons and found them scorched, the bearings shot, and the rings not very happy. We finally had to admit defeat.  Well, first the team tried to pull the engine out of my Miata.  I said GTFO and don’t go near my car, THEN we finally had to admit defeat.

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Now we have a LeMons car scattered about the metro Washington DC area (Speedy Cop has the car, the engine/trans are in one place and all the spares at another) and we are basically back to square one.  Actually, we are back to square 1/2. But you know what?  It was the most fun I’ve had at a race in a really long time.  Sure, we were working our butts off in the heat, but everyone was helpful, everyone offered encouragement, and everyone wanted to see us succeed.  The guys next to us even offered us a 30 minute stint in their Mercury Cougar, another old Speedy Cop car.

When the track went cold, the beers came out and the music came on.  Everyone was willing to share what food, drinks, and knowledge they had.  Desert people are the same, but not to this extent.  This really was a special weekend.  I don’t know when we’ll be back, but we will.  The x90 will rise again.

 


Battle at Primm Is Next

Hola, race fans!  We had a good time out testing this past weekend.  The Mr. Miyagi of shocks was on hand to dial in our baby.  It’s always a balancing act; a tweak done on one component effects the other and it’s all about finding that correct edge.  It’s a very tricky process and it means a lot of turning something 1/2 turn, then running up and down the test track for 2 minutes at flat out.  Then come back, turn something else 1/2 turn, back to the test track…lather rinse repeat.

Mr. Miyagi, doing work.

 

After testing we headed on over to the Slash X, or /x to those who know.  Always a great time to be had.  Sabrina, my navigator for Gazelles, was able to join us and she just fell in love with the place.   There are always motorcycles, quads, and buggies parked outside as families come out for a day of wheeling and always stop at the /x for lunch.

 

Hot damn she looks good!!

 

The next race will be Battle at Primm with SNORE Racing, Feb 22-24.  Truth be told I’m scared shitless.  There are at least 30 1600 cars entered (we’ll be running #1611 as our number has already been taken) and ALL the big dawgs will be there.  The format is 2 days of racing with your class, and we will do 5 laps of 13 miles each.  There will be a ton of wheel to wheel racing and I’m in my head about it a bit.  I’m always scared before a race though.  I think you’re an idiot if you’re not scared.  Hello….you could die!!  The trick is to push through that fear.

Because there are so many cars they will do qualifying runs.  I won’t be able to get there in time for that but it’s just as well.  My plan is to let the big boys battle it out and break down.  My strategy is always JFF.

Just Fucking Finish.

 


Happy New Year!!!

Be sure to get a designated driver if you need one and don’t throw up on yourself!

NYE

(PS:  I stole this idea from someone.  I don’t talk to him anymore but I like to give credit where credit is due.)

 


Doing It Alone Just Ain’t No Fun

Living in Washington DC and racing in California poses some shall we say, logistical nightmares.  I can usually only come out for 3 days to race, getting to actually work on the car is a luxury, and don’t even get me started on all the money I’m spending on plane fare.  Fortunately I have an awesome team that helps me out, and I wanted y’all to meet them!

First, there’s Dale.  He’s our go to guy for welding.  He’s made us a trailer (A WHOLE TRAILER!), repaired the floor pan of the 1600 car, and is making a new skid plate.  He also sometimes stores the car in his shop and his wife makes the best iced tea this side of Las Vegas.

Nickname: Moustache!

 

She's naked!

 

MA'AM's motor just waiting. Good thing we had Dale's shop to work out of

 

And what team would be complete without a logistics person?  This is actually the hardest job in racing,  as you are basically trying to predict the future while herding a bunch of unruly cats.  No…worse than that.  Unruly wild mustangs.  See racers can be like unruly wild mustangs; they are smart but damn do they want to do their own thing!  Your logistics guy has to figure out who is chasing and who is pitting, where they will be, when people are arriving, where they are sleeping, what they are eating, when you’re going through tech…I could go on and on.  And now, for this race at least, I have my very own Logistics Luminary.  And we call him westy (no capital w, he sez).

 

westy likes to look all mean and stuff.

 

westy has run logistics for the Baja 500 and 1000 as well as events stateside and he’s also a racer, so I have no problem turning everything over to him.  I know I’ll learn a lot with him running the show and if it all goes well, maybe he’ll join us permanently.  He’s bringing some awesome pit/chase people out to the race and I am so excited to meet everyone.  It always floors me when people I don’t even know step up to help me.  Sure, they are getting the thrill of being on a race crew but still.  Sometimes sitting out in the desert for hours on end waiting for the car to come through can be a nightmare.  Fortunately the car is in great shape and our goal is just to finish.  It would be great not to finish last, but honestly this is the first race with me behind the wheel of the new car AND it’s a night race.  I am doing this more for experience than anything else.  I want to drive well, not break, and finish.

So when is this next race?  I return to my native CA for the combination MORE and SNORE KC Hilites race on September 8th.  Tech is on Friday September 7th at the Slash X so if you’re around, come say hi.  I have no idea what color my hair will be, so just look for #1617!

 


This is a Test of the Emergency Wheel Travel System

Well, okay not really, but a week or so ago I met Dad up in the high desert for a little bit of seat time in the car that may just turn out to be known as MA’AM (Mean Ass Angry Monkey.  Either that or Rooster.  What do you think?)  Up until this point I’d had a total of 7 minutes drive time in her, and 36 miles of co-driving.

Thursday started off toasty and windy!  We settled in at Stoddard Valley and found a few other people out testing as well, most notably COPS Racing.  I wish I could have gotten a picture but their damn Trophy Truck went by so fast I was lucky I had enough time to jump behind a bush so as not to get *totally* dusted out.

We were finally able to break out our care package from Slime.  They sent us a healthy supply of tire sealant, tire pressure gauges, a few plug kits, and a much needed portable tire inflator that connects right to the battery.  Our old one was…well…old.  This one by Slime is super fast and much quieter.

Dad using the new 2x Tire Inflator from Slime

I spent the first day just getting a feel for the car.  It’s similar in width to the baja, but the wheel base is much longer, so it’s a totally different ride.  It has a puck clutch, which is either engaged or not (read: it’s kind of easy to stall).  The transmission, however, shifts much smoother than the baja, which I always had to force into 2nd gear a bit.  The front end behaves differently and  there are bypass shocks and a little bit more travel all the way around.  The baja runs a 2180cc motor whereas MA’AM sports the stock 1600cc.  However, she’s much lighter.   How much lighter I’m not sure since she hasn’t been on the scale, but I can definitely feel it.  I keep telling people that any co-driver will have to be 170 pounds or less so we can keep total passenger weight down to 300 pounds or less.  I’m not really joking.

Play car vs Race car

Unfortunately, something was keeping my baby down.  She was sputtering like Tom Cruise does when reporters ask him if he’s gay.  It was most pronounced at the lower rpm range, like when starting out or turning around, but sometimes when going uphill, even if the revs were still high.  Hmmmm….a carburetor issue of some sort.  We were meeting fellow Courage Girl Motorsports team members Pepper and Martee that night for dinner, so Pep stopped off at Mohr Performance and picked up a fuel filter, new jet,  and a carb rebuild kit.

You know how if you live in a small town you run into people at the best and/or worst times?  That night at dinner was one of the best times.  Martee was telling me about her secret weapon when it comes to shock tuning, the Mr. Miyagi of Shocks, if you will.  Well we walked into Chili’s and who is having a beer at the bar?  Monsieur Miyagi!  It was agreed upon by all parties present that we should meet the next morning for a little go around.  Of course, that night we still had to address the carb issues.  I changed the fuel filter and helped the guys take off the carb.  They went to work rebuilding it while Pep, Martee, and I ran out for supplies…namely zip ties and beer.

Next morning bright and early we were at it again.  But still with the sputtering!  The carb was totally clean, we had a new jet, new fuel filter.  We decided it was the float.  I can’t tell you yet if we were right, but the engine is currently at Major Performance getting a going through.  But I digress.  Mr. Miyagi (I would like to note that Mr. Miyagi is neither a karate master nor is he Japanese.  I just like calling him that because he is a miracle worker and the Annie Sullivan of Shocks doesn’t sounds as good.) met us out in Stoddard Valley and the testing began.

We got in the car and he told me, “When I tell you to get on the pipe, you get on the pipe!”  Uh..sir, yessir!  Most of the session was him and I in the car for a run, him yelling at me, “ON IT! ON IT! ON IT!  NO LIFTING!” and me thinking, “This guy is going to kill me today.”  Then he’d be out of the car, adjusting things which I don’t even pretend to understand, then back in for another run.  And I could tell with each run that something was different.  And holy crap I could go faster!  A lot faster!  Now he’s telling me to stand on the throttle and I have all kinds of confidence!  Taking the whoops in the baja at those speeds would mean my back end would get away from me.  Now MA’AM leads with her nose BAM BAM BAM right over the whoops and the back end just follows, easy peasy.  Of course, we didn’t get a super accurate tuning since the engine was not running at full potential, but it was a good start.  Once we get the car back together we’ll go out again and fine tune.


So what is next?  We will be running the MORE/SNORE combined KC-Hilites race in September, where I hope to have a fundraiser for Gazelles.  We are also running the Powder Puff in October of course.  That race will mean a lot as it raises money for Cedar Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center, and it will also be the Revenge Race for Grace, the official truck of Courage Girl Motorsports.  Her front driver’s wheel has fallen off two years in a row and we are really hoping that doesn’t happen again.  Pepper and Martee will be in Grace, and I will be in MA’AM for that one.  I’m also working on an awesome calendar of bad ass female off road drivers.  More info on that as it becomes available!

Next week I’ll be part of the drive team for Desert Dingo in their class 11 at  the VORRA USA 500 out near Reno.  Tech is on Friday July 14th, so come on down and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood.  If not I’ll be tweeting as much as I can @MMMotorsports and using #USA500.

This is what 1107 looked like after the USA 500 last year.

 

 

 


High Plains Raceway Fun

It’s not very often that one just happens to be in Colorado on a cross country trip at the exact time when a colleague is organizing a fun track day.  And it’s even less often that I get invited.  But the guys at TFL Car were kind enough to ask me to come out and play this week, and even though I missed a day due to an extreme case of food poisoning (do NOT choose the crab cake sandwich!) I was still able to have some fun out at Colorado Off Road Extreme and High Plains Raceway.

The FR-S and Golf R lined up at High Plains Raceway

I started driving out to CORE in the Kia Optima Hybrid.  Don’t worry, it was just a transport vehicle. We weren’t going to take that baby off road!  I had the 2011 Kia Optima Turbo last year and I enjoyed my time in it, and once I turned off the Eco mode in this model I found it to be a nice alternative to the ubiquitous Prius or Civic hybrid that roam our streets.  It’s way sexier, gets 40 mpg on the highway, and starts at $25,700.  Seriously.  If mpg is your thing, don’t discount the Kia Optima Hybrid.

Once we got to CORE they had an off road course set up…mostly steep hills to go up and down, and a rally course.  No rally cars were available, since this was all about new cars.  I tossed about the Mitsubishi Outlander GT, which I picked originally since it was the only one that had a modicum of a manual transmission (paddle shifters but better than nothing).  I was surprised how I could throw something that big around.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not 500 hp STI, but my rally instructor and I had a good time.

Getting ready to take on the rally course

I also tried out the Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V, but the star of the rally course, without a doubt, was the Nissan Juke.  Now I know people love to hate the Juke, and I myself am not a fan of the CVT transmission or the fact that you can’t get a manual with the AWD.  However, on the rally course, the Juke is quick, the turbo lag is minimal, and I even got it sideways a bit through the corners.  I took that thing around the course so much the spotter at the start line stopped asking me to get out and let someone else have a chance.  I wasn’t giving up my Jukie Love for nothing.

Next stop: Juke-R!

After a quick lunch, we headed off to High Plains Raceway.  I was able to score the navigator seat in the R8 Spyder…and promptly gave the driver the wrong directions!  Oh well…more time in the R8!

My driving partner, Grant from Outdoor Magazine, is not amused.

 

After a safety meeting I hopped into the first car I saw, the Fiat Abarth.  You may have seen my review of the Abarth and know that I am crazy about it.  I still am.  And so was the instructor I had with me.  (Question:  if free instructors were offered to you at a track, wouldn’t you take advantage?  I think I was the only one that had an instructor with me the whole time.  Pro Tip: School never makes you dumber.)  Even though this car is not a convertible (don’t get me started on the glorified sunroof the Abarth will supposedly have next year) I adore it.  The exhaust note, the turbo, the styling…it’s all fantastic.  Then just for comparison we hopped into the Mini Cooper S.  While we both agreed it handled just as well, if not better than the Abarth, it just felt heavier, didn’t have the same sound, and…well…just wasn’t as fun.  For my money I’d go Abarth, but only if they add a real convertible.  Real.  One.

How can you not love this car?

I was also looking forward to driving the BRZ/FR-S cars.  I really really wanted to like the Subaru BRZ.  In my mind this was going to be the best of the two.  I’m not sure why.  Brand perception maybe?  We tried the BRZ first.  It’s possible that my opinion was seriously tainted by the two pedals that greeted me, maybe it was the 5000 foot altitude that did it, but the 2.0L Boxer engine knocking out 200 horses just seemed severely underpowered.  Frustratingly so.  The FR-S, however, was a manual and an absolute blast.  I would have liked to have the same transmission in both to really see the difference, but as it stands now FR-S manual > BRZ automatic.

I got into a few other cars.  Don’t laugh but taking the Buick Regal GS out on the track with a turbo charged Ecotec engine was a bit of a hoot.  Sure it didn’t have the same tightness of the other cars, but it doesn’t have to.  It’s a comfy commuter car with a bit of a spark and as much as you or I might not like it, that’s what the majority of Americans want.  If you’re looking for reliable and stylish transportation with just a little kick, don’t discount Buick.

It wouldn’t be a blog post with out talking about the Audi R8 Spyder.  To be honest I was a little scared of it.  A high powered car that costs well over $100,000 and you’re going to let ME drive it?  Okay…  But I needn’t have worried.  The Audi Quattro makes you a better driver than you deserve to be, really helping you stick it around the corners.  I was able to hit 115 in the back straight and could have gone much faster had I exited the previous corner correctly.  The R-tronic automatic transmission is fast, if a little jerky, but the whole package is so damn sexy it’s hard to care.  The good folks at Audi asked for a Trademarked Laundry Basket Rating, but I was only able to give them this.

This is what happens when you ask a race instructor to take your picture. He cuts off the front of the car!

But honestly I think the big winner for me was getting to drive the Nissan 370Z Roadster.  It was so close to being perfect:  RWD, high powered but not too crazy, convertible, 2 seater.  The only downside was they only had the automatic for us to drive.  It performed beautifully but I would never purposely choose an automatic.  BUT when it comes time to replace the Monkey Miata, if I have the coin this car will be on my radar for sure.

Love. It.

But alas, all fun must come to an end.  I’ll be back on the road to California tomorrow.  I’ll get some testing in on the 2/1600 race car in and we’ll be at a little show and shine on Saturday June 23rd.  If you’re in Santa Ana, come on down to Kid Works starting at noon, 1902 Chestnut Avenue.  There will be off road cars and we’ll be demonstrating safety precautions and talking racing with the kids.  If you have some of your own, bring them down and say hi!


Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I am getting ready to get the hell out of Dodge, y’all!  In about a week I will leave the swamp of the DC summer and head my little rear where it belongs…to Santa Cruz, CA.  I’ll be driving little Monkey Miata again and stopping off in a few places, so if you find yourself around, let me know!

June 9th:  Our first fundraiser for the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, you know, that 9 day rally in Morocco with no GPS?  My navigator, Michele Martineau, has put together a bit of a show and shine and all the Courage Girl Motorsports team will be on hand.  Come meet us and Grace, the CGM truck, along with a few other race trucks.  If you find yourself in Colorado, come on out and say hi.  If you can’t, you can donate online at www.rally.org/teamcouragegazelles

Address is 1830 Blake Avenue, Glenwood Spring, CO 81601

June 12-15:  I’ll be in Boulder, CO visiting with pals at Project Baja and TFL Car.

Then I don’t need to be anywhere until June 22.  I’ll probably leisurely meander across the west to Mexico for the Record San Felipe 250 that weekend.  There is a slight chance our chase might have to bail on us, in which case we’ll take the car up to CA and get some seat time in, just doinking around a bit.  Then June 23rd we’ll do a show and shine of our own in Santa Ana.  More info on that as it becomes available.

June 25: First day in Santa Cruz!!

 


A Monkey Celebration

To commemorate my new team name, I give you this:


What the Hell Happened to the Hall???

Editor’s Note:  I was recently informed that I may not use the phrase “H@ll Ass Racing” in any post or in any announcement about my name change to Mega Monkey Motorsports™.  It seems a little overkill to me but frankly, I can’t afford to be sued.  Thank you to all my fans who have been so supportive through this transition time.  I hope this is the last change I will have to make.

 

I’d like to spin a tale for you.  One full of legalese, a few expenses, a bit of frustration, and a healthy dash of ignorance.  In short, a cautionary tale.

The upshot is that due to a trademark violation, I am changing the name of my team to Mega Monkey Motorsports™.  Back in February I got a phone call from a lawyer who informed me I was in violation of a trademark, but that the owner, who operates in California,  would like to meet me to work out a licensing agreement.  I was nervous, but I was going to California anyway, so Dad and I met the owner  and agreed to work out a licensing contract.   I came home thinking it would all work out.

The next week I spoke with the company and we discussed what the licensing agreement would entail.  I was not entirely satisfied with the agreement and I started doing a little research.  Big mistake.  My first stop was the US Patent and Trademark Office website.  I did a search for their trademark and there it was…and it said PENDING.  Further, it was pending in the category of Automobile Parts and Design…nothing to do with racing.  “HA!”  I thought.  They don’t even own the trademark!  I immediately registered myself as a Motorsports Team and wrote an email explaining my position to this company.  In my mind, the matter was done.

It was not.  I got an official cease and desist letter from the company.  I got an email copy of it the weekend of the Mint 400.  I saw it in my inbox and just couldn’t bring myself to open it.  I was already so stressed out with our first big race, and I knew if I opened it I would break down and I had to remain strong and positive for my team.  I let it lie until that Monday and I immediately dove into my rolodex.   I called my two lawyer friends.  I called people who I thought had lawyer friends.  Then I called those lawyers…anyone who I could get a grain of free advice from.  If you haven’t ever contacted a lawyer for a trademark violation case, a simple resolution will apparently cost upwards of $5ooo.oo.  Now that may not be a lot for a big company, but it’s a lot for me.  So I just grilled lawyer acquaintances until they begged me to stop.

I’d like to preface this next part by saying that if you find yourself in this situation,  my only advice  is to get advice.  As it turns out, trademark law is really complicated and the following applies only to my situation.  Okay?  Good.  There are a few ways a trademark can be established.  First, by common law.  This company had been using the trademark since the mid 1990s.  The fact that their official trademark was still pending didn’t really matter.  It’s the common law that trumps all.  The official trademark can only strengthen your case.  There is also the issue of confusion.  Would a consumer think that my racing activities were associated with this company?  Since this company was involved in auto and motorcycle design and custom fabrication, the answer from every lawyer I spoke with was yes.

I would like to go on the record that this entire process was nothing but professional on both sides.  This company is family owned and produces really cool custom vehicles for law enforcement, SWAT teams, and just for fun.  I was disappointed that we couldn’t come to a licensing agreement, but its called off road racing, not off road friends.  And so Mega Monkey Motorsports™ was born.

Why Mega Monkey Motorsports™?  Well, because Dirt Monkey Racing was taken!  I also toyed with Trademark Violation Racing, but when I ran it by some people that had no idea of the back story, they didn’t think it was funny.  (To me, it’s hilarious).  I paid $700 for a company to do a thorough common law, business name, internet, and trademark search.  Why not just do a google search and be done with it?  Well, a company could be out there that has no internet presence whatsoever.  Remember a google search will just turn up information that’s on the internet, and there are still plenty of folks out there who have no web presence.  Hence, $700 for a search company.  Then I paid the $500 or so for the official trademark, which is now pending.

So I am attempting to rid the internet of all evidence of THE TEAM WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED BY PENALTY OF LAW, although it’s difficult.  Google never forgets, but fortunately the company has acknowledged that.  I can only hope they start generating press of their own since  when you google “THE TEAM WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED BY PENALTY OF LAW“  I am the only thing that comes up for pages and pages (note:  not anymore.  this company has recently added a racing page to their website and it now shows up third in a google search, but then it’s all me again)  I also hope I can generate as much press as Mega Monkey Motorsports™ as I did before.  You can help by sharing this blog, tweeting about my name change, subscribing to my new YouTube channel and in general being the awesome fans that you are.  And remember, if there is one lesson to be learned from all of this it’s this:

Trademark yo’ shit.

www.youtube.com/megamonkeymotorsport
www.twitter.com/MMMotorsports
www.faceook.com/EmmeHall

 


3am Wake Up Call

Just a quick update as I literally have to get up at before the ass crack of dawn to get to staging for the world famous Mint 400. Thank you so much to everyone who has wished me and Sammy well today. You can follow us LIVE tomorrow 3/24 at 6am PST at www.racetheworld.net We are car #1817 and we are racing for TeamTracie.org

 


Pics! Video! Very Few Words!

Just wanted to post up some more pics and video of the new race car.  We’ll be at the Mint 400 in Vegas March 23-25th.  Big announcement coming soon regarding the Mint as well as partnerships.  I can’t wait to blab all about it!

a

 


It’s….A New Car (and some other stuff at Parker)

At one point during this weekend I said to my dad, “What day is it?” To which he replied, “Saturday.”  To which I asked, “Day or night?”  It was just that kind of weekend.  In three days we drove LA-Barstow-Parker-Parker Strip-Parker-Anaheim-Venice Beach-Barstow-Hacienda Heights-LA-red eye to DC.

I left DC late Thursday afternoon on a ticket I had earned by refashioning a pal’s pink gorilla suit to get it ready for her boyfriend for Mardi Gras (I swear I can’t make this stuff up). At LAX I picked up the 2012 Audi A5, with a manual transmission thank you baby Jesus, to review for Roadfly. From there I drove up to Victorville and met Dad. Early the next morning we were off to tech for Parker 425.

Sweet Looking Audi A5

Now before you get all excited, this is not a race report. The trip to Parker was merely to See and Be Seen.  I met up with, Michele, my navigator for the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in Morocco.  For those of you not in the know, this year we were planning on running the Gazelle rally, a 9 day adventure similar to Dakar except it’s all female, points are awarded for shortest distance not fastest time, and no GPS is allowed. All navigation is done with an outdated map and a compass. Unfortunately Michele needs to have some surgery so our plans are on hold.  You can read the whole story at www.teamcouragegazlles.com  But we wanted to make it out to Parker to show the off road community that we are still determined to run with the Gazelles.

Team Courage Gazelles...Delayed but Not Gone

So we worked tech.  I mean we WORKED it!  We talked to the Fast Aid  guys, we joked around with the Dirt Sports Magazine dudes, we chilled with Azunia Tequila, shot the bs with the guys from Major Performance Engines, checked in with PCI race radios…hell we even discussed how Dakar could be promoted better in North America with Darren Skilton. But enough of the shameless name dropping. Let’s just say we had a great time. For my twitter followers, I tried to get some pics out but the network was so crowded it was impossible.

Team Courage Gazelles with Darren Skilton

We spent the night north of Parker at some old time race guy’s house and I remember something about a jacuzzi and my dad acting like a turtle on his back and that’s really all you need to know about Friday night.

The next day we had to get to Anaheim by 3pm to meet with a potential partner,  but we knew we HAD to watch some of the race.  There was an awesome spot where the cars would go under highway 95, race the largest part of the loop, then come back under 95. You caught them coming and going. So there we were, just chilling and we hear, “Oh man the Hall Ass Racing truck is here?  Hide your beer, everyone!” It was Randy, Carol, and Guy, some old neighbors from San Felipe. What a small, small, world.

If you haven’t watched an off road race before, its a little different than a pavement race.  Spectators are required to stay off the course, but there are still no barriers between you and the cars. This means that it can be quite dangerous, as evidenced by the California 200 tragedy a few years ago.  However, Best in the Desert did a great job keeping everyone safe.  The safety guy in our area made sure everyone was a safe distance from the course, and when this bozo couple tried to cross from one side to the other he was ON them like stink on poop.  They returned to their place much maligned, as they should have been.  A hot course is a hot course, and just because you can hear these guys and see their dust before they get to you, doesn’t give you, as a spectator, carte blanche to just walk across the lines.

Alas we couldn’t stay long as we had to get to Anaheim.  I don’t want to say too much about it as we are still negotiating, but a few weeks ago I got a call from a speciality fabrication company who expressed interest in partnering with us.  It’s a family owned company and dad and I had a blast meeting everyone. We were even their guests at the Supercross that night. Expect a fairly big announcement soon, but for now all I will say is that we are looking forward to hammering out the details.

After a quick sleep in Anaheim it was off to Venice to pick up the new race car.  Now let me start off my saying that this whole weekend was an exercise in herding cats.  I had to make sure we met up with Michele at the designated time, then she and I split off from dad at tech so we had to coordinate meeting times, figure out where we would sleep that night.  Getting dad out the door on Saturday morning was a bit of a chore (his goodbyes tend to be a little long), then we had to separate ourselves from the Old Gang at the race and make it to Anaheim on time, and find a place to crash that night.

So the final hurdle was getting the car up to Barstow for a little testing.  Skiny, who raced the car in the Baja 1000 as part of his Gentlemen’s Guide to Racing series, had it in storage in Venice Beach, but he had to go out to Vegas that Friday.  It was ridiculous to think he could drive from Vegas to LA, pick up the car, then bring it back to Barstow, so we did what Gentlepeople of Racing do:  Skiny called his girlfriend, she gave us the keys and the title, we hitched the car up to the truck  and brought her up to Barstow.  Now, we had met Skiny before, but  I don’t know a lot of people that would trust 2 people to basically steal his car and bring it to an appointed place in the middle of the desert.  But trust us he did and when Skiny came up behind us about a mile away from the Slash X, we knew it was cosmic fate.

She's still got some mud on her from the Baja 1000, but I think she's awful purdy.

The throwout bearing is bad in the car, so when Skiny took off with me as co-dawg, she made an awful, awful noise!  But once she started there was no stopping!  With the longer wheel base she handles the whoops SO much better than our 5 unlimited.  It’s not necessarily more powerful, but she could definitely run through the whoops better.  There’s no speedometer in the car, but on the flat I’d say we were up to 70 mph or so…and this is with a motor that hasn’t been prepped since the 1000.  Major Performance built the engine originally and they know the car well.  They said the car SMOKED all the other 1600s in Vegas to Reno a few years ago.  Same engine as we have now.  That’s not to say that I’ll do the same thing, of course.  Getting the most out of this car is going to be a challenge.  I’ll have to change my mind set to realize that whoops may or may not mean “slow down”.

I took a little bit of video while we were out there.  I need to do just a bit of editing, but I was on that red eye last night. Even though my pal upgraded me to first class on the way home, I probably only slept two hours.  Just rolled right from the airport to work.  So video will happen tomorrow, probably.  The entire photo album is up on my Facebook page for your enjoyment.  But for now, this is Mega Monkey Motorsports™, off to find my bed after a whirlwind weekend of dirty fun!

 


Buggies Belong on the Dirt!

I found this today on the interwebs and found it to be deliciously hilarious.  Check it out!  The fun starts around 30 seconds in.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZs93CD26Yc&w=640&h=385]