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.
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.
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.
Some great video has surfaced from VORRA’s 24 hour endurance race on Labor Day weekend, where I helped Desert Dingo’s 1107 take first in class. You can read my race report in a previous post, but let’s just say it was a rockin’ good time. At any rate, here is your video fix.
We are getting ready for the Powder Puff on October 8th just outside Barstow, CA. All female drivers and co-drivers, racing for the cure. Dad has made his way back to his summer digs in Colorado to pick up the car and get packed for his winter move to Mexico (I know, rough life, right?). He’ll trailer 549 out to California and work with Jimmy of Shook Hawk Performance Engines to make sure the carburation is right. If you recall, that’s what did us in at the Mexican 1000 in May.
I’ll arrive in CA on Thursday night, then run out to see Dave Bonner at Kartek to get a new helmet. I’ve been wearing a hand me down and really need to get something that fits better. Plus I want it orange. The most obnoxious orange you have ever seen. I want my helmet to look like the neon sweatshirt I had in 1986 (when I was 4, natch), but multiplied by 100 in brightness.
Friday will be a pre-run day and we’ll take the car through tech late in the afternoon. This is always a fun time as a lot of the guys are in some kind of drag and people have decorated their cars with pink feathers, ribbons…there is even one car that shows up every year with a huge bra on the front end. Hilarious.
All proceeds from the Powder Puff will go to Cedars-Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center. It’s our team goal to raise $5000, and we still have a long way to go. You can help us out, even with $10 (but we’ll take your $Hunnies too!) by going to my fund raising page.
It looks like we’ll be pitting with Team Courage Racing and Tut Tech Racing, and whoever THEY decide to bring out. I imagine about a half a mile of pits where we all know each other and help each other out. Should make for a raucous party on Saturday after the race!
There are a few more surprises I am working on for the Powder Puff. I’m not sure if it’s all going to pan out, so I’m keeping quiet for now. Can’t guarantee how long THAT will last! In the meantime, check out the cool video from Powder Puff 2009. You might see a bit of little ol’ me in there somewhere.
I am quite pleased with this review, so I am publicly saying to myself, “Good job, Emme!”