Rally: the original motorsport
Photo Courtesy of Tim Winker
Photo Courtesy of Warwick Patterson
unknown photographer
Photo Courtesy of plaftaphoto
Rally of the Tall Pines
Bancroft, Ontario

I've just got back from competing in the rally of the tall pines in Bancroft Ontario. Finished 20th o/a and 5th in open class (no g5 in Canada so I get bumped up to open). The rally was fantastic and lots of people were excited to see an old Saab rallying. One guy even came up to me and said he saw people on saabnet chat talking about me being at the rally :)

the roads were amazing, a mixture of real tight 1 lane roads with close trees and lots of rough bumps, rocks etc all the way to wide open and smooth 1.5 lane roads with the trees trimmed way back from the road. Spent a scary amount of time at the top of 3rd (around 6-6500 rpms) and even wound out 5th in a few spots. Road conditions varied from a light snow dusting over frozen gravel to glare ice to loose gravel and mud. In short this rally threw every condition possible at you! We started the day on gravel tyres and only wished for ice tyres on 2 stages. For the evening stages we switched to hakka Q's just in time for some real icy stages and some late evening snowfall.

We were running strong all day- catching cars in front of us on almost every stage, on one stage we caught and passed 3 cars! we positively flew on the iron mountain spectator stage- this one was a real town maintained dirt road, all gravel and fast fast fast. We were taking corners flat out in furious slides to the delight of the crowd. we launched a killer jump on stage 5 (the iron mountain spectator stage) and got such good hang time that I had time to notice camera flashes going of while we were airborne. As soon as I find some pics I'll post them.

On the mechanical side the engine was running excellent. All my previous problems with flat spots above 4200 rpm were taken care of. I finally got time to wire and plumb my 5th injector. This fires fuel into the upper intercooler pipe above 3/4 throttle. The rally car is an official rocket ship, as Nick Jacob can verify. We figure she's got about 200 bhp and 250 ft/lbs of torque. We had a slight toe-out issue that wasn't resolved from the triple rollover at black river stages. I just ran out of time to align the car. The body is fairly straight and the roofline was hammered out to get a new windshield in. Some spray paint and she doesn't look half bad. No accidents this time!

When we landed the big jump on stage 5 we cracked the return fuel line by the accumulator. We completed 1 stage leaking more fuel than I want to think about before we could limp into service. Nick Jacob did an excellent job as crew, patching the hard plastic line with rubber fuel line and hose clamps and getting us out of service on time. The repair held for the rest of the rally. On the beginning of stage 10 we blew the rear upper shock bushings and the washers started slide-hammering through the sheet metal. We tried using an alternator bushing to take up the space at the service before stage 11 but alas it only held for .5 km. We were forced to back way off for stage 11 (stage 10 run backwards) but were able to pick the pace back up a bit for stage 12 (stage 10 run backwards) - the road was very smooth. Because of this we lost 3 minutes but it only dropped us down 1 position.

we also lost a lot of time when we encountered blocked stages due to cars getting stuck at washouts (these were 'filled' with grapefruit sized rocks and listed as double and triple cautions), 2 minutes on stage 2 and then the car we caught up to wouldn't let us pass- we followed him for 10km to the end of the stage. On stage 6 we encountered another stuck car at a washout and lost another 2 minutes. on stage 7 the car in front of us spun out and blocked the road for a minute but they let us pass a km later.

All in all it was a fantastic rally. A lot of people were surprised at how fast the Saab was. We couldn't have done it without Nick Jacob patching us back together- thanks for crewing for us!

Check out the Tall Pines website for the results, including stage times. We posted several top-twenty times at a national event.

James
Team Saabworks
© 2004 Team Saabworks
Team Saabworks is in no way affiliated with Saab AB or Saab USA (although they could sponsor us, really we wouldn't complain!)