Rallying is hard. This is not news to many of you.
And, though it's certainly not cheap, the costs aren't just monetary. In fact, they're counted in so many ways. Some subtle. Most not so subtle.
A few weeks agoI learned a lot about myself. I learned what I can do and what I can't do as a driver. I learned the value of really good friends. And I learned that a rally gone bad could always have gone worse.
I crashed us out of the Gorman rally on stage 14. We were in second place in the NASA Rally Sport national event by a mere nine hundredths of a minute. Our lead over third was increasing, and had I been smarter, we might have finished in that position. Maybe.
As the dust settled and car teetered over the edge of one of the Gorman Rally's many cliffs, it was painful, sure. But just then, all the lost hours, all the lost sleep and all the lost dollars paled in comparison to the disappointment I felt in letting down everyone who helped me get there. But I remembered that it could always be worse.
First, the thank yous: Tanya Oxford Jacquot -- the most supportive, loving and committed wife on the planet. Also: Dave Coleman, Dan Edmunds, Mike Monticello, Kurt Smith, Reese Counts -- good friends who gave much of their precious time to the effort. Thanks so much guys. We all know that this is rallying and I can't make any promises about results, but I can promise to drive smarter next time.
Also, the condolences: John Trucks lost his car to fire on the first stage of the race after a mistake no bigger than the one I made on stage 14. We all know that rallying owes us nothing, but that consequence seemed particularly unjust. Kudos to the organizers (Tony Chavez) for keeping us well informed and making it all go smoothly after the cleanup.
On the up side, the car was fantastic. This was the first race with a new six speed and manual center-diff controller and learning those adjustments will take more time, but it works and it works pretty well. We had another flawless showing for Maxxis tires and it makes me feel good to know the car we consistently finished behind had the same rubber.
And, despite sticking it in a berm, my car is fine. We will head to the national championship with the help of most of this crew in a few weeks. I look forward to giving Maxxis Tires, Advanced Clutch Technology, Sparco, Energy Suspension, TurninConcepts and All Wheel Engineering,llc Kartboy.com a better showing there.