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Discussion Starter #1
This is one of those memorable incidents that we can laugh about afterwards because everything turned out allright, but we learned another rally lesson.

We were wallowing along on stage 10 on the very rough section, going as fast as our stock based suspension would allow (which was not very fast). We had been caught in that section every time before. I got lost in the notes and Duffy went on road-reading. He mis-read a R3 and slid off on the outside into the ditch, at the exit of the corner beyond where the car could be seen on approaching the corner. The road was what I would term a 'good Jeep trail' in that part, so being in the left ditch meant that the right side of the car was right at the edge of the left track of the road.

It wasn't in deep and we had not hit anything, so I hesitated about 3-4 seconds to let him try to back it out, which didn't work on the first try, and so I started to reach for my belts and the door. All at once, the woods lit up behind us and Duffy yelled "Car!", and I decided that I had better stay put in my belts. 3-4 seconds later, Marc Goldfarb's Golf comes past my door and barely misses the car. Whew!

Immediately the woods lit up from behind again, and about 3 seconds after the first car slips past, "BAM!" a second car hits us in the rear bumper. A few seconds more and they pull up beside us and ask if we are OK. We signal them OK, and then I proceed to get out of the car. Fortunately, our heavy rear bumper sustains no damage, we are OK (it was louder than it was hard), and the Golf is OK, albeit sans 2 driving lights. (Sorry about the lights, guys.)

Duffy was a bit wide-eyed afterwards, and we went over the whole thing. He said that he had seen 2 sets of lights coming up behind us, but had not said anything to me on-stage. The decisions we have made:
1) The driver will ALWAYS tell the co-driver when he sees lights behind. This will give the co-dirver a better sense of the situation, and we might have decided to pull off to let the cars pass.
2) No hesitation in the co-driver starting to get out, unless a car is known to be close behind! The driver can try to move the car while the co-driver is releasing belts, and if the car gets out, then the driver can go real slow or stop in a safe place until he co-driver gets re-belted. (See more below).
3) When cars are catching up, you should actually slow down a bit and start thinking about pulling off. Duffy had been very good about that to that stage, but feels that he was not driving his best at that point; we were near the end of the stage and he may have been pushing to try not to have to pull off again. By driving faster and trying not to be caught, you increase the probability of going off and creating this type of situation. And, if it is not dusty, you can go a bit faster after a car has passed, as you can see them take the corners.

I can't help but think that me getting out in this situation and getting back on the road to warn the following cars might have been impossible. Releasing the belts would have been no problem, but 'climbing' uphill a bit to get out of the car would have been, and I always forget to pull off my intercom cord in those situations and get hung up a few more sconds with that. So I could have well been climbing out, hanging out of the right door opening with the door open across the road when the first car arrived. Better to not allow the situation to develop.

Like many accidents, this resulted from a convergence of multiple things, any one of which would not have been a problem:
1) Co-driver lost in notes
2) Driver not transitioning well to road-reading and not being cautious when off the notes
3) Poor communications between crew, which led to...
4) Hesitation on the co-driver's part to get out
5) A road which made it impossible to keep speed on a stock based suspension when eveyone behind you has a real rally suspension

(And, OBTW, we had asked to be started 18 spots back from our initial start position, because we were positioned amongst obviously faster cars in the original order. And we had been swapping places with faster cars who had problems and dropped in behind us. But, we did not think to drop behind cars of comparable speed when we got to the rough stage.)

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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what are you supposed to do if you see a car (the car in front of you) off, and there are no triangles and no ok sign and no way to see the crew, give a thumbs up or whatever.

its pretty clear.
 

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I was codriving (yes) in the Goldfarb Golf right behind you when you went off.

FWIW as a driver I remember that spectators and catching cars used to put off my rhythm. After enough of it I learned to ignore the spectators and other cars.

I think a car coming up behind can put a driver, especially a novice, off the road - frankly I presumed that's what happened when we came up on you. Also I knew that coming up on you could have put my driver off, so when we started seeing your lights I said "coming up on a car - easy does it" and as soon as I saw your lights stationary I said "car off - slow slow slow" and we had no problem getting by you. Marc was conscious of the scenario too - probably a result of being such a good codriver himself! He acknowledged my calls with "acknowledge" and got out of attack mode.

You did the right thing in staying belted in - you had no time before we were on you. Don't know how far back it was to Nick but no doubt you did the right thing there too. As to why he went into you? I don't know, but see above.

Nice to meet you guys. Anyone who uses a Halda and has Sunriser 400 stickers on the car is OK in my books.

ACP
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 

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Mark B...

Glad to hear that you can laugh about it now. :D Tension seemed a little high right after the incident.

I was helping out with Nick's Golf and got to see the aftermath. The HID's were spared because they were mounted high up, but the lower lights, grill, radiator, etc wasn't looking too good. I got out of the way and tackled the tire swap and suspension checks while a half dozen bodies crammed themselves into the engine compartment.

I think Nick's quote was "I punted a car out of the way." After the event he said that he was catching Marc and Andrew on the stage and didn't see you off until Marc went by - by then it was too late and did all he could to slow up before he tagged you. After reading Andrew's response, now I see why - Marc had slowed down - Nick was still in it - Marc goes by you - Nick sees you - Punt!

Dropped a picture of the Starion on Stage 1 at MFR on the Service Rig for you (in case you were wondering where it came from). Would have had more, but the film ran out on that shot - Rats!

I for one had a great time. That nagging voice that's saying "put a new cage in the Arrow got real loud after talking to Emilio Arce's service crew (cage builder/car prep and very familiar with Colts and Arrows). I wouldn't be surprized if your old Arrow finds it's way back onto the stages in the next year or two. }>


Tim
 

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Since RNY used the Canadian timing system, and there
were a couple of delays, we all had time to chat at
the stage start.

I'm not sure if either ACP or Mark know that
Duffy and I talked about what would happen if
I overtook them in the stage as they were
driving to preserve the car and had been overtaken
earlier. This particular stage was quite rough, and
we ran the road a total of 4 times so there
was a considerable spread in contestant speeds.
The repeat visits by competitors having done nothing to
improve the condition of the stage. ;-)

We agreed that if I did catch them that Duffy would
pull over at the first opportunity and let us by.
As they were moving when I first saw the taillights,
and were pulled over to the side upon overtaking them,
based on my previous conversation, I had no reason to
believe that they hadn't just moved over to let us by.

Wasn't until I talked to Mark that I found out that they had
slid off rather than pulled over. Glad to know that it wasn't
a serious off and that the meeting with the car behind
us was limited to some glass damage.

Marc
>>
 

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I was aware that I was in fact catching two cars. The road was a narrow twisty two track and I would lose sight of them around every corner. We were not that close to Marc as I recall, imagine my surprise when I came around a blind right to find a car half in the road and dead in my sights. I did what I could to slow it down and nailed them in the bumper. Not a huge impact. Eneryone was OK so away we went. Thank god they stayed in the car with their belts on. I'm not sure what could've happened differently. They went off, I had now way of knowing, bang.

We spoke with them and Mark had a great attitude about the incident. Sorry again, glad it turned out the way it did (if it had to happen at all)

Nick
 

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Am I missing something here? The regional safety steward in the NorthWest region makes it very clear that if we see a car off and there is not an OK sign than that stage is DONE. To re-itereate NO OK = RED Cross.

But, hey this is the Northwest... I have never rallied out East :+
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think your safety steward is working on the idea that if you, in a following car, see another car with no triangles or OK, and clearly wrecked, you have to stop and check the situation for safety. The reason to throw the stage is to make sure that floowing competitors are not tempted to assume that things are OK, and to not stop to check out the situataion. If the stage will be thrown, then no one worries about being penalized for a stop.

This has been preached in all regions of the country for years, so it is not just a NW thing. In our case, I am sure we looked like we were just parked, and I was waving to the other cars. (Not like they were our fans, mind you!)

Mark B.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
>2) No hesitation in the co-driver starting to get out,
>unless a car is known to be close behind! The driver can try
>to move the car while the co-driver is releasing belts, and
>if the car gets out, then the driver can go real slow or
>stop in a safe place until he co-driver gets re-belted. (See
>more below).

>
>From an experience we had here in BC at a regional...DO NOT
>START until everyone is buckled in. Even a low-speed off
>can be brutal if you're not strapped in. EDIT: or driver
>can move to a safe spot and then co-driver can get in.

And actually it was my fault. I told Duffy to drive on slowly. My bad!

Mark B.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, still a good move to miss us. If we had pulled off to let you pass, it would have been in a clearly obvious place.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
>
>I was helping out with Nick's Golf and got to see the
>aftermath. The HID's were spared because they were mounted
>high up, but the lower lights, grill, radiator, etc wasn't
>looking too good. I got out of the way and tackled the tire
>swap and suspension checks while a half dozen bodies crammed
>themselves into the engine compartment.
>
>I think Nick's quote was "I punted a car out of the way."

O good luck in 'punting' the 'whale' with a teeeny Golf! :)

>After the event he said that he was catching Marc and Andrew
>on the stage and didn't see you off until Marc went by - by
>then it was too late and did all he could to slow up before
>he tagged you. After reading Andrew's response, now I see
>why - Marc had slowed down - Nick was still in it - Marc
>goes by you - Nick sees you - Punt!
Yes, I thought he was probably a bit 'excited' at catching Marc, and with only a 3 second or so gap, had no chance to spot us.
>
>Dropped a picture of the Starion on Stage 1 at MFR on the
>Service Rig for you (in case you were wondering where it
>came from). Would have had more, but the film ran out on
>that shot - Rats!
Thanks we got it. Were you the photog that was running off the stage as we waaaay overrotated and came across the grass berm??

>
>I for one had a great time. That nagging voice that's
>saying "put a new cage in the Arrow got real loud after
>talking to Emilio Arce's service crew (cage builder/car prep
>and very familiar with Colts and Arrows). I wouldn't be
>surprized if your old Arrow finds it's way back onto the
>stages in the next year or two. }>
Love to see it, but take care of it! Not many left. Can't wait to hear your reactions to the car at higher speed.

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, ACP. We appreciate your read of the situation; I am sure that you did a lot to help Marc miss us. Good call!

Next time we''l bring the TwinMaster....

Regards,
Mark and Duffy :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, Marc must've slowed quite a bit, 'cuz your lights were lighting up the woods immediately (like 1 second) after Marc passed us. Again, sorry about the lights; thank goodness it was not the HID's!

I will have to tease Bob Wall about his Golf turning into a vicious 'attack car'! Of course, he will have to blame you for not feeding it properly or something.....

Regards,
Mark B. :)
 

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Thanks for sharing this in a public forum. It's info like this that helps build up the knowledge base in n00bs like myself and my driver. Strange stuff happens out on stage and these stories (and hanging out with other rally freaks locally of course) really helps improve that novice learning curve.

--Kevin H.
Durham, NC
1992 Legacy Turbo
 
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