November 20, 2012
We arrived home from La Paz last night
around 11 pm, after a long day driving from
Guererro Negro - the half way point. It was a beautiful drive and gave us all a chance
to talk about our respective experiences and impressions before the real world intruded
again..... The one common thread was that we were all still in a state of disbelief; did
we really just win the Baja 1000? It's going to take a while to soak in. Today, we began
the clean up process; the car has already begun to rust after being run through numerous
water crossings. I don't know what's in the water down there, but it really makes a mess
of the roll cage tubing in a hurry. Our brand new trailing arms look like they've been
sitting out in the elements unprotected for 10 years. We'll have it all back in order in the
next few weeks though.
We had a great race, no real problems to
deal with. We did have 3 flat tires; and as
usually seems to be the case, our spare tires were not where we needed them...... We
also had a small logistics issue crop up unexpectedly; we had arranged for a fuel stop
at Pit 13 (Cuarenta) but were informed by our pit service that there was no fuel for us
there. That caused some problems for us; the size of our fuel cell limits our ability to
skip a planned fuel stop. It all worked out in the end, but it could have cost us the race.
November 13, 2012
Packing the truck to leave for Ensenada
as soon as Trevor gets home from school this
afternoon. As always, there are a couple of last minute details to attend to; finalizing
our GPS setup, installing labels in the car showing our fuel stops, etc.. We hope to head
out by about 6pm, in Ensenada by 9pm. We'll be very busy from this point on, I don't
know if I'll have time to post any further updates until we get to La Paz.
November 10, 2012
Trevor and I drove to Ensenada and back
today to deliver our spare tires and dump cans to
Baja Pits. While there, we met with Victor and his brother, Ivan, to review our race preparations.
We think we've covered all the bases, though I'm sure Baja has a surprise or two in store for us......
On the way home, we stopped by the shop to take care of the one remaining "open" issue - reinforcing
our spare axle/cv mount under the hood. We carry a complete axle/cv assembly at the long distance
races, it's one of those "must have" spares for this race. At the 2010 Baja 1000, our spare broke loose
from the mount - we don't want that happening again! From this point forward, it's just a matter
of packing the truck and driving to Ensenada on Tuesday! I think George and Bill are driving to
San Felipe on Wednesday to be in position to catch the car as they come through San Matias on
Thursday afternoon. We're watching the extended weather forecasts, praying that the rains will
hold off until after we're done!
November 6, 2012
Had the car inspected at SCORE tech. this
morning, our post Baja 500 roll-over inspection.
Bill didn't see any problems, so we're going forward with our Baja 1000 preparations. We
didn't think there'd be any problems, we had the roof off and were able to get a good look at
the entire cage structure before closing it back up. We've been fine tuning our chase plans
with George and Bill; we want to be sure that our chase plan is SAFE first of all and effective
if possible!! We are beginning to shift our attention to the immediate issues that always
come just before a race: marking and delivering spares and dump cans to our pit guys in
Ensenada, rounding up the spare parts we want to carry in our truck, last minute co-driver
additions, etc.. Trevor and I remarked to each other last night that we're getting excited!
We had a great meeting with our
driver/co-driver team on Thursday, there were a few new ideas
talked about that we'll incorporate in our race this year. As usual, Trevor is planning to "solo
drive" the race but we will be swapping co-drivers a few times. All of our co-drivers are also
qualified drivers, so we have back-ups available if Trevor needs to get out of the driver's seat for
any reason. Our co-drivers will take turns in the chase trucks also - we don't have the luxury
of a separate chase team..... In addition to our co-driver team, we will have a dedicated chase
team (George and Bill) for the Valle Trinidad to Gonzaga portion of the course. George and Bill
have that section to themselves; it's very difficult to cover that section and then get over to the West
side in time to catch the race car. They are a huge help to us by covering that area.
I will take the car to SCORE tech. on
Tuesday to have the cage re-inspected. Even though we have
a current "cage tag", we did roll the car at the Baja 500 and it needs to be re-inspected. We don't
anticipate any problems, we certainly had great access to the cage while the roof was off and
were able to inspect it closely ourselves......
The remainder of the week will be spent
closing out all the little remaining items on our check-
list. There is nothing major on the list, only packing the pit boxes, marking our spares and
loading the car. We will be delivering our spares to Baja Pits next Saturday in Ensenada, then
it's just a waiting game!
October 31, 2012
I was down at the shop for a couple of
hours today, doing final prep.. It seems like for every
item crossed off the list of things to do, I think up another to add to the list...... While I got the
head stud torques checked and the valves adjusted, I found that one of our two horns is not
working. It's probably something simple, like a loose wire but it's another thing to chase down.
If that's the worst of our problems though, we're in good shape.
Anyway, the planning is moving forward;
we're closing in on a "final" pit/fuel/chase plan, we
hope to wrap that bit up tomorrow when we meet with the entire driver/co-driver team. We'll
have several chase elements; one for the Ensenada - San Felipe - Gonzaga portion and two
others for the El Crucero - La Paz section. I'm hoping that one of the "West side" chase trucks
can wait in the Ensenada area until the car is well on it's way to San Matias (and then still be
able to catch up later). With our limited resources, it's hard to cover all the possible problems
that could arise ......
I've been spending my late evenings
working on GPS stuff - chase access route files, pit location
files, etc.. Google Earth is an awesome resource for that stuff; I can actually see and plot the
chase access roads directly. I can't see if there is a rancher's gate restricting access, but I can
see the roads that lead to the course. In some areas, the resolution is good enough to see the
condition of the race course (at least when the photo was taken).
October 27, 2012
Trevor and I had the car out at Plaster
City for a test/tune session today,
our first outing with
the car since our "roll-over" at the Baja 500 earlier this year. We're happy to say that the car
worked perfectly with no issues to worry about before the Baja 1000. After the extensive
repair/rebuild we undertook this summer, it's a pleasure to find that the car still drives straight
and handles as well as it did before the roll-over. All the subsystems worked as expected and
the engine and transaxle were trouble free.
We're on to "final prep." now; the thousand little details that can mean the difference between a
win and a "DNF"! Aside from final prep. of the car, we also need to finalize our pit/fuel/chase
strategies and communicate those plans to our pit and chase crew. We hope to get our entire
driver/co-driver team together next weekend to go over the plans; our chase team is scattered
around the Southwest and Mexico - we'll have to make some telephone calls...
Back in the desert where it belongs!
October 21, 2012
I've been out of town for work over the
last week; it's tough to get anything
race related done from
2000 miles away! I've at least been able to get some of the admin. stuff done - sat phone rentals,
Baja Pits application, etc.. I've ordered fuel based on the preliminary map; once SCORE releases
the official course GPS file we'll need to finalize our exact pit/chase strategy...... We still have a
long way to go though, lots of details to wrap up before we're ready to leave the start line. Once I
get home on Wednesday, we'll be rounding upa few more rims to mount some spare tires on. Then,
we need to see about delivering our spares to Baja Pits in Ensenada. We're hoping to get a test/tune
session in next weekend, time is getting short for us to sort out any problems we may find with the car!
October 12, 2012
We have been trying to get all the Baja
1000 logistics settled, we got a
late start on them due to my absence for the entire summer...... The
car is ready to go, we only need to apply our new numbers and add fuel.
It's the other thousand little details like hotels, pit services, chase crews,
fuel, spare tires, spare parts, co-drivers, etc. that we need to get under
control now! It'll all come together in time, one way or another. I had
forgotten how stressful setting up for the Baja 1000 is (not to mention
the race itself!)!
September 27, 2012
I spent the entire day at the shop
wrapping up all the loose ends. I'm
happy to report that the car is back together and aside from replacing the
seat belts, ready to run. I drove it around the shop for a few minutes today
so that I could check for leaks and to make sure everything was working
as expected. I did not find any problem areas so I think we're ready to
plan a test/tune day. As usual, my employer has other ideas so it may
have to wait a week or two..... We'll be at the Fiber Tech Open House
on Saturday though - stop by and say hi!
Reassembled and ready to run!
I think it looks better than it did before our roll-over.......
September 26, 2012
We were at the shop until 11:30 last
night, closing in on completing our
race prep.. We have the engine installed and "pre-oiled", just need to
install the Supertrap in the exhaust before we run it. Getting it off the old
exhaust was probably a huge waste of time, it might have been better to
just buy a new one..... Anyway, it's ready to install now so I hope to run
the engine tomorrow. We have the entire drive train completed, and now
the only items left on our list are installing new seat belts and bolting the
seats back in! I also want to spend a little time adjusting the driver side
door - it fit great 3 weeks ago but not so much now..... I don't know what
happened along the way, I may have to do a little "persuading" to get it
to fit the way we want.
We will have the car on display at
Fiber Tech's "Back to the Desert"
open house this Saturday in Santee. Hope to see you there!
This was taken at 11:30 pm after a long day/evening; we'll try to get some
better "glamour" shots at the Fiber Tech open house this weekend.
September 23, 2012
Trevor and I have spent most of the
last couple of days at the shop, tying
up all the loose ends. The car is coming along quickly; we're planning on
having it on display next weekend at the Fiber Tech "Back to the Desert"
open house. Beyond the normal pre-race prep., there were many little details
that needed to be finalized as a result of the roll-over rebuild. Most of them
are now "closed out", so it's just a normal prep. from this point on. We have
only to re-install the axles, the engine, roll cage padding, seats and harnesses
to go; another day or so at most. The only "messy" job left is the greasing
and installation of our new CV's and axles, not my favorite part of the prep..
September 21, 2012
I just got back from my first trip flying
the Boeing 757 after training all
summer long. It's a great airplane to fly and is much "smarter" than the
Boeing 727 fleet I came from. For this first trip, my company sent me to
Munich to get my initial experience under the supervision of a training
captain. Flying in Europe is a little different than flying in the U.S. but
after a couple of days it was no big deal. Glad to be finally "released to
the line", no longer a prisoner of the training department! I'm looking
forward to getting back to a "normal" work schedule.....
Now that I'm home, Trevor and I hope to
get the car reassembled and tested
before the end of the month. The Baja 1000 is quickly approaching and we
need to start getting all the loose ends nailed down. Trevor has been busy with
the roll-over repair all summer while I've been away learning a new airplane
so we haven't actually had a break to take care of all the race logistics yet.....
September 06, 2012
Finally, the car is painted! There
are a couple of areas that we'll want to
"touch up" but we're very happy with the results overall. Once we get our
new decals and race numbers installed, it'll look just like it did before our
Just after shooting the roof.
First time out in the sun!
Doors painted and installed.
Now that the painting is complete, it's
just a matter of "re-assembly". We hope
to have the car ready for a test/tune session by the end of the month (work and
school schedules permitting!).
September 03, 2012
Trevor and I have been prepping for and
beginning the painting process on
the car. We began by wet sanding the entire area to be painted yesterday
to ensure that we'd be able to get a glossy finish and to make sure that we
would have good adhesion. Once that was complete, we started by painting
the interior areas where the new roof was joined to the body. By the time we
had that complete, the light was failing so we called it a day. We've decided
to paint the car in sections; we don't have a spray booth and it's just easier for
us to do it that way in our shop (that also minimizes the overspray "cloud"
we create in one session, keeping our neighbors happy). Today, we began
painting the exterior. We started with the rear quarter side panels from the
rain gutters down to the body line. Those made for good "natural breaks"
and allowed us to hide the paint "mask" line effectively - well enough that it
is very difficult to see where the new/old paint meet. We are very pleased
with the results; the seams are invisible and the paint color match/blend is
very good. Now, we're waiting for the paint to cure a day or two before we
mask to paint the upper roof, the top area between the rain gutters. We'll
paint the entire area from the rear grill to the front windshield frame at one
time. We found that the new co-driver side door needed a little more work
before painting, so Trevor tore into it while I painted. It should be ready to
paint by the time we shoot the roof. Hopefully, it'll be completely painted
Left rear quarter panel after painting
Right rear quarter panel after painting
August 30, 2012
I'm finally back from Memphis, I finished
my new aircraft transition training
yesterday. I'm officially now a Boeing 757/767 Captain and have only my
Initial Operating Experience (IOE) trip to complete before I'm "released to
the line" and can fly trips without someone looking over my shoulder! Trevor
had me out to the shop today to see all the progress he's made on the car in
my absence; I was impressed to see that not only is the car ready to paint, but
the shop is immaculate! We hope to wet sand and then paint the car while
I'm home over the next week, then he can reassemble it while I'm out on
my IOE trip the following week. Maybe a test/tune session in September?
August 25, 2012
Trevor tells me that he has the car
basically ready for paint and is just waiting
on me........ I'm almost done with my new aircraft "transition training" and
expect to be home on Thursday for a few days before I head out to Europe for
my initial operating experience trip (I expect to be done by Sept. 20.......). Once
the car is painted, we can begin the reassembly process which should take just a
couple of days. Then, we can start thinking about a test/tune day to verify our
work and start prepping for the Baja 1000.
The new roof in primer, ready to paint
The Driver's side pillar joint blended, in primer and ready to paint.
August 19, 2012
Trevor has been doing the body work in
prep. for painting over the last week,
it looks to me like it's about ready to shoot. The doors probably need a little
more attention, but the new roof looks ready to go. We could have painted it
without spending the extra time to fill some low spots but we like our car to
look a little better than the "average" 5-1600 car (at least when we show up
to the next race......).
Filling a few small dents on the new roof.
New roof "body worked" and primed. Now, we just need to wet sand and then paint.
August 11, 2012
I'm back in Memphis doing simulator
training for the Boeing 757/767 so I
haven't been able to help Trevor with the car. He has been working on some
of the "little" but important details; blending the new roof joint in preparation
for paint, grinding the new front trailing arm gussets to clearance for our shocks,
transferring our window nets to the new doors, rounding up new hardware for
the suspension, making new skid plates, etc.. All that stuff has to get done at
some point so even though it doesn't look like much is getting done, he is making
progress. I'm thinking that once he gets the interior roof joint ready to paint, he
can shoot the inside and then start reassembly of the interior. He can actually
finish the car with the exception of final paint of the new roof (and there's no
reason why he can't do that as well!).
August 5, 2012
I've been home for a few days between
training events, Trevor and I have been
able to get the car back on it's "feet". It sure makes things easier when we can
roll the car out of the shop to get better access! I'm impressed with the amount
and quality of work Trevor has produced on the rebuild; I have had very little
time to help him and he has it nearly complete! We have our engine and trans.
on hand and ready for installation once the paint is done. Trevor has several
days of "body work" to go before the car is ready to paint, but after that things
should go quickly. I have to go back to Memphis tomorrow to finish my training;
I'll probably be there until the end of the month so Trevor is on his own again!
Finally back on it's feet!
I had a little time off this weekend, so
I decided to do some "normal" things for a
bit..... My new aircraft training is going well but it's a grind - I really need to do
something other than study for a change! I decided to update the site to get my
mind off the Boeing 757/767 for a while.
Trevor has the rear bumper complete at
this point and is moving on to getting the
car back on its wheels. Our new rear trailing arms require a little final fitting and
welding, then he can get them "final" installed. At that point, he can start building
up the rear suspension until the car is back on its wheels. There is a fair amount
of work involved, but it's mostly just re-assembly from this point on.
The old bumper looking pretty tired.
Nothing salvageable here.....
Well, maybe the lights and number plate.
Full size bumper tube template to help get the bends correct.
Bending the main tubes. Our JD Model 3 bender works great.
It requires a little muscle but it does everything we need.
This one looks just a little "over-bent".
Trevor fixed that with some creative "de-bending".....
Main hoops bolted up awaiting cross-tubes.
Trevor hand fitted every joint using a
body grinder. A good
tube notching tool would be nice!
All fitted up and ready to weld.
Trevor has been working on the car most
every day since my last update, he has made
significant progress on the bumper repair effort. The front bumper is entirely repaired
and ready to bolt back on the car and Trevor has the majority of the new rear bumper
fabricated and ready to weld together. This required bending up all new bumper elements,
none of the original was salvageable. He sent me photos today, it looks great. I am in
Memphis for training, so the updates will be a little delayed.
Tacking the new roof in place.
Seams final welded.
Welds ground flush.
A little Bondo to smooth the joint.
Trim holes welded closed on new doors.
Front bumper light guard repaired.
Front bumper ready to bolt up.
July 11, 2012
Yesterday, we cleaned up and painted the
inside surfaces of the new roof in preparation
for the final install. We thought it would be much easier to "pre-paint" the interior,
rather than trying to mask off and paint around all the cage structure ...... We'll touch
up the welded joints later. Once the paint was somewhat dry, we tacked the new roof
on the car after installing some backing material inside some of the posts. We wanted
to be sure that we didn't have any large gaps to fill with welding rod, so we just bent up
a few pieces of sheet steel to tack behind areas where we felt the gaps were a little too
large. The backing pieces are inside the pillars and not visible.
Today, Trevor final welded the roof on the car! With a series of small "tack welds",
he joined the new roof to the remaining body structure; by using small tack welds, he
was able to control the heat to avoid warping the body. We're very pleased with the
result, the 6 pillars he joined all fit very well and once we do a little grinding and filling,
it will be difficult to detect any evidence of our "roof replacement surgery". I spent
the day working on the new firewall; making and installing mount tabs, cutting holes
for the plumbing to pass through, replacing the fuel filler window mount tabs, etc.
July 8, 2012
Trevor and I spent most of the day at the
shop today, we have the entire rear cage/
trans. hanger mount repaired. Finally, we can start thinking about welding the new
roof on the car! We're going to take tomorrow off, but plan to be back on Tuesday
getting the roof painted on the inside surfaces. Once the paint is dry, we'll start
fitting it up for the last time. We hope to have it entirely done by the end of the week,
leaving only final body work and paint (roof and new doors) aside from our normal
"race prep". The race prep should go without problems at this point, we have done
all the set-up work and the car is basically ready to be reassembled and tested.
July 6, 2012
Today, we completed the repair of our
lower engine mounts and removed the damaged
firewall sections. We fitted a new firewall section to replace the damaged area; we will
install it so that it's removable for future maintenance once the trans "hanger mount"
is complete. Having the firewall section and the roof off the car gives us great access
to the rear cage for that repair. We hope to complete the hanger mount repair tomorrow.
July 5, 2012
Not much progress on the car over the
last couple of days; I returned home from my
week-long trip on Tuesday morning and slept until noon. Trevor and I picked up our
transaxle from Power Box later that afternoon, we also picked up all the suspension
parts that were being Magnaflux inspected. We have some CV parts starting to show
evidence of cracking, so we placed an order for new CV's. We mounted the transaxle
in the car and can now begin the process of building the "hanger mount" again. Once
the hanger mount is complete, we'll repair the firewall sheet metal and then weld the
new roof on the car. We're hoping to do all that in the next week, before I have to
go to Memphis for the rest of the summer to qualify in a new airplane type.....
June 29, 2012
Trevor has been at the shop every day,
working on the car. He has repaired the
rear engine mounts and has begun the process of replacing the front mounts. He
has started removing the damaged rear cage elements in preparation for rebuilding
the area to support the transaxle "hanger mounts". That needs to be handled before
we weld the new roof on; that's our main objective when I get home on Tuesday.
Yesterday, he modified our new rear trailing arms to eliminate the forward shock
mount boss - it isn't used on our car and interferes with the stock body mounts (which
we are required by the rules to retain). Removing that shock boss allows several more
inches of "up" travel. Trevor sends me photos regularly to keep me "in the loop".
June 25, 2012
We had an easy day today, Trevor and I
went by Power Box to drop off some parts
to be crack checked then headed down to the shop. We worked on making new
"mid-mount" plates for our transmission; they failed during our roll-over at the
Baja 500 and needed to be replaced. While at the shop, I cleaned and visually
inspected the CV's and Axles. They looked okay, so tomorrow we'll drop them by
Power Box to have them crack checked also. I know that our limit straps stretched
during the roll-over and when the mid mounts failed, it allowed much greater than
normal CV angles. We're replacing the CV boot flanges and boots, they were a
little torn up by the excessive axle angles. Hopefully, no broken or cracked CV's!
June 24, 2012
Trevor and I were at the shop for several
hours today; we were able to finalize
the fitting of our new roof. The doors we bought yesterday allowed us to ensure
that we fitted the roof to accommodate "standard" doors - not just the "tweaked"
doors we were left with after the Baja 500. We are very happy with the fit of the
roof; it's ready to weld on but we want to do some of the prep. for paint while it's
off the car. Also, we have much easier access to the rear cage area for some of
the repairs needed there while the roof is off the car. So, we'll hold off on the
final install until those repairs are complete. We gathered up most of the the
parts that we want crack checked; we'll take them to "Power Box" tomorrow to
get them into their work stream. Some of the parts will be going back on the car,
others will be going into our spares stock. Either way, we need to know if they
are good or bad.......
We were also able to reposition the one front window pillar that was slightly out
of place; the roof now fits without having to apply pressure to any of the pillars.
The new driver's side door fitted
The passenger side rear window pillar fitment
June 23, 2012
Trevor and I drove up to Covina this
morning to look at a pair of door shells from
a 1961 Beetle. They were in excellent condition so we bought both ($60 for the pair!);
we may only use the driver's side door, keeping the passenger side as a spare. All they
really need is a little cleaning and welding the trim holes closed - otherwise they are
ready to mount. We didn't make it down to the shop today, all the driving wore us out!
I'm hoping that we'll make it down there tomorrow to install the new door and finalize
the fitting of the roof. The front window pillars are just a little "tweaked", I've been
thinking about how to square them up before we weld the roof on. It's a very small
amount that will probably not be noticeable but it'll always bother me if we don't work
out the deformation.
June 22, 2012
Trevor worked on fitting the new roof
today and I worked on the front suspension.
I have the front beam all reassembled - new trailing arms and torsion packs installed
and waiting for the spindle assemblies. We want to carefully crack check the spindle
assemblies before installation, just haven't got that part done yet. Once we clear them
for use, we'll have the front end back on the wheels in just an hour or so. We are now
at a standstill on fitting the roof - we need to replace the driver's side door before we
finalize the fit. Obviously, we want the roof and door to fit each other. We are going
up to LA in the morning to pick up a couple of used door shells, then hopefully bring
them to the shop and install them; then we can complete the final fitting of the roof.
The new roof being fitted (getting close)
Almost there, need good doors to finish it up......
June 21, 2012
Yesterday, Trevor and I picked up all our
new suspension parts at McKenzie's
Performance Parts. We now have all new suspension parts on hand and can
relegate the parts we just took off the car to the "spares" bin. It was time to
make them spares anyway, the roll-over just "sealed the deal"...... We also
had McKenzie's send our microstubs back to CNC to have them checked and
Today, we spent some time "blacking" the
new parts, a chemical process that
helps slow the corrosion process and makes the parts look cool too. Afterwards,
we made some window templates to help us fit the new roof section on the car.
Using the templates, we marked the "cut lines" on the car (making sure that the
cuts left us plenty of material to fine tune the fit) and then broke out the SawsAll.
We made the cuts outside the marked lines, again to be sure that we didn't cut
any of the pillars short. Once we had the roof off, we were able to closely inspect
the top of the roll cage structure; we found a couple of cracks that were easily
Tomorrow we'll start refining the cuts on
the car and begin trimming the donor
roof to fit as closely as possible. Before we trim the new roof too much, I want to
replace the driver's side door; we can use it to help us fit the roof correctly. We
have a couple of door options available, still trying to find the best compromise.
We'll probably wait a bit to final weld the new roof, there is a little rear cage
damage that'll be much easier to repair with the roof off. Once that's complete,
we'll final weld the new roof and begin the process of body work and paint.
Trevor cutting the Co-driver's side "B" pillar
Trevor cutting the rear window pillar
The "Old" and the "New"
It's sure a lot easier to access the rear cage now!
I'm finally home after 8 days in Dayton
and can get back to work on the car.
Trevor and I dropped our engine off at Paradise Motor Sports today so that
Jason can get it into his work stream. We're hoping that it'll just require some
minor repair - replacement of the intake manifold end castings and some sheet
metal straightening...... The motor only has 50 miles on it since the most recent
overhaul so we're going to only go as far as we need to in order to put it back in
race-ready condition. This was my first chance to see Trevor's front end repair
work in person, I'm impressed! Tomorrow, we're going up to McKenzie's to
pick up the new suspension components we ordered. We are replacing all the
trailing arms - front and rear, the torsion packs, link pins and all the other load
bearing parts that took a beating at the Baja 500. We are planning to repair
our damaged roof this week, hopefully have it ready for paint before I have to
leave town again next week.
Trevor has the entire front end repaired
and ready for new suspension components.
We are replacing all the front trailing arms and the torsion packs; we will carefully
inspect the spindle assemblies and repair any damage we find. Hopefully, we'll have
the front end re-assembled and race ready next week. I'll be home most of next week;
we hope to replace the roof during that time, or at least get a good start on it. I think
we can get the new roof fitted and welded on but the body work and paint may take a
little more time than I'll have. Once the new roof is fitted, it'll be no problem to get
it ready for paint, it just takes some time. We have a very small amount of rear cage
damage to repair and Trevor needs to make a new rear bumper - then it's back into
a "normal" race prep effort. I think we'll be able to make the Baja 1000 this year!
Happy Birthday Trevor!
June 14, 2012
I just spoke with Trevor, he tells me
that the beam is repaired and bolted back on
the car. Now that it's in place, he was able to do some measuring to determine how
"out of square" the car is after our roll over. Surprisingly, the car is almost perfect
and the little bit of displacement from square isn't enough to even worry about for
us. That's a huge relief, now we can press on with the rebuild! Trevor can now
start the process of repairing the forward cage elements that were damaged - those
tubes that were bent when we hit the concrete block. He has already removed the
damaged sections, now he just has to fabricate replacements and weld them in. I
will be ordering new front trailing arms, they took a lot of abuse in the roll over and
their design makes it impossible to thoroughly check them for damage; the safest
thing to do is replace them at this point. They were due to be cycled out of service
and into our spares supply anyway. We may also need a new set of rear trailing
arms, the left side at least looks to be a little "tweaked"..... I'm going to call
the original maker (Lothringer) to see if they'll put it on their jig to see if it's twisted
June 13, 2012
Trevor has been down at the shop all week
working on the car; he has the front
suspension beam in work, hopefully it'll be race ready today. Next will be the repair
of the front beam support structure - the cage structure between the front roll cage
hoop and the torsion beam. That section was damaged when we hit the concrete
block and needs a couple of tubes fabricated to replace the damaged section. We
have the tubing on hand and now need to bend and fit the replacement sections.
After that, we need to repair the rear elements that were damaged when the engine/
transaxle were pushed up into the rear shelf area. That'll have to wait until we
get the transaxle back from overhaul; we need to build the support structure to fit
our new transaxle "hanger mount" (we're changing from a VW 002 bell housing
to a VW 091 type bell housing and the mount arrangement is a little different).
Once the structural problems are repaired, we can then start on the "body work".
That's the cosmetic repair of the car, we'd like it to look good when we're done
so we'll take care to make the new roof fit seamlessly....... VW Paradise is ready
to have us drop the motor off for inspection and repair, that'll be one of the first
things I do when I get home from Dayton next week. Hopefully, Trevor will have
most of the structural problems handled by then.
June 8, 2012
We have the car totally disassembled and
are evaluating the problem areas to come
up with the best plan for repair. So far, it looks to us like the damage is not as bad
as we had anticipated - the basic structure is straight and the main cage appears to
be undamaged. We will look more closely when we remove the damaged roof section
but we're pleased with what we're seeing to this point. We have located a "donor
roof" to graft onto our car, and have started collecting the other small panels that
will need to be replaced - the rear "shelf" area for example was damaged when the
engine and transaxle were pushed up into that area during the roll-over, and we
are going to cut out the damaged area and replace it with a new panel. We've
handed our transaxle over to Adam P. at Powerbox for overhaul/repair and we're
talking with Paradise Motorsports about getting our engine squared away. We think
that we can make it to the Baja 1000 this year if we hit it hard this summer!
June 4, 2012
We're home from the 2012 Baja 500 where
we had a very short but eventful race.
While trying to get around a class 7 truck and driving in his dust, we clipped a large
concrete "boobie trap" on the course and rolled the car. The damage was serious
enough that we decided it would be unsafe to continue. There was serious front
suspension damage (the beam is bent back about 45 degrees, we could only turn left
and there was no suspension travel), rear suspension damage (twisted trailing arm
and sheared spring plate/trailing arm bolts), the intake manifold was "holed" and the
engine/transaxle mounts had failed. If we had been 10 miles from the finish line,
we would have done whatever it took to get there; we were just too far from a
finish to get the car that far. It was very disappointing - the car was running and
handling better than ever and we had already started to build a lead over the pack.....
We have the car back at our shop and are in the post race "tear-down" process. We'll
repair the rollover damage and hopefully have the car ready for the 2012 Baja 1000!
June 1, 2012
We just got back from tech inspection,
the car is as ready to go as we can make it!
All the logistics were taken care of yesterday, so now we just wait for the driver's
meeting tonight at 7pm. We don't expect anything unusual at the meeting, just the
normal parade of dignitaries and maybe a little review of course problem areas.
Trevor is out pre-running from the start line to Race Mile 40, it's going to be a little
different than previous years. We are not allowed to pre-run that section until the
Thursday and Friday just before the race, so this is our first opportunity to see it.
May 30, 2012
We have the car and all our spares at
home now, ready to head out to Ensenada
tomorrow around mid day. Packing the truck is going to be a challenge, we are
carrying 8 spare tires, 3 pit boxes, 2 tool boxes, and 3 dump cans in addition to our
clothes, food, drinks, helmets, driving suits, etc.... I think some of the spare tires
are going to end up strapped down on the trailer. Our plan is to load in the morning
to start the drive by 11 or 12, arrive in Ensenada by 3 pm to get checked in to our
hotel. Then, we'll start trying to get some of the logistics taken care of; Race
Registration, spares drop off, fuel pick-up, go see PCI, and maybe fit in a visit to
IRC to get our tracker..... Busy day.
May 26, 2012
Trevor has been out pre-running the Baja
500 course from RM 40 to RM 260 today.
He has been periodically sending us SPOT Tracker messages with his location; it
seems like they made good time running that section of the course - the last check-in
was at 4:11pm in Valle Trinidad (exiting the course at RM 260). It looked to me like
they were stopped in the middle of town, probably getting something to eat there.....
Tomorrow he will be pre-running the second half of the course, RM 260 to RM 408.
We are not allowed to pre-run the last 40 miles at all, and can only run the first 40
miles starting on Wednesday. Those sections share many of the same trails for both
the "outbound" and "inbound" course. They don't want people pre-running into
and out of Ensenada at the same time on the same trails - that would be a recipe for
disaster! I've been at the shop working on the car today - just taking care of the final
prep.. We still have a few things to check off the list; hopefully we'll have everything
done on Monday, leaving us a couple of days to relax......
May 25, 2012
Trevor just left for Ensenada a couple of
hours ago - he's pre-running the entire course
Saturday and Sunday. Many thanks again to Rick St. John for including us in his pre-
running efforts! I'm staying home to wrap up as many "loose ends" as possible before
the race - there are a thousand little details that need to be dealt with before I feel ready
to go to a major race like the Baja 500....... We're a very small team and can't delegate
those details to others; we are stuck with everything from detail prepping the car to
having our driving suits dry cleaned (and everything in-between)! We'll be ready to
race early in the week.
May 20, 2012
Finally, the car is 100% ready to race!
We picked up our engine from VW Paradise on
Friday afternoon; the first thing I did when I got home from a week long trip to Denver.
Trevor and I installed it yesterday afternoon and drove it around the shop a couple of times
to check for leaks; no problems noted. This morning, we loaded up and headed out for
Plaster City to do a real test/tune session. We arrived by about 1030 am, it was already
100 degrees in the shade...... The car and engine performed perfectly and we got a few
"break-in" miles under our belts. Afterwards, we had a good look around for leaks or
other problems - didn't find anything. Jason at VW Paradise wants us to bring the car
around sometime during the week so he can fine tune the new carb. a bit to be sure it
isn't running lean. Once that's out of the way, we'll be on to final prep; just a couple
days of checking fasteners and safety wiring stuff......
May 11, 2012
Our Engine parts finally arrived but I'll
be in Denver all next week for work! I guess we'll
have to install the motor when I get back on Friday, then do our test/tune next Saturday or
Sunday. At least that'll give our motor builder plenty of time to run it on the test stand before
we bolt it up to the car..... Just what I needed - more time pressure!
Trevor has been invited to pre-run the
second half of the course the weekend before the race;
that's the section we are most concerned about. There are numerous areas that are challenging
for limited class cars there, it'll be good to have a look ahead of the race. We probably will not
be able to pre-run the first half, but we've seen it several times already anyway. Many thanks to
Rick St. John and KIT Racing for allowing Trevor to join their pre-running effort!
May 3, 2012
Trevor and I finished up the car last
weekend - except for the engine, the car is ready
to race. There was one piston showing some signs of wear when we tore the engine
down for inspection; it makes no sense to us to re-use a part that's obviously not 100%.
We are waiting on a replacement part so we can re-assemble the motor. Once we have
the engine back in our shop, we can complete the car in just a few hours. Then, it'll be
time for a test/tune session to verify that the car is ready for the Baja 500 in June. We
have most of the race logistics handled, we're just waiting for the course map to be
released so we can plan our pit/fuel/chase strategy.
April 27, 2012
The car is coming together nicely, the
front end is complete and ready to race. We're
closing out the interior; new clutch and throttle cables installed, seats cleaned and
inspected and the pedal cluster has been inspected and reinstalled. We were going to
change our clutch pedal shaft to a new design that eliminates the "wear points" of
the original design, but we learned from SCORE tech today that they would not allow
the change. They had previously given us verbal approval, but today they had a
different answer....... Back to the original design clutch pedal shaft! Tomorrow we
plan to mount the transaxle and reinstall the axles - leaving only the reinstallation of
the engine and a rear bumper/cage. One more day's work 'till the car is ready to race!
April 11, 2012
I faxed in our Baja 500 Entry Form this
evening, and we have our hotel room booked.
I'm trying to get a start on all the logistics that go along with the Baja 500; I don't like
loose ends! The biggest loose end for us right now is the car itself. We have lots of work
ahead of us to get it ready, and I'm going to be away from home for the next couple of
weeks. It's hard to get anything done when I'm 1000 miles away...... Our parts haven't
all shown up at McKenzie's yet; I hate to make two trips up there but "some" parts is
better than "no" parts. We're going up in the next day or so regardless (I'm running
out of stuff to do without them). We really need to get the car back together early enough
to do at least one test/tune day before the race. June 1st seems like a long way off but
with my work schedule, we realistically have only a couple of weeks to get everything
April 08, 2012
We are making progress on the pre - Baja
500 car prep., we have the transaxle back
from Power Box and all our suspension parts have been crack checked. We can't thank
Rick and Adam at Power Box enough - they really take good care of us! We hope all the
new parts we've ordered from McKenzie's will be available this week, I'm home for a few
days and would like to make some progress! As of late last week, the only part we are still
waiting on is our steering rack gear. Our current rack has been in the car since 2008 and
is showing some concerning wear....... We are big believers in thoroughly prepping the car,
so it has to go! Our motor is coming along with Jason at VW Paradise, we're doing a
complete "freshening" after the flogging we gave it in San Felipe last month. It looked
new inside, but we always treat it as a mini overhaul. I'm spending tomorrow working on
our trailer, the electric brakes aren't working like they should. It's always something!
March 30, 2012
We dropped off all our suspension parts
to be crack checked with Rick and Adam at
"Power Box" today. While there, Rick showed us our disassembled transaxle; we are
going to be spending a little more overhauling it than we thought...... It's time to replace
the main shaft and some of the gears. These are not "stock" VW parts - they are high
strength (and cost) parts made specifically for racing. It makes no sense to us to take the
car to the Baja 500 without doing all we can to ensure we get to the finish line.
We've inspected the car's basic
structure, and found only minor issues that have already
been resolved. The shocks are getting new bearings installed top and bottom all around;
we seem to beat them to death regularly! We are also replacing most of the parts inside
our "rack and pinon" steering box, the Char-lynn torque generator really beats it up. As
always, we will be replacing all the "high stress" hardware - nuts and bolts that see shock
loads on a regular basis and that would cause major problems if failed......Once we start
getting parts back from inspection/overhaul, we will begin reassembly.
March 27, 2012
We've inspected the front half of the
car, only two minor cracks were detected and
repaired. We're happy to see that the car handled the SF 250's brutal terrain without
too much complaint, that makes our prep for the '500 much easier! All the high
stress parts that we want to replace are on order; hopefully they'll arrive in the next
few days. We're replacing all of the steering system "wear points", we were starting
to see some things there that needed attention. When we're done, we'll have new
components all around. We hope to get all the remaining steering/suspension/
drivetrain components off the car and to Power Box in the next day or so to be
Magnaflux checked for cracks. We have the CV's disassembled and ready to be
crack checked - they look good so hopefully they don't have any cracks that make
March 15, 2012
We've got the engine and transaxle
out of the car and in the hands of VW Paradise
and Powerbox for overhaul. We think the engine is going to need some replacement parts,
we whipped it pretty hard in San Felipe! We're going to the shop this afternoon to start the
teardown/inspection/repair process on the car. I'll be surprised if there are no problems to
work, we thrashed the car pretty hard. On first inspection, we don't see anything obvious
but it's time to replace the high stress parts again (torsion bars, axles, suspension hardware,
etc.). We also tore a CV boot somewhere on the course, that CV is probably junk now......
March 12, 2012
We're back from San Felipe and starting
on the video and photo editing for the website.
We had some real "ups and downs" at this race, first to last, to first again and finally
third! We had mechanical problems beginning at race mile 36 that cost us over 30
minutes and put us at the tail end of our class by many miles. Trevor battled his way
back into first place by race mile 145, only to have the throttle cable break at mile
182 - costing us the lead and placing us in 3rd at the finish line. That's racing!
March 7, 2012
Going down to load up the car this
afternoon, we're leaving for San Felipe early
tomorrow morning. We just need to load the truck with our tools and spares then
head out. We're excited to race again!
February 28, 2012
We are doing our "final prep" for the San
Felipe 250; marking spares, charging
radio batteries, loading GPS files, etc.. We will be heading down to San Felipe
on Friday to spend the weekend pre-running the course. We'll also be delivering
some of our spares and pit boxes so we don't have to do it all at once.....
February 17, 2012
Finally, we had a chance to do a
test/tune day! The storms passed through, I'm at
home for a change, the car was ready and there was no race in Plaster City so we
loaded the car up and spent the day testing. We're happy to report the car ready to
race, only a weepy oil pump housing to work on. It was good to get back in the car
after 8 months off from racing! Next stop, San Felipe!
February 3, 2012
We're just back from having our "cage"
inspected by SCORE Tech.; no problems
found so the car is ready to go for the San Felipe 250 in March. We have just a
couple of very minor "loose ends" to attend to with the car; the biggest issues for
us at this point are the paperwork and race planning (pits/fuel/spares/driver changes/
January 31, 2012
We have an appointment to have our "cage"
inspected by SCORE Tech (Bill Savage)
this Friday morning; we are not aware of any problems at this point, but Bill's crack
detection equipment has the final say.... Working on all the San Felipe 250 entry
paperwork - lots of stuff to arrange; entry fees, pit services, fuel, satellite phones,
chase crews, co-drivers, test/tune session, final prep., SCORE memberships, etc..
Fortunately, I have a few days at home for a change!
January 16, 2012
We still haven't had a chance to get to
our "test/tune" day, I haven't been home for
more than a day or two at a time for months..... At this point, it looks like we'll have
to wait for early to mid February to find the time. San Felipe is coming up soon, we
really need to get some time on the engine/car before then!