Thoughts on and questions about V2R from the Subaru guy

spalind

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Thank you for the congrats. No, we're not the same guys that raced NORRA, although that was an inspiration. I'd warn you the stock struts are definitely not up to the task, so you'd want to do something about them.

You guys should definitely race NORRA or the Sonora Rally, both of which that other Subie wagon has done to one extent or another. Lots more "fire road" type terrain in NORRA than V2R though it does have it silt and rocks as well. Would also give you time to fix the car each day with the stage rally type format.
 

pontoontodd

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You guys should definitely race NORRA or the Sonora Rally, both of which that other Subie wagon has done to one extent or another. Lots more "fire road" type terrain in NORRA than V2R though it does have it silt and rocks as well. Would also give you time to fix the car each day with the stage rally type format.

Ya, I guess three reasons we did V2R instead:
It's in the US. Mexico would be another, what, 1000 miles of driving for us, not to mention additional travel issues.
That other guy has done those events in a Subaru.
Those events are more fire road/rally/navigation type events, so not true desert races from what I've heard. Not to say they aren't challenging or wouldn't be fun.
 

WickedGravityVideo

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I have a strangely strong desire to race a near stock subaru wagon in a desert race. One thing I would do differently. I would not even think of driving the race car itself across country to the start line and then BACK HOME from the finish!!! I would be prepared to sell the non-running carcass in the next town for scrap if I had to, and hitchhike to the nearest bus station or airport!

YOU GUYS ARE CERTIFIED CRAZEE! Did you use your A/C during the race and did the cab stay relatively free of dust when running?
 

pontoontodd

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I have a strangely strong desire to race a near stock subaru wagon in a desert race. One thing I would do differently. I would not even think of driving the race car itself across country to the start line and then BACK HOME from the finish!!! I would be prepared to sell the non-running carcass in the next town for scrap if I had to, and hitchhike to the nearest bus station or airport!

YOU GUYS ARE CERTIFIED CRAZEE! Did you use your A/C during the race and did the cab stay relatively free of dust when running?

It was in the back of our heads that we might have to take a train/bus/plane/rental car back to Illinois but fortunately that didn't come to pass. We did forget to bring the car title with us.

Yes, we had the AC on the whole race. The compressor does disengage at full throttle so it wasn't really hurting our performance aside from adding some weight. AC is almost required with a fully enclosed cab and firesuits. The cab was mostly dust free but occasionally we'd hit a big pile of silt and it would come in the vents. There's no cabin filter in a car this old for better or worse.

In case you're not being sarcastic about racing a nearly stock Subaru, just a warning, you won't get far on the stock struts at a race pace.
 

johndjmix

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Let me get this one straight, you guys not only raced the car in V2R but you actually drove it across the US to the race! Kick ass!

A few of us here in Denver Race in BITD/Score. If you ever get stranded or need help in Denver feel free to call the Dunarri wild scooter parts office and ask for me. We have a shop here so always willing to help if we aren't at the races.

The above goes for everyone out there in the desert scene.

Humm, it would be nice to have some sort of a directory on RD of people's numbers and areas so if one of us had trouble on the way to a race we had someone local with a shop to help out.

--John


Dunarri LLC
wildscooterparts.com
coolermods.com
 

pontoontodd

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Let me get this one straight, you guys not only raced the car in V2R but you actually drove it across the US to the race! Kick ass!

A few of us here in Denver Race in BITD/Score. If you ever get stranded or need help in Denver feel free to call the Dunarri wild scooter parts office and ask for me. We have a shop here so always willing to help if we aren't at the races.

The above goes for everyone out there in the desert scene.

Humm, it would be nice to have some sort of a directory on RD of people's numbers and areas so if one of us had trouble on the way to a race we had someone local with a shop to help out.

--John


Dunarri LLC
wildscooterparts.com
coolermods.com

Thanks for the heads up and the offer. Probably would have come in handy on the way to Vegas!
 

bajadreamer

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I sure wish people would post more footage like this ... It was great to watch for us pit guys that never get to see any of the track or ANY action at all .. You guys did an amazing job in that little car! Thanks for posting, it was great to watch :)



Sent from the RDC Mobile App. Get it for your IOS device today
 

pontoontodd

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It was good to see some of you again at V2R this year, we had a good time. This will be a long story again, the short version is that we did not finish but had a good time and were able to drive the car home.

We made a lot of changes to the car since the last V2R. Biggest one was swapping in an EZ30 3L H6 from a 2002 Outback for about 50% more power. Better skidplates, exhaust, and struts. Electric jacks, one behind each B pillar. Tire pressure monitoring system. Two spares in the car instead of one. Fabricated rear links (stock last year).

We drove the car out from Illinois again. Wednesday we got to Vegas about 3 in the afternoon. We put in the harnesses, door bars, lights, etc to get the car ready for tech.

After we registered and went through contingency and tech we met with Baja pits. Our plan was to stop every third pit (about every 100 miles) for fuel and switch seats and they would have a tire at those pits that we'd shipped out before the race.

We had the afternoon to kill so we checked out the pinball hall of fame. Neither of us is a huge pinball fan, but they had some cool old mechanical arcade games ca 1970. They use blacklights, belts, tilting tables, reflections/projections. As a mechanical engineer that was cool to see. Then we went to the driver's meeting. They warned us about some crazy sounding obstacles on the 540 mile course. There was a supposedly really torn up / soft section of powerline at mile 140-144. At about 170 there was a highway underpass immediately followed by a boulder field that the motorcycle guys would probably have to walk through. The last 20 miles of the course was supposed to be extremely rocky, worse than most years. On the plus side the pit closing times were much more generous than last year and we would only have to average 24mph to finish. That night we had dinner with an off road racer who lives in Vegas we used to race super buggies with in CORR/TORC. He told us if we made it 100 miles that would be a victory.

Friday morning we made the two hour drive up to Beatty where the race started. On the way the odometer turned over 230,000. Filled up the car at the gas station and drove to the staging area. Put on our drivers suits, used the port a potties, packed everything securely in the car, and waited to start. We entered Sportsman again. The car fits the 7200 class, which would have allowed us to start at least an hour sooner, but then we'd have 100+ faster vehicles behind us and we'd be ruining their race. Plus the Sportsman entry fee is about 40% of the normal entry fee. So we started in front of about six trucks with 350 ahead of us tearing up the course.

My friend started the race. A few of the faster sportsman guys passed us, the push to pass worked well. Less than ten minutes into the race the temp gauge started creeping up, there was a lot of soft ground and some climbs. Turned off the AC and temps were good the rest of the race. Also very early on the HVAC blower motor stopped working. We tried rolling down the windows but then it got even dustier. When we went through the silt sections dust came in the car and took forever to get out since the blower wasn't working, which made it hard to read the GPS. My friend was driving the car hard, it is a race and we wanted to keep up a good pace so it didn't take us 23 hours. Just before the first public road crossing and pit the tire pressure monitor started beeping, the left front was flat. We couldn't find Baja pits in the pit so we put on the spare using the electric jack, which was a big improvement. He drove the next sixty miles or so to pit 3 with no other major problems. The course was rough though, nothing that we doubted we could make it through, but in that first 94 miles to pit 3 maybe 5 miles were smooth. My friend was pretty beat by the time we made it to pit 3, we both just sat down, drank a lot of fluids, and ate some food. Baja pits fueled the car and swapped out our flat spare with a good one. We noticed some of the suspension bolts were loose and the strut tower was starting to split from the rest of the body at the seams. We couldn't think of any realistic way to fix that in the pits. After it cooled off a bit I took the radiator cap off the expansion tank and all sorts of coolant boiled out. We took the bleed plug out of the radiator and filled it back up with water. We sat and talked with Baja pits for a while about what we should do, eventually they convinced me we should go to the next pit 60 miles away and see if the frame got any worse. I am glad we did, that next sixty miles was a lot of fun, maybe 20 miles of it was rough. There were long stretches of 50-80mph running. Even in the rough sections where I thought I was going slow I was going 30. The longest, fastest gravel road we got on I had the gas pedal to the floor for what felt like a couple minutes. There was a guy resting in the shade of his broken trophy truck, he'd probably been there for hours, and when he saw us coming he stood up and cheered for us as we went by. We got that reaction a bunch of times during the race and that was really cool. About halfway down that gravel road was a cattle guard with a two or three foot gentle rise. Hit it about 80mph and got good air off the backside. The six cylinder was definitely an improvement, made it more fun but made it a lot easier in the soft terrain to power through or even just go up the grades without relying entirely on momentum. I also got to go down through a pine forest on a narrow dirt road with a bunch of sharp turns. My friend really got the short end of the stick driving. Near the end of that leg was the dreaded mile 140-144 rough powerline section. Seemed no worse than most of the rest of the course, which made us wonder how bad the other sections would be. We made it to pit 4 at probably an average of 40mph and feeling good until we looked at the body again. It had split considerably more, and what we'd just driven through was not super rough and I was trying to go easy on it in the rough. Just ahead was the boulder field, we weren't sure if we could do that on a good day. It probably would have gotten to the next pit, maybe the next couple pits, but the odds of it lasting another 400 miles on that course seemed very slim. We decided this would be a good place to stop while the car was still intact and head home. We stopped in Tonopah for gas and took 6 to Ely. There were no rooms available there so we drove up to Wendover.

In the morning we took the HVAC blower out. There were a few rocks in it, hotwired it to a switch and it worked. Headed back east in the morning on 80 through Utah. At this point we realized the V2R still wasn't over. We were looking for a place to stop and take a little hike to stretch our legs along 80 so we went to the Firehole gorge NRA on the Green river. The whole NRA is crisscrossed with dirt roads and trails so we wound up spending all afternoon driving around there. We did a few things we probably shouldn't have with the car in the condition it was in, but most of the trails were fairly smooth, very smooth by V2R standards. The whole area was beautiful with not many other people on the roads/trails. Saw a lot of elk, some large fish jumping straight up out of the water, and saw a coatimundi crossing the trail right in front of us. I had told my friend about Dinosaur national monument, at that point we weren't too far away so we drove down to Vernal to spend the night. We noticed the brake lights, fog lights, and dome light had stopped working too.

Sunday morning we messed with the wiring a bit, eventually my friend figured out the fusible link was blown. We replaced that and everything but the gauge lights worked. There was a brochure in the hotel about an arch just north of town that you can drive to in an ORV or hike the last part. There was a rough wash crossing about a mile from the arch that we decided would be very hard on the car on the way back so we parked at the car parking area and hiked up. Arch was very cool. Then we drove to the DNM visitor center and saw the quarry building. Not as good as I remembered it but definitely unique. I wanted to go back to Harper's corner trail in the middle of DNM, my wife and I had been on it years ago so we headed that way. We were looking for county road 16 off of 40 and I got us off on some dirt trail headed sort of the right way. A while later we were in a wooded wash with a bunch of trails that just kept getting rougher and weren't really going the way we wanted to go. We headed back towards the highway and found some other dirt roads that eventually got us to 16 and we went up to Harper's corner trail. It was just as dramatic as I remembered it, if not better, one of the best hiking trails I've ever been on. We had been debating driving Echo Park / Yampa bench roads to the southeast part of the park, but weren't sure if we'd want to do it with the Subaru and knew we had to make some progress towards home. While we were on the Harper's trail we could see part of the road that went through the bottom of a canyon and I decided we had to try it. We drove down the “dugway” which was just a bunch of switchbacks on a smooth gravel road. We went into Echo canyon, checked out the cave and river, definitely worth the drive. We went to the other overlooks along the Yampa bench road, they were all amazing, certainly by Illinois standards! I think there were a few slightly soft muddy sections along the road. You could have driven it in a normal street car, but it would be a rough and/or slow ride. We saw a badger running down the road right in front of us and some cows in the road. Stayed the night in Walden, still 1000 miles from home.

Monday we got up at 5AM, checked over the car, and went up to 80 for the trip home. We were running later than we'd planned since we'd spent most of Saturday and Sunday trail riding and only progressed about 300 miles east. On the plus side this meant we'd be in a good time and place to see the solar eclipse. When it started we stopped to get gas and put the cameras on the car. I dug out a piece of welding glass so we could look at the sun. Not very dramatic, sky just slowly got darker and then lighter over an hour or two. Could see the headlights on the road but you could see fine without them. It was kind of cool to see the sky dark behind us and light ahead, and then the opposite as the moon moved out of the way. The downside of this is that people from all over the midwest, particularly IA and MN judging by licence plates, had driven to NE to see this, and were then headed back east at the same time we were on 80 and then had to go through Lincoln and Omaha. This caused us a couple hours of delay and I got home just before midnight. My friend drove home from here.

I think given a very well prepared car and good drivers, a team could definitely finish the V2R in a Subaru in the time limit. We had just as much fun trail riding the next two days though, and a lot less wear and tear on the car and bank account. We might go to the Texana ranch and try that course, but I think this car's days of Nevada desert racing are over.

I'll put up some pictures in the next day or two.
 

johndjmix

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Talked to you guys for a second in pit 1, we were there disconnecting our power steering, you had a flat and were looking for Baja pits....

Glad to hear you guys made it a ways up the course. How the heck did you get by that jeep blocking the trail, stuck going up the hill in the canyon? Or was it not there when you got to it?

--John
 

pontoontodd

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Talked to you guys for a second in pit 1, we were there disconnecting our power steering, you had a flat and were looking for Baja pits....

Glad to hear you guys made it a ways up the course. How the heck did you get by that jeep blocking the trail, stuck going up the hill in the canyon? Or was it not there when you got to it?

--John

I remember a bunch of trucks stuck and broken down but no Jeep blocking the trail. Either it was gone or we went around and didn't think about it.
 

johndjmix

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I think it was before pit 3. Stuck in a bad spot. Had to back up and get a running start twice before i actually got by him. I think I may have scared him a bit (Sorry dude) on the third attempt since it looked like i was running straight at him, even though i was just getting speed to curve around him up on the hill.

--John
 
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