Lands End Hill Climb Post Race Report

We’ve had a few days to try to adapt back to the real world. I ended up leaving Denver around 10 pm on Thursday and arrived at the service area at 3:30 am, just in time to watch some of the meteor shower before resting my eyes for a few hours on the bench seat of my 91 Dodge Cummins pickup. Woke up early on Friday and headed out to the secret testing facility, a 2.3 mile gravel road. A few quick passes on this road and I had my brake bias dialed in and figured out what tire pressure I wanted to run the new gravel tires on. Some quick testing of braking and shifting showed a flawless car with none of the previous issues! 100 MPH to 50 MPH to 2nd gear pitch into a 90 right with no problem! Stoked for the race! Spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up a few things on the car, writing pace notes, and drinking a few beers with the rally crew. Slept a second night on the bench seat of the truck.
First day of practice went great. No issues with the car. I did manage to hit a rock hard enough to bend a wheel far enough to hit the trailing arm on each revolution. Hammered it back kinda into the right area and kept running. Bead held on the tire. Still impressed with tire performance! Ended day qualifying in 5th place, but just 2 seconds between 3rd and 5th place! Saturday night I upgraded and slept in the bed of the truck on a sleeping pad.
Sunday was race day! First run started great though I blew a few hairpins costing me quite a few seconds and most likely the podium position. Second run I had a horrendous start, bad first hairpin then an early shift led to being down six seconds from my first run by the second hairpin. I was never able to recover that time but was happy with fifth place, only ten seconds back (2 sec/mile) of the leader, Dave Kern in his S54 powered BMW Compact (+150hp) and nine seconds back of Rally.Build teammate Ryan McLauglin in his turbocharged Acura Integra.
The biggest lesson from the weekend was that never again will I camp at an event. I felt like I had a constant mental fog from the slightly tired feeling that was constantly over me. The next lesson was how much easier and harder you can drive when you trust your equipment. I was six seconds per mile faster this year than last, part of that due to better tires, part due to mechanical upgrades (brakes and shifter), and part due to experience pushing the limits of the car. Now to get through the next few weeks until our next event on September 11th!

Onboard video

Photo cred: Kristin Dallison