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Tales from the Gravel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabibito   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 16:49

So this past Sunday saw CSCC Winter Auto-X #4 take place at Race City Motorsports Park, and yours truly was finally able to attend. Those who know me know that I'm not really one to baby my cars, especially not Subarus. Here's the "Dirty Wagon" just after her break-in period was over:

The "Dirty Wagon" looking happy

Anyways, I took some vacation time from work last week, loaded the STi up with my snowboarding gear, and took off to Banff. To anyone who says the GR Wagons aren't "real" Subarus, well, if I can have a car with 305 HP and still pack all my snowboarding gear plus four days of clothes, then I don't really care what you think Wink

Can you pack an '04-'07 STi like this?

Getting to Race City was a bit of a challenge. Somebody decided it would be a good idea to do road construction on the only intersection leading into the venue. Thankfully I ran into steveb0t on his way there, and he managed to guide me through a detour... which still ended up at the same construction, but this time with about a 20 foot shoulder we could cut through to get around the construction - I guess it gave us a baby Rally-X to get into the real event.
 
The weather in the morning was somewhere around "bloody cold" at 8am, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. I got to unloading all my gear in the pits, and then set about removing all the plastic bits from the front of my car (previous Auto-X experience had taught me they were just going to fall off anyways). We then set about kicking over some of the bigger ruts on the course and throwing the larger rocks aside. Honestly, at this point I was starting to get a little nervous. Conditions were, well, very bumpy. This was nothing like the smooth asphalt and airfield tarmac the STi had seen at the ASA and CSCC events over the summer.
 
Continuing his recent tradition of owning broken/incomplete cars so he has to race in ones other people own, Vicar was co-driving my STi on this day. I'd let him drive my STi at a Penhold event in the summer, and I was glad to have someone who knew what they were doing show me what the car was capable of. The FWD run group got to do first runs - something they complained about since they wanted the real cars to go first and smooth out the course a bit - so I got to freeze for a little while before doing my first run.
 
I remember having some serious nerves at my first Auto-X, but thankfully enough seat time there had calmed those a bit for this time. Only, a bit, however, since the ground was still looking pretty savage. I got to the start with Vicar in the passenger seat, and peeled off for my first run.
 
Wow.
 
Auto-X is great fun, but this was something else. I wasn't even pushing it, and I still felt like a kid at Christmas. Pushing the pedal flat out through wide corners, feeling the tail stepping out and holding it all in place, left and right foot dancing back and forth across the throttle and brake, keeping the wheels under control while going full-tilt down a bumpy straight... guys like Ken Block really do have the greatest job in the world.
 
My first run was really sloppy, but I wasn't expecting much and had a huge smile on my face. So, next run Vicar took the wheel.
 
Now, I've been competing in Auto-X (less often that I'd have liked, but I digress) for four years. I never had any feelings of apprehension or fear, even when riding along with very experienced drivers pushing the car to edge. This time, however, I have to admit, that first run with Vicar driving was freaky. This was real driving on the edge. It was also great experience to break my perceptions of where that edge was. I understood by the end of the day, but sitting in that passenger seat on that first run, I had no idea how the car was doing what it was and not just careening off sideways until the wheels rolled under the car.
 
Not a great pic, but it's the best I could get with an iPhone.

Things really started to get fun from there. Vicar was gunning to win the event, so after his first run, we tried a new setting on the DCCD, and pulled the ABS fuse. I then got to try this out, and it really helped the car bite-in under left-foot braking. Then Vicar'd take the car out, and we'd try a different setting. By the end of the day, he'd obviously figured it all out as he managed to post the fastest run.
 
Vicar's FTD face.

We got eight official runs in during the day, as well as a pile of fun-runs after, and I was nowhere near competitive by the end of it. However, this was the first time I'd really got to feel what the car was built for, and to do it in a controlled environment. For everyday driving, the DCCD in the STi is more or less just a button. Taking it to an event like this, you really get to feel the difference it makes switching where the power's being put down. Changing from a rear to a front bias between runs allowed me to pull of a perfect hairpin drift around one of the course elements as the front tires were actively clawing their way out of the corner. Then there's the drastic difference between leaving the ABS on and disabling it - without it, you could just stab the brake with your left foot entering the corner, and then let the car rotate into position for a perfect exit.
 
If you're serious about knowing why Subarus are Subarus, you have to attend one of these events. That said, be realistic about what it is you're doing...
 
The aftermath...

At some point in the course, the front fender liner popped down (it was loose from a previous outing), and must have got caught under the wheel. That's the torn piece laying on the ground. Also, you can see a nice scrape on the bumper, and the 3M peeling up. If you're looking for resale value, or a show car, well, then this is not the motor sport for you. For me, that picture is something to be proud of. I'm thinking of getting an "I Love Alberta Rally" sticker to put across the bumper over the scrapes Sealed
 
Also, this damage was all cosmetic - just plastic bits. The rest of the car was unscathed, and had a nice thick coating of dust and mud to give her that extra special happy look.
 
I might have to travel for work that weekend, but if my schedule's clear, I'm not going to miss the event on the 29th. Check out future event info on the forums:
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:07
 
Meets for this week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabibito   
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 09:58

Edmonton:

Wednesday November 18
Overtime Whitemud Crossing
160-4211 106 Street Nw

7pm

http://www.westernsubaruclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=3584.msg176859#new

 

Calgary:

7pm Wednsday. Location TBD.

http://www.westernsubaruclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=103.msg176863#new 

 

 

 
Remembrance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jer   
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 08:51

traditional poppy In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 07:04
 
This Week's Meets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabibito   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 12:35

For Calgary:

Juliet's Castle - Wednesday November 11 @ 7PM
Google Maps!

 Edmonton has not made an announcement for wings this week.

 

 AUTO-X!

CSCC  winter Auto-X at Race City this Sunday, Novemebr 15th.

http://www.westernsubaruclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=11166.0 

 

 
Edmonton Wings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabibito   
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 09:58

Sorry for the late post...

 

Wednesday November 4th - 7:30PM
Brewster's - Oliver Square
11620 104 Ave NW

Edmonton, AB 

 
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