How Not to Take Part in a Rally

Rim of the World Rally
By Aaron LaBeau
Photos by Casey Heerman and Mike Kojima

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Casey, while he was still fresh, clean and in a good mood.While we were lost, the view was still beautiful.Sarah tries to decipher the map to the next stage.

The story starts out in the usual fashion, with a cell phone call right when I am about to sit down to dinner with my family.  Telemarketers know that dinner time is when they are most likely to catch someone at home so they call.  My friends also know that I am also almost always home at this time so they try to call me knowing I nearly always pick up the phone as I hate making return calls.  Calls interrupting family time annoy the hell out of me so if any of my friends are reading this, PLEASE WAIT UNTIL ABOUT 7:00 PM BEFORE CALLING ME.

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Casey leaves to try to get some pictures while Sarah still struggles with the map.The Sheriffs were there to help close stage roads and maintain traffic control on the course.

Anyway my fork is interrupted halfway to my mouth by Dave Coleman on the horn.  So in between mouthfuls, Dave gets me to agree to do race support for his effort to bring the infamous 510 Rally Beater out of mothballs and campaign it in the world famous Rim of the World Rally.  The Rim of the World Rally is known for its difficulty and car breaking toughness. Held on the dirt roads of the Angeles National Forest, it winds from the high desert of Palmdale to the mountain ridges overlooking Los Angeles several times in the course of a day.  It is a rough, rugged and challenging rally for both man and machine with a high DNF factor. So of course our rag tag band of dorks will attempt to compete in this rally to end all rallies with minimal resources, experience and practice.

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X Games Motorcross Freestyle Ace Travis Pastrana was one of the names we easily recognized.

For those of you not familiar with Dave's pile, it is a rusting, dented, Krylon painted, smashed and tagged by vandals, 1969 Datsun 510 immortalized on the pages of Sport Compact Car and on Speedchannel's crappy rally coverage.  However ugly it is, the old dog is packed full of state of the art stuff like a DMS long travel rally suspension and a modern SR20DE engine and transmission.  Despite its decrepit looks, this bucket is never the less fast and it carried Dave and Josh Jaquot to a Pro-Rally championship a few years back.

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Travis's teamate Ken Block was also blindingly fast.Brian Scott in his WRX

Since then the 510 has sat, growing more and more groady under a tarp, pushed into a corner wherever Dave happened to be living at the moment.  It had probably been at least 4 years and 3 moves since the car had last run.  To prepare for the rally, Dave had been burning the midnight oil for several weeks before hand, mostly working towards straightening out the car's horrible birds nest wiring job.  Previously the Rally Beater's wiring gave new meaning to the words shit box and firetrap.  Knowing this, Dave ripped out the entire car's original 37 year old wire harness and started from scratch.  This probably is what contributed to the end of this story but let's continue.  After a few close calls due to errant electrons where the car would not start, the wiring glitches were cleared and the Rally Beater roared to life, one night before the start of the rally.

 

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Chard Dykes really did run this Ford Ranger in the rally and did well until a steering problems slowed him.Dennis Chizma's Porsche C4 was blazingly fast.  Don't forget that the C4 packs 4WD and a rear mounted engine for maximum traction.

The infamous Rally Beater in its full decrepitness.

Now Dave's rally car tow vehicle, the death van had long since expired, dying a horrible prolonged death at the hands of car destroyer Jared Holstein.  Jared had also managed to get Dave's trailer stolen from in front of some fabrication shop in a dubious neighborhood.   Project Pathfinder was out of commission as the trick transmission was being built at M-Workz. This left Dave with no other choice than to drive the rally car from his house in Long Beach to the rally in Palmdale.  Now imagine a fully caged and stickered rally car driving down the freeway driven by some dork in a driver's suit and helmet.  Why yes officer, this is a real race car.  Due to lack of trailer and tow vehicle I prayed that the car would not suffer any terminal mechanical issues or get crashed or we would be forced to leave it in place (which probably would be doing Dave a favor).

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The beater in action

 

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