How Not to Take Part in a Rally




SRT4 VS Civic in the superstage

Chrissie Beavis and Dave line up.

The beater held its own against the vastly superior WRX until Dave lost a bunch of time by punching through a berm and sliding really wide.

Rally Lesson number 5- Know what sunscreen is and use it.

Bye Dave, Chrissie checks out.The Beater during Dave’s wide wild drift that cost him the win.

Meanwhile the cars leave the superstage while we wisely decide to skip the next stage and try to catch the rally two stages further up the road.  Of course we promptly get lost on some country backroads and arrive at the next three stages after the rally cars have left.

The course offered its version of the “sippi hole”

Rally Lesson number 6- Rally cars are really fast.  The best car to run chase in a rally is a factory backed WRC EVO.

Casey getting fried out on the superstage.The highlight of the superstage was the jump.  Some cars flew completely over this table top jump.
World Famous Photographer John E. Thawley shows us his motoIQ

Finally about four stages and a hundred miles later we arrive at a stage early enough to get some pics.  We send Casey down the road and climb a bluff to watch the cars.  Instantly we are devoured by bugs. 

Rally Lesson number 7- Use sunscreen and bug repellent.

We finally get to see some cars, including Dave for the first time, fly by after about 300 miles of driving.  After an hour’s wait after the last rally car has passed, an even dirtier Casey appears huffing and puffing.  Apparently he has walked and run for several miles to find a good photo point.  Driving on the dirt road out we encounter an EVO and race it.  The Xterra’s sturdy truck suspension handles the rough road better and we end up passing the EVO.  Woo whoo.  About now we are getting pretty tired of not seeing the rally and all of us are hot, bug-bitten and dirty.  A cool blue drink sounds very appealing and and we decide to blow off the rest of the rally and retreat to the Chili’s off the 14 freeway in Palmdale.


All of these photographers were clustered in the jumps landing zone.  Not me.

Rally Lesion number 8- Know when to quit.

After losing the superstage, Dave and Amar set out for the next stages back up in the mountains.The Beater

Dave calls us on the cell phone.

Meanwhile back at the stadium, Steff Papadakis drifts the AEM S2000.Nadine Toyoda did well despite damaging the front of her car earlier.

Rally Lesson number 9- When you decide to quit, turn off your cell phone!

Tanner Foust looked good as well.  We didn’t see more drifting because we had to go find Dave broken down on the last stage.

The 510 has broken down for good somewhere on the last stage which is of course over 50 miles from where we are on the other side of the mountain.  By the time we are there it is totally pitch black dark and we drive down a dirt road looking for Dave. After awhile we find him. Dave is pissed off.  The 510 has succumbed to electrical gremlins.  Flashlights in hand we find a burned out fuse which we switch with another from a non-critical circuit.  We cross our fingers as Dave attempts to start the car.  It fires on the first try and we follow Dave the 70 or so miles back to the service area in Palmdale.

Night rally photography is awesome but its actually hard to see anything in the dark and dust without the flash.

Rally cars have really bright lights that are attached during the night stages.

While looking for Dave we still managed to capture a few action shots.

By the time we get there a BBQ is going in full swing.  We grab some cold drinks and BBQ, drowning our sorrows and realizing we totally suck.  All in all we will have driven 700 miles before the day is done to get dirty, sweaty, tired, sunburned and bug bitten.  For all of our efforts, we have seen rally cars twice all day for a few minutes each time.  Was it fun?  Yes.  Would we do it again?  Hell Yes!


The forlorn broken Beater as we found it on the side of the road.

Dave is not pleased with his results.


In total darkness on the side of a dirt road way up in the sticks, we find and replace the blown fuse that ko’ed the ignition system enabling the beater to drive home on its own power.



Now read about what really happened

from behind the wheel:

Project Rally Beater Return to Glory


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