Pikes Peak has been a bit of a mixed bag for us. In 2009 we had an intercooler coupler pop off at the start line and had to run the event with the engine only ingesting about 5psi. 2010 saw some engine troubles and a clutch release bearing fail about 4 miles up the road. 2011 was going great till we hit some dust on the road in a braking zone at over 80mph and we smacked a guard rail hard enough to bend a shock, crack a wheel, and lose a headlight. Surprised that the intercooler was still holding boost we pressed on to the summit and about a mile from the top that flat left rear tire fell off the car and we crossed the finish line with just three tires. 2012 went really well and we finished 5th out of all the cars, only finishing behind some well-known drivers and factory backed efforts.
As you can see, it has taken a lot of perseverance for the Kerns to have reached this milestone. With each setback followed more effort to improve the car up to its current state. Because it’s Pikes Peak where cars have been known to fly into trees and off cliffs, let’s start with the cage fabricated by Custom Cages out of England. It’s made of T45 alloy steel and is a homologated kit that gets shipped all pre-bent and pre-profiled! Those guys in England have been in the rally game a long time and know what they’re doing.
|Side impact protection is provided the X-bars which have extra gusseting in the middle. This is a common design used in FIA WRC rally cars. The other rally car type cage feature is the bar going from the base of the X by the driver’s feet to the top of the A-pillar. The little bar going from the B-pillar to the roof bar by the driver’s head helps fortify the cage around the precious cargo. The cars used in Global Rally Cross have similar design elements used in their cages. Unrelated to the cage, the door is a full carbon piece sold by AMS! You can also see the mounting for the Racetech seat.
|Here is another look at the door panel. This view also gives a good look at how the cage bars integrate with each other.
|This view on the navigator’s side shows the dimpled plate tying the cage to the A-pillar of the chassis. The navigator gets a Sparco footrest to place their feet on and also the portable fire extinguisher located within easy reach. Sometimes, rally cars will have random parts spontaneously combust, so the navigator has to be ready to hop out of the car and put out the fire with the portable extinguisher.