Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More progress...

The cage is near completion. Most of the major tubes are in place. The door bars have been bent and will be welded up this week, with gussets. We test fitted the seat location and like a tailored suit the car now fits perfectly around us. Built beyond RA and NASA requirements we're confident this cage will keep us safe. After all, I’ll have the most important person to me sitting along side as we fly through the forests.
Next step, paint.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Open Season

We were all hoping for a great season opener but nobody expected what turned out to be the best snow & ice event we’ve had to date. The Detroit Region SCCA Team Illuminata Motorsport rallycross season got underway in spectacular style under sunny skies.
Granted, temperatures were well below freezing but this didn’t prevent 46 cars from competing against each other over 8 runs. With many new competitors in attendance word of the successful 2007 season had obviously spread.
For Alba Rallysport, the time had come for co-driver Tammy to exercise her skills behind the wheel. With the WRX out of action the team’s Subaru Forester XT recce car was brought in to contend with a 14 strong SA (Stock AWD) class. Equipped with sump and diff guards the only thing it lacked was a set of snow/ice tyres, however the BFG T/As performed better than expected.
The first two runs were taken with caution to get the feel for the course and the varying surface conditions yet managing to fend off the #77 Sti. We pushed hard on run 3 then backed off for a few runs until run 7 where Tammy achieved her fastest time of the day. It wasn’t quite enough however and we dropped a position on the final run after a spin. Not entirely the driver’s fault, I did shout for her to get on the gas just a little too early coming out of the first turn causing the car to over rotate and hit a snow bank. Refusing to check her times after every run was the tactic of the day and it paid off, taking only 1 cone penalty (better than any of my events last year!) and a well-driven 12th place. Consistency was the goal for this first event and with that in mind we consider it a resounding success.
See you in Fowlerville on March 15th!

Photo by chrisamosphotography.com

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Just a quick short post to update the rally car build. Most of the cage tubes have been bent and tacked in place. We've positioned the seats, wheel and harness so that the seat tubes can be tacked in. We should have the shell complete by the end of the month.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Off season? Nah…

Since the final round of the 2007 rallycross season it’s been all go at Alba Rallysport. With a short break over Christmas and New Year we jumped on a plane and visited our sibling team Alba Motorsport in Perth, Scotland. The weather was somewhat wet and windy, normal for December. Sadly we didn’t have the chance to test drive the team Land Rover, a rather special vehicle. Recently completed in 2007 and purpose built for off-road challenge events, the coil sprung 90” truck cab chassis features a 2” lift. Powered by a 3.5L Rover V8 it’s equipped with an external roll cage, Warn winch, auxiliary lights and a host of recovery equipment. RCMVinyl.com of course supplied the graphics.

Upon returning to Michigan on New Years Day we started a major rally project for 2008. The WRX interior was stripped out in readiness for stage rally preparation. This project is expected to last the next 4 months and will include a full custom-built roll cage, various chassis strengthening modifications, all the necessary safety additions and a wide range of under body protection. Check back for updates as the project progresses.

January was a busy month for Alba Rallysport and naturally we attended the Detroit SCCA annual awards banquet. Despite the cold, snowy weather, the food, drink and company was warming. Having the chance to celebrate and congratulate all the class winners of the 2007 season is a wonderful thing. The region’s rallycross program has come a long way and we were honoured to receive the 1st place award for the Rally Prepared AWD (PA) class from Paul at Team Illuminata Motorsport. Congratulations to all the other rallycross class winners and runners up. I’m sure the 2008 season will be an even greater challenge.

Photo by Chris Amos, chrisamosphotography.com

The last weekend in January saw the season opener of the Rally America Championship, Sno*Drift based in Atlanta, MI. It was a freezing weekend in the ‘Tip of the Mitt’ but I spent two days in one of the 000 lead cars, this time in the unusual position of co-driver. An incredible amount of work and effort goes into organizing and running a stage rally and having the chance to experience it from a different perspective makes me appreciate the dedication of the workers that allows us competitors to partake in a sport we love.

Sno*Drift winners Antoine L'Estage & Nathalie Richard, photo by Uwe Reher