Rally Perce-Neige 2012 highlights

February 29th, 2012 by

Highlights of Black Box rally team at Rally Perce-Neige 2012!



Black Box finishes Rally Perce-Neige despite crash on 33km Kitigan Zibi stage

February 9th, 2012 by

We could not be more excited to have had the opportunity to compete in Perce-Neige this year. This was a seriously “proper” winter rally, and the entire Canadian rally community was quite a spectacle to behold. As in, the kind of spectacle that involves hundreds of spectators, helicopter and TV cameras, and veteran teams like L’Estage/Richard, Richard/Squamish, Crazy Leo/Wiliamson, and Bruno Carre/Joyal.

Early on, the rally was delayed by a flipped car on stage EC2, Des Eaux.

It also didn’t take long for us to be reminded that this rally, more than ever, would be an attrition rally. On stage EC5, Kitigan Zibi, we saw 3-4 cars go off and stuff it in a bank. We stopped to try to pull Car #4, Craig Henderson/Murphy out, but were forced to press on when the car behind us ran up on us.

Although we started 30th, we were climbing steadily through the pack as the day progressed. We went full attack on Farley and Blue Sea stages. It would have made more sense to mount our cameras sideways, where we spent most of the stage, drifting our faces off :D.

[youtube_video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwlwKvIhXHA
As the sun set, the roads became icier and icier. We were psyching ourselves up for the most treacherous part of the rally. Kigitan Zibi (33km), Eagle’s Forest (17km), followed by Tortue (30km). To put that into perspective, Kitigan and Tortue are about 3-4x longer than your average stage. It’s not uncommon to take over half an hour to finish these endurance legs.

We were making good time through the famed Kitigan Zibi, the longest stage of the rally and where the edges of the road are only about 1.5 car widths wide. This was the second run of this stage, and it was clear that the trail was significantly more icy than the first pass-through. Near the end of the stage, we hit a section of sheer sheet ice which sent us plummeting into a snow bank.

[youtube_video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUmtaglx05E[/youtube_video]

Making matters worse, we had the world’s worst tow rope, which snapped at every opportunity.

Many cars stopped to try to pull us out including Car #32 Francois Simard/Matte, Car #37 Jean-Marc Lord/Morin, and Car #27 Vittorio Bares/Vartanian which managed to finally tow us out. This is where we point out what makes rally different than most other competitive races; the comraderie amongst rallyists during competition. We got to experience first hand the rally community coming together, helping to tow each other out, making sure no one was left behind.

Despite our mistake, which cost us over 30 minutes in time, and put us next to dead last, we were determined to press on. On Tortue, we began to get back into our rhythm, when a snowbank 1/2 way through the stage had other plans. We clipped the inside of the turn with the front bumper, which spun us around, ripping off our light pod in the process. Even without lights, we managed to finish the stage in 18th and get the car back to service.

We can’t say enough good things about our service crew; William, Mike, Wes, and Cat got right to work on the car. In 30 minutes, they fixed the front end damage we created by plowing into the snow bank on Kitigan Zibi. Every imaginable light on the Evo’s dash was on, and they worked furiously to solve each problem. The light pod mounts were destroyed, so Mike devised a way to macgyver new mounts from assorted bolts and equipment straps while William fixed the torn wiring in the pod.

With the damage fixed, we returned for the final part of the rally; Kitigan, Eagle’s Forest, Tortue again, and La Pointe to finish the rally. Everything came together these last few stages, and we managed to claw our way from 30th, to 16th overall in these last few stages.

As we pulled into finish, one of the event organizers and also previous competitor, shared with us: “In time, you will realize how much of an accomplishment it is to simply finish Rallye Perce-Neige.” As we looked around Parc Ferme, 24 cars less than whom we started with, reflecting over the roller coaster of emotions we had experienced over the rally, we were starting to get a finer appreciation of what it meant to “simply finish”.

Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers for making Rallye Perce-Neige possible for us. Special thanks to Dave Shindle for all his expert advice about the rally.

Black Box will compete in 2012 Rallye Perce-Neige

January 13th, 2012 by

Black Box rally team is excited to announce that they will be entering Rallye Perce-Neige, taking place February 2nd-5th 2012 in Maniwaki, Quebec. This rally will be the team’s first international rally, and first winter stage rally.

The team of Alvin Fong and Billy Machin will drive the team’s Production AWD class Mitsubishi Evo 9 through 150+ miles of twisty and windy roads that Perce-Neige is famous for. These challenging snow and ice roads are divided into 16 stages and is the first round of the Canadian Rally Championship. The rally is also part of the North American Rally Cup and Ontario Performance Rally Championship.

“This year we were really looking forward to a winter rally. When Winter Rally New York was cancelled, we knew we had to look for another opportunity to hit the snow,” driver Alvin Fong stated.

The Black Box rally Evo will be the underdog at the event due to CRC class rules that would push the car into the open class. This puts them in competition with Rockstar’s Antoine L’estag’s and Subaru Rally Team’s Patrick Richard. Asked about this, Alvin Fong said, “This is going to be our first winter rally event; we’re out there to have fun, go as sideways as possible, and keep it on the road.”

Billy Machin responded: “I’ve been working on our Deer And Moose Navigator Early Detector system. We’ll be ready.”

Look for the Black Box Evo at Rallye Perce-Neige!

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