Countdown to Rally TN…

18 04 2011

Not able to make it to an early season autocross at BeaveRun Friday evening, Mike Gilson, Jay and I tore ass around the Domination Chassis “parking lot” testing out some of the reconstruction and MAFS repairs from Februarys’ Sandblast Rally in SC. Oh, and since I forgot to officially announce it, check out noSPARK’s new livery… I think matte gold sponsor logos will replace the foil effect decals though… they’re hard to see unless you have the perfect camera angle. Many thanks to Jessie’s employer and vinyl sponsor, Printscape Imaging & Graphics; it’s pretty cool that their new logo matches the noSPARK colors almost perfectly. Since the carbon fiber hood was badly damaged from Sandblast, we’ll be installing new Printscape graphics on the stock hood in the next few days. Let’s see…what else… now that we added thorough damping to the MAFS and airflow tubes, I think we have a small turbo leak that will be paid attention to on Tuesday. My buddy Perry (and Sandblast crew guy/fellow engineer buff) has his eyes set on a good tdi find; if he buys it, we may be doing an auto to manual swap this summer. I’m stoked to document our work on here if he does! By the way, our thoughts and well wishes go out to all of our rally friends that may have been affected by the tornadoes to hit Raleigh NC these past few days.

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Photo dump of sandblast reconstruction

15 04 2011

Photo dump of the repair work done by mike, Gilsonite and jay of domination after sandblast rallys premature dnf. 20110415-174925.jpg

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Count Down to 2011’s First Rally

30 01 2011

So, as usual, I’m running behind and getting myself together for the next rally.  We’ve been working on the rally car, cleaning it up, fixing it up, and just getting it ready in general.  We managed to get it to World of Wheels last weekend, and it looked really good.  No more body panels of different colors!  Many thanks to Jay & Mike at Domination Chassis for all the work they put in making it happen.

One of the biggest things is the new skid plates.  In particular, the
front skid plate is completely redone.  Two 18 mm bolts in the back, two quick pins up front, and the _entire_ assembly drops out.  Both the skid plate and frame drop out, giving complete access to the underside of the engine and drive line.  The frame has been constructed out of chromoly and the entire thing doesn’t way any more than the last skid plate.  We’ve also gone through and have been making sure any critical fasteners are metric.  I’m sure Eric will appreciate that… I know it helps me (considering my complete lack of SAE tools, and it’ll make service a whole lot less confusing.

So, Sandblast is next weekend, 5 Feb.  Yes Superbowl weekend.  Yes, I plan on being back in Pittsburgh in time for kickoff!  Current plan is to head out as soon after work on  Thursday, 3 Feb night as practical. It’s a 9 hour tow down, so we shouldn’t get there _too_ late.  I’ve attached a preliminary small movement schedule for more details.

Weather: Promises to be much dryer than last year.  Partly sunny Thursday through Sunday, and the high temperature looks to be in the low 50s.  Better than Pittsburgh!  I’m sure we’ll be hitting Bo Jangles (pronounced in Spanish) at least once, so that’ll be something to look forward to.  Not to mention  Oslo’s for all local bar entertainment needs! 🙂

Service rig:  The plan is to take the Excursion down, with the same trailer we had last year.  I’ll have to load up the X with the tools and parts, but we should have most of what we need in there.

Will post again if I get the chance, otherwise… check out sandblastrally.com and follow the race via the stats! Wish us luck!





Support care for affected kids and get to Rally Mexico

23 01 2011

Give $5 to simultaneously support funding for CAMP SUNRISE (kids affected by hiv/aids) and help these hard working guys get to WRC’s Rally Mexico. Did I mention that you also get a 1″ artwork square graphic put on their race car? Upload your artwork/signature/shout-out and $5 today… 2 amazing causes. One kids camp making a difference. One amateur rally team making it to Rally Mexico…

Visit Rally Team for Dreams today and pitch in some lunch money!





Wet paint

15 01 2011

To kick off the 2011 race season, our local fabrication shop (and sponsor) Domination Chassis has been working on getting us a slot at Pittsburgh’s annual World of Wheels.  The event takes place at the downtown convention center and thousands are expected to attend.  It’s some great midwinter motivation for us and will ensure that the car is ready for South Carolina’s Sandblast in early February.

Rear quarter drying

Domination has been doing numerous improvements to the car over the past several weeks (a topic for another post!).  With all the the major items that we wanted to tackle before Sandblast out of the way, we’ve turned our attention to getting the car looking like a proper rally car again.  First step was to strip some of the old and peeling decals in preparation for fresh paint and new vinyl.  The new bumper, fender, and rear quarterpanel have been all painted up to the original paint scheme.  While that was set up to dry, we started to tackle the interior.

Masking underway!

Specifically, we wanted to finally paint the additions to the cage that were made back on 2008 as well as during the rear suspension rework.  The suspension rework involved some significant sheet metal thatwas temporarily painted with a black enamel.  We started by prepping the rear of the car, pulling wiring harnesses, roughing up all the existing surfaces.  As we started doing that, it became apparent that it wouldn’t take much more to pull the front seats and tackle the front of the car, which is showing the signs of the many rallies they’ve been subjected to.

After pulling all the wiring, battery, water tank and pump, triangles, tool box, and roll bar padding we went ahead and roughed every surface. That was followed by the usual tedious masking work.  Much thanks to Ed on helping out with all the tedious bits!  Jay then hit the interior with several coats of silver paint (2000 VW Satin Silver Metallic, LB7Z) and finished by covering it with the clear coat.

Ed also brought some BBS RS-II (I think) 18″ wheels that had been black powder coated.  Putting those in front of the rally car, they look like promising candidates for tarmac wheels!





HyperFest Rally Sprint Recce

27 06 2010

What’s more laid back then scooting around a 2 mile Rally-X course with a $500 digital camera shooting HD held on top of your Peltor? It all happened at HyperFest.





Can’t Race? Support Your Pals

26 06 2010

With the Tdi’s current set-up- boasting more torque than horses, it wasn’t optimal for noSPARK to make a Rally Tennessee appearance – RTN being a fast-moving tarmac rally in Linden. This year, Rally Tennessee was lengthened to become the longest stage rally in the U.S.! So armed with lots of Bug-Off and sunscreen, we booked a couple nights stay at the Commodore Hotel (excellent accommodations, good food and friendly staff) and supported our fellow racers by volunteering.

noSPARK’s driver Michael has his HAM radio license so he brought some miscellaneous equipment that always comes in handy if we’re helping out at a stage start or finish. For more information on acquiring you HAM license, click here. I’ve been encouraged that it’s a fairly simple physics-based test and only $10 to get your license 🙂

Begrudgingly (gotta admit, I wasn’t feeling to keen on potentially scuffing the A4’s paint), we anchored the radio equipment’s antenna to the trunk hatch of the Audi, masked off any possible “scratch area” with painters tape, helped a fellow volunteer set up similar handheld radio equipment in his 318ti and scooted out to watch the shakedown stage Friday evening.

It was great to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen since South Carolina’s Sandblast Rally, and Mike’s radio knowledge came in handy as he was upgraded to Rally Tennessee’s Net Control for the weekend! Working the start of the stages is my personal favorite as I get to joke and catch up with the moto guys, trading expertise on Sidi mtb shoes and such, as well as counting down each car as they tear off the start line at my excited “GO!”.

Congrats to everyone on a job well done at this year’s Rally Tennessee!