Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rally Report: Tales from the Front Line

I've just received an amazing email [see below] from Geoff O'nion. Three days ago Geoff and David Wilkinson were running 40th overall and 1st in class in their 997cc Mini Cooper (and, incidentally giving away more than 300cc to the more poweful cars in the group). Then their progress came to a dead stop. Here's why:

"...disaster for sure, we were doing very well in some horrendous conditions then just before the end of the 6th regularity the shaft of the left rear radius arm broke on the inside.

The wheel pulled into the wheel arch and blew the tyre. We did the last 5 km
like this to finish the stage (basically on three wheels), then stopped.

It took 2 1/2 hrs and with the help of some very kind locals to temporarily block the radius arm (bits of wood) then drove to Gap to stay in the rally. From Gap to La Turbie we limped home stopping several times to jam bits of wood in the subframe to hold the wheel on.

Once at my home Dave dropped the radius arm I cut up some steel, welded them in place and put the radius arm back in 25 mins and got into Eze CH ten minutes late.

We then did the night loop at race speed getting in on time with a rear arm attached only on one side, with steel plate packing in the subframe controlling out of plane alignment but nothing limiting the camber as the arm floated in the subframe.

After some very serious TLC on the car we will be back next year."

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