WildHare RallySport started in 2008 as an SCCA RallyCross two wheel drive team after a little VW GTI daily driver was progressively converted into a full competition car. The team then moved into RallyCar, and NASA stage rally events.
The team has competed in national events in Oregon, Colorado, California, Missouri, Idaho, Texas and finished 3rd in the regional Rally America Group 2 Championships in 2009.
2010 was a major development year as the team with through several equipment revisions, added a second more powerful supercharged car for hill climb events, and added some superb new sponsors.
2011 will be a very exciting year starting with high hopes for a podium finish at the 100 Acre Woods Rally in Missouri (Feb 25-26th).
The big excitement for this year is teaming with Bahnbrenner Motorsports and tackling the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
The team will join up with HotBits.CA in Salem Missouri this month for the 100 Acre Woods Rally, and VW Honey Jar Challenge.
Where last year was spent constantly revising the motor setup, and other major mechanics of the car, this year should be much simpler as the hard work was done in the off season. The car is now sporting a well tested high compression 2.1 Liter motor with high compression pistons, race specific connecting rods along with its Extrudabody ITB's and SCR plenum all managed by the Haltec Sport 100 engine management unit.
The HotBits suspension has proved incredibly reliable and ultra hardy requiring no upkeep despite the last few years of pounding.
Brooks Freehill at 4040 Racing has upgraded the undercarriage protection, and upgraded the exhaust. The car is also sporting a very nicely fabricated subframe and lighter skidplate courtesy of Built-by-Bones in Loveland.
Testing has been very successful with this setup and the car has been surprisingly tunable from 5000 ft to 10000 ft and has been run in temps from 80 degrees to minus 35 degrees.
All of this proves very exciting for the start of the year.
Stay tuned for updates!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Car repair after the Plan B rally was pretty minimal, so we were ready to rock the Desert Storm Rally in Blythe, CA the third week in March.
We headed out with a crew of three this time, myself, Jack Penly codriving, and Jarod Hindman pit crewing. The unpredictable March weather was in our favor and we made the drive in decent time arriving at the hotel in Blythe at 4 am pm Thursday morning, just in time for a nap in the truck. RECCE was to start that morning so we headed out to the community college where the race would start and end and got situated. Attended a nice RECCE class put on by the organizers, and then took off in the F-350 to drive the roads. RECCE (reconnaissance) is an opportunity for rally teams to drive the roads they will be racing on and either write or amend "notes" describing the course. Sometimes notes can be purchased by the race organizers, other times it is up to the team to write all of their own notes. We used organizer notes for this event. Once on stage and driving the course we found them to be excessively detailed with a lot of unnecessary information so there was a lot of scratching out and rewriting.
We also learned that RECCE is best done in a car not a big truck. Preferably a car similar to what you will be racing in. The bounce of a hard truck suspension, and the different view of the road really affects the way you see your surroundings, and how the navigator is able to work in the vehicle (Jack was bouncing all over the place in the truck trying to alter our notes).
By the end of the day we had trashed the sway bar bushings in the truck, and exhausted ourselves after no sleep and going all day. The RECCE group we were with also decided not to drive one of the night stages (driving it in one direction, but not going back and driving it another) as we were really pressed for time. It can take quite a while to drive a whole rally at slower RECCE speeds compared with race speeds. It is typical for rally organizers to set up a course where a road is first driven in one direction, then the teams turn around and drive it back the other way creating two different stages. Though you can get an idea of the road driving it in the opposite direction, at race speeds it creates completely different situations and so requires different notes for each stage. This came to play for us on that stage as the "gotchas" in rally often determine the outcome of the race. "Gotchas" come up when the road you are driving has a sudden turn, or camber change that when driven at race speed do not allow the driver to correct when committed to the course. This can lead to a crash - called an "off" in rallyspeak.
Our first rally started with us nervous but excited. We left the Main Time Control, at the college and took a "transit stage" out to the first "special stage". Transit stages are on open city roads and take the race from one place to another. There are heavy penalties for speeding on these for obvious reasons, and arriving too early at your next checkpoint can easily end your rally due to the penalties added. The "special stages" are the full speed race stages driven on closed roads, typically on dirt.
On the first special stage we were having a blast, but were surprised to see a car off on the side of the road just a few miles in. It was a beautifully prepared VW Golf Mark 2 who had blown his engine, and you have mixed feelings as you see your competition off the road, but you want race them just the same. "That's rally" as they say. It is certainly an endurance event and sometimes finishing is how you win.
Our first few stages saw several of our two-wheel drive competition off the course, mainly due to sliding over the berms and into the rough desert. Here's a link to some in-car footage of the early stages.
On the second stage we noted the car to be running hot, and it seemed to be caused by the cooling fan which wasn't coming on. At one of the turn around stages another competitor noted a bent prong on our cooling fan and that fixed the problem. In grassroots rally most competitors will help eachother which makes it a lot more fun than some levels of competitive motor sports.
The daytime events went generally smoothly for us. We drove at moderate speeds, were happy with our amended notes, and didn't encounter any other problems. In the early evening we did a two lap stage at the Lucus Oil Speedway - an oval track tarmac course. It was a little unsettling hitting the corners with our knobby rally tires looking at that huge cement wall would easily destroy the car but it was one of our favorite memories of the race.
That night we had two hard stages over extremely rough roads. The south western desert of California has very rocky riverbeds and the race roads would drop down into these beds laden with 6-12 inch diameter river rocks where the road would become unrecognizable then rise quickly back out the other side of the wash and continue on. These beat the snot out of the car. We wouldn't have been able to complete the stages without our huge aluminium skid plate that functioned like a rudder and sled at the same time.
Surprisingly to us, we ripped out the first night stage - (Stage 10) despite having a problem with our notes (Jack got a little lost), see our results here:
Then, just before the return stage, I went to start the car and got nothing. No power, no fuel pump, an obvious electrical problem. We called Brian Moody, back at Salta Motorsports and asked for help. Checked our kill switch - that was on, and the fuse breaker. We finally took the protective battery cover of the battery box and found the positive lead had completely bounced off the terminal. We were back in action!
I had a ton of confidence on Stage 11 after seeing how we did on the previous stage. The problem was, this was the stage we didn't RECCE the previous day. We were moving faster than we had all event and my confidence was high, then coming over a crest, there was a sudden turn to the right, and as I had the car unweighted due to the crest, was unable to make the turn. See "GOTCHA!" above. Off we went, onto a huge pile of rocks , over the burn, and high centered on some jagged unforgiving ground. We were dead in the water. Cars behind us passed us by, and we waited for Heavy Sweep to come get us out. Lots of pushing, and gunning the motor just made a mess and didn't move the car. Fortunately for us, Heavy Sweep leashed us up and brought us back to the road. We were able to finish the stage but lost a ton of time. It was shocking to us, how quickly we went from being highly confident, to nearly out of the event.
We had torn a brake line connector, destroyed a CV boot, and bent our rear beam despite the significant fortification done by Steve, at Salta. Jarod worked his tail off that night to get us to a Parc Expose event. This is an event where the cars are displayed for the fans and is required or the team gets penalized. Laughingly we were one of the first cars there, despite our mishap and time taken in repairs.
The final day only had two stages. We were nearly in last place for two wheel drive after our "off" and were feeling kind of unsure about what lay ahead. It was a 25 mile long desert stage. The transit alone just to get to the start was 1.5 hours. We knew this stage also had several "gotchas" and we didn't want to get burned this time. The good news, we had really good notes for the next two stages, the bad news, they had several very long straights and our car is really better suited for the tight and twisty roads where power isn't so important.
We started the 25 mile long stage steady, and having a blast with the road which was much smoother than some of the others we had been on. It was actually suited to a car, instead of the trucks which seem to be very popular down in the southwest - now I know why they rally with trucks down there, sometimes it seemed crazy being in a car - a rock crawler would have been more appropriate! None-the-less, we tried to drive smooth, and fast, but didn't take many chances. This paid off for us, and two cars ahead crashed as did the car behind us.
Here's in-car video of Chuck in his Toyota Fx on the long stage, and his crash into the desert:
Unbelievably, we had moved up to first place in Group 2. The next stage was beautiful, and super fun with lots of rises and drops, and some very open high speed straights. We slowed down to insure we held our position. The last stage was an event called a "super special"; a very short stage around a tight track set up for spectator viewing.
Overall, this was a hugely successful event for us. Won our two wheel drive class. Learned a ton about rally and finished our first event. The bad news really came when we got home and found out the motor would no longer start - and had no compression, and we had to repair a lot of damage to the car from the "off" and the brutal roads.
Never-the-less, we set our selves up to be very competitive in the South West Rally Series and will look forward to the next race at Rally Colorado.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Well the Plan B Rally in Ridgecrest, California was an interesting experience for us. It was our first stage rally, so we knew there would be tons to learn. We did two pass recce with Scott Leonard (winner of the Idaho Rally, 2008), who was our Pit Boss. Scott was very helpful and we were glad he was around to give us pointers and fix the car (too bad that was needed). Our recce notes ended up being quite good. The course was super fun, undulating desert roads with lots of sharp turns, dips, ravines, and sandy washes. Unfortunately despite good notes, and a lot of high hopes, we ran into an early mechanical on Stage 1 at mile 3. Our bump steer reducing kit fractured which demo'd the left axle while in a sharp left. We got a ride back to the pits - went back out to the car with Scott and after two hours of work were able to get the car towed back to the pits. We fixed the axle, and planned to re-enter in time for stage 5.
The plan at that point was to "take it easy" - as fixing a car in the desert is back breaking work. Unfortunately, though we ran at 40% speed, we suffered the same problem on the right axle - bump steer failure again. This time we waited till the rally was over to pick up the car.
We took our tow vehicle and trailer out to pick up the car after the rally - unfortunately we got the whole rig stuck in some scary deep sand while trying to exit the course. Took an hour, and a tow from the sweep team to get us out. Learned that the Baird (sp?) Tow strap is the tool to have. A Ford Exursion easily pulled the F-350 Crew Cab, trailer, and rally car buried to the top of the wheels with that device - it works like a giant rubber band. I gotta get one!
On a positive note, we learned quite a bit, recce was awesome, and Jack was making terrific calls, the car was otherwise handling very nicely, and I feel we would have been extremtly competitive in our class were we able to finish.
Chalk this one up to a good test run, and lessons learned!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The team is currently in final preparation mode for our trip to Ridgecrest, California to compete in our first rally of the season. I will be driving, with Jack Penley co-driving, Deirdre Matthews as a back-up co-driver, and Scott Leonard as our one man pit crew and another backup co-driver. The event is the first in the South West Rally Series (www.southwestrallyseries.com) and is a one day, coefficient 2 event. In rally terms, this is a shorter event with a total of around 38 racing miles. We plan to contend in the Group 2 class, and acquire some early points in the South West Rally Series.
Monday night I got the car back from New Custom Auto Paint in Pine Junction and made the difficult trailer ride down to Salta Motorsports in a nasty snowstorm. It was a long day. The car is currently sporting some killer new custom steel fender flares, diamond plated lower body protection, a beautiful sunroof delete, and a super smooth body thanks to a lot of dent repair by Harry at New Custom. The new hood, with lovers (small vents placed with a huge press) is in place and should help with engine cooling. The car is now sporting some cool yellow bumpers - a nice european looking touch. Unfortunately we didnt have time to put the car under race paint but we will try to get that done before the next rally. That said the grey primer actually looks pretty darn sweet on the car!
Today I got an email from DHL advising me that the new HotBits inverted rally suspension was being delivered to the shop. As far as I know, it is the only Mk1 VW that will be running this new high end suspension. Hopefully we will have time to put it on before the race. Thanks to Peter at HotBits Canada for designing this set up for the car.
I also spoke with Carl from Cam-Fx, our HD in-car camera sponsor, and we will have the new camera delivered to our hotel in California. We are excited to get this in for the race so we can give you some awesome in-car action.
Tomorrow will be a huge workday. We will get some final details sorted out prior to our departure. We should have some time in California to deal with any incomplete issues but our goal is to minimize the need for any significant on scene work so we can just relax and focus on the event.
Look for a detailed blog about our trip next week!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
WildHare Racing is supported by Salta Motorsports.
Our team would not be able to compete without extensive efforts from the following team members.
Sterling Chase - Pit Chief
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thanks to help from my brother Mark, the computer genius, WildHare Racing has a new blogsite to update you on our latest activities, rally results, plans for the future, and sponsorship information.
What is RALLY you may ask?
Rally is a sport like no other. There are no ovals, pace cars or rain delays. Rally racing features real cars racing against the clock on closed-off sections of real roads that are usually unpaved and unforgiving. Events can last several days and cover hundreds of miles through rain, snow, day or night. This extreme test of skill, speed, and endurance is what makes rally racing the world's premiere and most exciting motor sport, one that is quickly growing in North America.
Insiders and even casual fans consider rally drivers to be the best all around drivers on the planet. They must master every road surface and every weather condition while possessing the endurance and stamina needed to make it through long hours and hundreds of miles. As the old saying goes, "Circuit racers see 10 turns 1000 time while rally drivers see 1000 turns 1 time!".
The key to rally drivers' success are their co-drivers. Rally drivers cannot practice the course and must rely on their navigators (or co-driver) to survive. The co-driver uses a computerized odometer along with a supplied route book to communicate to the driver what lies ahead on he road. The route book describes in detail the road ahead and includes warnings for hazards such as cliffs, trees and junctions. Rally drivers determine what speed and angle to enter each turn or crest in the road by listening to their c0-drivers' constant instructions.
Gravel logging roads, mountain passes, well groomed forest roads - these are what make up the tracks for rally drivers. They are temporarily closed, actual public roads on which rally drivers can go flat out.
A rally car is the ultimate real world sports car: one that is capable of high speed, and incredible handling on any road surface and in every weather condition. Fast yet strong, they must survive hundreds of miles and several days of torture. As an additional challenge, all rally cars must be street legal, since they must traverse public roads with traffic between the competitive timed sections.
WildHare Racing will take on the Plan B Rally as its first "tune up" event in Ridgecrest, California on Saturday, January 31st.
Stay tuned for results, photos, and highlights!