International Rally New York 2009 started off for me unlike any other rally I’ll ever attend. I actually got married the previous Sunday and my new wife and I were on a short vacation up in Newport Rhode Island. Thursday night we departed Rhode Island and headed down to rally HQ at the Villa Roma resort where we would conclude our honeymoon.
The complete gallery of images can be found here:
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Dave had gotten to the rally earlier in the day and had checked in for us, and alerted us that we actually had a time share condo type room with a full kitchen. This prompted us to pick up some food to cook in the room as I was seriously sick of eating out for the past week.
SS1 started at about 9:30 am and we took the 30 minute cruise over to the stage in our rented Dodge Challenger. Here’s a tip, always be nice to the rental people when they are out of the car you booked, I ended up swapping out a crappy car I didn’t want at a different location and they gave me a sorta awesome Challenger. It’s not really aweosme, but I tell you it was a damn nice car for a crappy cheap rental. It got over 30mpg and was impressively fast for a v6. Held a massive amount of our stuff too, great vacation cruising car.
Anyway back to the stages…
SS1 We arrived at the stage just in time. I decided that this was my vacation and I wasn’t going to stress myself out over trying to take awesome pictures. I casually snapped some shots while standing in the spectator area, as did Dave. Here is what we got:
SS3 After the cars passed Dave and I decided to venture down around the corner sporting our awesomely provided press passes. Normally I like to take pictures at the spectator area, as I try to keep the point of RallyAddict in perspective of a fan. But the cars were going to pass 3 times so I figured we should get some different angles. About a 2 minute walk down the course brought us to an awesome downhill sweeping right turn that was fed by a quick left. Dave set up at the entrance to the sweeper and I set up at the exit. This was a terrific spot, both action packed and safe.
SS5 we waited in the same spot but I crossed the road to get a different perspective. I ate my penut butter and fluff sandwiches during the break.
I’m no rally car builder, but the camber on the front of the grease gun can’t be right, can it?
SS7 is in another location. There was another photographer with us at the last spot named Steve who told us a shortcut to a good spot at the following stages. We drove up what was the previous SS2-4-6 course but I ended up going too far and having to turn around and come back. By the time I did that I was on what was going to be a hot stage, so after passing the guys setting up the finishing line I ran into a course marshal who asked me to get off the road. Conveniently there was a huge open field on the inside of the next turn. We buried our cars at the end and hung out at the finish line. The crew setting up the finishing line was awesome. We got rally updates and great conversation in the 40 minutes of downtime between stages.
We decided again that since we were going to watch the cars come through SIX more times we would take it easy on the photos and actually get to enjoy some rally. We got some good shots anyway.
SS9, Sun is getting low and some of the rally cars have their headlights on. Rally lights are so bright that it completely freaks out the cameras with a giant white orb and they can’t focus so shots are limited for the rest of the day. This is one of my favorite shots of the weekend, it’s Dave’s shot but he happened to catch my remote flash going off across the road.
SS15 We decided to sleep in a bit and skip SS13 and we arived during the following service break and we got to check out a bunch of the cars, or what was left of them. We wandered over to the spectator area which was close by but delayed too long and missed the first 2 or 3 cars through. I have to note here how cool the rally village was. There was a WARM huge mess hall packed with treats and food. Right outside was the service going on, and seriously a 3 minute walk away you could spectate. Really cool that the crew could actually watch a real stage and take care of the car easily.
SS16 Was another passing of the same stage, this time I concentrated more on pictures.
SS19 Start was preempted by an awesome sight at service. The Jackson Rally Dirt Subaru had busted a real control arm and the rear knuckle. Since Subaru changes their lug pattern and axle setup every 5 minutes, none of the other competitors had a spare to help out the team, everyone else had some other combination of splines and lugs. The team was able to rip off the knuckle, chop out the bushing, weld the knuckle back together, and weld in some makeshift scrap metal bushing to hold the control arm on. I’m not sure exactly what happened to the knuckle, possibly the control arm bolt snapped off horribly in the bushing so they had to cut the knuckle to get the entire bushing out quickly.
Here is the team welding the knuckle back together. I’m not up on my Subaru tech but the direction of the mount kinda now makes me think it’s the trailing arm, but there was a bent control arm in the grass in front of the car as well.
We knew the stage was starting and the team had just started to put the knuckle back in, but by then at least 1 or 2 cars had started to line up. The start was basically at the service which again was super cool to see. While at the spectator area we waited anxiously to see if they got the car working. Their position in line came and went but to our surprise about 5 cars later the Subaru lined up. We were spectating from the starting line, something I had never done before.
After watching Stage 19 there was a extended break before we could see the cars again without some hiking and by now I was just plain tired. We hung out in the rally village a little longer and decided to call it a weekend. I saw more cars driven at speed in what was supposed to be my relaxed rally weekend than at any other rally I’ve ever been to. Ivan and Rally New York have put together an awesome rally where everyone could easily access every part of rally. Yet at the same time it never felt like a rallysprint or a rallycross, it wasa full fledged rally but it was EASY on us spectator. I presume it was easy on the crew and racers too yet the roads were far from short. Excellent job Rally New York.