So yeah, part six is coming out a little lot later than planned, but here’s a great lesson to all the readers out there thinking about doing some flipping of your own. Sometimes winter weather moves in like a deranged uncle, drinking all your beer, taking up all your space in the garage and refusing to even head out for an afternoon so you can get your car properly spruced up without fear of frostbite.
Entering the small dirt oval at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, I was the subject of some attention. Situated among a host of Japanese runabouts and numerous other cars that could fit in the trunk of the Beast, I had no hope of being inconspicuous. In retrospect, signing this car up for a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Rallycross event likely wasn’t the best use of the Buick’s ability, but from the moment I spied this car sitting on gigantic truck tires, I knew it was destined for an off-road adventure. That adventure materialized on Saturday December 4, as the Beast and I made a 200 mile round trip to compete in Round 10 of the Detroit Region SCCA Rallycross—the season ender—in Marshall, Michigan. If you’ve already spied the destroyed orange cone in the photo gallery, you’ve likely deduced that things didn’t go so well. In that assessment, you would be correct.
The upcoming Ford Fiesta has been a long time coming. In fact, aside from perhaps the PT Cruiser craze back in 2000, we can’t think of another compact in recent memory that’s received more pre-launch glitz, but then again, we can’t think of another compact in recent memory that’s been so closely associated with a superstar rally driver—at least for the last couple months anyway.
Travis Pastrana’s enviable motorsports resume—which already features such mundane entries as double backflipping a motorcycle, jumping a car 270 feet across Long Beach Harbor, and capturing enough X Games gold to bailout Wall Street—expanded this weekend to include a new sport called vehicular ice dancing, and subsequently, his fourth Rally America Sno*Drift victory. Actually, ice drift might be a better term, as the Northern Lower Michigan roads used by the racers were the slickest in recent memory, thanks to a soaking rain followed quickly by a drastic drop in temperature—all less than a week before the race. As a result, the gravel roads were more like rivers of glare ice, and since studded tires aren’t legal in Michigan, and since rally cars must be street legal, well, you see where this is headed.
Just a few hours north of the Winding Road garage, a somewhat unorthodox racing event has been occurring since 1973. Unorthodox, that is, for racing enthusiast in the United States. Rally racing is a huge deal in just about every other part of the world, though it never really caught on in the States until a YouTube Gymkhana hero and a former motocrosser with a penchant for backflipping just about everything got involved. Going into 2010, more than a few eyes are now watching the Rally America series with keen interest, and Winding Road will be there for the kickoff event of the season—Sno-Drift 2010.