The Nemadji Trail was the fourth event for us this year. We were coming off of a poor showing at STPR (where our throttle stuck wide open) so we wanted to finish this event strong. This was also the third event that we had our dad along to help crew for us, so a big thank you to him for all his help.
We started our rally off by leaving St. Louis Thursday evening after work at 4:00pm. We made our trip much more enjoyable by splitting our travel between two days. We made it to Iowa City, IA where we stopped for the night at a wonderful Holiday Inn. Friday we were up bright and early to finish off our journey to Minnesota. That evening we met up with our friends Rob, Curt, and Lee to have dinner at Tobies, in Hinckley MN.
Saturday we drove a short distance to Duquette MN, where the rally is based at. We quickly setup our service area that morning, checked in at Registration, and got our car through tech. No issues at all with anything, so we had plenty of time to chat with our fellow competitors.
The weather forecast was for scattered rain showers throughout the day, so we were expecting the road to be slick in spots. During the morning it sprinkled briefly, but no rain of any significance fell.
New for this year was the ability to recce the road and make our own notes. In the 2 previous years that we attended, only a route book was given with simple tulips. This time we drove the road ahead of time at a slow pace and wrote notes for all of the turns.
After writing up our notes we drove back to Duquette and got our car ready to start the rally. Our goal was to win 2 wheel drive, and stage one we went out and set a good time of 8:45.6, 2nd place overall and 1st in 2WD. Our closest competitor was Ron Malott who was 8.4 seconds behind us. The first stage Mark drove well but we both knew there was more time we could make up. So, for stage 2 we knew that we’d have to push harder to try and keep our lead. We had no issues at all for the second stage and the car was running great. Mark clocked in at 8:32.4, again 2nd overall and 1st in 2WD, 7.4 seconds ahead of Malott. We drove back to Duquette for our service break and looked after the car. Nothing needed to be fixed so we had an easy time relaxing and eating a snack.
The second regional rally is a repeat of the first. After running the first 2 stages, we knew that we couldn’t let our guard down, had to stay consistent, and wanted to try to increase our pace. Stage 3 we picked up almost 10 seconds from the first running, with a 8:36.0, and stage 4 we dropped 7 seconds, down to a 8:25.2
The Nemadji Trail rally went absolutely perfect for us. Mark’s driving was great, the weather cooperated and didn’t rain, and we won our class and placed 2nd overall.
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