Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:31am
At the Oregon Trail rally it’s typically about the roads. The roads here are spectacular. I love three, four, even five day events, three hundred miles worth of stages, I’m there. Give me 25 mile stages. I don’t get a chance to practice so the longer stages and lots of miles equal longer events and they get me warmed up behind the wheel.
To me, what gets me going are the roads and these roads are really cool. There are some beautiful places, especially the Dalles, Water Falls and mountain ranges green as can be. On the stages they can be dark through the forests, or wide open plains. The roads are mostly smooth, but with gotcha ruts & ditches with big rocks too. It’s a blast to drive these roads. I’ve won regional championships up here on similar roads. I grew up on these kinds of stages in California, Washington and Oregon. This is kind of a home rally for me, I guess.
As for the rain, I’m a bit of an all-a-rounder. So bring on the rain. It doesn’t bother me at all. Just a different kind of cut on the tires and lets go. In ’03, when I was in the factory Evo, seemed like every single event we did was in the rain. It doesn’t rally matter to me. Either way I’m good. I like the night. I like the day. Just give me a car and get me on the roads and let’s have fun.
In my memory of one of my favorite stages at the Oregon Trail Rally, the vision I have is three-foot tall grass and a real winding road. You come down off of a hill and get onto a real twisty road but it’s fourth gear stuff so you’re really on it. There are houses and mailboxes and people on their porches and you’re on their main road. Those were the old roads over in Tillamook forest. These newer roads have different characteristics. Sadly, I have yet to run on them, due to an engine fire last year on Friday at the racetrack, so I never got out there.
With stage notes nowadays, I don’t take in the scenery on stages anymore. Me, I’m pretty focused and I miss a lot of peripherals. That memory of Oregon was before we had pace notes. I’m actually 100 percent on the road and listening to the notes. Some people can remember certain corners, or whole stages for that matter but for me I dump it right away. If it was a mistake, it’s gone. If it was spectacular, I smile and go on to the next thing. I think concentration is a part of going quick. It’s good to remember a stage but I remember more the feel of a stage than the particular corners. I kind of have to work that way. I definitely harken back to the good times and forget the bad times and move on. It’s not worth it.
But, can’t wait this time, Recce felt good.