Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 at 2:17am
Lauchlin O’Sullivan of San Francisco, CA and co-driver Scott Putnam of Minnetonka, MN are in Missouri for the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood this weekend. And, yes, it’s named for the forest in the classic children’s stories where Winnie the Pooh lived. The rally was founded by the Pooh Corner Rally Team many years ago and it’s never strayed from those roots.
The event is one of the fastest events on the Rally America calendar with flowing gravel roads filled with rocks and gotchas that can reach out and bite crews that are into the rhythm of the previous miles. O’Sullivan and Putnam are seventh in the overall points and second in the Super Production category of Rally America after one event – the Sno*Drift Rally in Michigan last month.
The 100 Acre Wood Rally is set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. It’s based in Salem, MO often called the Gateway to the Ozark Riverways, famous for rainbow trout fishing. The rally runs throughout a region that includes Steelville and Vibernum, two villages within an hour of Salem.
The Missouri weather in February can mean anything from mild sun to snow. The report for this weekend includes: 48 degree highs with partly cloudy skies and a low Friday night of 27 degrees. Saturday the report calls for similar conditions with clear skies and a high of 46 Saturday afternoon and an overnight low of 36 degrees when the rally ends in Salem.
With that setup, here’s a first-hand report from O’Sullivan after he ran the course Thursday to make notes with co-driver Putnam.
The roads are just beautiful out there. I can’t wait to get out there and have some fun. It’s been a while since we’ve had really nice roads, Scott and I as a team, and really nice car to run them. We’re looking forward to going out in the morning and setting up the car in practice.
We saw the roads today during the recce (That’s short for reconnaissance or a time to write notes on where the route goes.) They’re just gorgeous and I’m looking forward to just attacking them. We’re salivating to get out there and have some fun. There’s some gotchas out there; some gravel on top of the roads. We need to be careful in some braking areas. Actually there’s large rocks in the apexes and some in the middle of the roads. There’s some water splashes and some large jumps. It’s going to be fun. It’ll be a good event to be a spectator.
The one thing we’re worried about is a proper gravel setup for the car. It took all weekend to get a setup for ice and snow on the last event. Now the roads are very different and we’ll need a different setup on the car. Hopefully we can get that in the practice Friday morning. Everything else looks good on the car. Today felt really good on the notes. We want to get out there and go fast.
I’ve never been a true notes guy. I didn’t grow up on notes. So, for me, I’m always doing a hybrid of what they give me. I don’t want to go through and change every corner. I use what they have and extrapolate on that and make it my own. I don’t make a lot of changes on what they give me. I make changes on what I see and only on some corners here and there. They give you a basis to work off of. I make changes when there’s a lot of stones in the rally racing line or on crests where I’m going to set myself up on the next corner. Stuff like that.
There’s major competition in the event in the Open Class. But we’re in the Super Production Class and the major competition in that class is Travis Hanson who won Sno*Drift overall last year and he won the Super Production at the same event going away last month. But there are nine cars in the category this weekend and they’re all very competitive. I have to give the other SP guys a lot of props. There are a lot of good drivers and cars. Travis has proven he’s the one to beat but we’re back on gravel. Hopefully we have a good car and we can have a great event.
But there are some other great cars in the class. The top SP car looks like it’ll be fifth place overall. That’ll be some good competition. I can’t wait to see some good video. I don’t want to be spectating but it’ll be a good event to be spectating at. I’d rather be driving than spectating that’s for sure.