Rogue Star Rally / TIM - SandBlast 2010 journal - Sand, water, duct tape, and JB weld



After spending much time prepping and testing the car, the inaugural rally weekend was finally upon us! The team was excited to hit the smooth sandy stages of South Carolina! Billy Mann volunteered to sit in the silly seat for this event - his first time navigating coupled with my first time driving was promised to be interesting. After some discussion, it was decided to leave Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning to give us a nice buffer in case of poor weather conditions going through the mountains. Billy stopped by Tuesday night, and we spent a few hours doing some wiring for his TerraTrip 3 (old school!) rally computer... which we haven't gotten to work to this day. While he kept tinkering with the wiring, trying to get the silly thing to increment, I sorted out a couple last minute things, such as tow hooks, tool kit, and light mounting. Finally, the car was ready to go!

Wednesday was a hectic day of packing, errands, and last minute things. The first delay of the weekend came when the mechanic who was performing the PM on my Penske truck decided to take off for lunch in the middle of the job, delaying my pick-up time by a couple hours. While waiting for the truck, I find out that my crew guy, Ryan, from NC has bronchitis, and can't make it this weekend, leaving us potentially short handed. I quickly start sending emails and making phone calls to find a replacement. Eventually, everything is packed, car is on the trailer, and ~10pm Wednesday night, we set off for 'sunny' and 'warm' South Carolina. The trip down was largely uneventful, save for the interesting experience of sleeping at a truck stop in Ohio. Daniel Garant, a Detroit Region RallyX-er, got a hold of me on the way down - he saw my email asking for help, and since he now lived down there, said he'd love to help out. With Dan on board, and the rest of the crew on the way down from MI we had ourselves a well staffed rally team!

Friday was wet. It rained pretty much all day without stopping, which was good for both cleaning the car, and making us aware of the multiple water leaks to the interior, which was nothing a few hotel towels could not handle. Registration and tech went by no problem, with the only potential technical problem being a leaky windshield washer reservoir, which I've fixed with some JB weld and duct tape the day before. Paperwork out of the way, we were ready for shakedown!

I've done many different forms of motorsports before, but nothing quite compares to going down your first rally stage. It was wet, it was slick, it was hilly, and it was fast! Having some stage rally driving experience under his belt, Billy did a great job of helping me set the pace for my two runs through the short ~1.5 mile shakedown stage. The only thought on my mind (besides how much of a blast it was) was "Don't stuff it on shakedown!". And I didn't! The car felt great, with lots of power and the Hankook tires delivering surprising amounts of grip, considering the conditions.

Saturday morning came quickly, walking out into the hotel parking lot felt almost like walking into a service area - everyone was busy with last minute prep. We were happy to see the fact that the pavement was dry, and the forecast promised that it'd stay that way all day. We grabbed a couple 'continental' muffins for the road and headed out to parc expose in downtown Cheraw, where we found out that we were the last car on the road, so we had plenty of time to chat it up with some other teams, spectators, and relax at the coffee shop. Time flew by quick, and an hour later we were off!

5...4...3...2...1... GO! And we were off on the first stage. 14 miles of everything from wide, well packed roads, to narrow, wet, and tree-lined forest roads. Billy kept right on target with the notes, making special emphasis on when to go fast and when not to. I did my best to keep us going at a brisk pace while keeping the car on the road. About half way through the stage, we started seeing the rally claiming it's first victims, passing car 64 (Wood/Pullen), 26 (Hordijik/Amend), and 60 (Kennedy/Johnson) - either with mechanical problems or off the road. The other newbie team of Samuel Albert and Kirby Lattwein, in their BRAID shod #62 STI, was taking it easy on the first stage, and graciously let us pass them. Towards the end of the long stage, we ended up catching another BRAID sporting car - #65 of Tom Long and Doug Beckett, who unfortunately ended up retiring later that day. Upon arrival to SS2 start, the team earned themselves some rally karma by helping Kirby and Sam replace a flat on their STI. SS2 was quick and uneventful, we kept it clean and brought the car in one piece into it's first service. The crew had everything ready for us when we arrived. Fuel in, windows clean, tires checked, food/water in stomachs and we were headed back for more!

The rest of the daylight stages were run in the same clean, but brisk fashion. The only incident being a spin after passing car #23 of Andrew Frick and Ryan Scott, which luckily only caused us to have to reverse back onto the road, instead of having to be pulled out of a ditch. The car was holding up great, with only minor engine management problems coming up (most likely due to a wet MAF) on transits, and the slight discomfort of large amounts of muddy water splashing its way up into the car when wading through 'deep water', fixed (yet again) with JB weld and duct tape. When we arrived at the second service, we were delighed to hear that we were 4th on the road!

The night stages were a bit less successful for the team. We ended up drastically mis-aiming the lights at service, and having to run the first of the night stages with mud covered OEM high-beams. This was interesting, and required immense amounts of concentration from both Billy and myself. The major disappointment came when we pulled to the side to let car #8 (Morris/Nagy) pass, only to see their lights reveal the finish about 50 yards away!

The night stages were done and RSR/TIM2 rolled through the finish not only in one piece, but also in 4th place overall! We were exstatic! What a fantastic rally!

I'd like to thank the Michigan crew - Amanda, Brandon, and Ashley for driving 16 hours through a mountain blizzard to help and support us; the North Carolina crew - Dan and his girlfriend, for helping out and showing up on such short notice. This would not have been possible without you guys, and I hope you had fun!

Thanks to Paul / Team Illuminata for supplying the BRAID wheels and pretty much all of the other rally equipment on the car. Everything worked great! The BRAID Hankook combo performed flawlessly, with all of the tires holding 100% of their pressure through the whole rally, despite the the huge ruts and bumps.

Thanks for Ryan / TRF for the fab work on the car. The skid plate worked great!

Finally, thanks to Anders and Amy for a great rally! Looking forward to Tennessee in a few months!

Getting some gas... we had to do too much of this. 10mpg ftl!

Stopped at WaffleHouse in NC, for some reason there were a lot of cats in the parking lot... :confused:

WaffleHouse - Breakfast of champions!

Our Days Inn had fancy amenities, such as this pool, cleaned only 2 years ago! :|

Scrutineering (aka tech inspection, rally people like to use fancy terms for everything).

Parc Expose, everyone lines up and hangs out before the start. Public can check out the cars and talk to the drivers.

Dirty after shakedown, but ready to rock!

BRAID wheels held up great!

SS1, I think? (the car is still clean ;) )

Service 1

Brandon checking things over, yes that's a DSM Tuners hoodie :)

Excited to go back out there!

Billy (navigator) and his SRS BSNS face

Just a cool picture


There are a couple videos here:
Team Illuminata


Very Cool! I would love to be doing this. Maybe I could eventually retire my dd Talon from daily duties and start rally-Xing it. This makes me want to get home from work and download day 1 of rally Sweden right now!


That does look like a lot of fun. Cats are even watching the race!


Glad you did so well, first time out and really glad to see a Talon spank a couple STI's. Sorry couldn't make it to help out and see you next year.


Who wears a white hoodie to work on a rally car??? LOL

Maybe you should look into one of the SD solutions for the 1g. Then you wouldn't have to deal with a wet MAF, unless that makes you change classes. There are also those K&N air filter socks that are water repellent.


knochgoon24;bt6280 said:
Who wears a white hoodie to work on a rally car??? LOL

Maybe you should look into one of the SD solutions for the 1g. Then you wouldn't have to deal with a wet MAF, unless that makes you change classes. There are also those K&N air filter socks that are water repellent.

It's actually gray-ish... or maybe that's after working on said rally car lol

I've found out that the problem with the poor running was actually caused by there being 1/4 - 1/2" of water in the spark plug holes. Apparently water and electricity don't like each other :confused:


very cool looking car, makes me happy to be a DSM owner. Best of luck to you and your team


i am hoping I have a 1G prepped for Sandblast in 2014. it will be my first stage rally. thanks for the blog


Awesome, hope you make it out! I sold the DSM a while ago and will be there running a FWD Impreza, I'll come say hi :D