Jordi Renu – A Knowledgeable Rally Information Source

As a result of seeking out more information about the Blunik II, I have come in contact with a Spanish car rally expert, Jordi Renu.  Jordi has a rally business, called 325rally and is a pilot, regular rally co-driver with a great listener, and co-driver trainer.  He distributes equipment for regularity rallies including systems for automatic fire extinguishing and Blunik rally computer equipment.  Most of the thoughts in this post are based on things that he wants to pass on to rally teams.

In addition to selling equipment, he offers his clients advice, training and telephone support or support by e-mail.  He also offers personalized courses to each client, adapting to their needs.

Jordi Renu Rallying

Jordi has written to me saying that regularity control equipment is complex, and if the regularity rally concepts are not clearly understood, then it is very difficult.  For the most part, the rally equipment manufacturers only offer written instructions, and many customers have serious problems properly operating the rally equipment, thus not allowing these customers to fully benefit from this rally equipment.

He also notes that it often necessary to do a proper training course to know all the functions/roles of the team and go out to practice with a car prepared, with probes and measuring equipment with good tutors.

Blunik II Rally Computer

Regularity in rally requires excellent calibration of the device, correctly entering all the data of distances, speeds, changes of average speed and settings. Any mistake will lead errors on the road and be the source of a great annoyance. Doing rallies is not cheap, and if rally teams have to learn to operate rally equipment based only on rallies, then the learning process will be very expensive.  This is why Jordi emphasizes preparation and training.

Jordi Renu’s  Thoughts On How European Regularity Rallies Work

The organizer selects regularity sections, with a starting and ending point. It establishes one or several imposed speeds, which will vary from certain points of the route. For example: from the start of the section up to kilometer 2 at 50Km/h, from 2 to 5 to 47Km/h, and from 5 to 12 to 49.9Km/h

The imposed average speed can be driven in several ways:

  • Using the car’s speedometer (very imprecise)
  • Using an external or auxiliary rally odometer, a chronometer and a spreadsheet (very stressful for the co-pilot)
  • Using an external or auxiliary rally odometer and a calculator (stressful for the co-pilot)
  • Using a GPS device (a lot of random error)
  • Using GPS equipment + speed sensors (more accurate)
  • Using a dedicated system with wheel sensors without GPS, like Blunik (the most accurate, without random error due to loss of satellite coverage and internal error of non-military systems of + – 10 meters minimum)

And most of the dedicated rally systems are both complex in programming and in use. It is important to have a correct training to obtain the best results from the first day. If we do not do this, we will waste many rallies, time, and money before obtaining good results.

Jordi Renu always recommends that before buying a Regularity Rally device, you inform yourself well, have someone of your confidence to supply the equipment and offer you adequate support. And in case the seller does not help you, then look for someone who does.

The biggest problem that Jordi Renu has found is with the installation of the wheel sensors. Not all mechanics have knowledge about how to install wheel sensors, and it is not the first time that before starting a rally, after having moved the team thousands of kilometers, they find that the system not work properly due to an incorrect installation; more money thrown in the trash.

If you need advice on European rallying, want to buy a regularity system device or need training, you can contact Jordi Renu at 325rally@gmail.com

I became aware of Jordi Renu through Dan Allven of Monaco.  Last year Dan bought the Blunik II Rally Computer and he needed to know how to use it on a very short time frame in order to be prepared for the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  The Blunik factory referred this project to Jordi.  Jordi then contacted Dan Allven and offered his services to Dan.  Dan came from his home in Monaco to Barcelona and they spent 8 hours together between theoretical and practical training with the Blunik II.  This was very helpful to Dan.

Currently with Jordi’s courses, he has clients that with 5 rallies have gone from being at the end of the classification to being the top 10. Jordi notes that like everything in this life, it requires work and dedication.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Comparing America’s Two Most Famous Mountain Roads

During the last month I had the privilege of going to the top of the two most famous mountain roads in America – Pike’s Peak in Colorado and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  While there are many differences between these two roads there are many similarities as well.  I am going to start with Pike’s Peak as it is both the highest and the mountain road that I was up first.

The top of Pike’s Peak is at elevation 14, 115 feet.  At this elevation, the Pike’s Peak road is one of the highest in the world.  The road up to the top of Pike’s Peak is in excellent condition.  The road is a smooth as any road could be.

Typical Current Pike’s Peak Road Conditions

For many years the road to the top of Pike’s Peak was not paved, but in the recent past, the asphalt road surface was extended further and further and now it extends fully up to the top of Pike’s Peak.  The corner shown above was unpaved in 1961 when Louis Unser set a Stock Car Class record in the Pike’s Peak hill climb in a 1961 Chevrolet, as shown below.

Louis Unser Setting The Stock Car Class Record In 1961

Louis Unser was a very interesting person.  In 1955, his father Jerry Sr. took his three eldest sons, Louis, Jerry, and Bobby back to Colorado Springs for rookie attempts at the notorious Pike’s Peak hill climb.  At that time Louie worked as a tour bus driver, shuttling tourists up and down the Pike’s Peak treacherous mountain road, while also working in a machine shop with his namesake, nine-time Pike’s Peak winner uncle Louis Unser.  So young Louis Unser had a great knowledge of the road, as he drove it many times, day after day. Uncle Louis, who argued that his nephews were too young to tackle the mountain, successfully scuttled the younger Louie’s deal to drive a local owner’s race car. Louie responded by taking over brother Bobby’s Jaguar for race day and placing third overall.

At his brothers’ urging, Louie put his driving career on the back burner in mid-1956 to concentrate more on his innate talent turning wrenches. When Louis’ brother Jerry moved to California to begin his USAC stock car career, Louis found a job next door as a mechanic with Bill Stroppe’s factory Mercury team. When the factories supposedly yanked their race support in mid-1957, Jerry and Louis decided to join forces and they successfully won the 1957 USAC stock car championship with equipment purchased from Ford.

Sadly, Jerry Under died in 1959 as a result of an accident at the Indianapolis Speedway.  After a period of mourning, Louie got back behind the steering wheel that summer at Pike’s Peak, placing a disappointing eight seconds out of first in the stock car class his brother once dominated. He rectified the situation in the following two years, 1960 and 1961.  The picture above shows him in  Chevrolet in 1961. He also dabbled in sprint cars throughout the Southwest, but increasing fatigue and blurry vision caused him to curtail his on-track activity again. Meanwhile, his reputation as a master mechanic grew.

From 1961 to 1964 Louie worked for Stroppe, Carroll Shelby’s AC Cobra team and others, building motors and doing machine work in the shop while changing tires and refueling cars during races. Just prior to leaving the States for the East African Safari Rally in early 1964, a medical exam revealed the root of his unexplained long-term physical ills — he had developed multiple sclerosis. Louie left for Africa anyway and did not return until the rally finished, four exhausting months later.  From that point on he concentrated on the mechanical side of racing. Despite being confined to a wheelchair by the early 1970s and gradually losing the use of his upper body, Louie kept active in his shop until he could no longer work, in 1990.

One Of The Mercury Comets Entered In The 1964 East African Safari Rally

Back to the Pike’s Peak road.  The Pike’s Peak road is about 19 miles long and has quite a large number of switchbacks.  The picture below shows just how crooked the Pike’s Peak road can be.

The Pike’s Peak Road Has Many Switchbacks

When I went to the top of Pike’s Peak this year, I was the Route Coordinator and Deputy Clerk of the Course to Mark Appleton in the Endurance Rally Association’s 2018 Trans America Challenge.  This was a very enjoyable and interesting rally perspective.

Mark Appleton & Myself At The Top Of Pike’s Peak

Recently while taking part in the 2018 Great Race I got to the top of the Mt. Washington Auto Road as well.  The height at the top of Mt. Washington is 6,288 feet, much less that of Pike’s Peak, but make no mistake, this is a very dangerous road as well.  The total road length is about 8 miles long, but is narrower and less smooth than the Pike’s Peak road.  The road camber is not as favorable as the Pike’s Peak road as well.

The Mt. Washington Road Is Narrower and Not As Smooth As The Pike’s Peak Road

Each year a large number of people drive to the top of Mt. Washington and once you get to the top you can understand why – the view is spectacular.  The view of the White and Green Mountain Ranges in Vermont and New Hampshire is very impressive.  Fortunately the weather was near perfect on the day that I was on top of Mt. Washington.

View From The Top Of Mt. Washington

One of the traditions associated with going to the top of the Mt. Washington auto road is getting the “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker.  I think that a good case can be made for this bumper sticker as the most recognizable bumper sticker in America.  And yes, I got my own “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker.

This Might Be The Most Widely Recognized Bumper Sticker In America

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Harald von Langsdorff On Mt. Washington During The 2018 Great Race

As I live in the New England area of the United States, it is not unusual to hear of deaths or severe injuries to hikers on Mt. Washington, especially in the winter.  Because Mt. Washington is not particularly high, hikers think that it is not particularly dangerous.  The threat on Mt. Washington, doesn’t come directly from its height, but from the high winds that frequently occur on Mt. Washington.  In the winter time the wind chills can be surprisingly and dangerously low.  The sign at the top of Mt. Washington shown below notes that the highest wind speed ever recorded by man happened on top of Mt. Washington.

High Winds On Mt. Washington Haved Caused Deaths In The Winter

Since 1904 there has been many, but with irregular schedules, “Climb To The Clouds” hill climb events held up the Mt. Washington auto road.  Many well known racers have competed in these events.  The picture below, taken from Steven Caming’s book – “Images of America, Mt. Washington Auto Road”, shows Carroll Shelby at Mt. Washington in 1956 when he set the record at that time, 10 minutes, 21 seconds in a Ferrari 375 Gran Prix car.

Carroll Shelby Set A Record in 1956 In This Ferrari 375

As noted earlier, I got to go to the top of Mt. Washington as the navigator for Harald von Langsdorff in his 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC during the 2018 Great Race that was held between Buffalo, NY and Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We are shown going up the mountain during that event in the image below.

Going Up The Mt. Washington Road In Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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A Frontenac Helps Celebrate Canada Day

This past week I got an email from Ian Ashing about the 1960 Frontenac car.  Ian had read my January 25, 2018 post on this website about this car.  There is a 1960 Frontenac in the Canadian Car Museum in Oshawa, Ontario.  The pictures in this post were sent to me by Ian.  Ian is a volunteer at the Canadian Car Museum and he had done a detailed cleaning of this car.

A 1960 Frontenac In The Canadian Car Museum

Ian sent me these pictures to let me know that this car does exist.  Apparently there are only approximately 15 Frontenac cars that still survive to the present date.

Rear View Of A Frontenac

It was very important for the Canadian Car Museum to display this car for Canada Day (July 1) and it did get a lot of attention.

Display Note On The Canadian car Museum Frontenac

For more information about the car that only existed for one year, I would recommend reading my January 25, 2018 post.  I appreciate getting this information from Ian and hopefully additional information about the Frontenac cars will emerge.

If you have any comments or questions about this post then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Triumph Works TR3 Rally Car, TRW 736, Soon Coming To America

I recently got an email from Hans Abrahams about a wonderful Triumph TR3 Works rally car that he has acquired.  This Works rally car was registered on April 4, 1957 as TRW 736. This car, in its present condition, is shown below.

1957 Triumph TR3 Works Rally Car

This car is one of three Works rally cars that were prepared and registered by Standard Triumph in 1957.  The three Works rally cars were consecutive registered as TRW 735, TRW 736, and TRW 737.

Note The Small Bumperettes

Both the Triumph TR3 and the earlier Triumph TR2 have a low door line that is reminiscent of some other post war cars.  The lines on these cars are quite stylish.

The Triumph TR3 Cars Had The Low Cut Door Line

This Triumph TR3 has the “smallmouth” grille that is quite similar to the Triumph TR2 cars.  Later Triumph TR3 cars had a grille that extended across the whole front of the car.

The 1957 Triumph TR3 Retained The “Smallmouth” Grille Of The TR2 Cars

The standard engine in the Triumph TR3 cars was a 1,991cc 4-cylinder engine.  In its standard form, the engine produced about 100 horsepower.

The 1991cc Engine In The Triumph TR3

This car was a rally car from day one and it is still configured as a rally car.  Hans has plans to enter this car in several rallies in Europe before he brings the car to the USA.  It looks like it is ready to go!

The Interior Is Set-Up For Competition

The car is fully equipped with a Brantz rally odometer and a Brantz Rally Timer mounted in a very visible location in front of the navigator, therefore Triumph TRW 736 can be competitive in a car rally in its current form.

Rally Odometer Along With Rally Timer Foretells Future Rallies For This Car

For the 1957 Tulip Rally, Standard Triumph entered a three-car rally team. TRW 735 was driven by Tom Gold, but it did not finish.  TRW 736 was driven by John Waddington to a 1st in class win, and Triumph TRW 737 was driven by Paddy Hopkirk to a third in class finish. 

John Waddington, Tom Gold, And June Gold With The Triumph Team Cars Before The 1957 Tulip Rally

Initially I did not know the location of the picture shown below, but I was informed by Fred Gallagher that this photo was taken at the Zandvoort track.  This photo was taken during the final special test that was part of the 1957 Tulip Rally.

The Final Special Test At The Zandvoort Track During The 1957 Tulip Rally

The picture shown below shows Bernard Consten on his way to a third place overall finish in the 1957 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally.  The Triumph TR3 cars won the Team Award at the 1957 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally.

Triumph TRW 736 In The 1957 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally

At the 1957 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally,  TRW 735 was driven by Maurice Gatsonides to a fifth place finish, as noted before Bernard Consten finished 3rd in TRW 736, and Alain de Changy finished 9th Overall in TRW 737.  These great finishes in this notoriously long, rough, and fast rally gave the Triumph Works team the Overall Team Award.

Triumph TRW 736 Finished 3rd Overall In The 1957 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally

If you have any questions or comments about this post or this car, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2018 Trans America Challenge: Rest Day In Aspen

Today is a rest day in Aspen, Colorado.  Once again a time to get caught up on the many undone issues that have been set aside to take part in the 2018 Trans America Challenge.

On Sunday we got off to an early start from Santa Fe, as we normally run about 45 minutes to 1 hour in front of the rally cars.  The ride out of Santa Fe was spectacular as the sun was rising.

Sunday Morning Leaving Santa Fe

Later in the day the weather was just great.  We had a combination of views of the wide open plains as well as being up in the mountains.  America is a country of a million views!

Control Location Near Buena Vista, Colorado

On Monday morning we started the day by driving up the Pikes Peak road.  What great views!  I almost wore my camera out taking pictures.  The Pikes Peak road is spectacular.  And it makes you appreciate the skills and nerve that it takes to drive like Sebastien Loeb or Ari Vatanen did when they made their epic runs up this mountain road.

The Road Up Pikes Peak

Later that day we also went over the Independence Pass.  This pass is located at the Continental Divide.  There was an unmanned Passage Control at this location.

Went Over The Independence Pass On Our Way To Aspen

One of the favorite cars of the spectators is the 1933 Alvis Firefly.  This is a very sporty looking car.

1933 Alvis Firefly Is Popular With The Spectators

For more information of the 2018 Trans America Challenge go to the website of the Endurance Rally Association via the following link:

www.endurorally.com

If you have any questions or comments about the Trans America Challenge or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2018 Trans America Challenge: Travel From New Orleans to Santa Fe

Today is a rest day for the 2018 Trans America Challenge rally.  We are in Santa Fe enjoying the slightly cooler weather and catching up on the list of things that we all are juggling while taking part in this wonderful rally.

When we left New Orleans we put on a picnic lunch for the competitors along the Gulf of Mexico.  We were at a covered pavilion with a cool breeze in a state park.  We had looks of fresh foods for the competitors.  On the way to the picnic location we had to slow to allow an alligator to cross the road!

The Endurance Rally Crew Preparing A Picnic Lunch Along The Gulf Of Mexico

Later in the day as we made our way to Galveston, Texas, we had to take the Highway 82 ferry to get across the Calcasieu Lake/River outlet.

Taking The Highway 82 Ferry

Later that day the rally route took the competitors very close to the Gulf of Mexico.

Traveling Along The Gulf Of Mexico Shore

When we left Galveston the next day and got deeper into Texas we saw the following interesting sign along the side of the road.  We understand that there was a nearby prison.

Interesting Sign In Texas

Our second night in Texas was spent in Austin.  The weather during these days was quite hot with near record temperatures in the southern USA.

Competitors Arriving At The Hotel In Austin

The next morning we set up a Passage Control at Dead Man’s Hole.  The story of this hole is presented on the plaque below.

Passage Control At Dead Man’s Hole

Just south of Amarillo there was a test at the Route 66 Speedway.  It was great fun and it gave the competitors the opportunity to give their cars a workout.

Test Start At The Route 66 Speedway

The cars had to negotiate a number of cones that were laid out around the dirt track.

John & Nicole Whitelock On Track With Their 1938 Ford Coupe

Upon leaving Amarillo the rally route took the competitors to the Cadillac Ranch which is  series of Cadillacs buried in a farmer’s field.  These cars have been there for many years.

Cadillacs At The Cadillac Ranch

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Jim Smith & Mark Appleton Discuss A Passage Control At The Cadillac Ranch

A great deal of the morning after leaving Amarillo was spent traveling on the old Route 66.  Route 66 was the major east-west road in the 1950s until Interstate 40 was built.  Then the traffic was greatly reduced along Route 66 and many business failed and resulting in many abandoned buildings.

I’m Sure That At One Time This Was Modern, But Not Now

As we got closer to Santa Fe we got to see some great views.

On the Way To Santa Fe

For more information about the Trans America Challenge check out the Endurance Rally Association website via the following link:

www.endurorally.com

If you have any questions about the Trans America Challenge or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2018 Trans America Challenge Rest Day In New Orleans

I am working with the Endurance Rally Association crew to put on the 2018 Trans America Challenge car rally which started in Charleston, SC and will end in Seattle, WA.  The rally passed through New Orleans and Day 8 of the rally was a rest day in New Orleans.  I mostly worked to get caught up on a number of things that we left undone or half done.  However at night I caught the 6:00 show of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  I make it a point to see them every time that I’m in New Orleans.  Preservation Hall is located on St. Peter Street just off Bourbon Street.  It doesn’t look like much, but the old time New Orleans jazz that is played there is special.

Inside Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is not a big place.  I have been in living rooms that are bigger.  In fact, that is what it feels like.  It feels like you are in their living room and listening to them jammin’, having fun.  The picture above was taken from the last row of seats.  People are sitting on the floor, at the musician’s feet.  There were a few people standing behind me.  It is an experience as much as it is a show.

Preservation Hall is a great place to visit for an evening show.  Go early and save the Bourbon Street festivities for later.

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