The 2012 Big Lap rally ended early for Steve Levesque and I. Steve and I have competed together in some stage rallies, but this was the first time that we had competed in a time-speed-distance rally together. In fact, this was only the second time-speed-distance rally that Steve had competed in – his first time-speed-distance was about five years ago.
To prepare for the rally, I had purchased a new E-Z Pulse wheel sensor, when I mistakenly assumed that my older E-Z Pulse sensor had failed. I had experienced an odometer problem the week before and as the Big Lap rally was rapidly approaching, I thought that I should get a new E-Z Pulse wheel sensor, as I needed to find the solution to the problem quickly in order to compete in the Big Lap rally. My problem turned out to be a wiring problem, so now I have two well-functioning E-Z Pulse wheel sensors.
I went up to Steve’s place on Friday before the rally in order to get his car set up for the rally. We were using Steve’s Pontiac Solstice for the 2012 Big Lap rally.
E-Z Pulse Wheel Sensor Mounted on the Front Wheel of a Pontiac Solstice
The new E-Z Pulse from Alfa Small Systems is considerably smaller than the older versions of the E-Z Pulse. We found it easy to mount the E-Z Pulse wheel sensor on the Pontiac Solstice. The hood on the Pontiac Solstice opens forward exposing the inner front fender liner. As a result the E-Z Pulse wheel sensor was easily mounted on the inner fender liner.
Early Saturday morning Steve and I drove to the rally start location in Keene, New Hampshire. We are contemplating competing in another rally later in the year that does not allow rally computers or programable calculators, so in order to get some experience with that requirements, we decided to compete using an Alfa Small Systems Alfa Pro rally odometer and a Curta Calculator. This put us in direct competition with other competitors using full-blown rally computers.
Rally Equipment Set-Up For the 2012 Big lap Rally
After we arrived at the rally start we registered for the rally and made final preparations.
Steve’s Pontiac Solstice As Rallymaster Scott Beliveau Prepares for His 2012 Big Lap Rally
Shortly after we started the rally, while on the odometer check, we had an event that foretold the remainder of the day. After spending considerable time cleaning the windshield, a bird, with apparently a considerable girth, shat upon the windshield directly in front of me. Considering that we had the top down in the Pontiac Solstice, the good news was that the bird dirt did land on the windshield.
Before the lunch break, we had most of the electrical system shut down in the Pontiac Solstice. At a control, we had to get the timing crew, give help us push/bump start the car. After this happened, we then decided to retire from the rally, as we did not want to have the car quit again on us in the backwoods of New Hampshire. When therefore advised the rally control workers that we were withdrawing from the rally and then we headed back to Steve’s place.
On the way back to Steve’s place we stopped to drive up to the top of Mount Monadnock, which is a 3,165 foot high mountain in Jaffery, New Hampshire.
View From the Top of Mount Monadnock
Mount Monadnock provides a great vista, but there was a slight haze that prevented views over long distances. I am told that on a clear day, you can see Boston.
While our 2012 Big Lap rally did not end well, Steve and I had a great day catching up with our stories and a playing with cars. On the way home, we used a feature of the Alfa Pro rally odometer that I normally don’t use. The odometer has a performance setting, which will record the time from 0 -30 mph, 0 – 60 mph, and the quarter mile time and speed. Steve’s Pontiac Solstice is the turbo version and has had a couple of additional tweeks. The temptation was too great, so we timed the performance of the car. The 0 – 30 mph time was 1.2 seconds and the 0 – 60 mph was 5.1 seconds. We only did this once and perhaps we would have obtained better times, if we had repeated the test several times. But clearly the car is fast.
The Pontiac Solstice Is a Fine Performance Car
Steve and I will likely compete in another time-speed-distance rally together and we learned a lot about the way to set up the car. So while our rally result was not good with the DNF, we did have a good time and it was a successful learning experience. Last week, Steve told me that he thinks the cause of the electrical shut down in the Pontiac Solstice has been identified.
I Like the Flowing Lines of the Pontiac Solstice Design