Last weekend Steve Levesque and I were entered in the Night Trial Rally which turned out to be a “night trial” for us. The Night Trial Rally was held on Saturday October 13, 2012 in Bromont, Quebec. The night rally was put on by the Sport Motor Car Club of Montreal. I was entered in this rally as the navigator for Steve Levesque of New Hampshire in his 1990 BMW M3.
Steve’s BMW has not been run since he competed in the Mt. Washington Hill Climb in the spring of 2011. Therefore before we could take the car up to Quebec we needed to get the car set up for a night rally. The tasks that needed to be completed was to add a set of auxiliary lights and to change the existing Terratrip odometer to a more appropriate rally computer for a time-speed-distance rally.
I went up to Steve’s workshop a couple of times before the rally to disconnect the Terratrip 303 and to install my Alfa Elite rally computer. As an aside, the Alfa Elite rally computer so impressed Steve Levesque that he has since ordered a new Alfa Elite rally computer for himself. While I was working on the installation of the rally computer, Steve was concentrating on adding the additional lights.
I thought that things were going OK until I got an email message from Steve at about 8:00PM Friday night saying that disaster had struck and all of the rare earth magnets that were placed on the front wheel studs had been “wiped out” and that Steve was headed back to his business shop to get more tools and resources to fix this situation. This was not good news as we were going to head up to Quebec the next morning.
I spent a restless night trying to sleep. At a little after 4:00AM, I was awake once again and went downstairs to see if there was any further news from Steve. I had got a message from Steve at 3:50AM saying to bring along my back-up wheel mounted sensor. He added that he was heading for home to get some sleep. I found out later that Steve got to bed at 4:30AM and set the alarm to get up at 6:30AM.
Steve & I had agreed to meet Adam Brodeur and his navigator, Cory Fisher, in Templeton, Massachusetts in order to take the cars to Bromont on a trailer. Steve had earlier wisely decided to take the BMW on a trailer in case there was a mechanical problem with the car. We wanted to know that whatever happened, we were going to get home. Adam Brodeur agreed to also put his car on the trailer so that he would not have to drive back home through the night after the rally and could rest in the back seat of the truck in order to rest up before a business trip to Florida the next day.
We met at The Carriage House in Templeton, MA, which is an active auto body repair shop. I looked around the shop noticing a very nice BMW M3 convertible that was getting some work done to it. After Steve arrived, we loaded Adam’s Saabaru on to the trailer and headed north for Bromont, Quebec.
Loading The Cars For The Trip To Bromont
The trip up to Bromont was very enjoyable as both the company and road were interesting.
Interstate 95 On The Way To Quebec
We got to Bromont a little after 4:30 in the afternoon. But we still had some work to do on the BMW. The wheel sensor and the magnets that Steve had worked all night to install were confirmed to be working after a brief test ride around a parking lot. We still had to finalize the equipment in the car and the additional lights still needed work.
Adam’s day took a decided turn for the worse when the keys got locked inside his car. We could not figure out how to recover them and Adam eventually had to get assistance from a roadside service vehicle to open the car. This case is an example why when I’m at a rally, I always ask for a second set of keys.
We worked on the car right up to the driver’s meeting which was held 15 minutes before the rally started. In fact, the driver’s meeting had started when we arrived. In addition, we missed out on both lunch and dinner and the opportunity to meet with the other competitors before the rally. Two other teams from the USA had made the trip to Bromont for the rally – Jamie & Scott Beliveau from New Hampshire and Mike Mazoway/Frank Beyer from Syracuse, New York were also there.
We were assigned to be Car 7, so we got our route instructions at 7:02PM and were away at 7:07PM. Our rally was going fine until after the 7th Control, when our car just quit running. The engine would spin, but it just would not re-fire. Adam & Cory who had been running ahead of us in Car 6 soon came along and stopped. They had got hopelessly lost, were no longer competitive, and were running just to enjoy the remaining portions of the rally. After trying everything to get the car running, I stayed with the car and the rest of the guys went back to Bromont to get the truck and trailer in order to load up and head back to Massachusetts. About an hour later, we got the cars loaded and by 11:00PM we were on the road back home.
Around midnight we stopped for a long-delayed lunch at a Tim Horton’s restaurant in Quebec. Later on the way back home, we decided to stop at the P&H Truck Stop in Vermont at Route 202 and I91 for a little treat. This is a particular favorite place for New England rally people as this is the typical 3:00AM rest stop during the legendary all night Vermont Winter Challenge Rally. We got there about 3:00AM, so we felt quite at home at that time. They had some great baked goods and I enjoyed a piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie and some coffee.
We eventually got back to Massachusetts and I finally got home at about 6:00AM Sunday morning to get some sleep.
So as you can see, the Night Trial Rally was quite a night trial for us. However, I would do it again and I look forward to next year when this rally might not be some much of a trial for us.