No Alibi – 2009

In June, Ed and I took the “new” rally car to Moses Lake for the “No Alibi” rally put on by Rainier Auto Sports Club.  This is a TSD rally that was meant to be a “practice” for Targa Newfoundland and to further shake out the car.  It turned out to be quite an adventure.

No Alibi 2009 Action Shot


No Alibi 2009 was a 500-mile, two-day tour of Eastern Washington on some of the best gravel back roads and some of the great paved ones as well.  Moses Lake offered a central location for a starting and ending point.  The course used all types of roads from highways to wide gravel roads to twisty and dusty dirt roads, however none of these were of the ”car-breaking variety”.  

Saturday morning outside the ”Not-So-Super 8 Motel”, we did some final registration, got our numbers, did some final checks and took some photos of the car while it was still clean:








 …and we checked out our only “vintage” competition:


 They had some cool stuff under the hood:


If you look closely you can see Mr. Bill who was about to get the ride of his life!  …not sure what that rats nest is under the hood, but the owner seemed confident in his ride.

No Alibi typically enjoys beautiful early-summer weather and presents a peek at the green and growing season. We saw some of this but also had unusual thunderstorms, hail and flash flooding along the route.  Here is a shot at the beginning of our first section:


…and our first break:


Some action shots taken by a volunteer:



 …and then a little later we started seeing severe thunderstorms off in the distance and eventually hit some “washouts” about 30 minutes after they hit:



…yes, that is hail on the ground:


Crazy stuff!

Besides the rain, wind and hail – there was of course the lightning that we could hear from inside the car with our headsets on. 

Things settled down and eventually we hit more dry sections – and more dust.  Around 7:30 PM we had one more section to go.  We were on our “transit section” heading to this final stage when the exhaust note changed dramatically.  It was loud!  We new we had broken the exhaust but thought it might be fixable in the 6 minutes we had prior to our final starting time.  …sadly the pipe had broken at a weld that was not easy to reach – nor did we have the proper equipment to weld it back together.  We retired and carefully drove the 40 miles back to Moses Lake.  The car was really loud, so after getting to the Motel we shut it down and hitched a ride to the banquet.

Although we had to retire from the event, we got in close to a full day, had some great experiences and learned about another weak point on the car.  If we can avoid these problems in Newfoundland during the Targa event, it will have all been worth it!

Thanks to Eric Horst (rallymaster) and all the Rainier Sports Club volunteers who put on a great event!

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