Friday, September 17, 2010

Thank You Tucker Acura

Pictured here (l-r) Nigel Mortimer, Lewis MacKenzie, David Tucker, Sr., Andrew, Jody
(with daughter Aylah) and David Tucker, Jr.

To top off a great day, when we arrived at the finish, we were presented with a cheque for $7,000 to the Soldier On Fund from Tucker Acura of St. John's 

Leg 5 - What a finish!

First in Class
Seventh in Modern Division

Jody:  I have to say, it's more than we hoped for.  And I think we surprised a lot of people.  We started the day ninth, and we moved up during the day.  We also got a Targa Plate, which is awarded for achieving the Targa targets on every stage through the week. We're really pleased.

Andrew:  Today was very hard, by far the toughest day, but we tried to bring the discipline to it that we've followed all week.

Jody:  We started carefully and built more speed as we got into the rhythm of the stages.

Andrew:  That's where our military training was invaluable -- the teamwork, communication, situational awareness.  It definitely gave us an advantage over other teams, especially for a couple of "rookies."

Jody:  And the car was strong.  In fact, it was flawless.  It helped us when we made mistakes.

Andrew:  Jody in particular was amazing today.  We had two stages in Brigus, and Jody drove.  We almost clipped a telephone pole the first time through.  On the second round, I reminded him about it, but he was already aware.  In fact, he gained 5 seconds on the second round over his previous time.  It was only a 2 km stage, and that's hard to do.

Jody:  It's a big accomplishment for both of us, and throughout the whole week, we knew it took two to succeed.  We helped each other, particularly when we were navigators.

Andrew:  We also made some friends here -- that was the best part.

Jody:  And we have a challenge to the Trailer Park Boys.  Next year, you better be in the racing class so we can compete against you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leg 4 - Heritage Run

Andrew:  Today was fast.  On the second stage, which Jody was driving,  Nigel Mortimer, our team engineer, said we were giving him a heart attack with our speed!  And that was a 23 km stage with rain and mist.  We had every type of weather today.  The only thing we didn't see was snow or sleet.  There were exciting stages, too. During a stage in Fortune, which I was driving, we came around a corner and almost clipped a house.  Honestly, we only missed it by millimeters.  Didn't lift, though.  Kept on going and smoked it.

Jody:  That's one thing about Targa I didn't expect -- how long the stages could be and how close we'd drive by houses.  We've heard we were fast today, but we were just trying to be consistent.  I guess because of our infantry training, we're self-critical.  We try to learn from our mistakes and do it right.  We're definitely more relaxed in the car, though.  On the first day, it was super intense, no talking in the car.  Now we're pointing things out that we're passing, and the navigator has time to comment on the line we're taking.

Andrew:  The car needs new brakes tonight.  We wore them out today.  And we'll get fresh tires because we still have some left within the regulations.  Other than that, tomorrow we're going to do exactly what we've been doing.  Our goal is to finish strong.

Jody:  Our strategy is not to make a mistake on the last day.  We have to keep things in perspective.  The navigator has to be the angel on the shoulder telling the driver to take it easy when necessary.  We know we're getting tired, so it's an early night.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leg 3 - Kittiwake Coast

Andrew:  Fabulous day.

Jody:  Stage 2 pushed us up in the scores.  The Kia team of Hill/Kostick, who were leading in our class and ahead of us on the stage, ran into problems.  As we came up the crest of a hill, Andrew spotted the car and almost immediately after saw a puff of smoke and said, "he just blew something." I knew we could get past him and told Andrew not to lift.  The Kia waved us past but we picked up a piece of engine debris in our rear right tire.  Fortunately, the Michelin held to the end of the stage.  We've now got number one spot in our class and we're ninth in the Modern division.

Andrew:  It's unfortunate we had to pass the Kia that way, but we'll take it.  I felt bad for about 30 seconds....

Jody:  It was a long day.  What a solid car.  There hasn't been a single problem except for the tire.  And there are a number of competitors who haven't been as fortunate.

Andrew:  We've really found our groove.  I'm not trying to slow Jody down anymore because the less I say the better he drives.  He drove phenomenally today -- his best day yet.

Jody:  Our overall approach is working well, and today was very consistent.  I think we'll even pick up speed tomorrow.

Leg 2 - Exploits Valley

Andrew:  We started and finished in Gander with eight stages that began in the streets of Gander, then Bobby's Cove, Pleasantview, Glover's Harbour and back through Gander again.  Challenging runs and really tight corners through the last stage in Gander.  We lost the brakes while I was driving.  Managed to hold on to the end and they've been repaired.  Bottom line -- we moved up two spots to 10th place in Modern, and we're second in class!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leg 1 - North East Coast

Jody:  After the first stage, there was a collective sigh of relief.  Now we're having fun.

Andrew drove the stages in the morning, and I drove in the afternoon.  All together, there were six stages.  We had no incidents and finished 12th in our division (out of 22 teams).  The car is handling like a dream.

We've both realized the important role of the navigator: he will win or lose the rally.  And we have an agreement that nothing is to be taken personally by the driver when the navigator gives advice or shouts instructions.  It's the navigator's job to tell the driver to stop or slow down.  He knows where the car's going.

We've also realized that we can't be over exuberant.  We're not going for the day but the whole week.  We think we did well today, and we expect to get sharper and shaper each day by Friday.

But boy, tonight we're ready for a good night's sleep.  Andrew compared it to an op.  Before you go out, you pack your gear and go to bed for the 4:00 am call, but you just lie awake all night going over the drills.  That's what we were both like last night.

Tomorrow's a long day.  Can't wait.