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2013 Sandblast Rally Live Coverage

17 updates

Image: Anders Green
Friday March 1 11:46 AM
New competitors are the future and the life blood of the sport. Here's Eric Wages teaching the novice competitor orinetation.

We had so many people we had to get a theatre to hold them all! Good luck everyone.

Image: Anders Green
Friday March 1 9:37 AM
Here's Eric Wages and Amanda Skelly on the regional FM station the morning before the race. NRS is proud to get Noble Star Rally and Dirty Rallysport on the air!

WCRE, and their sister newspaper The Link, both based in Cheraw, have been a long time supporter of the rally. Pick up a copy of The Link because rally cars are covering the front page!

Image: C. Sebastian Gomez Abero
Thursday February 28 9:56 PM
Report from Sebastian Gomez Abero: A few hours to go. The transmission is back in the car after the last part arrived today to replace the bent gear shaft and the broken synchro. Huge thank you to Marcel who did all the work and slept very little the last few days so we could go Rally!

Image: Adam Peirce
Thursday February 28 1:55 PM
Racers of all sorts are headed to Sandblast Rally. It's always fun to meet up with another racer on the highway as you're headed down the road!

Here's a photo of racer Jason Adams somewhere in Virginia, headed south.

Image: Anders Green
Wednesday February 27 10:54 AM
Rally is all about making it through to the finish. This drive shaft, swapped out the morning before leaving for the rally by one of the event organizers, Anders Green, is a typical tale.

Did he want to deal with a blown CV joint the day he was supposed to be packing to leave? Of course not. Did he anyway? Naturally, that's rally.

But the story isn't just his, loads and loads of volunteers are headed to Cheraw this weekend, and they are all preparing, repairing, and getting ready for a big adventure. So hats off, and bottoms up to the volunteers! Sandblast couldn't happen without you!

Image: Eric Wages
Saturday February 23 11:28 AM
New from DRS:

We regret to announce that the Dirty Rallysport WRX will not be present at Sandblast. It was discovered that during our time on the dyno that something was seriously wrong with the engine. It was hard to start and get rolling without stalling, leaked coolant from three places (fixed on the dyno), blew out the flame on pulls (changed and dramatically regapped the plugs) and finally, was starting to miss on the cylinders.

A brief leakdown test showed that things never seated properly in any way - a "good" cylinder had only a 45% leak and a "bad" cylinder had 65% leak. Good enough to drive it back on the trailer and take it home for yet another heart transplant.

Sometimes these things happen. Bad luck strikes again.

Image: Anders Green
Thursday February 21 2:31 PM
Here is the first soldier standing at attention, part of an army of flags that will be marching south next week to usher in the first NASA Rally Sport event of the season.

Rally is all about flexibility, so we have two different bases, one cross piece like the one shown for hard surfaces, and another spike style to go into soft surfaces.

Image: Indocil Art
Monday February 18 9:11 AM
Here are the sweet T shirts we'll be having for Sandblast. The design is well beyond our capability, so we need to thank the awesome team over at Indocil Art for their amazing work!

Image: Pete Lahm
Sunday February 17 4:33 PM
Things don't always go as planned. Here the crew that is making the Jemba notes has been out on the roads all weekend fighting locked gates (that the rangers had to cut off).

Finally, an obstacle that the lock cutter won't get through... a downed tree! Well, rally is nothing if not finding obstacles and overcoming them!

Image: Anders Green
Wednesday February 13 11:15 AM
Road preparations continue down in the Sand Hills State Forest as the graders smooth the surface for the upcoming race. Several rain storms in the last few days have left the surface solid and with plenty of grip.

Image: Braden Childers
Tuesday February 12 9:33 PM
The KTM of Braden Childers (Moto #104) has been serving double duty all winter long as a trail bike and an occasional commuter so it's in the paddock for a bit of maintenance before the first RallyMoto of 2013. Suspension, brakes and motor will all get fresh fluid and routine adjustment. Upgrades to the bike will include a fresh battery to help get this beast fired up and sonic noise generators (deer whistles) to keep the wildlife at bay. As both rider and mechanic, Braden is currently taking applications for a part-time service crew willing to work a few days a year for minimal pay and no health benefits. Tryouts will be held Saturday March 2nd in the Sandblast Service Area.

Image: Kevin Turner
Monday February 11 10:18 AM
In preparation for Sandblast Rally, DoublePlus Racing is testing a new low center of gravity co-driver position. In addition we spent the weekend swapping the ecu wiring harness, wiring a power window, installing a hydro handbrake, upgrading wheels, replacing brake pads, eating stew, telling lies, and cursing everything that didn't go as planned. Can't wait to rally!

Image: Andrew Phillips
Friday February 8 11:36 AM
Andrew Phillips, who will be sporting number 127 for the 2013, has gotten some new go-fast pieces over the winter. Like many riders, he's making the most of the off-season to re-prep the bike for this year's racing.

When asked if he thought the latest equipment would improve his standings this year, Phillips said with characteristic humor "At least my bike will sound better."

Image: Eric Wages
Sunday February 3 11:15 PM
For Eric Wages, Car 2, there are just 26 days to go for Sandblast and it's time for a complete rewire of the car. There are a number of gremlins in the car right now that necessitate a complete rework of the system. Rather drastic, but a necessary evil.

The project is a huge push, as the car also runs an aftermarket ECU which will require another separate wiring harness. At the same time, a conversion to drive by wire is underway due to lack of available drive by cable replacement pieces. Lots of variables being changed at once with a lot of pieces incoming at various dates.

Image: Simon Wright
Friday February 1 10:06 AM
USUK Racing has sold their trusty Ford Focus rally car to Futoshi Murase, the 2009 Japanese 2WD Champion who now resides in Indianapolis. Kieran Wright will be codriving for him in his first US event, 100 Acre Woods, in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, USUK Racing has been hard at work building their latest rally car. Frankenpreza: a 1995 Subaru Impreza LX shell with a transplanted 2005 2.5RS motor, transmission, wiring harness, dash and other important bits. A recent milestone is shown here as the car was able to move out of the garage under its own power! Just four weeks left to have it ready to compete at Sandblast Rally 2013!

Image: Aaron Gibson
Friday February 1 9:35 AM
Aaron Gibson (Motorcycle 113) has been doing some testing in the frozen northland in preparation for the upcoming rally. Sidelined last year with endemic ECU problems, the bike has been upgraded, rally-style, to a full aftermarket programmable ECU.

While Gibson would confirm that there have been dyno sessions as part of the tuning, he would not release any of the final numbers. The best NRS could get out of him was "It's way more fun to ride now than it ever was."

Image: Anders Green
Wednesday January 30 1:45 AM
NASA Rally Sport is working on a new system for event updates. This is the first peek at it, and really, a picture and a couple paragraphs next to it? Not too inspiring, if you ask us.

But you know what? It really is a very understandable, very straightforward way to see what's been happening in an orderly fashion. And it's quite easy to see what's new and what stories are developing.

The cool part is that EVERYONE, including official registered media, racers, crew, volunteers, and even fans can submit updates to the official page through their NRS account. (Naturally, for most folks they're checked prior to appearing on NRS. Just for, oh, we'll say, spelling. *grin*) And yes, you can post from your phone. Just log in to your NRS account, and on the main tab, click the 'Post Update' link.

This first post shows the Sandblast Rally entry list, sitting at 92 currently. That makes it one of the biggest events in the last decade!