I had the opportunity to attend the Global Rally Cross event held at the Dirt Fish Rally school in Snoqualmie, Washington this past weekend. I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect. I had watched the Irwindale race online and was definitely impressed but honestly, the location here in Washington blew any expectation of mine out of the water.
Not only did the course have just incredible scenery with old, massive mills but the course had tight turns, mud, jumps and the most amazing straightaway going right through the middle of the Twin Peaks Mill- with speeds that had to reach more than 100mph. At the end of that straight, was literally, a 90 degree turn and the drivers had to slide out sideways to even think about making the corner and not go right into the concrete barrier.
I camped out with cameras in hand and just let the action unfold – which it quickly did. The racing action proved to be incredible, so did the crashes.
As racing has happening, there was a big crash in the center of the course. Most of the focus was on a car that endowed the jump and rolled head first, upside down just before Mirra came out of the warehouse chute. I am not sure how my attention did not turn to the “ooohhhs and aaahhhsss” of the crowd with the wreck right in the center of the course. That’s when Mirra was flat out, as he tried to make the turn.
Dave Mirra renowned BMX Racer now racing on the Subaru Rally Team USA was fast. He was up there running wheel to wheel with Foust and Ericksson. Unfortunately he got a bit hot into the corner and just backed it into the wall. Most were fixated on the jump in the center of the course, where there was an accident and all of a sudden here comes Mirra with a vengeance! He had a bit of trouble coming out of “The Warehouse” straight away at the 90 degree turn heading to “The Kink”.
Coming out of the warehouse sideways Dave carried so much speed he hit the barrier hard – twice!
What was amazing is that the tire was rolling through the narrow course, nearly hit by Rhys Millen and then came to a stop. Dave seemed to be in disbelief that he had hit the wall and got his vehicle out of the way (yep! he drove it), parked right by the tire that seemed to be just mocking the whole situation. Almost acting as the key witness to some special ops mission. Mirra got out of the vehicle and didn’t even glance at the tire, that tire that seemed to be laughing at the whole scene as it just sat there as a VIP audience member. Dave kept walking to the wall, back to the car, back to the wall as team engineers quickly came onto the scene.
As you can see the damage was massive. At some point, the tire became the obvious resting point for the tail light that had been left behind near the wall. Again, that tire, became almost utilitarian as it was used as some bench table top with the damaged Subaru in the background. The engineers were in almost as much disbelief as Mirra, quickly assessing the damage and calling in the next set of parts directly from the scene. “yeah – we are going to need a rear differential…..” like it was just a regular stop to your local Subaru dealer to pick up a few parts.
As I continued to shoot, I noticed a bright, shiny wrench that seemed to appear from no where. A wrench. Or more aptly, a wrench?
Quickly, the engineers and Mirra were fascinated by the bright shiny object. Like a moth to a flame – the team was on it, the wrench became more perplexing, more interesting as the whole story unfolded, even more so than the hot, steaming tire that was still idle in the same spot that it had stopped. Dave had this box end wrench in his hand. Being situated so close, we don’t know where it came from. He never went back into the car. By the photos Team Engineer Jonathan Carey and along with Clint Fast seemed perplexed as well. It seemed of interest to both of them. Finally Clint end up with the wrench.
I am not sure if there was a conclusion to “wrench-gate” but I am sure there were some questions asked back at the pits. Anybody know??
The wrecker came and literally dragged the Subaru up on the platform, eerily cracking and creaking as it went up the ramp. I thought Mirra’s day was over but no way. His crew performed what seemed like a miracle as he got back into the action – to only ride the wall up at the end of the long chute, with the left rear new tire planning the same mockery, but Dave would continue the last round on just three wheels. Three wheels, ‘done worn out, making it back (and trust me – it was along way back) literally on fire until he crossed the finish line. Stay tuned – writing that one as we speak! And yes, photos AND video of the entire sequence.
Dave Mirra – you are the man! Great watching you race!
Andy “two tall” DeVol.