Alex was a great sport as she accepted to come to a local tarmac rally on Sunday, which implied getting up early the morning after the wedding. There is a huge international rally here at the end of the month called Sol Rally Barbados. The event attracts more than 20 teams from Europe. The event we attended was the Automotive Art Shakedown rally. Even though it was only a warmup event, there were 50 teams lining up for 10 tarmac stages. I was excited, as there are not many tarmac stage rallies to attend in North America (I don't feel like going all the way to Newfoundland to see the Targa).
There was not much info about this rally on the Internet, but I found out where the service area was going to be and that there was a local bus that could take us there. Alex and I arrived at lunch time and got to see many cars coming in for service. The service took place at a quarry in the town of Black Bess. I don't think that many tourists came by this place. There was a snack bar that was probably there for the quarry. I took a look at the menu and when I asked the employee what a fish cutter was, she looked at me like I was from another planet (it's just a fish sandwich). There were many typical rally cars, like WRX's and Evo's, but also some unexpected entries, like a Peugeot 205 and 306, several Toyota Starlets, a couple of classic Ford Escorts, including an RS2000, a few BMW's and various other cars, mainly Japanese, including an EK Civic Type R. I will post photos in a few days when I can upload them.
It was great to see rally cars set up like road race cars... R-compound tires, big brakes, high revving normally aspirated engines. I really would be interested in participating in this type of event if we had them back home. At the very least, I can try another hillclimb in Vermont and get some of the feeling of running in an asphalt rally.
Here is a photo of a Starlet from last year's event:
Before the wedding, I was in charge of driving the bride around. I had a borrowed Toyota Starlet (not the cool RWD kind like the ones in the rally). I never 100% got the hang of driving on the left but I managed OK (Alex was in charge of telling me when I was on the wrong side or too close to the curb). The roads are quite narrow, but at least they're smooth. Most of the cool cars here seem to be JDM imports. Subarus are very popular, as are Toyotas, Suzukis and Nissans.
I left my race car in the hands of my competent friends Pascal and JP. I hope they're doing a good job, because we have the Sundown Grand Prix enduro 5 days after my return on the 16th. I'm curious to see how the car performs with the 1.6 liter engine.
Cool cars spotted:
DC5 Integra Type R
Toyota Supra Twin Turbo
Toyota Starlet RWD
Lancer Evo VIII
Lancer Evo IV