BIA Motorsports headed west to Buckhorn, Ontario, for Round 3 of the Ontario Performance Rally Championship. Rally of the Voyageurs is presented by the Kitchener-Waterloo Rally Club. After some breakdowns and a tow vehicle switch, we arrived to race the fast sweeping gravel fire-service roads. Saturday, July 15, had us waking up early for Recce. This time, driver Mathieu Ayotte and co-driver Tom McCabe took the opportunity to mentor Tony Dylan on pace notes and the rally Recce process.
As the day got hotter, we prepared to do battle in the dust. Stages one and two had us going cautiously, as last year we had rolled the car on these same roads. Going into Stage 3 the injectors flooded the cylinders with gas and wouldn’t allow the engine to turn over. Deciding to take advantage of the re-start rule we opted to put some work into fixing the problem and rejoining the race after Service. Mathieu and Tom, with the help of our top-notch service crew, worked fast over the hot engine to pull the intake and subsequently the spark plugs. With the cylinders open, we turned over the engine and a geyser shot out. So with the engine back together we were off to Stage 5. Our service crew consisting of Darryl, Dylan, Tyler and Tony, worked hard on our car and also built up rally karma by working diligently on our competitors’ cars. Though the roads were not rough, many teams were plagued with engine problems.
With the fear of flooding a cylinder again and running on open injectors, we chose to never turn off the engine until we were back at Service and done the race. Stages 6-8 had us cutting time off our morning runs, but the blue smoke coming from the back of the car hinted at problems. We could watch the fuel gauge move as we raced over the now slippery gravel. Some teams race with just enough fuel, but we were happy we chose to run with a full tank. After 50km of stages we were down to half a tank. We pulled into Rally HQ chugging along with our car sounding like a two-stroke and smelling like one, too.
B y the end we had driven smoothly all day, with only minor problems (except for the injectors) and were able to snatch a 3rd place finish in both 2WD and 2WD Open class.
Mathieu and Tom would like to thank our support team who volunteered to help us achieve this placing and would like to thank Street and Track Creative for keeping us looking good while we race. BIA Motorsports is a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran race team who aim to get more vets out in motorsports as a way of forming mental readiness. We also support like-minded non-profits like Sheepdog Lodge and Military Minds Inc. Photo credit goes to KWRC.