Sunday, March 29, 2009

Desert Pre-run

A group of people from NewSong met up this morning and drove out to Barstow to drive off-road. The goal was to drive our street trucks to see how they would handle off-road. There is a race (Mojave 250) next week out behind the Tanger Outlet in Barstow so we can check out the actual course.

We met this morning at Denny's in Brea and decided to take two trucks. I left my 4Runner behind since it only had RWD instead of 4WD. Sam drove too but he was bringing his off-road motorcycles. The weather was good, not too hot nor cold, and after an early lunch at Del Taco, we arrived at the off-road area at around 11:30am.

There was some kind of muscle car meet at the Denny's this morning. There were a lot of mustangs and someone brought a Shelby Cobra. We're guessing that it's a replica since the real ones are really rare and auction for >$1M.

Sam's truck loaded with two motorcycles. We thought he was driving kind of slow, especially over the El Cajon pass; it turned out he only has a V6 in his F150 so it was a bit underpowered.

Sam and Ben stayed behind in the starting area to ride their bikes while the rest of us went to pre-run the course.

Randy's Toyota Tundra and Ed's Toyota 4Runner. Both had a 4.7L V8 and 4WD (the 4Runner was really AWD since you could not disable the 4WD).

Initially, I was in Ed's 4Runner and the course was a lot bumpier than I had imagined. However, the driving was pretty easy with the 4Runner's AWD. Later in the course, we swapped cars so I was driving Randy's Tundra in 2WD mode and it was a lot tougher. I got stuck several times and had to back up and try again (and again). Our JeepSpeed has 4WD but the plan is to replace the front axle to make it a 2WD truck for most races to save on weight. The course was in pretty bad shape since it's used for many races. In a lot of places, the track was really rocky and bumpy. It took us close to 4 hours to complete one 26 mile lap; there is an 8 hour limit for the 9 lap race. Randy said we should be a lot faster in our race truck since it has much better suspension/shocks.

Ed's 4Runner coming down a short hill then a uphill climb to where we were.

Taking a short break at the top of a small hill.

The course was dry and dusty. Both cars will need a good car wash afterwards.

Randy's Tundra climbing up a steep hill in 2WD. He lost traction the 1st time so he had to back up and try again. In the JeepSpeed, we should be going much faster and the extra momentum should carry us over the hill easily.

After the long 4 hour drive (the last 8 mile section of the course was really bumpy and slow), we met up with Sam and Ben. They were still riding around so Peter borrowed some safety equipment and rode a bit on their 80cc bike. It looked fun but since none of the helmets available fit me, I didn't want to risk riding around without one. I also didn't quite finish my MSF riding course so I'm not very confident in my riding skills... probably fall and hurt myself.

Pastor Peter

Rear disc brakes on Sam's 250cc Kawasaki

It was a pretty fun day. I think I'll bring my 4Runner next time since Randy was able to navigate the course in 2WD about 99% of the time. I drove Ed's 4Runner for about an hour on the way back home on the freeway. It handled about the same as my 4Runner but the power difference between the 4.7L V8 (235 hp/320 lb-ft) and my 3.4L V6 (183 hp/217 lb-ft) was quite noticeable.

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