Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hot Gawd Damn this blog is a Failure

Yup, we're actually spending our time working on the car instead of talking about it. We've almost got the cage totally done, I'm a battery mount away from having the wiring done, and a belt or bigger alt pulley and the motor will be ready to re-fire up. We have a seat. We have most of a steering wheel. What else could we need? Oh yeah, our rebuilt brakes won't build pressure, weird. more bleeding in my future. Both brakes and me.

But what I wanted to talk about was my dissapointment in other teams that are obviously cheating. The attractiveness of this race to me is that for very little money and a lot of hard work I can compete in a very real way with other racers. That is, of course, if they follow the rules. We have been following the blog of another certain race team here in portland that is BLATANTLY cheating, and then blogging about it. With $500, you just can't buy a car and then rebuild EVERYTHING. Let alone TWO of everything. It makes me very angry. We're putting our faith in a 215k mile motor, because that's the spirit of the competition, and these guys are building not one, but two motors and transmissions, not to mention 'borrowing' lots of expensive race parts from their real full-time race car. I guess if you bought it for $400 a year ago and then used it for a year, it's probably totally worthless now, right? It's BULL SHIT. Even if we could afford to cheat, I wouldn't. Not that we can afford it, you understand. In the end, we may not win this race, we may not even finish, but these guys are going to have to know that however they do it wasn't an honest effort and they don't deserve any good that happens to them. They've already earned my vote for people's curse. In fact, I may just pass copies of their blog around the pits to ensure they get votes from others, as well.

I need coffee. And beer.


Since I was extremely lazy, and didn't really want to start blogging until we GOT IN to the race... I'm going to do a quick photo montage of the progress thus far.
Step 1: GUT IT OUT




Main Hoop

More to come...

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Car

So I am posting all the past stuff that we have done on the car, and trying to not leave out all the crap that I have probably forgotten!

I located an ex auto-x car in the Seattle area that had been in a front end "fender bender"... as it turns out, it was more of a "frame bender", but who's counting?

The stats:

1988 Toyota MR2 w/ 232k miles on the odo

The good:

  • Tokiko adjustable struts
  • Poly bushings in the rear
  • Header
  • List of stuff that we can sell!
  • It runs.... kinda
  • Pretty wheels!
  • $400 bucks!

The bad:

  • It runs.... kinda
  • Bent frame
  • Resonctructed title... not once, not twice, but three times. It's been BEAT
  • Tires are SHOT
  • Demolished windshield
  • Throttle cable is hanging on by one thread
  • Brakes are leaking badly... need a caliper rebuild badly
  • 230k miles on ORIGINAL tranny... /cry

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Motoventure Who?

So I was approached by a very good friend of mine about midway through the initial planning sessions. He was / is a producer and owner of a local film company, and he was extatic about the race.. and the chance to film it! Enter Brian and Thor...

Brian (owner) Thor (star) have done a couple motorcycle adventure movies in the past, and were thrilled at the chance to be a part of the craziness that we all know as the 24 hours of lemons. Brian contacted Jay Lamm about doing the film, and everyone agreed that footage would be ok.. with a small possibility that ALL footage of the race would be copywritted (I dont understand this part, but this leads us to losing our sponsorship, and our chance at stardom!).

4 weeks ago, Motoventure films was responsible for the fiming and producing of a documentary of the Mt Hood Rally Moto (in partnership with BMW, and a few other companies). Well it turns out that this race took a serious toll on the finances and equipement of Motoventure films... (namely, they shattered two HD cameras). Erik and I received a friendly but dissapointing phone call from Brian stating that they were out for this year's race... oh well

Enter Dave and Jeff (i actually found Dave through craigslist... I was looking for steel and he offered to help with the cage).

We are now:


Brian and Thor who?

history of Free Range

I have been told I should do some team history, so here goes.

In 2007 I was part of a car forum (carfreeks.net). Within the forum we tried, and failed, to organize a team to enter a car in the 24 Hours of Lemons at Altamont. The seed was planted in my brain, however, and I had made some contacts who were also interested.

Mid-October 2007 I was selling the stock wheels off my wife's Subaru Legacy. Some dude showed up and was more than happy to pay for stock steel wheels. I couldn't imagine why, so I asked. "We're building a cheap race car, and it's likely the wheels will get hit. Steel wheels bend, not break", he said. "what kind of race could that possibly be", was the obvious reply. You know the answer; LeMons. I told him I had tried and failed to get in, and lo-and-behold he had a spot open. Two, in fact, and needed the cash. So I was in, and set him up with my contact from the car forum who had worked with me in our previous attempt. That guy was Matt.

So, turns out he only had one spot available, as a long-shot friend came up with the cash last minute. Matt was out, and pissed, but he and I started talking about entering another day, and acutally hanging out and working on cars. I had a garage, he had ambition. Good combination.

December 2007 I ran with team Festivus (think Seinfeld) at the initial 24 Hours of LeMons Thunderhill. The team was headed by someone else, organized by someone else, and yet the car ended up in my garage and I did a massive amount of work on it. Despite having six team members and only getting a little under two hours behind the wheel, it was a total blast and worth the approximately $600 total it cost me for the experience. However, at the end of the race, on the drive home, the original organizer made it clear that I actually had NO investment in the car, that he owned it, and that I could go pound sand. Needless to say, that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Matt and I vowed to get into Altamont 2008. He had a car already, a Talon TSi he had been sitting on for years. It was a turbo. It was AWD. It hadn't run in years. It was perfect. We had no team members, we had no money, but we had a car. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to write an application and, after getting the car running and roping in another team member, we didn't get in to the race. We did, however, sell the car for massive profit (assuming it was worth next to nothing when we started working on it).

We learned something from that failed application (mostly because I asked the organizer, Jay Lamm, why we failed and he told me) so we knew we were set for getting in to thunderhill. Matt and I spent some time turning wrenches after not getting into Altamont, had good team mate understanding going on, and we were ready for the next LeMons opportunity...

Keeping track late in the game

HI! We are free range racing, a grass roots race team participating in the 24 Hours of LeMons at Thunderhill, 2008. We are building a $500 total investment race car to compete against other $500 cars. The process of building this car is pretty intense, and is definitely a major part of the fun of this competition!

Our Team:

Erik (ME!!!): team captain, general tight wad and mechanical hack

Matt: Accountant and project manager. No real skills. (From Matt: Erik, yer a douche)

Dave: Fabricator and High Performance Driving Instructor. Clearly we drugged him and tricked him into joining the team

Jeff: Our California Connection. Financier and driver, won't see the car until he sits down to race.

As time permits, I'll fill in all the details of the car, the build thus far, the drama, the race, the finances and every other aspect of getting this project from the thrill of actually being accepted to the race to putting tires to tarmack.