Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A New Beginning

This is Erik Torgeson. I'm going to take over the Free Range Blog and begin posting regularly about my work on the Free Range Race car and team. I hope you'll follow along, enjoy what we have to say, and maybe learn something about MR2's, our team and team mates, and the sport of auto racing.
Every good story begins at an ending, and this is no different. Though what I have to say is sad, it is also a story of hope, resurrection, and a new level of hoon.

The Red and Black Free Range MR2 has been my friend, companion, and mechanical obsession for four years. I have spent time I did not have to spend doing silly and pointless things to that beat-to-death pile of metal. We have gone through seven motors of various power and reliability, countless tires, and (I think) about 20 races. We have had amazing themes including windmills, bubbles and crystals, a flying owl, and a real turbo with no engine management. Many people have taken their very first laps on a race track behind the wheel of the MR2, and the learning curves each experienced showed in the sheet metal. But like every abused, beaten and lovingly neglected car, it got progressively slower, handled worse, and had ever-compounding issues.
The last three races were complete failures. A new team member - Andrew Pierson - and I had foolishly and brilliantly taken on turbo charging the best base 4AGE we'd had since the original motor, because more is more. We worked very hard to build a manifold, figure out plumbing, get bigger injectors, the works. We planned to run it without any engine managment, just tune for stable A/F at WOT and let the rest work itself out.
It was brilliant, and it worked. The car was FAST. Except a few things....the turbo kept falling off the exhaust manifold. And when that happened, bad things happened. At the last race, and ORP Rat Race, the clutch slave cylinder cooked, leaving us with no clutch pedal. Then the gas started boiling in the tank. Then the clutch exploded.

I was done.

So was the car. It was time. It was bent, beat, nothing worked, and it wasn't worth saving. The cage was garbage. The motor was tweaked. It could never win, let alone be much fun. I brought out the sawzall and cut it to pieces, one of the hardest things I've ever done.
I kept the door, I simply couldn't part with all that history completely. I saved Matt the C-pillar with all the tracks we'd raced stenciled on it.
I love the MR2 platform, but the 4AGE simply isn't enough motor to have fun on reliably. With my new race trouble-maker Andrew encouraging me, and Matt laughing from afar, I have begun a new MR2 build. But that is not what this post is about. This post is about saying goodbye to a long-time friend and companion of so many racers.

Goodbye old friend, you are already missed...

1 comment:

Bender said...

Goodbye old friend! Hello new and improved sucky car! Welcome back Eric!