A million miles from nowhere.
Heading for Yellowknife

over some rough roads

It's getting

No change.
We're first in class, second overall.

DAY 6: Keeping the Pressure Up    


One long rally

One small
of rock

It may all come down to a sharp shard of rock, just one of millions dumped as gravel on the dirt road leading to Yellowknife. Crush gravel is notoriously hard on tires, and all of the rally vehicles are currently driving on hundreds of miles of it, as we wind our way north on Highway 77/7 to Yellowknife. A flat on a transit would be no big deal - several teams have already encountered them. But a flat on a TSD stage would probably drop any rally team down at least one place. R.Dale feels our Cooper tires (we're running LifeLiner SLEs) have held up really well, so this may be one big advantage we have on our competitors.

Our canary-yellow Challenge Driving Subaru WRX is sitting comfortably in first for Class I, and the Webb/Mooers/Kiesla Subaru Outback sits comfortably in first for Class II. But the SOP Class is a different story. Three cars are vying for the class lead and an impressive fourth overall - the "Buffalo Boys" in the Isuzu Trooper, Rob Dunn and Nick Marcuse in the Mazda GTX, and Judy and Greg Misbach in the Acura MDX. Only a relative handful of points separate the three, and the Volvo XC of John Fahey and Mike Maiello is also creeping up into range (after a spotty beginning, the Forbes Magazine guys seem to have hooked into this rallying thing). But in truth, almost anything could happen. We've reached that point in the marathon when endurance begins to eclipse performance. The miles roll by, checkpoints come and go, exhilarating actions become routine. People lose focus. Seconds slip away. What day is it? I hardly know. As tough as it is on the teams, the world of the motorcycle guys is in another universe altogether. Every day R.Dale, Larry and I marvel at the dedication of these guys, who ride all day, get into the hotel at midnight only to find all the restaurants closed and everyone asleep. They get up before we do, pack and maintain their bikes, compete in the TSDs (most of them) and then ride all day again, over dirt, gravel, through the rain and wind. If we finish the rally, I'll get a Mackenzie award (all finishers do). But these guys should get a whole different class of award than a guy who spent 3/4ths of the rally in the back seat.
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