[200q20v] Steamboat 2002 Reflections

Ingo D. Rautenberg ingo at waratap.com
Thu Feb 7 18:38:46 EST 2002

Excuse me while I half-heartedly attempt to wipe this perma-grin off ;-)

After 3,000+ miles, where to begin?  Scott Justusson did a great 'best of',
so that's been taken care of.  Brandon Rogers and Chad Clark also piped in.
But there really was so much going on.  The comradery will always be what
stays with you.  A kind of 'Boys Night Out' to the nth degree.  New
friendships formed and old ones solidified. Whether it's Pikes Peak,
or Steamboat, it's good to see familiar faces and catch up (Chad Clark got
married to lovely Elizabeth in December, for instance).

I began my trek the usual way last Wednesday; that is to say under less than
ideal conditions, both self-inflicted and weather-related.  I had just had a
new rear diff bushing pressed in and new left rear wheel bearing as well
when I found myself reassembling the rear suspension on the garage Tuesday
evening at 11pm.  Reassembly wasn't a problem, but installation without a
helper was frustrating at times.  By 8:00am  she'd passed the crucial test
drive and alignment was dead-on.  I took a quick three hour nap, packed,
drove to the office and finally left Detroit at 10 pm Wednesday for Chicago.

Fluffy snowflakes courtesy Mother Nature set the mood and I proceeded at a
brisk pace (compared to other vehicles on the road).  Aside from a few
trucks, most drivers had heeded the weather warnings and stayed home.
After an hour and a half I was having a really difficult time seeing the
road andtruck in front of me and pulled over.  The snow had melted into
a slush that had frozen in a one inch thick Slurpie consistency over the
bucket headlights and coated the wipers as well.  After some chipping and
scraping, I had full visibility and repeated this exercise every hour.  By
the time I
arrived at Rob Dupree's at 4:30 am Central Time there was over a foot of
on the ground.  My usual 4 1/2 hr drive had become a 7 1/2 hr adventure.
another three hours and met up with Scott J and Rob for Breakfast.  Took
care of a few incidentals and was on the road by 1:30pm with David Hackl and
 Scott Justusson together (Rob would catch up with us a few hours later).
Light snow, but very icy roads made up the next 700-800 miles and except
for my off-road experience, were without incident (Guess what I learned last
year stuck with me and prevented me from having to abandon my Urq).

As to the event itself:  What a blast!  As some have alluded to before,
wilder and more fun than any amusement park ride and certainly with more
lingering effects, Steamboat 2002 was a success on all counts:

1. Fun
2. Skills learned
3. Minimal Carnage
4. Did I mention Fun?

All kidding aside, the winter driving tracks were really something.  Unlike
last year and in previous years, there were two tracks instead of
one.Unfortunately the winter driving school has not yet updated their
website to reflect these (one more reason to experience it yourself).

The first track was the longer one, with a fairly long straight that could
make things dicey and even dangerous if you were to carry too much speed
and go off (we were warned, however, and since everyone brought their own
cars, that was added incentive not to do something really stupid).  This was
the track that is used by the typical Bridgestone Winter Driving school
student, as all the basics are covered, and was the track we used on day

The second track is the corporate and "test" track, which was ours for day
two.No real straights, but plenty of off-camber turns, esses, and a really
big carousel!Just to make things really interesting, the driving direction
the track would be reversed, affording new lines for attack  Even so, as the
progressed, the track got slicker and you had to change your line if you
wanted to
maintain any kind of speed and control.

Yes, I did stuff 'lil Gobi into the snowbanks on more than one occasion,
which she handled with aplomb.  I could drive the safe line without much
trouble at all (and did so with instructor hat on), but playing can be
fun...a lot of fun.  Just ask anyone who rode with me when I was testing my
recreational limits and Scandinavian flicks (Dave H., Rob D., Dave L.,
Brandon R.,and Chad's sisters).  BTW, unfortunately, my diff locks were not
functional for this event, but rest assured they will be for the next one.
Some might
say I was purposely getting my car stuck so that Leah could help pull me
ut  -- I
plead the 5th ;-).

For those that think Urq's are too precious for such an event, I must
Those flared fenders contribute much to their resilience to damage, with the
being most vulnerable, as Rob R. and I can attest.  Probably the closest
thing to
rallying short of the real thing you can do, and these cars can take the
punishment if
mine is any indication.

OK, so I have a few shallow indentations on the drivers door (easily
remedied) and I
tweaked the front bumper a little, but I really drove this car hard and she
just kept on
going, averaged 25 mpg on the way back.  Used Hakka 1's, but would
agree with Scott J.'s assessment regarding the Hakka Q's --excellent
winter tire.

Congratulations to Dave H. for another Zero stuff Steamboat (that makes for
a perfect record for him so far....four more and he'll be tied with Mr.
...Reminds me of a certain Seinfeld episode where the crew was betting who
'hold out' the longest...I'm out -- I just have too much fun, I guess ;-)

'91 200q20v with a few mods...+ '83 Urquattro

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