An Abrupt End for the All Female Team at Ojibwe
The Ojibwe Forest Rally ended abruptly for the all female team of Amanda Skelly and Liz Cordara after their transmission got stuck in neutral on SS5. The event presented many challenges for the team, starting with Skelly struggling in her battle with Lupus, to issues with the ladies RECCE vehicle, and continuing on stage.
For many grassroots teams, travel to and from events often take up the course of a day, which is typically followed by a day in the car during RECCE, 2 days of racing and then the travel back home. In the course of 5 days, anything can happen.
The Ojibwe Forest Rally kicked off Wednesday night in Detroit Lakes, MN, bringing in National teams to the local fairgrounds along the city's namesake lake, to compete in two super special stages, primarily aimed for the volunteers, media and teams crew members. Afterwards, the teams transited to the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area for an evening Parc Expose.
“The setup for this rally was different from anything I have experienced at other events, but it was really cool. Our crew loved a chance to see the car and us competing, something they are often unable to do given the nature of the sport. The Parc Expose also gave us all a chance to hangout with fans, volunteers and other teams in a really laid back environment and it was great. The late start on day one also gave us all an opportunity to finish our pace notes and be prepared to take to the stages”, says Skelly.
In spite of the hiccups prior to race time, the ladies kept a positive attitude and continued forward. However, the rally car had other plans. During SS1 and SS2, the little blue Impreza they call Stitch began throwing a flashing check engine light. With some concerns for the cause of the CEL, the ladies began SS3 with slight caution. To their surprise, it wasn't the engine that would give them trouble. The marble-like surface of the roads posed a challenge for Skelly as she struggled to find traction in the corners.
“It was very frustrating. The car just was not handling the way it normally does, and something felt off. It felt like we were floating on top of the rocks, unable to dig the tires into the road in any corner, with Stitch continuously stepping out at every turn,” expresses Skelly.
The car was unsteady, causing the ladies to heed with caution the next few stages. To their surprise, it would not be the engine, or even the continuously changing alignment issues that would end their race early. While on SS5, Skelly was in the middle of downshifting when the transmission became stuck in neutral, leaving them stranded on stage until sweep came through. While the team attempted to locate a news transmission and assessed all of their options, the team made the executive call to accept their DNF and put their efforts into repairing the car before the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, which comes up in just 17 days!
“I felt pretty defeated to be honest. This season has been going fairly smoothly for us, and I was excited to work with Liz again. RECCE went phenomenally and we were really excited to run our own [pace] notes”, says Skelly. “We have plans to work together again, and I am certainly looking forward to it!”, she adds.
2019 Partners: Link ECU, TurboTime, Whiteline, The FIRM, DCCDPro.com, BRAID Wheels USA, Team Illuminata Motorsport, Turtle Gloves, 5 Star Design, Restoration Race Works, INC., Impression Center & Rocky Mountain Autosport.
You can follow the teams along online and via social media below: