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2016 John Giddings Memorial Rally of Orange
Canobolas Forest
Saturday, May 21, 2016

Murphy's Law was in good form this day. When I arrived at the start of the event I found I had left my reading glasses at home. I don't need them for driving, but they come in useful if I want to read something like route instructions or a map. I didn't fancy the >200km round-trip to go home and get them, but luckily the Reject Shop in Orange was open so I was able to acquire a satisfactory substitute at a very reasonable price.

This rally was going be tightly confined into one forest, with all the stages being run twice during the day. Unfortunately there was a road closure on the first stage of the day, so the event had to be shortened. One small problem with running everything in the one forest was that without driving long distances around the forest it was difficult to get to more than the designated spectator points for anyone wanting to see and photograph the action. This wasn't really a hardship because the spectator points were well chosen.

See the final results here.

On spectator point was at a crossroads and the road alignments created a slight crest which caused many of the cars to become airborne. This is very entertaining for spectators, although I doubt the occupants of the cars would have even felt the landing.

Murphy's Law struck again when it was time to go home. My car wouldn't start. This was caused by an intermittent problem in the antitheft engine immobilisation system which denied power to the starter motor solenoid (and as I found out later, also to the fuel injection system). After several fruitless attempts to start the car and doing the things with the key as suggested by Ford in the handbook, I finally decided to call the NRMA. They always like to know the closest intersection to where the car is located, so I gave them the names of the nearest intersection of two forest roads. I thought this might be less than useful and also assumed that the man in the blue and white ute wouldn't have a map of the event and consequently it would be no use telling him that I was at the spectator point at MRC4 and he should look for the sign number 10. Luckily I knew another way in so I said that he should drive along Four Mile Creek Road until he saw the sign pointing to the Canobolas Forest headquarters and then follow that road until he saw me.

The NRMA service man was able to get the car started. He had actually worked for Ford in the past and offered me a solution to the problem if it happened again, but as this required disconnecting the battery and draining all charge and capacitance in the car's electrical system it wasn't really a practical answer. Three auto electricians told me that the problem could not be fixed at all, leading to the assumption that the only answer was to sell the car to a wrecker and buy something else. The first quote I got from someone who said it could be fixed was $300 for a new computer module plus labour - someone who knew what he was doing fixed it for $20. The problem with the fuel injection which came later generated a quote for $400 for replacement of all ignition components, plus labour - someone who knew what he was doing did some soldering and fixed it for $66. It pays to shop around, and I know where I'll be going for any future mechanical or electrical work.

Perhaps I need Murphy's Law insurance as well as all my other car policies.

Copyright © 2016- Peter Bowditch

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