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What An Idiot I Iz...

Anyone that's read much of my web pages knows I'm not afraid to tell on myself. I do, on that very rare occasion, screw up and do something that I should "have known better" about.
Guess what - I did it again...

The Dez has undergone a major overhaul since the begining of the year - pretty much everything behind the roll cage's main hoop is new or moved or changed. The Dez isn't running quite right yet - in fact, I'm headed to Phoenix in a few days to stick it on a dyno and get the engine and clutches dialed in. As of last Saturday afternoon (6/3/06), it was ready to go out west and finish it's six month long upgrade.

As of Saturday Evening, well, things have changed because Imadork.

A buddy of mine was over during the afternoon. He's seen the progression of the Dez but not really had a chance to get a taste of what it's capable of - even in it's mal-tuned state of being. I'd been doing a few driveway runs during the day and when he showed up, I told him he needed to hop in and give it a spin.

We got side tracked on a project (actually, he was there to help me work on a project) and about dusk, I remembered telling him he needed to give the Dez a try. He jumped (well, squirmed - he's at least 6" taller than me) into the driver's seat and I slid into the passenger's place.
We were off and down the driveway we went. He was quite timid with the throttle, as he'd never been behind the wheel of the Dez and doesn't know what it'll do. We got to the end of the driveway, he turned around and we went back up the driveway a bit faster, but he was still being very careful - good move...

Once we got back up the drive, I offered to show him a little more of what the Dez is capable of doing.
I followed my general path of destruction around my yard - this is the same little loop I've been running for the past 15 years on everything from motocross bikes to 50's to Pilots and the Moskito: Quick sprint down the driveway
Snap spin at the end of the driveway and then down through the ditch, over the culvert and out into a small grassy field. A quick lap around the telephone pole at the end of the field, race the cars along the street, drop down across the little bridge that goes across the creek, then through the lower front yard.

Okay, let me stop right here and explain something: Last week we had some pretty ripping storms come through the Cincinnati area. I have two very large oak trees right out in front of my house. They have to be somewhere close to 80 feet high. One of them is now about 40 feet shorter on one side. One major branch decided to jump off and land in the yard. I guess the storm scared it. This branch is about 14" in diameter and is laying across the path of my yard test loop. Obviously, this is not good.

 

So, I came thru the through the lower front yard and started towards the little creek bank that runs across my path, separating the lower part of the yard and the yard just in front of my house. It has this neat little rise just before it and it floats you right on over the creek and into the face of the up hill part of the yard. As usual, the Dez just soaks up the hit and I get on the go pedal to head on up the hill and then past the house, completing the lap. The picture on the right (hey, over here ---->) shows what I usually see while doing this.

 

Just as we start accelerating, I suddenly see - TREE!!! I'm not sure how fast we were going - I think it was somewhere around 25 or so, but my buddy said he thinks it was closer to 50. - he drives a convertible and is pretty in tune with the way things feel open cockpit wise, so maybe he's right? Dunno.
If you look closely at the picture on the left (<---- this way), you can see the tire path leading towards the limb - notice how I'm on the brakes here for about 10 feet? You can see the change in grass color just a bit and it looks a bit roughed up.
I realize almost instantly that I'm not going to stop and, as odd as it sounds, I had a flash of that sand ridge in Mexico 2001, that tore off the trailing arm, pop before my eyes. I knew that hitting it on the brakes was gonna be really, really bad, so I did the thing that you're supposed to do, even though every muscle in your body is saying "NO!!!! OH, HELL NO!!!!" - I nailed the throttle to get the front end light. You can see this in the picture as well.

I got the front end up, but no where near enough. We were gonna hit the tree. Hard - Very Hard! Damn.

I don't know if I shut my eyes just at the point of impact or if I was just clenching on hard and waiting for the hit, but the first thing I remember about the contact with the limb is the sound. It was an awful metal to metal clunk. I heard the suspension bottom out and at the same time was hit with a major shock whave that had been shot through the car. I felt it in both wrists pretty badly. I saw sky and trees and then almost immediately, the rear end hit the limb with another loud metal to metal slap. The back of the car took the hit much better, as the bypass shocks must have really kicked in well. We nosed over (I'm sort of guessing, but I think we were probably 4 to 6 feet off the ground about this time) and the Dez landed on the front left wheel. As the front right touched down the car did a quick, butt end high, snap spin to the right and we came to rest. We were facing about 120 degrees from the direction we started in. I looked over at my buddy and asked him if he was all right - he answered yes.

We'd just slammed into a 14" diameter, 40 foot long limb, moving it about 18", got the Dez airborn and then landed about 20 feet from the point of impact. I knew I'd messed the poor Dez up. But I had no idea until the next day, when the sunshine was nice and bright.

The right front rim is toast. I taco'd it really badly. The reinforcing ring is bent and broken. The ring was pushed up against the caliper and that explains why the car snapped to the right as we landed - it landed with the brake on. It snapped the inner tie rod heim too - pulled the heim ball right out of the end of the chromoly joint.

Both the upper and lower a-arms were bent, as well as the plate on the right rear trailing arm that the bearing carrier for the rear spindle attaches too. Five of the eight bolts were snapped off and the plate's bent a bit. Nothing that can't be straightened with a hammer. The inside of the rear rim's bead was also deformed a little bit.

The left side of the car didn't escape unharmed either. I got both rims. The front one's gonna take a bit of work with the BFH to straighten out and the left rear, even though slightly bent, is still holding air. I'll be able to salvage three of the four wheels with a bit of work.


Right Front

Right Rear

Left Front

Left Rear

Tie Rod End

Bent Arms

Bent Lower Arm

Bent Lower Arm

Bent Carrier Plate

Instant Camber

I happened to get a phone call from James (ATV Racing's Head Fabbie and my co-driver) and told him about what happened. He laughed at me - wreck the car in the yard. What a DORK!... Yea... well... While on the phone, he went upstairs and verified that he had a set of arms and a spare (if needed) trailing arm. I asked him to go ahead and get the a-arms silver-vein powder coated for me. He said no problemo.

Looks like I'll spend the first two or three days in Phoenix putting the Dez back together, then I'll get to the dyno and after that, time to test, test, test. Gotta get the clutches and the engine dialed in, so that's what I'm planning on! - just need to do a bit more work first... damn.

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6/05/06
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