Day 2 was easily the most difficult day we’ve ever experienced on a Mazda Adventure Rally. Not only was the competition fierce, but we got frazzled in a few key moments. Find out how we did right here:
Day two started with our spirits in good shape. We were tied for first (with four other teams) and Road Test editor and my rallying ace Mike Schlee, was feeling up to his old self. He pegged himself at about 70 percent, which is easily as good as some drivers who are at 100 percent.
The challenge booklets were handed out and we scooped them up quickly. The first part of the day had us driving from Whistler to a city call Lillooet. We had a bingo card that we had to fill out, but instead of simple “Saw this” we had to answer tough questions about the things we saw on the way. With just one booklet to share, and a two pairs of eyes, we were worried one driver may miss an item.
Fortunately, we’re crafty Mazda Adventure Rally veterans. Yesterday during the evening meeting, we were teased about our accident last year, and the duct-taped MX-5 we had to compete with. As a result, Mazda gave us a roll of duct tape “just in case.” We put that duct tape to good use, DIYing ourselves some sticky notes and tabs for our booklet. It turned out to be a smart move, since we ended up seeing a lot of the clues on the bingo card without having to share it.
See Also: 2015 Mazda Adventure Rally Day 2: Intro
The roads and scenery were beautiful, and the CX-3 proved to be nothing but a joy to drive. In fact, Mike’s cold may have been cured by the sheer fun-to-drive dynamics found in the CX-3. Thanks to the sweeping roads, Mike was back to his cheery (and blazing fast) self.
Mazda also challenged us to a photo scavenger hunt. They provided us with photos of things we’d see on the way, and asked us to put them in order. The first batch was no problem, and we even had to identify a rotting hulk of a car when we passed it (it was a Datsun 510, such a shame to see it in that condition!)
The second batch of photos were tougher. We even missed a pair, likely because we were on a highway route that didn’t allow us to slow down to get a better view of the surroundings. One challenge even had us try to identify the year and make of a pickup truck that was holding up a billboard for a local inn. Mike and I pulled over on the highway and scoured this Chevy from top to bottom in order to find out what year it was. It was nowhere to be found!
Eventually I called the resort the truck was promoting.
“Hi there, is this the Lakeside Country Inn Savona?” I asked.
“Why yes it is, do you have reservations?” a cheery lady answered.
“Uh, no.” I said, but quickly followed up with “I think I just passed a sign for your Inn on the highway! It has a cool pickup truck.”
“That’s us!” she said.
“Listen, I need a favor,” I said. “I’m in the middle of a scavenger hunt for charity, and need to know the year of that truck… Would you happen to know it?”
She hummed and hawwed, and said she didn’t know for sure. She asked someone else at the Inn. I heard their conversation. “Say, whats the year of the truck we use to hold up the sign?” “I’m not really sure… it’s a ’50-something…” She came back to me. “It’s definitely made in the ’50s” she confirmed. Thanks… a bit vague, but what else can we do. Mike and I were satisfied with the response and set out on our way.
The final challenge of the day proved to be the most stressful. We were tasked with using a few vague directions. One wrong turn and we’d be off the route and really messed up. Making the challenge even tougher was a tight time schedule. We had to cover 75 kilometres in just over an hour.
We set off on our way, and quickly made a wrong turn. Mike scolded me “Read the instructions, they should be clear.” I apologized profusely and re-read the instructions. We made a left onto what we thought was the right route, and quickly second guessed ourselves. We tracked backwards and spent about 20 minutes driving up a ski hill before realizing it was a dead end. Our last route was the correct one and we had to get back to it and back on track.
Mike was disturbed. He didn’t like the fact we just wasted 20 minutes, and would have to waste another 20 minutes backtracking.
“There’s no point now,”he said. “We just have to minimize the amount of points we lose.”
His defeated words were a stark contrast to the go-getter attitude we usually have.
“No way Mike!” I insisted. “I’ve seen crazier things happen, like a banged up MX-5 ending up in first place of last years Mazda Rally.”
He wasn’t impressed. “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but we need to be realistic.”
I wasn’t having any of it. “Mike, you like driving right? Then drive the hell out of this CX-3. We CAN make it in time.” He stayed quiet. I basically gave him the nod to, y’know… get crafty on the road.
What happened next was… interesting. I don’t know if Mazda intended for their cars to be driven through gravel roads with the throttle planted to the floor. I don’t know if the engineers back in Hiroshima thought this tiny crossover would ever be put through the gruelling test Mike subjected it to.
We arrived JUST in time, in fact we arrived on the minute of the right time. Now we wait to see how well we did.