One of the things that I like to do for fun with my 1997 Pajero Evolution is compete in Time/Speed/Distance Rallies. This story is from one of the first I ever did, while my navigator and I were novices.

For those who don’t know, generally these rallies are meant to be relatively accessible, where the challenge is in being precise rather than outright fast. They are held on the gravel fire roads around the interior of British Columbia. When you are running well, your navigator will know to the exact second when you are supposed to arrive at the various pace notes and will be counting you down (“ten, nine, eight .... now”) so you can stay on schedule. As they are intended to not break the cars, whenever there’s a REALLY big bump/dip/rock in the road you are given a 10 second grace period to traverse it slowly.

So, summer rally on gravel roads, at night. My vehicle has decent lights but I don’t yet have a fully rally light setup. We are driving along, doing well, when my navigator misreads the notes and instead of counting down to when we are supposed to ARRIVE at the “Double Caution - Large Dip”, he counted down to when we were supposed to LEAVE the dip.

What this resulted in was something along the lines of “Double Caution - Large Dip coming up in...te*BANG*” as we hit the dip that I couldn’t see until the last second, going full speed. We don’t have any eyewitness reports to confirm, but I can say with a reasonable amount of confidence that at least the front wheels came well off the ground as we dropped into the dip and were launched back out of it. The sudden feeling of complete lightness in the steering is...memorable. I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful that the Evo was built as tough as it was, because the thing took the abuse in stride. Having big ol’ sidewalls on the offroad tires also probably helped in not destroying anything.

Needless to say, my navigator never made that mistake again.