El Chott 2013: Scrutineering

We had light rain for most of the afternoon, but we didn’t have long to wait when we arrived at the aptly named Rallye Hotel for the scrutineering.


We had time for a real Italian pizza and a restful afternoon.

Tomorrow we leave for the port of Genova and the ferry to Tunis.

Read the next post in the series or go back to the start.

Ready For The El Chott Rallye 2013

We’ve been busy making final preparations for the El Chott Rallye over the past few weeks. Finally it’s time for us to leave for the scrutineering in Voghera, Italy. We’ll be heading out early on Friday morning.

Erg Racing Tatra N2

The best way to follow us during the rally will be from our homepage here, where we’ll try to post regular updates whenever time and network coverage permit. We’ll also be posting on Facebook when possible, although Twitter may be the most reliable because we don’t need data roaming, we can post via SMS whenever we have cell coverage. We’ve updated the Twitter sidebar on the right so you can access the latest messages right from here.

The El Chott Rallye website will also have regular updates, so dont forget to check there for pictures and video. They also have a satellite tracker that will be active starting on Sunday, October 27 for all participants. Our truck number is 508.

Thanks again to all those who helped make it possible for us to participate in the rally this year, especially our sponsors including ZZ Kustom, Euro4x4parts, Fox and Randoequipement.

Read the next post in the series or go back to the start.

A Seemingly Endless Number Of Details

Planning a rally is a great deal of investment, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time. There are a seemingly endless number of details that can’t be left until the last minute.

A few weeks after we got back from the Breslau Rally, we made an inspection of the Iveco service truck. We had driven over 4,500km to Poland and back, so we wanted to make sure that everything was ok. During the rally we had had some trouble with the clutch. Sometimes it was difficult to put the truck in first gear, a problem that only got worse after we had to do some maneuvering on sandy ground. We decided to take a closer look and ended up changing the clutch; the release bearing was worn.

Iveco Clutch

Since it was the first time we’ve done this kind of maintenance, we enlisted the help of an experienced acquaintance who is in charge of servicing a fleet of heavy construction vehicles. The procedure didn’t turn out to be that difficult. We accidentally pulled off a sensor bracket while removing the transmission and had to re-weld it, but otherwise everything went smoothly. The job was finished in about six hours.

Once we were satisfied that the service truck was in good condition, we started to work on our checklist for the rally. While most of our friends were on vacation, we stayed home, working during the weekdays; planning for the rally consumed most of our evenings and weekends.

The biggest part of the first upgrade on the Tatra had been done in Koprivniče early this year, but there were still a number of things we wanted to do without waiting until the last minute. We installed a fan on the oil radiator to improve the engine cooling and mounted a small winch on the truck bed for hoisting the spare tires.


We placed a number of fasteners and holders in the cabin and box for the spare equipment and tools we might need during the race. Everything needs to be secure so it won’t move around, but it also has to be quickly and easily accessible. To protect the headlights, which might be damaged in the dunes, we fitted a plexiglass plate onto the front bumper.


Finally, we made a console for the navigation equipment and satellite tracking unit, and installed the wiring for the electrical connections. Once the console was ready we installed the GPS units and Terratrip rally computers and checked that everything was working properly.

Although the test drive in Slovakia went well, we still wanted to improve the front suspension. The shock absorber we damaged during the testing was most likely defective, but twelve days of sandy tracks and dunes will be more demanding than the testing we did. Over the last few weeks we reviewed all the options for upgrading the suspension and decided to replace the front Sachs shock absorbers with Fox 3.0 Piggyback units. These are 80 mm diameter triple by-pass shocks. The only problem would be fitting them in place without having to modify the mounts, which are sized for metric and not US customary units. We contacted Fox and were pleased by how helpful they were and how easy it was to work with them. They sent us the technical drawings of the shocks and end caps so that we could make sure they would fit. We chose the end cap that worked best for us and designed a set of ring adapters that would allow us to install the shocks on the existing mount and keep the current Sachs shocks as spares.

Once we were convinced we could mount them properly, we confirmed the order and Fox scheduled the build. In total, it took about a month to build and ship the shocks. During that time we were able to finish the design of the adapter parts. We used the DraftSight CAD software and gave the resulting technical drawings to a local company that makes precision machine parts. Both the shocks and the adaptor rings were delivered last week. We spent the weekend installing them and taking the Tatra out for a short road test. We’ll post more details and pictures during the week.

Except for a few remaining details such as mounting the onboard cameras, the only thing left now is to review our checklists to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything and then start packing. We leave in just under five weeks.

First Rally For Erg Racing

It’s official! We’re happy to announce the Erg Racing Team’s first rally. We’ll be taking part in the El Chott Sahara Rallye of Tunisia. The Rally takes place during 12 days in October and November along a route of almost 2,000 km of special stages, and 1,000km of liaison.

We’ve already got our number: 508.

With just six and a half weeks to go, we still have lots to do to make sure everything is ready on time. More announcements and information are coming soon!

Read the next post in the series.

Breslau Rally 2013: Cars and Motorcycles

This is the fourth and final of our posts of photo albums from the Breslau Rally 2013.

In this last post of photos from the 2013 Breslau Rally, we’ve selected some of our favorites from throughout the race.

Gilles Girousse and Max Delfino in their yellow Mercedes G during the Prolog:


The Mercedes 300 GD of Peter Serra and Olivier Martin:


Bretons Cedric Porcher and Damien Kermorvant, who finished the rally in second place with their Toyota Mudracer:


We didn’t get pictures every day because of the liaisons and and other service needs, but we had a front seat for the action on Days 4, 5 and 6 as we were able to ride along in one of the press cars.

Read more of this post and see the rest of the photos

Breslau Rally 2013: Trucks Part 2

This is the third of four posts of photo albums from the Breslau Rally 2013.

This second post of our Breslau Rally trucks photo series contains our favorite truck photos from from Days 5-8 of the rally. The photos are arranged in rough chronological order, and Tatra fans will find some of our best photos of the Svoboda Tatra Team.



Within the first 10km of the start of the 210km Special Stage on Day 5, the Puch GE 280 of Martin Heidrich and Gary Hagen rolled over on its side on a muddy section of the stage.


Several cars passed, while they looked for a way to turn the car over.


Not long after, the Svoboda Tatra arrived on the scene.

Read more of this post and see the rest of the photos

Breslau Rally 2013: Trucks Part 1

This is the second of four posts of photo albums from the Breslau Rally 2013.

There were thirty trucks in competition at the Breslau Rally in Poland this year. Thirteen of them were in the over 7.5 ton category. After sorting through our photos, we had so many interesting ones that we decided to split them into two parts so the posts would take less time to load.

In this second post of our Breslau Rallye photo series, we’ve collected our favorite truck photos from from Days 1-4. The photos are arranged in rough chronological order, and for Tatra fans there are a number of photos of the Svoboda Tatra Team throughout the series.

From the Prolog, on the Motorcross track at the Lausitzring (EuroSpeedway Lausitz), starting with the 6×6 Volvo 306 (TGB13) of Harry and Janny Van Steijn, which was actually classed with the cars,


the field was composed mostly of Mercedes Unimogs and MAN KATs, but not only German teams. This one driven by Gildas Carnet is from France.



The IFA L60 of Harald Chemnitz, Philipp Beier and Thorsten Moeler.


Read more of this post and see the rest of the photos

Breslau Rally 2013: Team Photo Album

This will be the first of three four posts of photo albums from the Breslau Rallye 2013.

Here are a few of the best photos of the team, in chronological order.

The Prolog at the Lausitzring (EuroSpeedway Lausitz) took place on the Motocross track. There was quite a bit of mud in some places and two good uphill climbs. The racers each completed eight laps of the course, which became increasingly difficult with each pass.:




Changing the rear axle after the shaft broke,



We didn’t get many pictures on Days 2 and 3 because of the liaison to Drawkso Pomorski and service needs. On Days 4, 5 and 6, we had a chance to accompany the press cars.

Despite having to abandon the stage because of transmission problems on Day 4, we got a few photos of Sylvain and Gaby during the first part of the stage. The water crossings were deeper than expected from the reconnaissance.



The Special Stage on Day 5 was long, but the water crossings were not as deep as the previous day’s and the team made an impressive come-back.





The organization decided to shorten the stage on Day 6 due to the difficulty of this year’s rally. The wet, rainy spring meant more mud and deeper water than had been planned. The change gave the racers a reprieve before the endurance test the following day.



We moved camp again on Day 7. For the racers, it was the longest day, with 11 “Hannibal” stages. We spent the day driving the service truck camp to Zagan, so aside from the photos we took at the station while Sylvain repaired the oil sump, we didn’t have a chance to take any pictures.

We didn’t get many photos on the last day. The Special was a bit shorter than on earlier days, but the teams were tired and still had to navigate quite a bit of mud and a water crossing.



Sylvain and Gaby’s makeshift repair of the tie rod knuckle just before the finish was the last of the excitement for the team. The race was over.


Later, we loaded the Patrol onto the trailer, packed up the assistance vehicles and began the slow 1,200km drive home. After we arrived, the guys had to weld a small piece on the broken knuckle before unloading the Patrol.


The next posts will be our photo albums of the trucks and cars.

Back From The 2013 Breslau Rally

This will be a sticky post post for the next few days as we wind down after the 2013 Breslau Rally, where we provided support for the LM 4×4 Nissan Patrol V8 with the Erg Racing Service truck.

We arrived home late Sunday evening after a drive of almost 1,800 km. We’ve already started sorting through our photo album and should have a selection of the best photos up in the next few days. Scroll down for the latest updates, and come back in a few days to check for more photos.

If you got here through a direct link, you might want to go back to the Home Page to scroll through the latest news.

Breslau Rally 2013, Day 8

The Breslau Rally 2013 is almost over. Just a little while ago the first of the cars and trucks began to arrive at the Finish.

The Starting Line was in the town of Zagan today. Quite a crowd came out to watch the parade of motorcycles, quads, SSVs, cars and trucks.

The “Gigglepin” Defender of James Marsden and Chris Abel at the Start,


The Svoboda Tatra,


The last Special Stages of the rally took place in the woods around the town.

A Dutch Landrover overturned, but no one was hurt.


The favorites to win in the car category, Bretons Cedric Porcher and Damien Kermorvant.


The Svoboda Tatra made a big splash.



Sylvain and Gaby at the same crossing.



They arrived a little while ago. Their tie rod kuckle broke just 200m from the end of the Special, and they had to do a makeshift repair to reach the Finish Line.

Same day Update: Here’s a photo of the jerry-rigged knuckle.



As the last of the racers continue arriving, we’ve started packing up to leave. We have over 1000 km ahead of us since we have to unload part of the team before returning home ourselves. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to stay for the winner’s party this evening. We’ll be driving through the night taking turns at the wheel. We’ll post more news when we get back.