Day 1, Leg 2
The team worked quickly to pack up the little mess they'd made, before boarding the Snail-Boat. Unsurprisingly after the last leg, the spirits were a bit low, and not much conversation was made.
Scott was the first to say anything, and despite trying to sound brave, the other three could see he was worried. "Luke, out of curiosity, why did you pick the three of us?"
Luke closed the trunk lid, then replied, "I picked Amy because her general knowledge of engines will help us in the event this thing has trouble. Yes, it's SOHC and she's a DOHC expert, but... We don't have any SOHC experts. I figured, better to have an engine expert in the wrong type of engines than to not have someone who knows engines at all. I picked Linda because she won that company navigation challenge, the one from Chicago to Vegas, no GPS, no smartphones, just a compass and a map. I figured, better to have a good navigator instead of relying on GPS, because if the GPS fails for some reason, we'll still be able to make it by map. And I picked you, Scott, because you have off-roading experience. I don't have any proof of it, but I took you at your word on that, and while it's not rally racing, you clearly would have a sense of what not to do."
Scott looked at his feet and kicked at one of the small rocks. "Luke, I have to be honest with you, but... I don't really have off-road experience. I thought this was going to be easier, so I... I believed I'd be able to learn on the job, get some experience."
"Ah. I thought as much, honestly. No, I'm not upset, nor disappointed with you. Remember, the Raceworks Division was created because a couple people, in this case John Storm and Brian Shade, entered the Dalnit-Bralka Rally of 1965. They had no rally experience, just some general experience racing cars." Luke said. "So I took a chance. Anyone confident enough in themselves to look me in the cameras and lie to my face deserves a chance. You had that confidence, because otherwise, you'd have been calling one of your off-roading buddies to collect you, bring you back home."
Scott nodded, then got into the back seat of the car. He wasn't going to tell Luke that the only reason he hadn't called was because his phone wasn't getting a signal.
With everyone in the car, Luke again took the wheel, then said, "It's uphill this time. We've proven our car can climb, and any loss of power through elevation will be made up by the twin snails. We'll make it, don't you worry."
The flag dropped, Luke rolled the car about 30 feet forward, then threw it in park. The officials stared at him as he got out of the car, then looked to Scott. "Trial by fire, pal. Get in the seat and drive."
Scott climbed into the driver's seat, pulled the lap belt on, waited for Luke to get into the back seat, closed the door, then pulled the car into drive. He applied just a touch of gas and the car responded instantly, the throttle-per-cylinder mechanically-driven fuel injection system spitting liquid fire into the engine.
"You'll need to go faster, but you've got the general idea. It's an automatic, and remember, it's all uphill. You'll do fine." Luke said, as Scott slowly gained some confidence with the car.
Scott rolled into the power and felt the surge of boost, the stupidly-heavy land-barge accelerating faster than expected as it roared up the hill. Luke looked over Scott's shoulder, then said, "Try to keep that gauge right around, oh, 6 or so. Don't let it fall under." He pointed to the boost gauge, which was currently hovering around 6 PSI.
It wasn't that the car needed all that boost, but Luke figured with a small goal in mind, Scott would keep in the power.
As they leveled out, the high-power strategy caused them to accelerate toward the finishing line, Scott only letting up as he realized there were other cars in the parking lot already.
Day 1, Leg 3 Aftermath
Scott parked the Savage and everyone bailed out, not that Scott was a bad driver, but they all had things to do. As they noticed the darkening clouds, Amy and Linda asked Luke to try, at least one more time, to get the top put up.
"You two do the fluids, I'll try getting the old rag-top over our heads. I can guarantee it won't be pretty, but if I can't do that, I'll make something work." Luke said, before prodding around the cover, then jamming a screwdriver into one of the four latches.
Scott looked into the car, then asked Luke, "Why did you do that?"
"You needed a confidence booster. Now you can say truthfully that you do have some off-roading experience. And you can't tell me that you're not feeling better now than you were earlier."
"True." Scott said, before digging around in the trunk for something to eat. "Oh, good, someone packed some chips."
"Yeah, figured some snacks wouldn't be unappreciated. Took a bit of planning to put them somewhere not immediately obvious because otherwise the three of you would've eaten all of them in the first leg of the race." Luke said.
With a final heavy thump, the last latch was released and Luke was able to open the top cover. He then got the top out, swung it forward, and locked it into position. "Well, I'll be damned. It does look just as it did before I had to fight with it. Let's just keep in mind that if we drop the top again, it's going to get jammed in the down position, so try not to blow the butt-trumpet in the car again." Luke said.
Seems fine after the abuse of the previous stages. Top finally back up, though may not stay that way for long, depending on weather conditions.
MRL +1 (total), Nervous, but mildly confident. Preparing for the other shoe to drop.