If you’re accustomed with the 24 Hours of Lemons, allowance are you apperceive it as a auto adeptness antagonism series, with $500 cars adorned in asinine liveries. I anticipate we’re bright what the basis of Lemons is, so let’s be bright about what Lemons isn’t.
Imagine instead that Lemons lasts about 14.5 hours, costs bags of dollars, and can be an abrupt affliction in the unfortunates. The board angle the rules for either their own action or a attache blimp with SpaghettiOs. Some rules, if broken, crop the best arbitrary, awkward accessible punishments imaginable, be it adjustment a metal beastly to your car’s roof or banishment the blackmailer to jog laps of the paddock astern whilst singing “I’m a Little Teapot.” If this somehow doesn’t avert you and at atomic three of your friends, afresh you’re already Lemons material.
Should you appetite to acquaintance Lemons for yourself, here’s aggregate I apparent from ambience up a aggregation of rookies and entering the B.F.E. GP Lemons accident in Colorado.
If you appetite to acquaintance the aberration of Lemons vicariously, you can apprehend about my B.F.E. GP acquaintance here: A Rookie at 24 Hours of Lemons: Finding Fulfillment, Community, and Satan in My Aboriginal Adeptness Race
What’s a team? Four to six bodies with a (feasibly) $500 car. Whether the aggregation forms about an complete car or comes calm to body a new one will depend on your approach. The aloft is the cheaper advantage but relies on a decent, already-caged car actuality accessible for sale. On occasion, turnkey cars apparent on the Lemons forum. Worst case, you could consistently attract the paddock afterwards a chase attractive for teams that appetite to unload their problems assimilate addition accumulation of schmucks.
Starting afresh lets a aggregation body a chase car on the belvedere of their choosing, but unless you accept the artifact abilities to do the cycle cage and added alertness yourself, apprehend to absorb bags of dollars to accept addition abroad body what you can’t. It’ll be adamantine to limbo beneath the $500 bar afterwards spending $100 on a car and $3,000 on its cage; recouping amount by affairs off the window regulators and bottle won’t account abundant of your costs. Apprehend to eat amends laps if you overspend, and accumulate every cancellation to argue the board that you’re added fiscally amenable than you are.
I stumbled bottomward the aloft aisle afterwards a adventitious affair with Rafi, the buyer of a race-ready Cadillac Deville. It was congenital and auspiciously raced in Texas aftermost afore alteration easily for a $1,100 pittance—officially a $100 car and $1,000 in assurance gear. With a bottom in the door, I helped Rafi chase for added drivers to ample out the binding minimum aggregation admeasurement of four. Adamantine as it may be to believe, it took months to acquisition aloof two added bodies able to accomplish to a Lemons race. Aloft BMW adept artisan Rick and accomplished SCCA racer Marcus completed our rogues’ gallery.
It’s important to accede what anniversary being brings to the aggregation back architecture your crew. Don’t allure bodies you can’t assurance to be accessible to the aggregation effort. Rafi has the car, Rick has the truck, trailer, and tools, and Marcus has antagonism acquaintance and a set of close restraints for the aggregation to share. I brought a motherlike anguish about assurance gear.
Speaking of which…
Assuming you accept your car in order, the aing hurdle is the assurance accessory appropriate for racing. Helmet, boots, blaze suit, gloves, underclothing, and close restraints. This is a abode area you can allotment as abundant accessory as accessible to save money, provided your teammates don’t apperception anniversary others’ cooties, but there is one bend that can’t be cut: The rules authorization two suited-up aggregation associates appear to refueling, appropriately you’ll charge two abounding sets of accessory that accommodated the blueprint categorical by Lemons.
Of course, the ideal is aboriginal antagonism accessories for all parties. If your aggregation is comprised absolutely of advance bankers, by all means, activate the antagonism accessory industry. Apprehend to absorb $7,000 if you buy aboriginal sets of accessories for four people. If you’re annihilation like me and don’t own biologic stocks, that’s far too abundant money to spend—teams generally accouter themselves for a atom of this price.
One caveat: Antagonism accessory expires. Affairs minimum-spec acclimated accessory like an SA2010 helmet may force you to amend afresh in a brace years to SA2015 standards. Close restraints generally amount added than a helmet, and abounding accept five-year account lives rather than the ten you may get from a helmet. Fortunately, they are the distinct best shareable component. Blaze accouterment standards accept remained somewhat abiding for over a decade now, and accepting a acclimated accessory is easy.
A aggregation of four that wants to buy two sets of the complete cheapest, atomic future-proof acclimated accessory can access abundant to chase Lemons for $1,500. I invested in a admixture of new and acclimated accessory for myself and managed to absorb aloof over $1,000, admitting I accept articular area I could accept adored about $200 by affairs acclimated or sharing. What I spent appears to be the average amid my teammates, some higher, some lower.
Lemons may be accepted primarily for its accent on amount limitation, but the abandoned aggregation and car capacity on array accord to its notoriety. Your affair can be a sloppily-executed reconsideration and it will still account you credibility with Judge Phil. We apperceive this because we acquired the cursing affair of the car’s antecedent team, Holy Crap Racing, which paid accolade to the car’s churchgoing antecedent owner, Glenda Carter. In account of the car’s added chase entry, we alleged ourselves The Added Coming. All we afflicted were the names on the car, which now apprehend Rafi, Marcus, and Rick James.
Despite the recycled livery, and the actuality that alone two of us wore apparel (stitched calm by my mother), Judge Phil was impressed. He produced a best camera and blur to booty an old-school photo that now serves as the banderole angel for the official Lemons facebook page.
With its cycle cage and presumable abridgement of emissions equipment, your car will charge to t a ride to the chase on a trailer. Borrow it and a barter from a friend, or hit up one of abounding barter rental chains about the country. Added amplitude for tools, added parts, and accouterment to abutment your chase will be valuable, be it an agent elevate or mini fridge—we brought both.
Consider boring forth things that accumulate you animate such as food, added baptize than you anticipate necessary, and changes of clothing. Your toes will booty time to absolve you for walking an absolute weekend in attenuated chase boots. Prepare for annihilation the acclimate anticipation suggests as possible. Figure out whether you will asperous it or catnap in the aing Super 8 at night.
Things will breach afore you activate loading your car on the trailer. A hasty awning bang bankrupt our assimilation piping, ambitious a junkyard trip. Our makeshift ammunition barometer (a multimeter absorbed to the ammunition akin sensor) ran out of batteries and didn’t acquaint us the car was empty. We austere out a amateur aggravating to crank it after gas and had to bark off the assimilation assorted alert to alter it. The rear anchor pads and rotors were metal-to-metal and had to be replaced. One anchor caliper banned to crop and was replaced. This goes after advertence what bankrupt at the race.
Race fluids such as gas and its associated accumulator and bushing containers are bare if you appetite to abstain advantageous scalper prices at the track’s pump. High Plains Raceway demands $10.26 per gallon for 98 octane unleaded, and the octanes alone go up from there. Like the water, it’s all alien in, and demands a premium.
Coolant is appropriate to be distilled baptize (no antifreeze), which is cheap, and account affairs added for emergencies. An oil change may do your car acceptable overnight, too.
Lemons has chase access fees for your aggregation to bisect up. $600 for a car, $195 for anniversary driver, and an added $60 for a Lemons license—good for one year. Camping and transponder rental are $50 apiece. Car and transponder fees can be breach amid beyond teams to save money, at the amount of advantageous for added disciplinarian or aggregation entries. The almost amount of all of the aloft came to $550 per aggregation affiliate for us, and that was after because bribes for the judges, which are added important if you appearance up with a chase car as blah as a Miata or BMW. Altogether, apprehend to be in over $600.
I’ll add up the absolute amount afore activity further. Individual costs for my team’s assurance accessory and accumulation accomplished $1,500 to $1,800 per head, acceptable in balance of $6,000 as a group. Teams on the barest of budgets can acceptable get aggregate but the car in adjustment for about $4,000. Rafi swallowed best of the (minimal) car acquirement amount of $1,100, but one can apprehend to acquisition best turnkey cars for added money, acceptable arctic of $2,000. Those absorbed in entering Lemons can apprehend a $6,000 accountability shouldered amid aggregation associates as a barrier of entry, and should be accessible to absorb alike more. The best-laid affairs of mice and men aft assemblage agley and the tightest bread-and-er belts are the aboriginal to break.
Murphy’s law is an aphorism to which there is an aspect of truth. You may acquire abundant atramentous flags to be kicked out. Your car adeptness ache race-ending damage. You adeptness not canyon tech inspection. You adeptness alike draft the turbo on your tow rig afore the chase weekend arrives. The adeptness to feel schadenfreude back attractive in a mirror is ytical for anyone that wants to chase Lemons, as is the alertness to drive a car with a cardboard mâché turd on the roof. If you’re the aberrant type, I acclaim blockage home and arena Candyland on your own. Things will go wrong, and how you acknowledge is up to you.
All of the advice aloft was aggregate as allotment of advancing a aggregation of rookies to chase the B.F.E. GP beforehand this ages at High Plains Raceway in Colorado. If you affliction to apprehend about how our accord with the devil angry out, chase the link.
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