With a race expected to last at least 24 hours you must prepare to spend half of that in darkness. Other racers I met had quiet the casual approach to illumination-as though it was unmanly to put to much consideration towards it. I suffer no such delusion and after a conversation with a seasoned driver I realized that perhaps if we made a great effort here we may be able to make up time that would fall as a result of us being first timers. The one thousand is littered with steep hills and I have been warned that the biggest mistake of the first timer is to get stuck on one of these uphill sections where you end up blocking the narrow way for everyone. This often happens at night when the driver cannot judge the approach of an upcoming incline until its to late. The class 16 car relies on momentum and consistency to make it through the course and if you make the mistake of starting on one of these slopes without enough wind up your skirt you will be left red-faced and the target of much fist shaking.
We decided on using ABL lights for the car. ABL not only manufactures lights for rally cars and other motor-sports but also heavy industrial lights for the trucking industries. I figured if they can produce a durable light for the front of some multi ton digger/ scraper of coal and other mined delicacies they can wire something together that we would fail to shake to death.
Below is the difference between the the lights that came with the car (above) and the ABL lights (beneath). We discovered that a longer, flatter light would do us more good in blanketing the horizon and then by putting two pencil lights (straight narrow beam) on the roof with another broad beam we would be able to see any approaching incline.
I mocked up a diagram of what I thought would work and sent to Mike at ABL. I have to say the results were amazing. The sun set five hours after our departure just as we were approaching "The Summit" section- a series of steep hills bridged by fast sections which eventually spilled out onto a very very steep mountain that you had to bounce up in first gear at no more than 5 mph. We saw others get stuck but we were prepared every time because we saw it all coming.
Later, after the summit there was a river wash of grey sand that had the appearance of a very fast section but we realized on our pre run that a lot of the long sweeping turns had race ending obstacles buried in the sand on the outside of the worn path. Again the ABL's made sure we saw it all before it happened.
There are many things I would do differently a second time round but a choice of lighting isn't one of them.
for more info visit here