Category Archives: Announcements

General Default Category

The 2017 NASA National Rally Championship

DSC_9301Back for its 3rd time as the NASA National Rally Championship event, the Prescott Rally celebrated their 30th running with a great event in the Southwest. As a big end of year event, Prescott is the finale for the local California Rally Series Championship, the regional NASA Pacific Rally Cup, and this year, the National Championship event. Lots of points battles from classes all throughout the field.

Flynn Baglin & Stacy Hochanadel - Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Flynn Baglin & Stacy Hochanadel – Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

In AWD, the PRC points leader John Coyne came to Prescott to win, but it wasn’t to be with gearbox failure on Friday night with his Subaru Impreza WRX. Co-Driver Doug Nagy described the sounds their transmission made as: “An apprentice using a lathe for the first time whilst hitting it with a hammer…” On Saturday morning Flynn Baglin & Stacy Hochanadel (Subaru WRX STi) held the lead in AWD and kept their pace ahead of Kurt Northrop & Will Smith who were doing great with their non-turbo Subaru Impreza. Working hard this weekend was the team of Ernie Manansala & John Dillon in their Open Lite Subaru Impreza (Pictured going over the bridge, above).

Kurt Northrop & Will Smith - Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Kurt Northrop & Will Smith – Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

The smooth, wide, and fast Prescott roads were made even faster with some recent grading. This caused two issues: Loose gravel making the stages slippery, and massive amounts of dust, which had the rally increasing to 3 minute intervals between cars at one point. Into the night, many competitors found themselves stopping on stage because of the poor visibility.

On Saturday, after 118 stage miles, Flynn Baglin & Stacy Hochanadel captured the 2017 National Championship with their 1st in AWD. Flynn also grabbed the Pacific Rally Cup Driver award for the season. As Stacy wasn’t co-driving for Flynn all season, the PRC AWD Co-Driver for 2017 was Will Smith. Kurt Northrop & Will Smith finished 2nd in AWD. Rounding out the podium with a 3rd Subaru Impreza was Ernie Manansala & John Dillon.

With slightly more than 75% of the field being 2WD, the weekend was dominated by fast FWD & RWD drivers. Ryan Millen & Rhianon Gelsomino came out to win Ryan’s 3rd 2WD National Championship with the Toyota RAV4, and from start to finish that’s exactly what they did. Having no mechanical issues meant that they kept ahead of the dust on Friday and built up a decent lead on Saturday. A lead that was challenged briefly by Bradley Morris & Ryan Scott in their Mitsubishi Lancer, only to have a coolant and fluids leak after stage 10, ending their event.

Ryan Millen & Rhianon Gelsomino - Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Ryan Millen & Rhianon Gelsomino – Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

This event uses roads around Prescott Valley, and Jerome, Arizona. The red rock canyons make for a beautiful backdrop to this tough, two day, event. NASA Rally Sport switches its final event from East to West every other year to give competitors from both coasts of the US a chance at the National Championship. Unlike a traditional championship, and more like the Olympics; drivers qualify at local events, and then compete at the final National Championship event for the top prize – winner take all!

Andrew Cowan & Ryan Dunham - Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Andrew Cowan & Ryan Dunham – Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Getting faster with each stage, setting the pace for 3rd overall, and grabbing 2nd in 2WD – Andrew Cowan & Ryan Dunham were doing amazing in their 30 year old Volkswagon Jetta! Moving up past the wildcard pick of Markus & Alicia Saarinen on stage 6, Cowan was setting top times to keep the rest of the field at bay.

Coming out from Pennsylvania, this would be Gary DeMasi’s second time out at Prescott. His previous experience helped with his long time co-driver Stephen Kurey, his first time out here. Their Ford Ranger seems right at home on these fast stages, and they did a fantastic job to secure 3rd in 2WD!

Gary DeMasi & Stephen Kurey - Pic by TurnDriverSide.com

Gary DeMasi & Stephen Kurey – Pic by Małgorzata Krywult

The 2017 Pacific Rally Cup 2WD championship was captured by Erik Christiansen & Amy Floyd in their VW Golf. Even with a flat on Friday they came back strong on Saturday and pushed to set some great stage times. Not “cruising to the win”, Erik was looking to beat his personal best at Prescott.

We had a fantastic time out on the stages this season! We have hundreds of driver interviews on our YouTube channel, and we stay social with #RallyFriends as @NASARallySport on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We want to thank all the volunteers, organizers, and staff for their outstanding work and commitment to the sport of rally! See you on the stages soon!

Photos: Sebastian Krywult – Małgorzata Krywult TurnDriverSide.com

How the NASA National Rally Championship Works

nasa_nnrc_banner_finalIn the United States, we’re used to sporting events spread out over the country for a National Title. From Playoff Hockey to Football – we expect teams to load up on buses or planes, and travel from coast to coast with their equipment. When it comes to motorsport, the cars are a lot harder to ship, and prohibitively expensive to fly.

In a traditional championship, competitors earn points, and are expected to attend most (if not all) of the listed events. Once you spread these events out over the length of the country, you have all but alienated anyone who won’t have the budget to ship a car 10,000 miles. Now, only a handful of financially backed competitors will ever get the opportunity to challenge for this title. Winning often comes down to who could afford to be at the most events and not the fastest rally drivers in the US.

NASA Rally Sport looked to change all that in 2013 with the NASA National Rally Championshiop (NNRC). Structured more like the Olympics – competitors qualify at their local events and challenge one National Event at the end of the Season. This event changes from time to time and swaps from the West Coast to the East Coast every year. Only 2 classes are awarded: 2WD & AWD. Really fast local drivers get the chance to prove that they are really fast National competitors without breaking a regional budget.

Qualifying for speed and skill; At any NASA Rally Sport event (there are 12+ of them in the US) drivers earn regional points for the Pacific and Atlantic Rally Cups (Traditional Championships). The top 10 of which will qualify for the NNRC. Power Stage Win; Any competitor that sets the fastest time down the last stage of any event will instantly qualify. Get a Podium Spot; At events longer than ~50 miles, competitors finishing on the podium (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in 2WD and AWD will instantly qualify. Be a Wildcard; Finally there are 2 wildcard spots that the NASA Rally Sport Directors pick. They look to identify competitors that showed the ability, but for some unfortunate luck were unable to qualify.

Power Stage – An interesting local twist; After a weekend of stages, the top teams may think the rally is locked up, but competitors pushing all the way to the end could be rewarded with National Qualification. Do you settle in for season points? Go for a podium spot? Or apply maximum attack to win the Power Stage! We’ve seen competitors as far back as 7th snag this stage win. Very often the 2WD cars will set the fastest time!

Now that you’re identifying fast drivers at local events, clubman rally drivers who may only run 3 events for the season have a shot at a national title. Their plan should be to do well at a local event or two, instantly qualify or earn points, and then make the drive out to this year’s National Championship event! Thus NNRC’s tongue in cheek tagline: “You can’t win it with a trailer.”

NASA-National-Rally-Championship-600x170Real Rally Excitement; Not knowing who will be able to pull of a spectacular run at the final event is wickedly exciting. At this point, no team has won it twice in a row. The racing from the field is down to seconds and not minutes. Around 200 teams compete in NASA events, and roughly 1/4 will qualify. More clubman teams from the other coast often make the trek to the final event, and that alone makes for interesting racing. NASA Rally Sport has been laser focused on the smaller teams and their enjoyment of the sport, and it shows with how their National Rally Championship has been designed.

 

Get involved! Links and more info:

NASA Rally Sport Expands With New Canadian Series

cxeThe NASA Rally Sport philosophy of focusing on competitors, innovative technology, and keeping costs low, continues to attract more and more organizers. Today NASA is proud to announce that five events in Canada are joining our program. These rallies will be known as the Extreme Elite Series and together will crown the Canadian NASA National Champion. Eric Trembley, who has an extensive history organizing events in Canada, will lead the new series.

“It’s a very exciting time,” says Anders Green, NASA Rally Sport Director. “Adding five more rallies to our schedule means we’ll sanction twenty events next year. Rally needs more people working together. It’s refreshing to see an organization look around and evaluate rationally how they can accomplish the best for their racers and the future of the sport. We love sharing our infrastructure so that organizers and competitors have more powerful tools at their disposal. More than ever our job is to focus on our mission of putting on great events, ensuring great competition, and providing top-class support and technology to the organizers. We are continuing to make sure that all the racers from the front to the back of the field have great racing that’s fun and affordable.”

068

Photo Courtesy Virage

The events in the series will be Rallye la Tuque, Rallye Sanair, Rallye de Saguenay, Lac-aux-Sable Rallye, and Rallye Portneuf. These comprise two gravel events, two snow events on WRC studded tires, and one tarmac event. These high quality Canadian rallies, based in the province of Quebec, are famous for the sheer numbers of enthusiastic fans they bring to the stages.

“Working with NASA so far has been excellent,” says Eric Trembley, Extreme Elite Series Director. “The openness to new ideas and willingness to get to work solving problems is just what the sport needs. Drivers from the United States now have whole new set of rallies to travel to, under the same rules and procedures, which means they can focus on the important thing: racing!”

phoca_thumb_l_crq-rallye-la-tuque-2016-31

Photo Courtesy Virage

“We’ve been expanding constantly the last two years,” reports Kristopher Marciniak, NASA Rally Sport Director. “The Ohio Winter RallySprint, Frazier Mountain Rally, The Doo Wop Rally, and our Test Day program is the cherry on top – offering 3-4 events a year where you can practice your rally skills at an affordable venue. New organizers are joining up with NASA Rally Sport for the support and tools we give them, and old friends are bringing events back to NASA because they see the value that goes way beyond just an insurance certificate. Rally is a family, and there’s nothing better than racing against your friends, or working together with them to put on a great event.”

The Extreme Elite Series (Challenge Xtreme Elite – CXE) will join the NASA Rally Sport Schedule in 2017. United States NASA Rally Sport Competition Licenses will be accepted at these events and NASA Rally Sport Competition Licenses issued to Canadian Competitors will be accepted in the US. Founded in 2003, NASA Rally Sport focuses on making sure that rally remains a sustainable and affordable passion for the drivers and organizers while building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen.

phoca_thumb_l_img_4850

Photo Courtesy Virage

National Competition Intensifies 2WD Challenge at Prescott

The 2015 Prescott Rally was the culmination of the local California Rally Series Championship, the points battle for the Pacific Rally Cup, and the winner-take-all NASA National Rally Championship. With that as a starting point for the competition, it was going to be a real challenge to capture any of those 2C winnings. Teams from all over the country traveled to take part in the event, and this offered a unique opportunity to see just how fast the 2WD competition in the Southwest is. Our supporters, Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports, believe that starting with 2WD is the best path to future success in the sport and they encourage competitors to master these skills before upgrading rally machinery.

Local competitor Brian Scott took his historic rally machine off the display floor of the local Nissan dealership and right onto the leader board for stages 1 and 2. This gorgeous Datsun 240Z has all the trimmings of a modern rally car and is an instant hit with spectators. In the right seat, Brian’s long-time experienced co-driver John Dillon made this team hard to catch at their home event. On day two however, the team broke the throttle cable (no doubt pushing it to the max) and was out of the fight.

Brad Morris had helped to arrange travel for himself and the AWD team of Eric Wages from South Carolina to take on the NNRC. Brad has driven and won this event in the past, and along with local co-driver Doug Nagy, the team was looking for the win. Setting a 4th fastest time on SS1 the team charged into the second stage. They suffered a hit to the right front of their Mitsubishi Lancer, which caused two flats. With only one spare, they limped into the first service. On Saturday they did well to climb back up into the top spots, but a broken axle would end their event on the very last stage.

Brent Lee had to scramble a bit to find a co-driver for Prescott, as his mentor John Dillon would be riding in the Datsun. Experienced Northwest co-driver Billy Irvin stepped up for the 2WD challenge, and a chance at the national championship title in Brent’s Ford Fiesta R2. The pair was quickly up to speed setting a fourth fastest on stage 2, and was just behind Millen setting second on stage 3. An electrical sensor problem that prevented the engine from knowing its temperature crept up on them and they unfortunately stopped towards the end of stage 4. In the spirit of pressing on, they would restart on Saturday but the problem resurfaced and the car refused to start after stage 8.

Mike Hurst, who has been involved with the operation of rallies for many years, so it was exciting for him to come out and race in a very clean Ford Capri loaned from Bob Olson. Along with experienced driver / co-driver Michel Hoche-Mong the team was at the head of the 2WD pack on Friday. They set great times for the first two stages on Saturday, but a leaking radiator was discovered pulling into service. The bottom of the aluminum tank had come in direct contact with the chassis, so a quick repair was out of the question and Mike chose to save the car and savor his first outing in a rally car in many years.

Two teams having a great time at Prescott were Richard Burden with co-driver Sean McElwain in Richard’s new VW Golf, and Steven Egger and Christopher Chenoweth in Steve’s BMW 318i. Richard has some experience with Irish rally, and enjoyed shaking out his new car on the technical stages. Consistent over the two-day rally, Steven approached the event with a great attitude. Both teams took to the stages and always had big smiles when they came into service.

Determination was what allowed Javier Olivares and Gian Castellanos in their Ford Escort to finish the event. An electrical problem with their fuel system cropped up on stage 9, and the team barely made the cutoff time for the next stage. It was reported that the co-driver was holding wires together to keep the car running. After their defeat at Gorman, the team was happy to be at the final time control on Saturday.

Learning just how much rally is about pressing on regardless, Jason Hamilton and Ralph Pond started their first rally with alternator problems. Competing on their very first stages they set a decent time on SS1. The Ford Mustang was running off the battery and some bad wiring was identified when they came into the first service stop after SS2. They charged it as best they could with the service truck and headed off into the night. They would retire shortly afterwards, but we know they’ll be back!

2C_PR-Prescott_5th

Gary DeMasi & Marie Boyd – 5th

Making the tow all the way from Pennsylvania, Gary DeMasi was looking to challenge the roads and competitors of the Southwest. Teaming up with local co-driver Marie Boyd, the V8 Rally Ranger would tackle the wide flowing roads. Slow at first, but picking up speed, DeMasi gained confidence with the open exposures Prescott provides. Having some issues with fuel didn’t prevent them from continuing on Saturday, and Gary’s unstoppable determination would see the team all the way to the awards. Grabbing a small piece of the cash pool, Gary DeMasi and Marie Boyd were fifth in 2C and finished as the third qualified team for the national championship.

2C_PR-Prescott_4th

Chris Palermo & Andy Bautista – 4th

Chris Palermo and Andy Bautista were new teammates for Prescott in their Nissan Sentra. Problems with a brake pad on Friday night was the only thing that slowed them for the weekend. Battling with Andrew Cowan and Ryan Dunham in their more powerful VW Jetta, the fight went down to the wire with Cowan losing a rear wheel on stage 12. This put Palermo into 4th place in the 2WD Challenge.

2C_PR-Prescott_3rd

Ray Piloto & Brock Palmer – 3rd

Ray Piloto and Brock Palmer were debuting their brand new Chevrolet Sonic at Prescott. Not wrapped up in the championship or national fight, the team had a relatively stress free weekend. Some turbo issues were sorted on Saturday morning and the climb to the top of the leader board was on. Grabbing the third fastest time on the last stage would land them third in 2C for the weekend and Ray Piloto would take home $75.

2C_PR-Prescott_2nd

Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen – 2nd

Markus Saarinen admitted that the gearbox he had to work with was not the best for the fast Prescott stages. Along with his co-driver and wife Alicia, the couple was still flying off the jumps and cattle guard crossings that dot the roads. Matching speed with Millen on Saturday wasn’t going to be enough to take the lead, but staying in second in 2WD and fifth overall was going to capture points for the Pacific Rally Cup, and $150 of 2C cash!

2C_PR-Prescott_1st

Ryan Millen & Christina Fate – 1st

Ryan Millen and Christina Fate were squarely on a mission to finish out a great season of events with their Toyota RAV4. Grabbing cash at two of the three 2C events this year, many knew they were going to be competitive at their very first Prescott. Once again using his Baja desert racing skills, Ryan was able to get out ahead on stage 3 when the sun set and the dust came up. Grabbing a minute on most of the field, the team catapulted into the lead. They take home first place in 2WD, third overall, and $250 worth of cash for winning the 2WD Challenge!

Our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O’Neil in Dalton, NH offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience.

More info on 2C – The 2WD Challenge
Prescott Rally
The event was part of the California Rally Series
This event was part of the Pacific Rally Cup
This event was the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship Final

Photos by Matthew T. Stryker
Stryker Rally Media

Atlantic Teams and Wildcard picks run into trouble, Pacific Teams dominate the podium at Prescott Rally

2015_NNRC_AWD-Smith

Driver Duncan Smith and Co-Driver Katherine Lindroth-Gendron 2015 NASA National Rally Champions in AWD

The 2015 NASA National Rally Championship was held in beautiful Prescott, Arizona, at The Prescott Rally, which has been a southwestern event for twenty eight years, and this year attracted teams from all over the country to challenge these very fast and flowing roads. Separated by twisty red rock canyons, these stages see elevations of over 5,000 feet. The “Original, Real, Tough” event made for a great place to determine the fastest all wheel drive (AWD) and two wheel drive (2WD) teams in the country. Qualification for the National Championship is designed to highlight the fastest drivers at events throughout the year and from all over the US. More like the Olympics, the NNRC takes the grassroots approach and acknowledges that most teams will only do 2-3 events a year, instead of a grueling tow schedule of events across the nation.

During the Parc Expose` at Lamb Nissan in town, the team of Eric Wages and Sara Montplaisir were working to fix a fueling issue that cropped up on the way over to registration. They started with a fuel pump swap on their Subaru Impreza STi, and then later discovered that one of their fuel injectors was clogged. Fearing serious engine damage should they choose to run it, Eric made the tough decision to not start the rally. Gutted after the tow from South Carolina, the team began work on restarting Saturday for the California Rally Series regional event.

With the top seeded AWD National Qualifier out, it was anyone’s guess as to who would be leading the rally after the first two iconic stages. Stage 1 “First View” heads towards the sun and into “The Cut,” a narrow opening in the mountain that’s just wide enough for cars to sneak through. Stage 2 is “Witty Tom” which starts out with lots of twisty rights and lefts, but finishes smooth and very fast.

2015_NNRC_2WD-Millen

Driver Ryan Millen and Co-driver Christina Fate are the 2015 NASA National Rally Champions in 2WD

Starting 10th on the road and qualifying by winning last year’s Power Stage here, Duncan Smith and Katherine Lindroth-Gendron shot out into first by winning SS1 and SS2 in their Subaru Impreza WRX. A reseed put them out first and in a fantastic position to attack the night stages with little to no dust. Absolutely taking full advantage of this, the team set a pace that was more than a minute ahead of the pack. The only two cars that were even close, were the 2WD RAV4 driven by Ryan Millen and Christina Fate, and an exhibition entry Mitsubishi EVO IX driven by Tingwu Song and Mustafa Samli

Josh Jacquot and Pete Pollard were “Shaking the cobwebs out,” on the first two stages. Josh is getting back into rally this year after a long hiatus. Their Subaru Impreza was clean and undamaged going into the first service after setting third fastest AWD on stages 1 and 2. Fast and clean was a great starting point for a two day rally.

Brad Morris and Co-Driver Doug Nagy set a decent time on the opening stage in their Turbo FWD Mitsubishi Lancer. On stage two however, the suspension was a little too loose and the team caught a big rock in the front left with 2.5 miles to go. This also ended up doing some damage to the rear left, and the team was forced to do road side repairs with only one spare tire in the car. This dropped them way back, but they would press on.

John Coyne who interestingly qualified for the NNRC in a 2WD car was campaigning his new AWD Subaru Impreza. As the NNRC is only out to identify fast drivers, there is no rule that prevents a competitor from switching classes for the final, and one might argue that it makes it harder with the level of competition in AWD. Co-Driving with John for the first time was Ryan Scott. The team lost some time on SS2 with a bent rear control arm and a flat front tire after going off sideways, but got right back up to speed setting the fourth fastest time on SS4 after service.

Markus and Alicia Saarinen were having fun and driving without incident on the first day in their Mini Cooper. Markus realized that they were going a lot faster than in years previous when the Mini was flying big over small jumps on the course. Unfortunately, their shorter ratio gearbox was keeping them from top speed, but the Saarinen’s continued to push and keep up with the 2WD leaders. One of those jumps took out the rear right suspension, but you wouldn’t know it from the times they were setting.

Gary DeMasi was another driver that made the long trip to Prescott, and was working with local co-driver Marie Boyd who has many years of experience on these stages. Gary spoke to Anders Green during the service interview: “I have to be honest, I was frightened at the first stage. I tip-toed through it, and we got a little bit more confident as we went along,” said DeMasi. This is Gary’s very first time on these stages with his V8 Ford Ranger and the wide open crests and steep drop offs are a complete change from racing the narrow tree lined roads of the Northeast.

AWD Wildcard pick Hao Yuan and Hongyu Pan were right up to 2nd behind Smith in their Mitsubishi Lancer on the first stages. They suffered from the dust on SS3, but still managed a 4th fastest in AWD NNRC right behind Jacquot on SS4. On the transit, their oil pump failed and they were unable to make it back to service. As such an extensive repair would be necessary, the team opted to withdraw.

The 2WD wildcard pick Brent Lee and Northwest Co-Driver Billy Irvin started well, set fourth fastest on stage 2, and jumped into second fastest on stage 3 in their Ford Fiesta. Unfortunately on stage four, the pair was forced to pull over and work on an engine electrical issue that caused them to stop a few miles from the end of the stage. They would restart on Saturday morning for the regional event, but the problem caused issues again and was traced to a faulty engine water temp sensor. Brent was grateful for the wildcard pick, saying “We’re really excited to be the wildcard pick, really excited to be racing out here in Arizona, and thanks NASA for inviting me.” Watch for this fast team to be back out on the stages next season!

On Saturday the teams would tackle the stage called Perkinsville. This stage sees top speeds, hairpins, and a tricky downhill and uphill section where drivers must carry maximum speed to win. The brand new Chevrolet Sonic RS driven by Ray Piloto and Co-Driven by Brock Palmer attacked these stages after fixing a turbo problem on Friday. Even though this was their first outing, and not qualified to win the national, they still showed what it takes by finishing third in 2WD.

Second in 2WD after picking up the pace for the Saturday stages, Markus Saarinen and Alicia Saarinen were delighted to be on the podium again at their home rally. With fourteen competitors in the class and setting times faster than a number of AWD Turbo cars, the Mini Cooper in the hands of Markus is a tough package to beat! Competing this year in all four of the Pacific Rally Cup events earned Driver Markus Saarinen and Co-Driver Alicia Saarinen the 2015 Pacific Rally Cup in 2WD!

First in 2WD was a team that has been setting fast times all season. Ryan Millen and Christina Fate driving their new Toyota RAV4 would gain a huge advantage in the dusty night stages on Friday with Ryan experienced at racing flat out in those conditions. Saturday their job was to stay clean and maintain that lead. With no reported problems, and winning seven of the eleven stages, Driver Ryan Millen and Co-driver Christina Fate are the 2015 NASA National Rally Champions in 2WD!

Getting back up to speed at this event was Driver Doug Chernis with Co-Driver Piers O’Hanlon in an AWD Subaru WRX STi. Just off the podium in fourth, the team would secure enough points for Piers O’Hanlon to take the 2015 Pacific Rally Cup AWD Co-Driver award. Piers rode with Todd McAllister earlier in the season taking second at High Desert Trails.

John Coyne and his brand new co-driver Ryan Scott were more consistent on Saturday. After the first two stages, John told Anders: “Very quick – the first stage is very very fast, and I got through Witty Tom without putting it off the road this time! A major step forward from yesterday.” John Coyne and Ryan Scott were third in AWD for the National Championship.

Josh Jacquot and Pete Pollard were smooth for the rest of the weekend to take second in AWD for the NNRC. With the Pacific Rally Cup also getting decided at Prescott, Josh Jacquot just edged out Driver Steven Benson with a scant four points for the 2015 PRC title. Those four points came, by the way, from starting, but not finishing the Gorman Rally earlier this year after the team got stuck on a pretty steep cliff. Does this make up for not challenging the last few stages at Gorman? Probably not, but Josh is pleased to be the 2015 Pacific Rally Cup AWD Driver Champion.

Duncan Smith and Katherine Lindroth-Gendron showed incredible speed last weekend at Prescott. Setting the fastest time on the first four stages on Friday was enough to keep them in the lead on Saturday. Josh Jacquot could only beat them on stage 12, but by then they had stored up minutes from taking the lead on Friday night getting ahead of the dust. Driver Duncan Smith and Co-Driver Katherine Lindroth-Gendron are the 2015 NASA National Rally Champions in AWD!

We would thank all of the teams who made it out to Prescott this year! We would also like to thank all of the volunteers who put a ton of effort into making this rally great every year, along with the support from the California Rally Series. The Prescott Organizers would like to thank Lamb Nissan, Prescottonian Best Western, NextCare, and Depot 89. This event should be on your must attend list for 2016!

Photos by Matthew T. Stryker
Stryker Rally Media
http://www.Facebook.com/StrykerRallyMedia

Season End at Prescott Rally makes for a top notch 2WD Challenge!

We saved the best for last with our 2015 2WD Challenge event at the Prescott Rally in Arizona. We knew that local teams would be pushing hard for California Rally Series points in CRS-2, and we were sure that the Pacific Rally Cup would be hotly contested. We also knew that some fast teams from the East would be out to capture the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship. With the 2WD entry list at 15, if all those cars start, Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports are going to double the 2C cash for Prescott! This will be a wild 2C event.
2C_2015
We’ll be watching Markus & Alicia Saarinen closely as 2WD winners of this event last year. Will they be able to set a faster pace in their Mini to stay ahead of Ryan Millen and Christina Fate driving the new RAV4? This could all be un-done with local and experienced racer Brian Scott and veteran co-driver John Dillon racing in a very well prepared Datsun 240Z who has also taken top honors at this event.

Teams from the East make up two of the 2C entries, both supported by co-drivers from the West. Brad Morris and Doug Nagy will be driving a FWD Mitsubishi Lancer. Brad is all the way out from North Carolina for this event. Traveling even further, Gary DeMasi and his V8 Ford Ranger from Pennsylvania, will be working with co-driver Marie Boyd. Going for the national win means working even harder to take the top spot in 2WD.

NASA Rally Sport Wild Card pick, Brent Lee is sure to be just that with his fast stage times and 4th place at the Gorman Rally this year. Brent will be working with an experienced co-driver from the Northwest – Billy Irvin – to tackle the Prescott Rally in their Fiesta R2.

Ray Piloto and Brock Palmer will be out in their new Chevrolet Sonic. It has some testing miles on it, so we’ll be very curious to see how it does on its debut event! A very clean Ford Capri driven by long time rally supporter Mike Hurst, with co-driver Michel Hoche-Mong, will be out on the Arizona stages. Chris Palermo and Andy Bautista will be looking for a solid drive in their well built Nissan Sentra SE-R. Javier Olivares, with Gian Castellanos, will be looking for some redemption after suffering a mechanical failure on their Ford Escort at the Gorman Rally. Andrew Cowan, with new co-driver Ryan Dunham, will be out at Prescott with their VW Jetta for the very first time. Steven Egger and Chris Chenoweth love the faster stages in their BMW 318i, and might just throw an even better after-party if some 2C cash comes their way.

Always good to have new teams joining us! Richard Burden, with a yet to be announced co-driver will be attempting his first Prescott Rally. Aaron Stump and Michael Broyles will be competing at their first event in a Mitsubishi Lancer. Jason Hamilton and Ralph Pond will be hitting the stages for the first time in a Ford Mustang.

Watch for some great 2C competition! Follow live scores and text for the Prescott Rally at http://rallydata.com. On Twitter & Instagram #PrescottRally #2WDRally @NASARallySport and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/NASARallySport. Looking to learn to drive at the limit in a 2WD car? Go to the Team O’Neil Rally School at http://www.teamoneil.com. Looking to build a 2WD car? Talk to Streetwise Motorsports at http://streetwiseparts.com.

Markus Saarinen pushes past Dave Clark on final stages to take 2C win at Idaho!

2c_pr_1st
Seventeen 2WD teams took to the stages at this year’s Idaho Rally for the 2WD Challenge. Set in Boise County, the roads converge on the small town of Placerville and made for a fantastic weekend of racing. Eleven special stages make up the two days of rallying that would test the competitors skill, machines, and perseverance. The 2WD Challenge is supported by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports who believe that starting with a 2WD in rally is the best path to future success in the sport.

Ramana Lagemann established quickly that he was the man to beat in a BMW M3. Setting the fastest 2WD times on all of Saturday, he and Co-Driver Chrissie Beavis settled into 5th overall gunning for the podium. A flat tire on Sunday barely slowed the pace of the M3 on SS7 and it wasn’t until a differential failure on stage 9 that wrote the end of the story for the BMW. Lagemann rejoined the rally for fun and super rally points, but you have to finish all the stages to win the 2WD Challenge.

2c_pr_2ndThe close battle for 2nd on Saturday then became the close battle for 1st on Sunday. On day one; Dave Clark in his RWD XR4Ti was 24 seconds ahead of Markus Saarinen in the FWD Mini Cooper and Ryan Millen in the FWD Toyota RAV4. The Merkur was reportedly having steering pump bracket issues and was on the verge of destroying itself, while Clark and Co-Driver Jennifer Daly were running out of decent tires. The team was still having fun though, setting off a shower of RWD gravel where spectators had setup a line of colorful plastic flamingos on the outside of a sweeping turn. Dave Clark scored well at Flamingo Bowling.

Markus Saarinen in the Mini Cooper started to catch the RAV4 of Millen on stage 4, and turned the attack all the way up on Sunday morning beating Clark on SS7. Clark responded with a win on SS9, and back into the last service the three teams learned that they would be fighting for the $500 prize with Lagemann out. Markus and Alicia Saarinen had 7 seconds to make up for 1st in 2C and they pushed to take the lead with 11 seconds on the final two stages! Sarrinen takes home the 2C win with $500, and Clark takes the 2nd place prize of $300.

2c_pr_3rdRyan Millen and Co-Driver Christina Fate were excited to debut their Toyota RAV4 at Idaho, and WE were excited to see where an experienced off-road racer, with a brand new navigator, in a brand new showroom stock RAV4 would end up on the standings. The team was right up with the pack on the first 3 stages and Millen settled into a rhythm to take 3rd in the 2WD Challenge at Idaho earning $150.

2c_pr_4thA back and forth battle emerged with some historic hardware from John Hill in his 1967 Ford Cortina and an experienced Irish Rally Champion John Coyne in a rented 1982 Toyota Corolla. The Cortina unfortunately stopped on SS8 with a mechanical issue after winning the first stage of Sunday. John Coyne and Co-Driver Doug Nagy were having a blast on the Idaho roads and happily accepted the $50 for a great weekend of rallying. Coyne was 4th in the 2WD Challenge.

Setting consistent stage times all weekend was what kept Erik Christiansen in his Volkswagen Golf ahead of James Rimmer in a Subaru BRZ. Other than crumpling a fender with a bump on Sunday, Christiansen had a smooth weekend with Co-Driver Amy Floyd. Not expecting to be in the top placement at this event, the team hung in there to grab $30 for 5th in 2C.

2c_pr_5th2C is here to get teams excited about running in 2WD and we were pumped to see Ryan McLaughlin & David Brown finish their first rally event with their Acura Integra. Ryan says: “We finished Rally Idaho with only two gears left in the transmission and even brought home some hardware. Happy to have made it across the finish, even though we had to come home on a trailer. Stage rally is the most intense motorsport on earth.” We couldn’t agree more! Both of our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O’Neil in Dalton, NH offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience.

Next up is the Gorman Rally in Southern California on August 22nd. This event typically lets 2WD cars shine with their tight and twisty stages. We’re excited about their new roads – and looking forward to the extra competition that 2C will bring. See you on the stages!

2C Idaho Rally Kickoff!

2015_Idaho_2CNASA Rally Sport recently announced the 2C – 2WD Challenge for the 2015 season, and first up is Idaho! The Idaho Rally is no stranger to having 2WD cars on the podium, and the competition will be strong. Offering a chance at a significant cash prize, 2C is what grassroots rally competitors are looking for. The 2WD Challenge is presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports, who believe learning to push the limits of 2WD rally cars is the best path to future success in the sport.

If you’ve been involved in rally and off road motorsports, a couple big names pop out on the 2WD entry list. Ramana Lagemann has over 50 rallies to his career, and once drove a factory ride for Subaru USA. Lagemann will be looking to have fun at his first Idaho Rally, but he will also be driving for a win. Campaigning a well prepped BMW e36 M3, he could surprise the large AWD field.

Class winner at the 2014 Baja 1000, Ryan Millen has set his sights on rally, and is looking to get a solid start with his new Toyota RAV4. This will be the first event for his team, this car, and we’ll find out quickly if he can get it all dialed in for an attack on 2C.

Hot off his 2015 High Desert Trails win, Markus Saarinen has been a force in 2WD. With lots of Northwest driving experience, this Southwest competitor will be setting fast times on the Idaho stages. Driving a FWD naturally aspirated Mini Cooper to it’s absolute limit is what 2C loves!

A local favorite, Dave Clark will be campaigning his Merkur XR4Ti and will definitely be looking for a podium finish in class! We cannot guarantee that any pink flamingos won’t be harmed on stage when Dave’s around, but we can guarantee a rear wheel drive crowd favorite when Dave gets to the limit in the spectator areas.

The 2C story may be down in the middle of the pack with a wild selection of vehicles going for the top spots and looking to take home some cash. Larry Clark will be in his 1985 Toyota Celica, John Hill in a 1967 Ford Cortina, Erik Christiansen in an underrepresented this year VW Golf, Elijah Fillman-Sullivan driving a BMW 325is, Bruce Tabor in the family owned Nissan Sentra SE-R, Jason Bailey will have a 2014 Scion FRS, Christopher Conrad will be back out with his 1967 Volvo 122, Derek Knight will be in a Volvo 242, and Henry Gillow-Wiles will be campaigning his Honda Civic.

Some new drivers will be taking to the stages, and we love to see them in 2WD! James Rimmer will be in his Subaru BRZ, Eric LaVance will be driving his well prepped Camaro for the first time, Ryan McLaughlin will be out in an Acura Integra, and a last minute entry from John Coyne in a Toyota Corolla.

With over 15 2WD starters, the 2C payout will be: 1st $500 – 2nd $300 – 3rd $150 – 4th $50 – 5th $30. The payout goes up as more drivers battle! And there’s nothing better than the sweet sweet taste of your favorite brew paid for with rally winnings.

Watch for some great 2WD competition. Follow live scores and text for the Idaho Rally at http://rallydata.com. On Twitter @NASARallySport #2WDRally #IdahoRally and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/NASARallySport. Looking to learn to drive at the limit in a 2WD car? Go to the Team O’Neil Rally School at http://www.teamoneil.com. Looking to build a 2WD car? Talk to Streetwise Motorsports at http://streetwiseparts.com.

2C Returns with 3 events! The 2015 NASA Rally Sport 2WD Challenge

2C_2015Some say: “It’s only after you finish a rally without lifting off the throttle that you’ll need a faster car.” Rallying to this level of commitment takes dedication, practice, and great competition. For some, 2WD is a stepping stone. For others, it is the only class that matters.

NASA Rally Sport is excited to bring back the Two Wheel Drive Challenge presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports. The 2015 2C will consist of three events starting with Idaho Rally International this June 13-14. We hope to turn up the volume on the rivalry between the Southwest and Northwest drivers that typically meet in Idaho for some great 2WD competition. Get signed up at: http://idahorally.org/

Knowing that the Gorman Rally was adding miles of new twisty forest stages made it’s inclusion as a 2C event an easy choice. Look for a 2WD car to win this event outright on August 22nd in Southern California. Their new site is: http://www.gormanrally.com/

Finally, the event that was a proving ground for 2C makes it’s return on October 2-3. The Prescott Rally had 2WD make up 2nd and 3rd of it’s overall podium last year and will once again make a fantastic season final! Details: http://www.prescottrally.com/

We’ve increased the overall cash purse to $6,000+. The twist this year is the payout based on participation. Rallies with less than 14 2WD competitors will see a top prize of $250. Kick that up to 15-24 and a $500 top prize will be offered. Hit the 25 car mark and we’ll make it $1000. For example Idaho had 27 2WD cars take to the stages last year. If that happens again, you will see a 1st – $1000, 2nd – $600, 3rd – $300, 4th – $100, 5th – $60. All three events will have payouts to 5th, and the full breakdown will be on our site. Get ready for some awesome 2WD battles! http://www.nasarallysport.com/main/2WD_Challenge

Both of our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O’Neil in Dalton, NH offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience.

Our mission is to continue growing the grassroots excitement of the sport and encourage the building of more affordable rally cars and setting the goal of winning individual events. We want to showcase grassroots talent with social platforms, driver interviews, video, and buzz around the battles that are often overlooked. Let’s show the next generation of rallyists how much fun we can have driving as fast as possible on closed dirt roads! Join us!

NASA Rally Sport Makes Test and Tune Days Available to All Rally Drivers

The mantra of “seat time, seat time, seat time” has long been touted as the best method to improving driver skill. However, the challenging legislative environment in the US is often so complex and expensive, that only a few teams in the country have actually done official testing. NASA Rally Sport’s new program aims to remove this barrier and make it a lot easier for amateur and professional drivers to participate and run a Rally Test & Tune Day

Performance rally is certainly one of the world’s most demanding motorsports. Remote locations, unpredictable terrain, changing conditions, and roads that you may only see once. This begs the question: Where does a rally driver practice? Until now, the answer has been “Practice at the event”. Most drivers certainly come away from a rally with increased skill, but even this route leaves no room for systematic testing of techniques or equipment. A much better method is a single road where a driver can make multiple passes and try different techniques.

The first part of the program is a new insurance price for a test day that comes in at just over $900 which can be shared by up to ten racers, for a possible per-driver cost of less than $95. The second part is a set of clear policy and documentation standards that make it easy for a driver to know what is involved in putting on a test day and what kind of information needs to be submitted. The third is a customized land use contract, penned by motorsports lawyers, designed to satisfy all the tricky aspects of leasing land for practice.10895290_360140310838967_1721926289_n

“Most drivers are interested in driving cars, and building cars, that’s not surprising.” says NASA Rally Sport Director Anders Green. “They deserve lots of help from the sanctioning body when it comes to these issues of insurance and land use. Our estimate is it would take a driver just two or three hours to get together the maps and documents we would need to insure a test day using our provided materials. They still have to go find the road and ask for it, but we’re there ready to help them each step of the way.” “We’ve already been approached by a driver who is well on their way to putting this program into motion here in California.” added NASA Rally Sport Director Kris Marciniak. “Finding a single road to test on is actually much easier to come across than finding a set of roads that can make up enough mileage for a rally. It’s certainly possible to imagine three or four test days a year in every corner of the country. We’re excited, this program is real, and it’s available as of today.”

NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body in the US, focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools, technology, and systems to the organizers, racers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is a core mission of NASA Rally Sport. Making sure that rally remains a sustainable and affordable passion for the drivers and organizers while building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen goes hand in hand with that mission.

Additional information is available at http://nasarallysport.com/main/rally-test-day