Tag Archives: mini cooper

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.
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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.

Big 2C field to challenge the twisty Gorman Rally

Gorman is a rally that defines the toughness and spirit of Southern California rally competitors. If you’re from out of town, don’t call it “rough”. Gorman is the reason competitors from here are often successful all over the US. It’s a rally that teaches you what rocks and terrain to avoid. It shows you how hot your engine bay can really get, and how inadequate that rear skidplate you made out of 1/8″ steel is. Cap that all off with a legendary after party and you’ll never look at “just finishing” the same. Presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports: 2C the 2WD challenge makes this victory even sweeter with a cash prize for the top 5 2WD competitors.

Ryan Millen with co-driver Christina Fate will be taking the challenge for the first time in the RAV4. We’re not too worried as Ryan’s desert racing experience will really come into play here, but this will be a serious test for the new Toyota. Look for Ryan to pull off a solid finish and not take too much risk – the question is: Will this strategy be enough to land him in a top 2WD spot?

Markus and Alicia Saarinen will be looking for a bit of redemption at Gorman. Last year a mistake over a long crest landed them off the road, and literally ripped a wheel and strut off the tough little Mini Cooper. They will need to keep it clean here at Gorman to match their win in Idaho.

Bret Robinson is back to challenge 2C from his last outing in Prescott 2014 where he captured 3rd place cash in his VW Golf. This time with seasoned co-driver Brent Ellzey. These two have raced Gorman for years and will be prepared to challenge for the top spot. Also in a VW Golf: Andrew and Robin Lockhart are back to Gorman after not running the event for a few years. Look for this to be a great VW rivalry!
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Co-Driver Chrissie Beavis slides over to the drivers seat again, this time to compete with co-driver Erica Sacks – Erica, the first US competitors to enter the Gazelle Rally in a side-by-side quad. Both of them have completed the Gazelle. That rally being a nine-day, all-women, off-road rally across the Sahara Desert. This team will no doubt have an interesting perspective of the Gorman stages in their Volkswagen Jetta.

Long time competitors Larry and Lance Gross in their tough Toyota Corolla will be trading times with John Black and Lori Stone in their equally capable Ford Ranger. Look for Javier Olivares and Brock Heinz to be in that mix with their Ford Escort. Gorman first timer Andrew Cowan and Tim Brown will see if they have what it takes. Chris Palermo will be looking to improve his speed here at Gorman with a yet unnamed co-driver. For some RWD fun, Steven Egger & Christopher Chenoweth are back sliding around their 318i BMW. While Christian Arboleda & Oscar Arteta push a Suzuki Swift to the limit! Twelve 2C competitors make up the large field for Gorman 2015!

Watch for some great 2C competition. Follow live scores and text for the Gorman Rally at http://rallydata.com. On Twitter @GormanRally #GormanRally @NASARallySport #2WDRally 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!

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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.

Markus Saarinen Takes Prescott 2C Win!

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The beautiful red rock canyons of Arizona were the backdrop to the 2014 Prescott Rally and the first NASA Rally Sport 2WD Challenge. 2C offers up a significant cash prize for 2WD and last weekend gave drivers a chance to really show their talent on the fast and flowing southwest stages. 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.

NNRC 2014 2WD Champion Matt Brandenburg traveled from Ohio with Co-Driver Brian Huntsbarger to be a part of the action after winning two weeks ago at Black River Stages in New York. Matt was the heavy favorite, but an oil soaked clutch on stage 2 quickly put him out after he set the fastest 2WD time on the first stage. Brakim Racing’s e36 BMW M3 did not rejoin the rally on Saturday. Matt Remarked: “Wish we could have fought it out this weekend! One stage just doesn’t cut it.”

Markus Saarinen moved into first after stage 2 and held the lead for the remainder of the weekend. The well equipped Sasquatch Mini Cooper was setting great times and even had a 1st fastest overall on the last stage of the event. Markus and Alicia Saarinen have rallied all over the US in the last few years. Markus had no hesitation when declaring: “Witty Tom is the best rally stage in the country!” For their hard work the team received a $1000 cash prize for 1st in 2WD!

Fighting to maintain 2nd place in 2C last weekend, Kristopher Marciniak, driving a fresh engine in his rallynotes.com 2.0L Dodge Neon, saw his lead slip to just 12 seconds after the first 2 stages on Saturday. The father and son team of Bret and Doug Robinson, who set blistering fast times on Saturday morning in their Volkswagen Golf, forced Kristopher to turn up the speed. The husband and wife team, Kristopher and Christine, responded by setting fast times the remainder of the day and took home the $600 prize for 2nd place. Bret and Doug received $300 for 3rd.

The battle for 4th came absolutely down to the wire. Erik Christiansen and Amy Floyd were determined to improve their stage times from last year at this event in their VW Golf. Chrissie Beavis and Matthew Johnson, who resurrected the family’s Volkswagen Jetta, had an unfortunate flat on stage 1 that set them back about 5 minutes. Determined to claw their way back, the newlyweds began setting a top pace and minutes became seconds as they worked to get back into the hunt passing the father and son team of Larry and Lance Gross who were setting solid times in their Toyota Corolla. During the chase Erik commented: “Chrissie is gaining about 20 seconds a stage on us. We might not be able to hold them off.” On the final pass, Erik and Amy managed to keep their lead by only 2.5 seconds! They were awarded $100, and Chrissie and Matthew were handed the fifth place and final prize of $60.

With the success of NASA Rally Sport’s first 2C event there will be an announcement on 2015 2C events very soon. NRS wants 2C to encourage the building of more affordable 2WD rally cars by setting the goal of winning individual events. 2C competitors have a blast driving as fast as possible on closed dirt roads!

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.