Tag Archives: NASA Rally Sport

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

Ryan Millen unstoppable at Gorman 2C, absolute battle for 2nd between Lockhart and Robinson.

2c_pr-Gorman_1stSporting a field of 26 competitors, with almost half of them in 2WD, the 2015 Gorman Rally in Lebec, California made for a great 2C event! The mileage of the rally doesn’t tell the full story, as the fastest competitors on one of their 3 mile stages can’t break the 3 minute mark. Tight and twisty with hundreds of corners in the hot August sun make this rally a challenge just to finish. At the after party we got to experience the friendship and comradery that defines the California Rally Series. 2C is supported by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports who believe that starting with 2WD is the best path to future success in the sport.

Ryan Millen and Co-Driver Christina Fate have been carefully and slowly turning up the pace in their Toyota RAV4 this season, and this weekend was their time to shine. “No problems – and we’re not going to have any,” was Ryan’s mantra when they checked into the finish of stage nine. Ryan’s desert racing experience was put to the test on these stages and the team responded with an unstoppable pace from the start. Setting the fastest 2WD time on every stage but one, they took home 1st in 2WD and $250 cash for the 2WD Challenge. Quite an impressive drive on these stages!

2c_pr-Gorman_2ndAndrew Lockhart’s sister and listed Co-Driver Robin Lockhart was unable to attend last minute, so Andrew asked Michel Hoche-Mong to hop into the Co-Driver’s seat. Michel has experience driving and finishing on the podium at this event in a Volkswagen Golf, so the pair hit the ground running. Almost immediately times were being traded with another Volkswagen Golf team of Bret Robinson and Brent Ellzey. Robinson took SS1, was slower on 7 & 9, but tied Lockhart on SS8. After the service break Lockhart was a bit faster on 10 – 12, but Robinson grabbed a few seconds on SS13 and even more on 14! Anything could happen going into the last stage and Andrew Lockhart dug deep to pull out the fastest 2WD time on the Gorman Rally Power Stage! At the end of it, Andrew Lockhart collected $150 for 2nd in 2C and Bret Robinson earned $75 for a hard fought 3rd place.

2c_pr-Gorman_3rd2c_pr-Gorman_4thA last minute entry from Driver Brent Lee and Co-Driver John Dillon brought a Ford Fiesta R2 out to Gorman for Dillon’s 150th rally! Some early engine gremlins kept the team out of it until SS8 & SS9 when they jumped back into the fray of times coming out of the 2nd place battle. Their perseverance allowed them to take over 4th place on SS12 and overcoming those issues earned them $25 for 4th in the 2WD Challenge. We look forward to seeing Brent Lee and John Dillon at future events!

2c_pr-Gorman_5thHaving the most fun of any 2C team out on the stages, Chrissie Beavis and new Co-Driver Erica Sacks were always smiling when they arrived at the finish controls. Driving their Volkswagen Jetta through all the tough and twisty stages, the team had a great event and a great attitude. With a 5th place finish in 2WD they received $15 on top of the champagne for winning the California Rally Series P-Stock class.

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. 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.

Our next event is already going to see a huge field of competitors as the Prescott Rally is the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship event. This winner take all, East vs. West competition, will have the extra bonus of being a 2C event again this year. Let’s get more than 15 2WD cars on the start list so we can double the winnings! We’ll see you in Prescott, Arizona on October 2nd, or you can follow the action online with #2WDRally #USRally #PrescottRally @NASARallySport

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!

NASA Rally Sport Announces 2015 Nat’l Calendar with Video

Instead of a press release that has a bunch of dates and locations. NASA Rally Sport decided to take you to the action with their 2015 National Calendar announcement. You get to see a short clip of the flavor and in-car from each event, and you quickly realize that NRS has events all over the country, and they have a lot of them! Info and more on their website NASARallySport.com to help get you started in US Rally!

Jason Smith and Matt Brandenburg Earn National Rally Championship Titles at BRS

The woods of Upstate New York played host to two days of intense rally action last month. Black River Stages, the 2014 NASA National Rally Championship Event was held in the towns of Harrisville and Croghan on September 20-21st. A big field of rally teams from all over the country showed up to see just who would have what it takes to be the fastest on these twisty and sometimes muddy stages. Six qualifying events across the country led up to this winner-take-all event.

Jared Lantzy, Jason Smith, Elliott Sherwood, and  Matt Brandenburg

Jared Lantzy, Jason Smith, Elliott Sherwood, and Matt Brandenburg – Photo by Matthew Stryker – Stryker Rally Media

Top honors went to Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive, and Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive.

“We like to use the phrase ‘win it on the stages,’ meaning that the best racing is when driving skill alone determines the outcome, and not frivolous timing penalties or undeserved mechanical breakages,” said NASA Rally Sport East Director Anders Green. “One excellent story that I heard from the weekend was Eric Wages, sitting in second place, and Mike Reilly in third, working hard during a turnaround at repairing frontrunner Jason Smith’s car when both of them would have benefited by doing nothing. That is a dedication to the true spirit of competition that goes beyond lip service. Ultimately, it’s the racers themselves who define the level of honor and nobility that exists in a series.”

Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive

Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive – Photo by Matthew Stryker – Stryker Rally Media

In the Two Wheel Drive class, Brandenburg showed up with a well built motor; it lasted just long enough to complete the stages and not a moment more. Kevin Turner and Matthew Rhoads took second, unable to repeat their amazing performance last year where they won the rally overall. Jim Kelly and Dean Thuline completed the 2WD podium, a pair that has steadily gotten faster all year and certainly one of the top picks for podiums in 2015.

Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive

Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive – Photo by Rob Sackyta

The structure of the multiple qualifying methods was based around finding and qualifying racers who have the potential for amazing speed. However, just like the Olympics, on the day of the actual race, no one will be able to sit on their laurels, they must come out on top in that gathering of all of their speedy peers. In many racing series across the country, it is well known that simply towing the race car to enough of the events will grant you a year end trophy, but when it comes to the NASA National Rally Championship, “You can’t win it with a trailer.”

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.

Pacific Rally Cup Wraps Up with a Shake Up in AWD and 2WD at Prescott

Consisting of five events on the West Coast, the Pacific Rally Cup is awarded to the top scoring 2WD and AWD driver and co-driver for the season. Held at the scenic Prescott Rally in Arizona, this year’s PRC final event would have some surprises.

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John Trucks & Chris Fine at the Prescott narrow bridge.

In AWD, heading into the final event, Todd McAllister nearly had the season locked up with his Subaru WRX STi. With a win at High Desert Trails and a good showing at Rally Idaho, Todd McAllister and navigator Trent Bateman collected points at every PRC event this season supported by the Rallicandi team. At the Gorman Ridge Rally a serious challenger emerged when Rally Kings John Trucks and Christopher Fine took the win over McAllister in their WRX STi.

Suffering with a blown strut, and unable to match McAllister’s speed on the first day of the Prescott Rally, Trucks settled in for the weekend a minute behind and a chance to try and gain on Saturday. The two Subarus of McAllister and Trucks were 1st and 2nd overall going into Saturday morning, when they set almost identical times on the first stage, and Trucks finally took a win on stage two. His fortune was about to dramatically change when McAllister and Bateman lost a steering ball joint, narrowly escaped the posts of a cattle guard at speed, and retired on stage three. Todd remarked: “Out because of a $20 part. It sucks, but we could have done way more damage if we hit that cattle guard.”

Blowing a tire on the last stage and no doubt rattling nerves, John Trucks and Christopher Fine finished the weekend winning the Prescott Rally and the 2014 AWD Pacific Rally Cup. “This is amazing! It’s never over until it’s over,” said Trucks. The team came away with 162 points over McAllister’s 155. Third place competing at this event was Chuck Wilson with 138 points.

Tony Chavez from the air!

Tony Chavez from the air!

In 2WD it looked as though points leader Derik Nelson was the clear favorite. Derik was unable to attend, and this left the door open for Tony Chavez to “cruise to a win.” We know in rally though, things like this rarely happen. The Condor Rally Sport Team had issues just getting to the event when the service truck water pump failed and a late night replacement got them to the event in the early morning of Friday with not enough time and sleep for reconnaissance.

Setting consistent times, Tony Chavez and Raquel Salas worked hard to complete the Prescott Rally and were rewarded with the 2014 2WD Pacific Rally Cup. The team collected 164 points for the season. Tony exclaimed: “What a weekend. A lot of hard work just to get here. We’re excited to be taking home the cup!”

As this event came two weeks after the 2014 NASA National Championship runoff at Black River Stages in New York, it will also serve as a qualifying round for the 2015 NNRC. Winning the final stage at this event (the Power Stage) Duncan Smith in AWD and Markus Saarinen in 2WD instantly qualify. On the podium John Trucks and Chuck Wilson qualify for AWD. Kristopher Marciniak and Bret Robinson also qualify for the finishing on the 2WD podium. Thanks for a great 2014 season. See you next year!

John Trucks, Tony Chavez, Raquel Salas, and Christopher Fine

John Trucks, Tony Chavez, Raquel Salas, and Christopher Fine

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.

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.