Tag Archives: RWD

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!

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.

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.

2C Brings out the Competition Next Weekend at Prescott!

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NASA Rally Sport recently announced the 2C – 2WD Challenge for the 2014 Prescott Rally, and drivers from all over the country responded. Offering fierce competition and 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.

Hot off his 2014 NASA National Rally Championship win in 2WD, Matt Brandenburg, driving an e36 BMW M3, expressed interest in coming to Prescott shortly after Black River Stages last weekend! The challenge was made sweeter when Derik Nelson, an accomplished driver from the Northwest, who won 2WD at the 2014 Idaho Rally and is currently leading the points for the Pacific Rally Cup – signed up in his e36 BMW M3. This could be an incredible Bimmer showdown on the fast and flowing Prescott stages!

Markus Saarinen has been getting faster all year in his Mini Cooper. He will be recovering from a crash that removed the front right wheel and strut at the Gorman Ridge Rally a month ago. Markus will have his work cut out for him trying to get ahead of Kristopher Marciniak in his Dodge Neon. Kristopher is no stranger to Prescott and was the 2013 NNRC 2WD Champion and came in 4th overall last year to take the title. In the mix will be a Datsun 240Z driven by Brian Scott. Brian has extensive experience at this event in an AWD car, and took the 2WD class win last year.

Tony Chavez could take the Pacific Rally Cup home if Derik Nelson has issues, but Tony is driving a slower production class car for the California Rally Series. Tony made it clear though: “We already clinched the P-Stock championship. We will race for the 2WD win! No more points racing for us!” We couldn’t have said it better, this is what 2C is all about!

Bret Robinson will be looking to shake out the gremlins from Idaho and Gorman that seemed to be giving his VW Golf some trouble. Other VW Golf hardware will be driven by Erik Christiansen who came from behind to set the fastest 2WD time on the 2014 High Desert Trails Power Stage earlier this year! Roger Matthews will be coming down from Colorado with one of two Volkswagen Rally cars. He’s looking for a solid finish after his DNF at Idaho.

Some wildcards at this event include: Championship co-driver Chrissie Beavis, who pulled the family’s VW Jetta out of storage for this event. Not having driven for a few years shouldn’t mean much, as she is used to incredible speeds from the right seat in Open AWD cars. Also, Jason Lightner in a very fast Porsche 912 has been known to set some great stage times in his vintage rally machinery.

Rounding out the 2WD Competition will be Larry Gross in his Toyota Corolla, Deke Williams in a Dodge Neon, Steven Egger in a BMW 318i, and Jason Trubey in a VW Jetta. With the prize fund out to 5th place, look for any of these guys to be taking home some cash!

The stage is set for some absolutely fantastic 2WD competition. Follow live scores and text for the Prescott Rally at http://rallydata.com. On Twitter @NASARallySport #2WDRally #PrescottRally 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.

Announcing the NASA Rally Sport Two Wheel Drive Challenge – 2C

2C 2WD ChallengeThe world’s best drivers started out in small two wheel drive cars. They pushed the limits of their low-traction machines and broke records people never expected. Thousands of hours spent practicing techniques would them serve well when their cars got faster and the margin of error became smaller. For some, 2WD is a stepping stone. For others, it is the only class that matters.

NASA Rally Sport is proud to introduce the Two Wheel Drive Challenge presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports. 2C will consist of several individual events throughout the country starting with the Prescott Rally this October 3-4th. 2C events will offer a substantial $2,000+ cash purse paid out to 5th place for the fastest 2WD driver. Prescott will also award a 1 day rally school to a driver of its choosing. The 2WD Challenge is offering great competition with a simple rule: Two wheels driven.

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.

The Prescott Rally headquartered in Prescott, AZ will feature 110 stage miles over two days. This event will push 2WD competitors to maintain speed going up the long hill into Jerome and reward those who stay on the throttle coming down into the valley where top speeds will be achieved. It doesn’t happen often, but should there be precipitation, a whole new appreciation for car control will be learned. Payout is as follows for rally finishers in 2C: 1st – $1000, 2nd – $600, 3rd – $300, 4th – $100, 5th – $60. The organizers have extended the early entry deadline to Monday, September 8th 2014.

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!