Maine’s Last Ditch Racing completed an ambitious month of racing, competing in three events in four weeks, in two different countries. They clinched the 2011 Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship and two podiums in the process. Cassidy was the Eastern Regonal Open Class Champion in 2008 and 2009 as well. Driver John Cassidy of Bangor, Maine and Co-Driver Jennifer Daly from Kelowna, British Columbia started their summer season with a second place in the 11 car field R1 Rally class at the Climb to the Clouds, a hillclimb up New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Auto Road. Mt Washington is the tallest mountain on the Eastern seaboard.
First run in 1904, the Mt. Washington Hillclimb is the oldest motorsport event in the United States. Last run in 2001, Cassidy jumped at the opportunity to compete in the event. “Jennifer and I had no idea what to expect on the mountain. What we encountered was both a technical and psychological challenge. The weather and visibility were constantly changing, forcing us to push in low visibility on roads with significant exposures.” The event marked the first time that Daly and Cassidy have worked as a team since the 2008 Rallye Defi in Quebec. “We were ecstatic with a podium finish at the event, as we had no prior experience on the mountain. Having to run a restrictor in the turbo certainly kept our speeds down at altitude, but we pushed as much as we dared in the limited visibility at the top of the mountain. Our rally experience definitely served us well on the often wet surface and challenging visibility.”
The following week found the team in New Richmond, Quebec for the Rallye Baie des Chaleurs. One of LDR’s favourite Canadian events, the technical and rough stages of Baie suit Cassidy’s driving style. The team was setting solid top ten stage times on Friday night, until they had an off, striking a bridge with their Subaru STi on SS6. The front suspension suffered significant damage, and they were forced to retire from the event. “It was a bittersweet return to Canada. We had not been at Baie since 2008, and we were having a great time on stage. Jennifer and I were settling into the car and getting up to speed quite well. I came into the corner with too much speed and understeered into the bridge. It was a very heavy hit, and we were very lucky not to have done more damage to the car or ourselves.”
Two weeks on and many repairs later, the team attended their home event, the 2011 New England Forest Rally, headquartered at the Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine. The twelfth consecutive showing for Last Ditch Racing at the event, the notoriously rough roads are home for Cassidy. “The New England Forest Rally has a reputation for being rough, and this year was no exception. For some, the rocks are intimidating, but I’m used to pushing on rough events.” The rough roads were new to codriver Jennifer Daly: “During recce I was surprised by both the softness of the sand in some spots, and by the size of the painted rocks on the road, but John hasn’t missed this event in over 11 years, so I was very confident in his ability to be fast through these strange conditions.”
The National event spans both Friday and Saturday’s stages, and each day is considered a separate Regional Rally. Cassidy and Daly set quick times on Friday, but unbeknownst to them, Jason Smith and Jared Lantzy, driving LDR’s original Subaru, T-1, held a lead of 7 seconds on the LDR team going into the final stage of the night, the famous Concord Pond stage. Cassidy and Daly were unaware of their overall standing, and the team goal was to set a new personal record on Concord Pond. At the end of the stage, they had bested LDR’s stage record by 12 seconds over just 5.75 miles, and secured the win over Smith/Lantzy by 13 seconds. “Having both LDR cars on the podium was great. Concord Pond is an epic stage and we wanted to push for all the fans that come out to spectate. Taking the overall win and first in Open Class was a fantastic end to the day!”
Saturday’s regional event opened with the longest stage of the day, where the LDR team posted the fastest time of the regional competitors by nearly 1.5 minutes over Smith/Lantzy. A flat on the second stage dashed any hope of an outright victory for the day, despite setting the best time on every other stage. “We had a flat and the tire started to delaminate quite quickly. We had 5 miles left in the stage and it was a very technical section. The car wasn’t turning well and it would have been dangerous to continue. Changing a tire on stage is always costly, but sometimes it’s the best choice.” The team was awarded first in class for Saturday’s event. 2011 has been another development year for the team, with a new engine and other technical changes to the car.
The addition of Canadian co-driver Jennifer Daly to the team has also had a significant impact on LDR’s recent success. “Jennifer strapped into the co-driver’s seat like she’s always been there. The communication in the car is very good and we both feel there’s still more speed to be had on stage.” The team’s future schedule is yet to be determined and likely won’t be finalized until damage assessment is completed on the car after this difficult schedule of events. For Daly, the possibility of rejoining the LDR team is attractive: “It’s very exciting to have some success early on with a new driver and codriver match. John and the LDR crew are prepared and competitive; I was very happy to be a part of such a fun and tight knit team. When we set out to do three events in four weeks, it seemed a little crazy, but with the right people and some hard work, just about anything is possible.”
The team is appreciative of support from Mirraco, a BMX bicycle company founded by extreme athlete superstar Dave Mirra. Mirra supplied the team with his signature Bell helmets that he personally signed. Mirra is no stranger to injuries in the past and the team were able to distribute helmets to several local area fans. John and Jennifer want to extend a special thank you to their crew for 2011: Drew Gladu, Duncan Matlack, Nathan Haskell, Jon Bolduc, Zach Sennett, Cullen Gillis, Bronson Crothers, Kevin Sennett and John Cassidy V. “Rally is a truly brutal sport on the car and without the support of our talented and dedicated crew, we wouldn’t think about leaving the start line!”
The team would also like to thank Dave Heerdegen of DTECH Motorsport in New Zealand for his support in tuning the car’s engine after all the recent modifications. “Dave has been an invaluable resource for us over the past two seasons, and we owe a lot of our recent success to his hard work.”
My old timer rally mentors have always said that to be a true rally driver, one must master 2WD. It can be very easy to step into an AWD, ABS, GPS and rally computerized setup and take on the biggest TSD of the season, but this weekend, Simon and I are doing things a little differently. He’s doing all the math on paper, crunching numbers in his head, and I’m driving his beater VW with only two wheels driven and more decals than horsepower.
We ended up with a proud 63 points on the day, a true feat in paper class, until I stuffed the front end into a snowbank a few km before the end of the last scored regularity, which inflated our total to 375. Simon seems thrilled to have added slamming into snowbanks, shoveling for his life and jumping into a moving car to his list of experiences, and his newbie enthusiasm is infectious.
He’s very right to say that we’re lucky to have finished at all, given the meteorlogical tirade unleashed upon BC today. The Thunderbird entrants and volunteers faced thick, visibility sucking snow, great winds, massive snowdrifts, flash floods and torrential rain. The last regularity was cancelled, a rare change only seen in extreme conditions, and my shoulders are still in knots from the death grip I held on the steering wheel from dusk until we arrived in Kamloops.
I can’t report for certain how things stand at the top, because there’s still paperwork and time decks to be done, and it’s all very serious in the unlimited class. After even he required extraction from car 1, the rallymaster will probably be up most of the night sorting it out. I can say that our Eis Munky teammates are fairing fantastically, and we might have even been the leading team, if Simon and I hadn’t stuffed it. Glenn and R Dale are in first place, our historic entry is barely into the double digits, and our novices have only 85 points. The only Eis Munky entry that might be having more fun than Simon and I is Warwick and Izzy, who are sitting high up in the huge calculator class, with 121 points. All these results are non official, and highly subject to the rumour mill and hearsay that permeates the end of TSD day one.
We’re all looking forward to a clean start tomorrow, and it’s not impossible that the Eis Munkys could bring home the team prize, despite my intial assertion that we’re just in it for the stickers and cookies.
On my 32nd birthday, I am embracing the time we spent in the snowbanks today, and I’m proud to be pursing something that I love, despite the fact that I’m really not very good at it. Rally, maybe like most motorsports, is a fickle mistress. The highs are euphoric and rewarding, but the lows are harsh and can linger, if I choose to let them. I’m so thankful for dear codrivers and friends who remind me that finishing and enjoying the adrenaline ride are the best reasons to do it over and over again, and who really think this is epic fun, even when we don’t ‘succeed.’
As I write this, my codriver is still so dedicated and churning out endless pages of paper aiming to keep us on time for day two, and it seems clear that what matters is the stories we can hear and tell tomorrow, and the memorable and engaging company we’ve enjoyed during our crazy two day adventure on the backroads of BC. TSD rally is a wicked, thrilling way to spend a weekend, and it attracts some of my favourite people ever. This event has been a tough but lovely birthday gift, and we’re only halfway there.
After missing the exit to the City Centre and nearly ending up with a detour through Helmer stage, Simon and I arrived in Merritt tonight to get ourselves ready for TBird tomorrow. With a big entry field and lots of Alcan teammates returning, I’m really excited to drive the wheels off Simon’s newly repaired Jetta this weekend. Huge thanks to Craig Ross of Classic Auto Repair (Armstrong BC) and XRoss Motorsports for the mechanical wisdom and muscle this week.
The tone of the event was clearly set when I received the following text from Alex as we pulled into HQ:
“One of the teams brought a keg.”
Nice. I sampled some of the delicious Scottish Ale generously provided by Ryan and Jack of car 22, a flat black Volvo that I narrowly missed recruiting onto our Eis Munky RT as I lurked around the scrutineer, hoping our turn for tech would come. The beer they shared made the fact that we barely passed tech inspection that much more entertaining. Instead of the friendly Volvo team, we gained Mike and Garth in the red superbeetle as our historic entry, in a car that I’m fairly certain I’ve seen on its roof at least once in the past. It’s clear that this year’s Eis Munkys have good company, sweet decals and delicious snacks as our priorities, and my hopes are on team AFRICA for the Savoia Aero Trophy.
The one hundred competitors registered for this year’s Thunderbird TSD Rally have retired to their hotel rooms, resting up, or doing seemingly endless calculations, depending on which seat they’re riding in tomorrow. The talk at tech this evening predictably centred around the weather, in particular, rising temperatures that could turn the two day back road adventure into a messy slush fest. With showers and highs of nine degrees Celsius forecasted for Kamloops tomorrow, teams far back in the large field could be facing deep ruts and difficult conditions, and the weather would seem to favour the unlimited teams at the front end of the start order. The entry field this year features a much larger percentage of historic entries, and this class will be very competitive.
The Thunderbird TSD Rally is the most renowned and celebrated TSD in the Pacific Northwest. Teams have travelled from as far away as Arizona and Saskatchewan to rally in pursuit of perfect timing over two days and almost 400 km of challenging winter regularities. Fourteen previous winners are participating this year, including multi year winning team Satch Carlson / Russ Kraushaar, and multi year winning drivers Peter Hill and Glenn Wallace.
The 2011 Eis Munky Rally Team is a lively and complete one, with a car from every single possible class. The Eis Munky Rally Team for 2011 will be:
03 Glenn Wallace (WA) & R.Dale Kraushaar (AZ) Subaru Forester (unlimited)
29 Warwick Patterson (BC) & Izzie Egan (BC) Subaru Impreza Wagon (calculator)
32 Jennifer Daly (BC) & Simon Oakley (BC) VW Jetta (paper)
40 Jeremy Bourdon (BC) & Andrew Purnell (BC) Subaru Sti (novice)
50 Mike Palm (WA) & Garth Hales (WA) VW Superbeetle (historic)
Thunderbird will be the very first TSD for both members of the Eis Munky novice entry and Izzie, the calculator class navvie. The Thunderbird Rally has a notable history of inducting new and unsuspecting rallyists into winter driving under duress, and this weekend is likely to be no exception. In 2005 Jennifer and codriver August Ustare accumulated a massive points total after high centering on a snowbank, costing Arctic Challengers teammates Glenn and R Dale the overall team win. Six years and a 2008 Winter Alcan Adventure later, Glenn and R Dale seem to have forgiven her, as they agreed to join the 2011 Eis Munky RT. Glenn and R Dale are essentially the team anchors, and the entry most likely to succeed this weekend. The rest of the entries will be happy to finish, although Jennifer and Simon will gain at least second in class if they don’t DNF, as one of the only two entries brave enough to tackle paper class.
Car 32 will be tracked through Helios Global Tracking, and can be followed by logging in HERE.
Follow the SpecialStage.com pre event thread and updates HERE.
Twitter updates should be available under #bcrally, and if we’re not exhausted or partying, I’ll try and keep things up to date here.
In partnership with HELIOS Global Tracking, the Rally4Life team will be equipped with hardware that will be uploading information to http://www.heliosglobaltracking.com.
With login id: rally and password markzoom, users will be able to see the speed and location of the car as they follow the progress of the rally. The Rally4Life team will also be using the HELIOS system during desert training in Morocco later in October. Current event information for the Pacific Forest Rally, taking place October 1 and 2, will also be available on rallyscoring.com, and on twitter, under the hashtag #cdnrally.
Merritt is the home event for the Okanagan based team, and the stages are favourites for driver Mark Jennings-Bates, of Peachland, and codriver Jennifer Daly, of Kelowna. The Pacific Forest Rally is the fifth round of the Canadian Rally Championship, currently lead by the Subaru Canada team of Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell. It features unpredictable weather, serpentine forest roads with extreme drops and spectator stages that are very accessible to the public. Every year crowds of rally fans attend the downtown night stage, in Merritt’s city centre, to see the high powered, production based rally cars wind through the gravel course.
The best result of the 2010 season so far came at the snowy Rocky Mountain Rally in May, where the Rally4Life team placed 2nd regionally. Otherwise, the team has encountered trouble when running in podium contention, with an off for Mark and a guest codriver during the opening event of the season, and an errant rock ripping a hole in the gas tank at Mountain Trials in June. “We’re eager to get another shot at the Merritt roads, especially Helmer, after the DNF this spring,” said codriver Jennifer Daly. “We are progressing as a team and making some smart changes to the way we make pacenotes, which should improve our performance.”
Driver Mark Jennings-Bates will integrate the note changes and work hard to achieve a steady, competitive pace during the rally. “Focus is the name of the game,” said Jennings-Bates, who sticks to a rigorous training program as part of his efforts to become Canada’s top driver in the infamous Dakar rally. “I will have competed in my last triathlon the weekend prior, and my wife and I will leave right after the rally to fly first to the UK, then on to Africa. There is so much happening with the project this fall.”
In Africa, Mark and his wife Jackie will be assisting Just A Drop, a UK water relief charity, with the
installation of a sanitized water project in a remote part of Kenya. The couple will also fly to Morocco for sand dune training with Dakar veteran Mick Extance, the Rally4Life copilot for next year. “It will be a busy time for sure,” says Mark, “but very rewarding, and all of this experience helps me become a better competitor and a better advocate for the more than 1.5 billion people around the world who are dying of thirst.”
The Rally4Life Canadian team is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and competes in the Western
Canada Rally Championship and select events in the Canadian Rally Championship which is broadcast in High Definition on TSN and will be Canada’s first competitive car entry into the Dakar Rally in January 2011, driving a Bowler Nemesis.
Canadian rally driver Mark Jennings-Bates and co-driver Jennifer Daly took second place in the regional portion of Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Rally this past weekend. Thirty rally teams from across the country competed through the worst weather in over forty years. It was wet and snowy for the days preceding the event, and record precipitation and low temperatures were set during the rally. Despite the storm, the Rally4Life team camped out at the Skyline Ranch near Claresholm and prepared for a winter rally.
The hostile weather conditions made tire choice a significant factor in the outcome at Rocky. The Rally4Life team struggled through Friday’s initial stages, after selecting winter tires that turned out to be ineffective in the mixed road conditions. They ended the first day of the rally eighth regionally and fifteenth nationally. “It was less a case of multiple tire options and more a case of only one choice for a low budget team. We had to make the best of a bad situation,” said driver Mark Jennings-Bates.
After considering tire choice for Saturday’s stages carefully, the team was able to take advantage of a new tire support programme provided by Yokohama and Rocket Rally. The valuable service provides on site tire sales and mounting, and the Rally4Life team was able to mount a set of specialized mud tires in preparation for the thick, sloppy Porcupine Hills Stages. On the right tires, and with their KSport suspension setup the team had an outstanding run, despite extremely snowy and muddy conditions.
The snow, sleet or rain fell relentlessly throughout the rally, but Mark and Jennifer were able to take advantage of the challenging weather and absolutely enjoyed pushing back up through the standings. Deep snow forced the cancellation of stages and modification to the event schedule, so the rally was shorter than intended. The Rally4Life team advanced considerably, given the reduction in overall stage kilometres.
Quebec’s Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won the Rocky Mountain Rally with steady driving and wise tire choices. Squamish based Rocket Rally driver and 2009 Canadian Rally Champion Pat Richard and his codriver Alan Ockwell were second overall; the Quebec team of Bruno Carre and Yvan Joyal rounded out the national podium. Mark and Jennifer placed ninth nationally and second regionally. They shared the regional podium with first place Hardy Schmidtke and Adam Vokes, and third place JC Bourgeois and John Hall.
The hardworking Rally4Life service crew for the Rocky Mountain Rally was Dave Steeper, Alex Schubel, Eric Bauld and Jackie Jennings-Bates. The Rally4Life Team will be aiming for an overall win at their upcoming home rally, the Mountain Trials Regional Stage Rally, on June 12 in Merritt BC.
Link to Sirius Rally Team photos HERE.
Link to full results HERE.
After a busy weekend as photographer and host for the successful Runway4Life fundraiser, local rally driver Mark Jennings-Bates is ready to get back into the rally car. His team will be travelling to the Rocky Mountain National Rally outside of Calgary, Alberta, this weekend. The event has drawn thirty entries from across the country, including the Squamish, BC based Rocket Rally driver Pat Richard, who was the 2009 Canadian Rally Champion.
Rocky has a reputation for being fast and dry or wet and difficult, and features the epic Powderface stage, one of Mark’s favourite roads. Mark admits that it’s hard to know exactly what to expect until the car is on the start line: “There is a lot of competition coming from the east, especially from Quebec, so there should be some great battles. Weather is a huge factor in this event, and with rain or snow forecast for the weekend, we will need to prepare for very challenging conditions.”
For the Rocky Mountain Rally Mark will be joined by his regular codriver, Jennifer Daly, of Kelowna BC, and the team is aiming for a top ten finish. Jennifer is looking forward to competing again as an experienced team: “Mark and I haven’t been in the rally car together since we got our best result ever last October. We’ve both learned a lot from rallying with others, and I think we’re in a good position to push for our fastest pace.”
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be competing under the Rally4Life name for the 2010 season, in preparation for Mark’s entry into the 2011 Dakar Rally. The Rally4Life effort combines the adventure of a grueling international rally with the determination to raise four million dollars for charities providing clean water to communities in the developing world.
Live updates and scoring results will be available on the Rocky Mountain Rally event website, and the event will be broadcast on TSN on Sunday, June 27.
The 2010 Trail of the Gnu TSD Rally lived up to its growing reputation as a brisk, challenging and exciting event, drawing teams from as far away as Seattle, Montana and Saskatchewan. This year the roads were clear gravel or glare ice in most spots, but the conditions everyone is still talking about were the huge car sucking mud bogs and puddles that surprised teams in many places. The rallymasters were credited with creativity, a good sense of humour, and an evil streak, as the teams navigated very tight corners, multiple direction junctions and sadistic checkpoint locations.
Jennifer and Leanne started the sunny morning with an accurate odo and a lot of anticipation. The early regs were accurate and the feeling was great, but Jennifer found it hard to keep on time through the slogging mud sections by mid day. A lapse in concentration caught her out on one of the middle regs, and the car ended up high centred on a snowbank. With Leanne waving the tow rope and Jennifer frantically digging the car out, Gnu became a trap rally for the cars following: can anyone drive past two girls stuck in a snowbank? This turned out to be a very tough test for the naturally sportsmanlike TSD’rs, and every car slowed to offer assistance.
After a valiant attempt by James and Cynthia, the girls waved some 2WD cars through, and were eventually rescued by car 9, Jason and Shane, who finished just off the podium as a result of this assistance. On the first pull, their car stalled, and they stayed for a second try even after requiring a bump start from a Golf.
Trail of the Gnu is the best TSD in Western Canada. Pending availability of the right car, the Sirius Rally Team will be sure not to miss this event next year. Immense thanks to Alex for the car, Leanne for the top notch codriving and company, and to Jason and Shane for getting us back in the rally.
Link to 2010 results HERE.
Link to pics from IstaPhoto HERE.
Link to rally story by 2010 Gnu winner HERE.
(photo credit Craig Greenwell)
It’s that time of year. The weather is getting milder, the winter season is growing tiresome, and no one has had a winter rally fix since Thunderbird. The Gnu is hungry, it’s out there, and 24 brave rally teams will spend Saturday chasing it through the backroads of Alberta’s oil country. According to the event press, the Trail of the Gnu is a challenging snow, ice, and gravel navigational rally, and part of three TSD Championship series. Although hosted by the Calgary Sports Car Club, the Gnu is based out of Rocky Mountain House, and every year the stunning back roads and mountain backdrop of the area have raised both the risks and the rewards of this challenging event. The Gnu features exciting roads, challenging average speeds, and great fun with good rally people.
The Sirius Rally entry for this weekend’s Trail of the Gnu TSD Rally in Rocky Mountain House, AB, is an unusual one, because it’s an all girl team. Jennifer will be joined by the steadfast and experienced Leanne Junnila in the right seat; the pair is aiming for a class win and dreaming of an overall podium finish. Alex Schubel, organizer of the Big White Rally Weekend and honourary Sirius Rally Team member, has generously put up his 1998 Impreza for a TSD thrashing to help the girls achieve their goals.
Last year’s Gnu was a rally driver’s dream, and a snowy wonderland, where Jennifer and Leanne placed second overall. Word has gotten out about the high calibre of this event since then, and the current entry field is very competitive, including some past Winter Alcan buddies from the US. Just like last year, there is snow in the forecast for Friday, so luck may blanket the roads with true winter conditions for Saturday’s rally. Last year’s overall winners, the Hills, are absent from this year’s entry list, but the third place driver, in a pickup truck, has returned, and there are many other experienced teams capable of putting in a competitive performance. The field is travelling to Rocky Mountain House from as far away as Seattle, and Saskatchewan.
The event schedule is suited to a good afterparty, where everyone sleeps in the same place, and that’s always a big part of the fun for the Sirius Rally Team. Hopefully the girls will have great stories to tell and something to celebrate by the time they pull into the HQ Saturday night!
Link to event website HERE.
Link to last year’s Gnu photos from Sirius Rally Team HERE.
Where service is available in Rocky Mountain House, the team will be tweeting live updates as the Gnu unfolds, which can be followed by clicking on the Twitter link on this site, or by searching #cdnrally on Twitter.
The updated schedule for the Canadian Rally Championship on TSN has been released:
Wed Oct 21 01:30 / Fri Oct 23 04:00 / Fri Oct 23 13:30
Pacific Forest Rally
Sat Oct 24 11:30 Wed Oct 28 01:30 Wed Oct 28 12:30
(24 hour Eastern Time; check local listings for confirmation)
The Sirius Rally blog will be quiet for a few months while the team prepares for the first annual Big White Winter Rally, a full stage rally presented by Valley Mitsubishi at the Big White Ski Resort, and hosted by the West Coast Rally Association. The event will feature a snowX similar to last year, which rally cars will run as a super special, plus four snowy forest stages, totaling over 100km of stage distance.
Link to the Big White Rally Weekend HERE.
Local Prescribed Burn Rally Team driver Mark Jennings-Bates and co-driver Jennifer Daly achieved their best ever national finish and second overall in the regional at this year’s Pacific Forest Rally on October 3 in Merritt, BC.
After an exciting and competitive event, the team took a well deserved regional podium for the first time in their new 2004 STi rally car. The rally started well for the duo on the Friday night stages, as the team adapted to the new KSport gravel suspension, which was tested heavily at the event, and provided consistent and conﬁdent handling.
Even in the dark, Friday night proved to be very fast; this trend continued for the whole event and ended with Subaru Canada’s Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell destroying the stage record on Helmer in the dark on Saturday. With mud, snow and fog during the early recce portion, choosing tires was a significant challenge, but the conditions improved dramatically by the time the cars were on stage, and PFR 2009 turned into one of the fastest Merritt rallies in history.
The PBRT service crew were professional and effective, and kept the team in the hunt for a strong ﬁnish; however, the last 150km of the event were run without any power steering, a big challenge for driver Mark Jennings-Bates: “Now I will stop whining at my strength and conditioning coach, Leanne Manlove at Pinnacle Elite Athlete, about all the strength work she is making me do. I really needed to work hard to keep the car on the road for the last two stages, but thankfully we did not drop much time and gained a place in the process. I guess the training is paying off!” Codriver Jennifer Daly was also very busy at the weekend, as the stages were fast and adapting delivery timing to a greatly increased pace can be very challenging. “We certainly came out of the ﬁrst stage with a good pace” said Daly, adding “on Saturday we hit a jump and seemed to be in the air for several seconds, which was intense, and a total thrill. Our service crew was reliable and we owe a big part of the success this weekend to them”.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team’s newest driver Craig Ross and codriver John Hall took the start line for the first time ever at PFR. Craig’s objective for his first rally was to finish, which he did, setting some very competitive stage times along the way. A puncture and necessary tire change cost the new team in overall time, but Craig clearly demonstrated that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
PFR was the first successful rally for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team in over a year. Mark and Jennifer finished 5th overall nationally and 2nd overall regionally. Craig and John finished 12th overall regionally, despite their puncture!
The PBRT service crew for PFR consisted of Dave Hood, Anthony Evans, Reagan Ritchie and Devon Crosby. The next event on the calendar for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be the all new Big White Winter Rally, taking place on December 5, 2009 at the Big White Ski Resort.
Link to 2009 Pacific Forest Rally results HERE.
Link to the Big White Rally Weekend homepage HERE.
(car photo credit Kurt Schantz)
Spectator guides with all the details regarding the location and timing for this weekend’s Pacific Forest National Stage Rally in Merrit are available at the following locations:
Agar Auto Body, Westbank (PBRT Sponsor)
Big-O Tires, Westbank (PBRT Sponsor)
Dan’s Tires, Kelowna
Valley Mitsubshi, Kelowna (CRC Contingency Sponsor)
Wyatt Auto Parts, Kelowna (PBRT Sponsor)
The stage schedule for the 2009 Pacific Forest Rally has been posted, and the rocky, tricky Sheep Mab stage is returning to the rotation. Friday will be multiple runs through Comstock stage, with its infamous hairpin and tarmac into tunnel sections, plus the downtown Railyard Mall stage for the spectators. Absent on this year’s schedule is Princeton Cutoff, but with three runs through Nicola stage, there will be plenty of cheek clenching exposure for the rally teams to brave. The spectator friendly AMR and Helmer stages complete the schedule.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be competing in the Pacific Forest Rally on October 2, 2009. This will be the first event for the team as a two car entry, with Craig Ross in Mark’s old Talon for his debut rally drive!
Volunteers are still needed for the event. See the PFR homepage below.
Link to PFR stage schedule HERE.
Link to PFR homepage HERE.
The final day of Targa Newfoundland 2009 started in Marystown, and competitors made their way back to St.
John’s through a number of stages. Weather was not cooperative today. Rain was constant, and the forecast called for 30-40 mm over the day.
One of our stages ended up being cancelled as the schedule fell further and further behind as the weather required downgraded speeds all day.
Final results should be available soon on Targa Newfoundland website.
Today started at a beautiful little town on the Burin Peninsula called Harbour Mille. Cars ran into the town, breakfast was served at the fire hall, and then the stage was run in reverse. Following that we went to one of my teammate’s mother’s homes for lunch in Lewin’s Cove. Afterwards we worked the finish control at the stage through Marystown.
We got off to an early start this morning, as we were working one of the first stages of the day. Another two competitors went out on the Frederickton-Carmanville, although one managed to get going just as sweep was approaching, and finished the stage, getting a terrible score.
We took a little tour around the Kittiwake coast after our assignment as we had a fair bit of time to make it to our next post. Fantastic scenery in all directions.
We ended the day in North West Brook with a stage that had to be split into two sections due to major construction part way through. Suffice it to say, the construction was warranted.
Today the first stages were run. I woke up with a fine hangover because I have not yet learned to not try to keep up with the English in the pub – the service crew for the cars I posted yesterday just happened to be there.
Today’s stages were not scored. It was a sort of test day / familiarization course for the competitors. Despite this, the day was not without incident. Car 906, the factory supported STi, driven by Marc LaChapelle & codriven by Keith Townsend, was involved in an off road excursion resulting in a precautionary trip to the hospital for the crew. They were checked out and are fine. Last I heard, they are in need of a steering wheel hub in order to complete repairs.
The combination of jet lag and sleep deprivation has resulted in a feeling of disorientation like no other. I got a basic tour of the St. John’s area from my gracious host which included a jaunt out to Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America.
I met with the rest of the volunteers today, got the standard package of stuff, had a little bit of time to check out the competitors that were on display, and saw a couple of gorgeous twins (see picture.) Now it’s time for a nap…
Alex here. I’ll be volunteering this year at Targa Newfoundland. I’ll be working as a radio operator, and should have an interesting perspective. Keep posted here for updates from ‘The Rock.’ I’ll do my best to provide as many updates and photos as time will allow.
Now to get there…
Check out the official Targa Newfoundland website for information about the event.
Ben and Jennifer started the second day of the Oregon 1000 under duress, when they realized, on their way to the first regularity, that the rally computer was not working. After couple of stops at curbside repair ramps, Ben was able to fix the problem, but the team was very late and forced to take a time deck. They ended up disorganized and frazzled through the first reg, taking on maximum points at one checkpoint and hefty early points at another, effectively putting them out of contention for the event.
After the chaos subsided, the fun began. Ice cream, thunderstorms, water balloons and good rally friends became the highlights of the day. As the rally progressed through the twisty, rolling roads of the Oregon backcountry, the weather cleared and Ben and Jennifer got back on track, improving their scores and working as a successful unlimited team.
The end of rally party took place on a lovely shaded patio in Hood River, OR as teams shared stories of spinning out, close calls, flat tires and even some scoring concerns, including an unresolved balking penalty. After the awards, Alex joined Ben and Jennifer back in Portland, where a final water balloon fight temporarily remedied the intense heat that had gripped the Pacific Northwest for the previous weeks, and the first Oregon 1000 was over for the Sirius Rally Team.
No online results have been posted.
Link to Sirius photos HERE.
Jennifer and Ben survived the first day of the Oregon 1000, accumulating a total of 24 points. The first place teams has 12 (Kraushaars), 13 (Smith/Song) and 16 (Webster/Harer), with three others close to the Sirius rally total. Few teams finished the day without a challenge or a story to tell; for Jennifer and Ben it was a haunted rally computer that dropped the count mid-regularity, leaving them with no information for 3 miles. They were very lucky to take only 5 points at the next checkpoint, the highest single score during their day. Other teams got lost, had serious computer issues, the wrong in times or rally times; another team burnt out and replaced an alternator at the roadside. The most memorable roads were twisty, elevation changing tarmac trails through state forests. Thunderstorms with pounding rain and hail, dramatic lightning and winds followed the teams throughout the afternoon.
Sunday will feature more gravel, and Jennifer and Ben will be focused on catching the teams close in the points totals, and getting a few more zeros before the final control.
This year’s SnoGit TSD featured miles of twisty and scenic tarmac roads through the lush forests and farmlands of Washington’s Skagit County, designed by Jack Heppes and the Olympic Rally Competition Association. The speeds were lively; teams were kept busy searching for do it yourself checkpoint markers along the regularities and negotiating tricky sections with multiple tight corners. Main roads busy with summer recreational traffic were challenging for some competitors, and with a large number of novice teams participating, many of the regularity starts were busy and interesting, with multiple cars leaving on the same minute.
After a sunny day of TSD competition, SnoGit concluded with a spirited uphill transit, followed by hearty barbeque and storytelling at Lake Tyee. The results were tallied, and the rally ended up as an extremely close battle between seasoned veterans and teams quite new to the unlimited class. Three teams finished with a total of 14 points, with two more teams close behind at 15 and 16 points. The three-way tie was broken by totaling zeroes, and the practiced elders came out on top. Don Gibson and Mike Workman took first overall with 9 zeroes, Michael Daily and Tom Palidar finished second overall with 8 zeroes, followed by Jennifer Daly and Ben Bradley in third overall with 7 zeroes, as their first outing with Jennifer driving in unlimited. Also fairly new to the unlimited class, SOP experts Steve Perret and Kathryn Hansen finished in fourth, only one point behind the overall leaders. Joel McLaughlin and Chris Ringhofer won the equipped class, Terry and Arlene Nickels took first in SOP and Tom and Tate Matthews were the top novices.
This was the largest SnoGit ever, with 26 entries. Many teams traveled from British Columbia, drawn by the inclusion of SnoGit in a new novice TSD series created by Jim Bowie from the West Coast Rally Association. The entrants spanned over five decades in age range and featured an interesting variety of vehicles, including rentals, demos, the usual contingent of Subarus and a pickup truck. At the finish, many teams were already talking about their preparations for the upcoming Oregon 1000 TSD rally, a longer gravel event with an impressive entry list featuring the most competitive TSD teams in the Pacific Northwest.
Link to full results HERE.
Link to Sirius photos HERE.
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
PBRT Become Spectators After Mechanical Troubles Force Early End to Rocky
June 1st, 2009 – The Prescribed Burn Rally Team was only one and a half stages into the Rocky Mountain National Rally when the engine of their 2004 Subaru STi overheated, taking them out of competition after less than 20 stage kilometers. Although the sweep truck was able to return the car to the service for assessment by the crew, they were not able to isolate the problem, and the team opted to retire rather than risk terminal engine failure that was likely inevitable if they attempted to continue.
With the PB rally car stowed on the trailer, the team was free to spectate the rest of the event, which featured rally teams from Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The main spectator area was crowded with rally fans from across Canada, cheering and enjoying the sunshine as the rally cars roared though a challenging section of stage featuring an acute corner and texas gate. The event was lead from early on by Canadian Champions Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell, who took first overall. The battle for first in the two wheel drive class was eventually won by Eric Grochowski and Leanne Junnila, who managed to nurse their 1996 VW Golf through the majority of the last stage and to the final control with only three wheels on the car. They had been in close competition with Manitobans Jan and Jody Zedril, who lead the their class until they rolled their Mitsubishi on the eighth special stage.
Mark and Jennifer were joined by Craig Ross and Alex Schubel as service crew for this year’s Rocky; they are also indebted to Regan Ritchie and Dave Steeper for their mechanical knowledge and preparation efforts leading up to the rally. The 2009 Rocky Mountain National Rally will be broadcast on TSN June 20th. The Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be busy rebuilding the engine in preparation for their next event, the Mountain Trials Regional Stage Rally, taking place in Merritt, BC on June 12th and 13th.
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Local Team Takes on National Competition at Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Rally
May 20, 2009 – The Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be traveling to Alberta to compete in their first national event of the 2009 rally season, the epic Rocky Mountain Rally, taking place on the ranchland roads outside of Calgary May 28-30. This will be the second outing for the team’s new 2004 Subaru STi rally car, which has received suspension and brake upgrades since the team’s open class win at the Cochrane winter rally in March.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is aiming to improve upon their 2008 result of 6th overall. Driver Mark Jennings-Bates is looking forward to giving the new car its first hard drive on the fast, open Alberta roads: “We were happy with last year’s finish, but it was a learning experience for us. This year we are better prepared, with the right tires and more knowledge. We’re planning on pushing our limits from the very first stage, and staying in close battles with some of the eastern teams that finished just ahead of us last year.” Rocky is a particular challenge for codrivers, because it is run on computer generated ‘Jemba’ notes, a vast difference from most events, where teams are permitted to generate their own pace notes. With a new rally computer in the car, codriver Jennifer Daly is feeling confident: “Two years ago Rocky was the first event for Mark and I as a team, and we’ve come a long way since. The car is well equipped and we are working well together; I think we’ll be able to push harder and use the Jemba notes more effectively than in the past.”
The Rocky Mountain National Rally will be broadcast on TSN this fall as part of the televised Canadian National Rally Series. The event draws rally teams from across Canada, including the 2008 championship winning Rocky Rally Team, lead by Patrick Richard. The 2009 Rocky Mountain Rally begins on stage roads familiar to the teams from other regional Alberta events, and features a head to head super special at the Race City Speedway on Friday night.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is a performance stage rally team based in British Columbia’s Okanagan valley. Driver Mark Jennings-Bates and co-driver Jennifer Daly compete in an open class Subaru WRX STi, supported by a dedicated team of local volunteers. For 2009 the Prescribed Burn Team will be striving to win the Western Canadian Rally Championship. Mark Jennings-Bates is also endeavouring to raise millions of dollars for charity as part of his bid to be the first Canadian driver to enter the infamous Dakar Rally in 2011.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is sponsored by BCResortHomes.com, Agar Paint & Autobody, BigO Tire in Westbank, Aerius Engineering, Wyatt Auto Parts, Kelowna Moving Centre, Provisiondata.com, The Great Canadian Oil Change and Bell Racing. The team is supported by K96.3FM, Castanet.net and Green Couch Designs.
(as reported by PBRT media)
Follow the Prescribed Burn Rally Team @ Rocky via twitter (link on right) or check out FlatOverCrest.com for all the rally tweets….
TSN will be running the entire 2008 CRC season as a leadup to the 2009 shows:
2008 Rallye Perce-Neige – Maniwaki, Quebec: Mon Jun 08 09 05:00
2008 Rocky Mountain Rally – Calgary, Alberta: Mon Jun 08 09 05:30
2008 Baie des Chaleurs – Richmond, Quebec: Tue Jun 09 09 05:00
2008 Rallye Defi – Ste. Agathe, Quebec: Tue Jun 09 09 05:30
2008 Pacific Forest Rally – Merritt, British Columbia: Wed Jun 10 09 05:00
2008 Rally of the Tall Pines – Bancroft, Ontario: Sat Jun 13 09 05:00
2008 Year In Review – Sat Jun 13 09 05:30
2009 Air Dates:
2009 Rallye Perce-Neige – Maniwaki, Quebec: Sat Jun 13 09 11:30 Premiere
2009 Rocky Mountain Rally – Calgary, Alberta: Sat Jun 20 09 11:30 Premiere
(as reported on SpecialStage)
The 2009 Trail of the Gnu Rally around Rocky Mountain House, AB in late March turned out to be a true winter driving adventure for Sirius driver Jennifer and her new teammate codriver Leanne. The first outing for the all girl team was a super fun, spirited and lucky drive, with challenging slippy and deep snow roads, and the rex’s wheels leaving the ground on more than one occasion.
The team had the privilege of starting directly behind rallymaster Taisto and his accomplished right seat Jim, who provided a lot of advice and encouragement, as well as great racing lines, throughout the event. Organizers Eric and Kris have built Gnu into the premiere TSD in AB; indeed, the Gnu roads rivaled any of the Alcan regularities, except for Blackwater, and were some of the best times Jennifer has ever had at a TSD. After a bit of a rough start as the new team sorted out how to work together, the points stayed low, with the exception of overestimating the difficulty of a series of hairpins and coming in early, and stuffing the car into the deep snow on a narrow section. Luckily, on the reg where the team got stuck disruptive locals caused havoc for the cars behind, and it ended up being an unscored section. Even luckier, the team put the car in the bank on such a narrow road that the next cars could not pass and were eager to pull them out quickly. Many thanks to Richard and Helen for getting the rex back on the road with their 1974 BMW!
After the off, the codriving was impeccable and the rest of the rally flew by, highlighted by a zero through a challenging hairpin series, and an impressive ‘jump’ over one of the final cattle guards. Veterans Peter and Geoff Hill took the overall win, besting Jennifer and Leanne by only two points! Unfortunately, the newly formed team will be unable to contest for the 2009 RallyWest TSD title because of the untimely crash and writeoff of the Rex in late April.
Link to results HERE.
Link to istaphoto.com event photos HERE
Link to Sirius event photos HERE.
The new Prescribed Burn 2004 Subaru STI left its tarmac circuit racing history in the dust this weekend at its first rally, the Cochrane Regional Rally of the Ranchlands in Alberta. This year’s Cochrane Rally, the first round of the Western Canadian Championship, began as a pure snow and ice winter event, with some teams ending up in the snowbanks multiple times, and ended as a warm sunny spring rally with a great finish for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team.
On the first few morning stages, driver Mark Jennings-Bates had his hands full keeping the new car, with its still stock suspension and non rally tires, on the slippy winter roads. Other teams struggled for grip as well, including the first car out, which ended up in the snowbank on the first stage. By the long mid day service the Chinook arch was high in the sky, and the temperature was rising rapidly. The Prescribed Burn service crew worked hard and solved a list of problems that cropped up throughout the morning, giving Mark and Jennifer a chance to test out the new car in earnest during the second half of the rally. With the temperature above freezing, the worn winter tires found more grip and the team returned to rally pace, enjoying settling in to the new car.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team’s 2009 Cochrane Rally was an eventful one, with new car teething troubles, stopping on stage to pull another competitor out of the snowbank, and penalties incurred when they spun 360 degrees backwards through a chicane, obliterating most of the elements. The detailed results are not yet available, but without the estimated five minutes they lost to these challenges the Prescribed Burn team would have been in an overall podium position. By the last leg of the rally the team was consistently setting competitive stage times, enough to and take first place in open class and fifth overall. The next event on the PBRT calendar is the Rocky Mountain National Rally in Alberta in May.
1 – #4 Hardy Schmidke Adam Vokes 1:07:21 1
2 – #2 Eric Grochowski Leanne Junnila 1:09:42 2
3- #11 Onur Tezcan Aaron Neumann 1:10:43 3
4- #9 Jared Powell-Williams Mark Uhlmann 1:12:45 4
5 – #3 Mark Jennings-Bates Jennifer Daly 1:14:49 5
6 – #7 Graham Bruce Ryan Warrington 1:15:51 6
7 – #8 Neil Wright Lorna Wright 1:16:37 7
8 – #12 Jim Gemmell John Gemmell 1:17:53 8
9 – #10 Mehran Arefi Dan McLean 1:21:01 9
10 – #1 Colin Armstrong Jason Thain 1:30:02 10
— #5 Brian Maplethorpe John Hall DNF – Max Late
— #6 Ken Maydaniuk Chris Maydaniuk DNF – Off road
Link to detailed results HERE.
The new Prescribed Burn 2004 Subaru STI will take its first rally start at round one of the Western Canadian Rally Championship this weekend. The PBRT service crew has been hard at work converting the street prepped STI into a tough and stage ready open class rally car.
Last year’s Cochrane rally was the first event as the lead rally car for the Prescribed Burn team, an added challenge for still novice codriver Jennifer, and a substantial disadvantage in the winter conditions. As first car out the Prescribed Burn Impreza cleared the way for the later entries, sweeping the untouched snowy stages at a slower pace. The team will be looking to improve upon the 2008 result of fifth overall, and aiming to adapt to and show off the new STI.
Link to the Cochrane website with entry list and schedule HERE.
Good luck to all the WCRC competitors, as the race for the 2009 title begins!
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team enlisted the help of trusted graphic designer Cynthia Frenette, the artist behind the Sirius Rally Logo, to update their logo for the 2009 season. The Okanagan rally team is beginning to attract local commercial and media attention; it has also added a second rally car to the team for 2009, and everyone wanted a logo that reflected the team’s growth and success. Thanks to Cynthia for an eye-catching professional that reflects the flare and fun at the core of the Prescribed Burn Rally Team.
Link to Green Couch Designs HERE.
The current PBRT website will be updated to fit the new logo soon, hopefully before the team’s first event of the season, Cochrane Rally of the Ranchlands, on March 1st.
The Okanagan and environs became the partly sunny playground for the biggest TSD rally of the season this past weekend, where almost fifty rally cars took on the snow, ice and bare gravel roads in pursuit of the 38th Thunderbird title.
Our Thunderbird Rally adventure began in the ranchlands outside of Merritt, sailing through the sweeping corners of the Minnie Lake regularity. I’m pretty sure this reg has been cancelled in years past because of flooding, but this year we just sailed over huge glass ice puddles that covered many spots on the long straights, maintaining our speed and line effortlessly. Apparently the ice broke and the conditions deteriorated as the rally progressed, resulting in front end damage and a very early retirement for the 1967 Volo Eis Munky lead team. The second Eis Munky paper class entry was reported off on the same reg, eliminating the team from contention.
The hairpin checkpoint we were assigned on Sunday was the most eventful of the rally, as almost half the field ran into some sort of trouble negotiating the steep, acute L turn.
With provisional scores posted, the 1969 Saab of driver Satch Carlson and codriver Russ Kraushaar was in the top position, repeating their 2007 victory.
Link to Sirius RT event photos HERE.
Link to Eis Munky Brian’s photos HERE.
Link to event results HERE.
Hairpin video to follow….
The Sirius WRX Wagon will be traveling the back roads of BC this weekend as part of the Thunderbird TSD Rally. Over forty teams from the Prairies to the Pacific Northwest, including seasoned stage rally veterans and a herd of newbies in shiny Subarus, will be competing for the Thunderbird Title.
Without a dedicated TSD rally budget for 2009, Jennifer and August are volunteering for the weekend, and looking forward to some serious winter driving and Subaru rescuing. Jennifer will be trying out the PBRT twitter rally setup, sending mobile updates from the road, and the Sirius team’s location will be available via August’s Spot tracker @ whereisaugust.com. Check the Twitter link in the side column of the Sirius team site for twitter updates.
The Eis Munky Rally Team will be attempting to defend its team title from last year, with founding members Gil Stuart and Chris Peake leading the team in Gil’s historic class 1967 Volvo 123GT. The 2009 Eis Munky Team continues its tradition of including a paper class entry with Washingston’s Steven Kang and Greg Hightower in their 98 Subaru Outback Sport. The third Eis Munky team will be an unlimited class 2000 Subaru Impreza piloted by veteran rally fans and organizers Max Vaysburg and Tony Latham.
GO EIS MUNKY RT!!
As a bit of catchup, here’s the link to the recap of the superfun events at Big White before Christmas, hosted by the Prescribed Burn Rally Team:
The second stage test day to be organized in the Okanagan opened the event, with four rally cars out testing and playing in the snow. The next test day is tentatively scheduled for Saturday March 21st, and the Prescribed Burn Team plans to host another Big White Rally Weekend in early December 2009.
Cochrane Regional Rally of the Ranchlands – Feb 28-Mar 01, Cochrane AB
Ski2Sea Relay Race – April 19, Kelowna BC
Rocky Mountain National Rally – May 29–31, Calgary AB
Mountain Trials Regional Stage Rally – June 13-14, Merritt BC
Bighorn Regional Stage Rally – August 15-16, Edmonton AB
Pacific Forest National Stage Rally – October 2-4, Merritt BC
Kananaskis Regional Stage Rally – November 7-8, Kananaskis AB
After a successful 2008 season, culminating in the Western Canadian Open Class Title, the Prescribed Burn Rally Team will focus on the Western Canadian Rally Championship exclusively for its 2009 season. This rally series begins in March, but the team is currently working on a number of preseason efforts, including prepping and testing a new car, creating a new website, and initiating new team members.
“Last season was a real roller coaster and a big learning year for everyone,” reflects codriver Jennifer Daly. “We had record results, but also some crashes and frustrating mechanical troubles. Despite the trials, we won open class and placed third overall, and we are heading into this season as a more tightly knit, experienced, and determined rally team.”
As his rally team evolves, driver and team founder Mark Jennings-Bates regards the season ahead with excitement and growing confidence: “The profile of rally as an action sport is increasing: both the Canadian National Series and the Dakar Rally are getting mainstream television coverage, and we’re seeing more and more spectators, sponsors and new drivers coming to rally. As part of this momentum, we intend to take our team to a higher level of performance and exposure in 2009,” says Jennings-Bates. “We are focused on winning the Western Canadian Rally Championship.”
As part of this pursuit, the team will be upgrading to a faster rally car, a 2004 Subaru STI. The PBRT service crew of local volunteers will be hard at work preparing the new car for the team’s first event of the season, Alberta’s Cochrane Regional Rally of the Ranchlands on March 1st.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is a performance rally team based in British Columbia’s Okanagan valley. The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is sponsored by AGAR Paint and Autobody, Big O Tires Westbank, Wyatt Auto Parts, The Vault Sign & Design, Realtors at The Grand, K96.3FM, and Provisiondata.com; the team is supported by the Horie Family, Bell Racing, Driver’s Edge Autosports, Kelowna Moving Centre, Great Canadian Oil Change and Green Couch Designs.
PBRT Media Release 02/03/2008
An unusually heavy week of rain descended upon Calgary, Alberta just in time for the 2008 Rocky Mountain Stage Rally, creating challenging conditions for the organizers, teams and volunteers. The second round of the Canadian National series had thirty four entries and showcased new contingency programs and factory support from Subaru and Mitsubishi.
As teams traveled out to the first stages, a rare short break in the rain occurred and Mark and Jennifer flew through the familiar roads without incident. By the first reseed they had moved ahead of their usual regional competition, and just in behind the funded factory teams. The third stage of the rally was the longest and a favourite of Mark’s; although turbo problems had prevented the team from truly taking the stage in the past, this time they pushed hard and drove Powderface all out. On the transit back to Calgary two top teams were stopped on the roadside, and another was left on stage with a blown motor. This attrition put the Prescribed Burn Team in the running for a top five National finish.
The impact of the weather was apparent early in the rally when flooding forced the cancellation of the short spectator stages. In lieu of the planned gravel course, the organizers devised a head to head, WRC style tarmac super special for the spectators expected at the Race City Speedway on Friday night. Despite the downpour, a sizeable crowd equipped with cameras and umbrellas turned up to see the teams and cars at service and on the track. The Prescribed Burn Team ended day one in fifth place overall, its highest National standing ever. Mark and Jennifer aimed to carry the speed and composure they attained on the Powderface stages into the Porcupine Hills, despite the torrential rain and rumours of car-sucking mud on Saturday’s tricky and technical stages.
The Prescribed Burn Team started day two by setting fourth fastest times on the first two stages, moving them ahead of Mitsubishi teams from Quebec. Mark and Jennifer were surprised at how well they fared since they battled thick fog and confusion about chicane placement on the first stage. At the first service the focus was on tires, and many teams were changing to new gravel tires or narrow mud tires. Deep mud and rocks on the next two tight, narrow stages cost the team time and a lot of tire wear, but they managed to lose only one position.
Mark drove at the very edge for the grip and the conditions over the last two stages, but their closest competitors with mud tires gained ground. The Prescribed Burn Team finished the Rocky Mountain Rally in sixth overall, also collecting important points as the second place novice entry. Patrick Richard and Alan Ockwell won the event for the Rocket Rally Team in their new Subaru Canada WRX STI.
According to co-driver Jennifer Daly, the rally was a success: “I’m very happy with our performance and I think we are steadily progressing as a team. We were consistent and we are gaining confidence; sixth overall is an outstanding result. We relied heavily on our volunteer service crew to maintain the car and especially the tires at this event. They were dedicated and steadfast despite the terrible cold, wet, muddy conditions they endured all weekend.” Dave Hood, Eric Bauld, Alex Schubel and Dave Steeper were in attendance as service crew for Rocky.
Over the course of the event, the rain flowed in rivers across the transit roads and into culverts on stage, creating huge puddles that splashed into the roof vents and engines of the rally cars, forcing at least one retirement. The Canadian National series is being filmed to air on TSN in the fall, and according to the veteran rally videographers, the 2008 Rocky conditions were the worst ever.
After reviewing the stage times, driver Mark Jennings-Bates summarized his performance: “We set a competitive pace on Friday and maintained it for the Saturday morning stages. The mud got thicker and deeper as the day progressed, and against other teams with specialized mud tires, we lost precious seconds and dropped in the overall final standings. There are well equipped new or returning teams on the Western Canadian circuit and we’re looking forward to some close battles this season.” With new rivalries brewing, the team will begin preparation for its next outing, the Mountain Trials Regional Stage Rally, taking place in Merritt BC on June 13 & 14. Mountain Trials is a home event for the team and they will be driving hard for a podium finish.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is supported by BCResortHomes.com, Agar Paint & Autobody, BigO Tire in Westbank, OkanaganVisitor.ca, Provisiondata.com, Stacy Screen Print, Kelowna Moving Centre, Wyatt Autoparts, Wishbone Industries, The Great Canadian Oil Change and Bell Racing.
The Prescribed Burn Rally Team had an action packed weekend at the historic Olympus Rally in Pomeroy WA. The first US event for the team was a challenging mix of smooth ridgeline roads and tight corners in and out of grassland valleys, with some teams reaching speeds near 200 km/h. The rally was centred at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, where driver Mark Jennings-Bates, codriver Jennifer Daly and service crew Dave Hood, Alex Schubel, Dave Steeper and Eric Bauld enjoyed the old fashioned small town generosity of the host community. The Olympus Rally has a historic past as one of the oldest rallies in America, and as a previous World Rally Championship event.
On Saturday the first regional rally came to a sudden end for the Prescribed Burn Team less than two miles into the second stage. The car slid slightly wide on an acute loose gravel corner; the soft bank edge fell out from under it and the car landed at the bottom of the steep outside ditch. Unharmed, Mark and Jennifer scrambled out of the gulley to await the course closing crew, who capably extracted the rally car and notified the rest of the team. Determined to continue, Mark drove the car back out of the stage in reverse, with two flat tires, bent rims and a crooked front wheel. At the stage entry they were rescued by their service crew, who towed the car back to the fairgrounds to assess the damage. A few hours of hard work and some spare parts got the car repaired in time to reenter the second regional rally, a commendable achievement for the volunteer service crew.
The early crash was not the end of the trouble for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team. Turbo problems caused them to limp through the first stage after the restart, effectively putting them out of podium contention. This problem was tackled in the later stages and resolved by the last day of the event, where the team came within seconds of reaching the maximum average speed allowed on the final stage. They also bested some well known drivers of large budget factory teams. Mark and Jennifer gained confidence using pace notes and they were able to test the limits of the rally car; working under time constraints and getting the car back into the rally were valuable experiences for the service crew.
DC Shoes founder Ken Block won the national rally for the Subaru USA team; Mark and Jennifer placed 6th overall in the second regional. The team traveled to the Olympus Rally as part of their preparation for their first national event of 2008, Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Rally in May.
Link to the Olympus Rally website HERE.
The first event of the 2008 series, Perce-Neige Maniwaki, has been aired on RDS and is now available at flatovercrest.com, in association with CARS and TV2Go. The English version will be on TSN this fall.
The next event on the CARS calendar is the Rocky Mountain National Stage Rally in May. The Prescribed Burn Rally Team will be competing at the Olympus Regional Stage Rally in April as part of their preparation for Rocky.