by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Swoboda

It was a closely fought battle, but Seamus Burke and Martin Brady managed to come out victorious over Michael Hooper and Alison LaRoza in the 2-Wheel Drive standings at last week’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally, the fourth round on the 2018 Rally America National Championship calendar. When all was said and done, Burke’s 2:11:06.4 was good enough for the class victory, as well as fourth place overall; Hooper would place just over two minutes behind, still good for an overall top five.

The early stages of the rally saw the pair of 2WD entries trade the top times in their class, with a 40-second service penalty to Hooper assessed on the first service making the biggest difference. Without the penalty, Hooper would have ended Friday’s action in the lead by 2.7 seconds; instead, Burke would hold a 37.3-second advantage going into the final seven stages on Saturday.

Stage 16, Lake Road East, became infamous on Saturday for claiming a number of entries, and most of the 2WD competitors took it carefully. But Burke and Brady demonstrated why they’re such a revered pairing in the rally community with a heroic drive to fourth on the stage. At 4:50.2, they were only 15.5 seconds off Piotr Fetela’s overall stage-leading time, and less than 10 seconds back of Tim Rooney in second place. Chris Greenhouse and Danny Norkus were the only other 2WD entry to post a top-10 time on the stage.

With 24 entries in the event, including both Group 5 and Group 2 cars, the 2WD class still produced the highest number of finishers of any in the event with 17. Third-place 2WD finishers Justin Mason and Ryan Dunham were the best of the Group 2 drivers, ranking 14th overall.

A pair of B-spec drivers also entered SOFR this year, with Chris Sladek and Alex Schum besting Doug Gekiere and Matthew Hoffman in their Honda Fit. Sladek’s overall time of 2:25:21.2 was good for 17th overall in the rally.

2-Wheel Drive finishers from last weekend’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally are as follows:

  1. Seamus Burke/Martin Brady, 2:11:06.4 (4th overall)
  2. Michael Hooper/Alison LaRoza, 2:13:09.2 (5th overall)
  3. Justin Mason/Ryan Dunham, 2:20:47.7 (14th overall)
  4. Gustavo Garrido/Nathan Werner, 2:27:11.4 (20th overall)
  5. Justin Kollien/Daniel Garant, 2:27:20.2 (21st overall)
  6. Keanna Erickson-Chang/Alex Gelsomino, 2:27:31.0 (22nd overall)
  7. Gregory Healey/Jimmy Brandt, 2:28:01.9 (23rd overall)
  8. Adam VanDamme/Jacob Carlson, 2:31:52.5 (24th overall)
  9. Adam Hardin/Andrew Ecker, 2:32:18.6 (25th overall)
  10. Steven Olona/Justin Lumbard, 2:35:48.5 (28th overall)
  11. Samuel Miller/David Miller, 2:38:35.1 (30th overall)
  12. Zachary Lumsden/Tin Nguyen, 2:39:35.3 (33rd overall)
  13. John Barnett/Matt Vaught, 2:40:47.4 (34th overall)
  14. Craig Lumsden/Carrie Lumsden, 2:43:54.7 (36th overall)
  15. Adam Brock/Phil Marsh, 2:46:40.4 (38th overall)
  16. Calvin Cooper/Kelsey Stephens, 2:56:31.0 (41st overall)
  17. Bradley Legris/Matt Giuffre, 3:01:52.5 (42nd overall)

B-spec finishers from last weekend’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally are as follows:

  1. Chris Sladek/Alex Schum, 2:25:21.2 (17th overall)
  2. Doug Gekiere/Matthew Hoffman, 2:39:12.0 (32nd overall)