Home State Well Represented With Multiple Rally Colorado Class Winners
Just how strong is the state of rally in the state of Colorado? Every single entry to claim an overall podium at last weekend’s Rally Colorado was based within the state. In fact, behind overall winners Steve Bis/Scott McCarty, at least half of the drivers and co-drivers in the overall top 10 had ties to the Centennial State. Many of the cars that competed in the event were caged by Rally Build, the Colorado-based company operated by McCarty, Ryan McLaughlin, and Grant Hughes, and most of the locals have competed frequently in the state in Colorado Hill Climb Association events.
In case you missed it earlier in the week, and are still catching up with all things Rally Colorado, here’s a quick reminder of what went down in each class:
Two of the top three crews at Friday service were Open entries, as Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak led the event and Tasso Koch/Abby French were in third. Neither would complete the event due to gearbox and ECU issues, respectively; instead, it was experienced hill climb racers Jerry Kendall/Cody Melius, who had never competed in rally before, not only leading the Open class, but placing seventh overall.
Faced with the challenge of switching co-drivers mid-event due to medical reasons, Brad Ames adapted well to new co-driver Valerie Briley’s stand-in for normal partner Terry Crawford. Returning to competition on Saturday, Ames/Briley were allowed to compete as normal and took full advantage of the opportunity by winning the class over Zach Whitebread/Cameron Carr, who Super Rallied back up to 11th overall.
One of the most anticipated class battles in Colorado took an early hit when Dave/Mike Brown suffered electrical issues, giving Bis/McCarty an open door to take the class win with a complete event. Behind them, Tyler/Beth Weaver recovered from a roll last year to take second in class, while Jeff Heuser/Ryan McKay completed the podium. Brown/Brown surged back to fourth in class without missing a stage.
Sidewaz Rally’s popular Datsun 280Z made the trek out west to join the Rally America field once again, and the reunion of longtime driver/co-driver pairing Greg Healey and Philip Barnes paid off with a class win. Ninth overall in the event and fifth best of the 2WD cars, Healey/Barnes’ 2:55:07.0 was over 12 minutes faster than McLaughlin/Andrew Miner, who placed second in G5 in their Acura Integra.
Coloradans Roger Matthews/Jack Penley came out on top of an intense battle with the Weird Beard Rally Team of Mike Erickson/Jacob Good for not only the G2 victory and fastest 2WD time, but also a spot on the overall podium. Matthews/Penley’s 2:49:07.4 was exactly 51 seconds faster than Erickson/Good’s time, and a further three minutes faster than Mitchell Bruno-Frederiksen/Brian Miller.
Tracey Gardiner/Nia Schenk and Chris Sladek/Zach Pfeil traded off the B-spec class lead multiple times in Colorado, as Sladek/Pfeil dealt with oil pan issues on Friday with their Honda Fit. However, a strong Saturday enabled them to reclaim the lead and the class win. By default, that enabled Sladek to regain the class championship lead from Doug Gekiere.
When three of the four UTVs entered in Colorado faced terminal issues, Tadd Rigsby/Camron Harshman were guaranteed the inaugural UTV class win in Rally America just by keeping it clean. They rolled on SS2 and missed the next stage, forcing them to Super Rally. However, they soon found speed and comfort on the stages, and posted consistently fast stage times to close out the event.