by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter

Images via Jason Swoboda

HPD/Maxxis Rally Team co-driver J Sharps took on a new challenge in 2018, following up his 2017 Rally America 2WD National Championship alongside James Robinson and partnering primarily with rookie Chris Sladek in the team’s B-spec Honda Fit. The results remained strong, as Sladek and Sharps combined to take class wins at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, Sno*Drift Summer Rally, Show-Me Rally, and Lake Superior Performance Rally. Today, we get to know one of the most familiar faces on the Honda squad:

What made you want to start rallying?

I was just filling in at the last minute for one of the regular THR co-drivers. Colin Robinson needed a co-driver, and up to that point, I had no idea what rally racing really was but I loved racing so I figured why not.

When was your first event and how did you do?

My first event was in 2016 at STPR. Very first event DNF. We wrecked pretty badly on day one, got the car fixed and finished strong on day two.

When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?

Well I will never forget the first time on the podium. It was Colorado 2017 with Jordan Guitar, but my most memorable was winning the 2WD co-driver championship in Rally America in 2017.

Do you prefer to work with a single driver or multiple drivers?

I personally like working with multiple drivers. The experience I feel I gain from the different styles of drivers is great, it allows me to adapt to different situations that I may not have driving with the same person all the time.

What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?

My favorite event in Rally America has to be LSPR. The scenery is second to none, the fans are amazing, and the roads are FANTASTIC! I am always looking forward to the end of October!!

Do you have any pre-event routines?

I always walk through my books and get my cameras ready.

Which other co-drivers in the sport do you respect the most?

Rhianon Gelsomino amazes me as a co-driver. I look up to everything she does: from progressing the sport by training other co-drivers, to the long hours she takes to fully prepare for an event. Rhianon is truly a remarkable role model and person.