After the threat of forest fire was contained the Mendocino Rally in Ukiah, CA proceeded on schedule where Michel Hoche-Mong from San Jose, CA and co-driver Jimmy Brandt from Lake Odessa, MI took the overall win on Saturday, August 4th.

Hoche-Mong in his 1985 Volkswagen GTI took the early lead and held it all the way to the finish. The pair won three stages of the eight stage co-efficient 2 event despite dealing with intermittent fuel pump issues.

“On the last stage I let the fuel pump cool down,” said Hoche-Mong, “I turned off the engine and waited for the timing clock tick down. With about 10 seconds to go, I cranked it and it coughed a couple times but didn’t catch. I reset the key to cycle the pump again, cranked it again. It caught with two seconds to go!”

Alex Rademacher from Reno, NV and co-driver John Steward from San Francisco, CA landed second place overall in their 1993 Subaru Impreza trailing first place by just 35 seconds. Rademacher was actually using his rally prepped rally car as a daily vehicle before the Mendocino Rally and had to drive it to the event.

“I had some minor issues, but with the help of some fellow rally teams I was able to hotwire my engine fan to keep the car from overheating,” said Rademacher, “Just goes to show how cool the rally spirit is.”

Rounding out the podium in third overall Pete Pollard from Richmond, CA and co-driver Seri Traver from Oakland, CA piloted their 1997 Honda Civic to the finish 53 seconds behind the leader. With Pollard on the podium two-wheel drive class machines took the first and third podium positions.

Said Pollard, “(Mendocino Rally) is so twisty and fun that the rally was plenty satisfying with just the four main stages. Beautiful area. I hope to be running or working this little event for many years.”

Forest fires almost derailed Mendocino Rally’s weekend plans as firefighters helped contain a 375 acre flame raging on Bureau of Land Management property (BLM). Mendocino Rally chairman Jim Robison stayed in contact with BLM officials to quickly decide whether the rally would stay the course.

“The fire was on the only road into the event and was moving towards the rally,” said Robison, “It was great working with BLM and they opened the land back to us.”

However, Mendocino Rally’s rallycross stages were unfortunately canceled due to the stage being too rough for rally cars. The rallycross roads was not smoothed in time due to BLM heavy equipment diverted to help fight the nearby forest fire.

The Mendocino Rally is sanctioned by Rally America, the premiere rally racing organizing body of the Rally America National Championship. The Mendocino Rally is a points paying event for the Southwest Regional Rally Championship, Bilstein Southwest RallyCup Series and the Californian Rally Series.

Complete Mendocino Rally results: http://www.rally-america.com/events/2012/MEND/results/

Photo: Motorsport Memories