Rally America National Championship 2016
Williston, VT (October 19, 2016) – Rally America, Inc. concludes season number 12 of the Rally America National Championship at the 2016 Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR). Bill Fogg, Sr. couldn’t have been more pleased stating, “This year went by so quickly but what an exciting series with several class championships determined this weekend here at LSPR.” He went on to say, “This series could not happen as it does and for so long without the Rally America team, many sponsors and the hundreds of event volunteers that are so passionate about the sport of rally. Thank you to everyone that puts the sport first dedicating so much of your personal time.”
Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew won their 6th consecutive Rally America Overall National Championship. The 2016 season started with Higgins sitting out Sno*Drift while Craig Drew sat in the co-driver seat with Bucky Lasek who was making his rally debut. Other than a second place at 100AW and a single non-finish at New England Forest Rally due to a mechanical issue, the duo finished atop the leader board at the remaining five events.
David Higgins stated at the finish of day two, "Today's stages were actually more grippy than I was expecting, however, we were not pushing hard on most of them staying in the middle of the road and out of trouble. It’s been a good season and we wouldn't be able to do it without the great help from our team. They do a fabulous job on our Subarus and I am very thankful for them! As always, great job by my co-driver Craig Drew providing spot on notes throughout the season. I’m looking forward to spending some time at home relaxing with my kids and watching them race karts." Congratulations David, Craig and your entire crew.
The Subaru team was in top form this weekend. Higgins and Drew ultimately finished LSPR 93 seconds – 1:33 – ahead of their second place teammates Travis Pastrana and Robbie Durant in the #199 2016 Subaru STI.
Super Production class driver Lauchlin O'Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam finished third overall, rounding out the Subaru podium trifecta in the #90 CPD Racing 2009 Subaru STI and also took the SP class win at LSPR 2016. O’Sullivan/Putnam were pushed throughout the event by 2016 Rally America National Super Production Champions Troy and Jeremy Miller. Team Miller/Miller had to push because ever present was Agatino Fortunato and Chris Kremer in their 2016 Subaru STI car #61 never letting up until a ball joint mishap on stage 12. Tino ran a solid campaign all year and had this to say "As a grassroots team this season had its ups and downs, it was a huge accomplishment to finish among the best, Small guys can make BIG things happen." Congratulations to Troy, Jeremy and your crew.
In the 2WD class, Ramana Lagemann and fan favorite co-driver Nathalie Richard in their 1991 Porsche 911 car #74 finished 13 seconds ahead of Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn in car #824, a 2015 Ford Fiesta ST. Steely/Osborn, however, came out the victors in the year long, hotly contested Rally America 2WD National Championship. Ryan Millen and co-driver Christina Fate in their 2016 Toyota RAV4 #99 battled consistently all year long with team Steely/Osborn and were tied with 118 points each coming into LSPR. Due to an unfortunate off late in Day 1 by Millen and Fate, the 2WD championship was confirmed for Steely and Osborn. Congratulations to the ODD Racing Team.
Congratulations to Ryan Millen on winning the prestigious Jeff Moyle Cup as the 2016 Rally America Rookie of the year. Ryan had this to say, "We started out as an experiment last year and there were doubters. We've learned so much and progressed. I'm so proud of what we've done." Our hats are off on a really well run year by you and your crew, Ryan.
With B-Spec completing its 4th full season of competition in the Rally America National Championship, we saw Honda Performance Development earn the number one spot again. Jordan Guitar and Brian Penza squeezed in with the win in their 2015 Honda FIT car #735. - “We couldn’t be happier with how we finished here at LSPR. Thanks to the Fit reliability, amazing performance from our Maxxis tires, and Brian's dependable notes, we were able to take another win in the B-spec class and clinch the Championship!” from Jordan about their LSPR 2016 finish. Keanna Erickson-Chang and co-driver Ole Holter in their 2016 Ford Fiesta were within seconds of knocking Guitar/Penza out of the top spot. Keanna and Ole pushed hard all year. After finishing LSPR 2016, Keanna explained, “It's been great to see progressively more competitive times throughout the season. This year has been awesome and filled with great competition and great camaraderie. Jordan was fast and consistent throughout the season and deserved to win the championship. It's still my rookie year and I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing the battle in the future!“
Participation in new 2016 Class National Limited Open started out slow but picked up starting with 100AW with fans seeing solid competition for the balance of the year. Seamus Burke and Martin Brady ran their 2006 Mitsubishi EVO 9 #25 consistently strong winning the class. Congratulations Seamus, Martin and your entire crew.
Because it was the inaugural year for the class we asked the Championship team for their thoughts on the season.
Co-driver Martin Brady had this to say in a written note on behalf of the team: “The 2016 Rally America season was as enjoyable as it was successful for Seamus Burke and I. Seamus returned to the series and to the sport after a six year break and he chose the 100AW Rally as our return event and we came in the same car that he campaigned on our last outing which was NEFR in 2010. Naturally in the interim things had moved on in the championship both in terms of pace, improvement of cars and competition and while reviewing which class to settle on, we found that his Mitsubishi EVO 9 now was encompassed by the new NLO class rules. We clicked into this new class as the perfect determination for where the status and capability of our car was sitting relative to the heavier hitting machinery of other teams such as the factory backed teams.
The class proved as the year unfolded to be the perfect tier for us to compete in and always with other capable crews and competition in the class right over our shoulder. As our pace returned and increased over the year culminating in an overall win at the New England rally. We always remained focused on the goal of clinching the NLO year-end title and it was satisfying for Seamus and I and the entire JRD Rallysport crew that we earned that title before the close of the season. Competition was always ever present in the class and each rally started with a healthy number of teams in our class and that allowed us to appreciate our wins all the more as hard earned.
To be afforded the opportunity to stand on a podium dedicated to this NLO class at the end of every event was a special privilege that I always gratefully relished because this is an opportunity that Rally America affords to tiers of successful finishers outside of just the overall podium, that means it is an honor I haven't regularly experienced in other countries and codes of rallying. To conclude each event at a champagne spray in front of fans and shoulder to shoulder with your adversaries on stage but friends in celebration made happy memories to be reflected on as glorious in years to come.
The series was competitive and rewarding for us and we appreciate and want to thank the organizers, volunteers and championship staff who invested many hard hours of work and dedication into the smooth running of some fantastic stages and always challenging events.”
Rally America National Manufacturers Championship saw Subaru Of America taking two awards back to the home office winning Overall and Super Production classes. By a very close margin, Ford won the 2WD class and Honda Performance Development continues to defend its win streak with four in a row B-Spec class wins.
We would like to thank all of the Rally America sponsors of the series and events, Honda Racing/HPD, Ford Performance, Subaru Of America, Toyota USA, VP Racing Fuels, Maxxis International-USA and Method Racing Wheels.
ABOUT RALLY AMERICA: Rally competition can be simply described “real cars, real roads, real fast.” It’s an all-season motorsport that sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads. Based in Williston, Vermont, Rally America, Inc., sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which has consisted of eight national-level events from Portland, Oregon, to Newry, Maine. Details on a schedule for the 2017 season are expected in the coming weeks.