by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Rally America

There’s no sport where competitors are more passionate about helping and supporting other than rally. From loaning out parts to competitors who are going for the win, to simply encouraging one another to press on regardless of their respective issues, everyone is here to help in some way.

Eric Genack/Tracy Manspeaker, who posted an overall top 10 here last year, are loaning out a spring to Steve Bis/Scott McCarty after they suffered a flat, debeaded tire that wore through a left rear spring on Friday’s final stage. And this morning, 2WD leading co-driver Jacob Good and overall leading co-driver Danny Norkus passed by each other at breakfast with plenty of words of encouragement for one another, as Adam Short/Norkus were towed into the final service without fuel pressure.

“Is it starting?” Good asked.

“Yeah, we’re going to try to get it going,” Norkus said.

“Can’t stop when you’re on top,” Good replied.

Brown, Fetela Show Points-Leading Pace Despite Struggles; Rigsby’s UTV Tops Two Stages

It should be no surprise that the top two crews in the Rally America National Championship were atop the leaderboard in Friday’s stages. Dave Brown/Mike Brown were the fastest car on four of the six, and Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak on the other two (SS2 and SS3). Unfortunately, both dealt with mechanical issues that will likely keep them off the overall podium: Brown/Brown faced electrical issues on SS3 and lost 23 spots, later climbing back up to 14th at day’s end, while Fetela/Jozwiak didn’t even begin the second loop due to a gearbox issue, turning around while starting the transit to SS4.

The UTV Turbo class, while thinned out due to Stephan Verdier/Hudson Hall’s incident and Rhys Millen/JR Hartley’s wiring issues, still was able to flex its muscle by the end of the day. Tadd Rigsby/Camron Harshman were actually faster than Brown/Brown on both SS5 and SS6 to wrap up the day. The latter saw Rigsby/Harshman’s Can-Am X3XRC make it to the finish in 16:20.4, 18.8 seconds ahead of the leading car. Millen/Hartley will return to action today after sorting out their issues, but the damage to Verdier/Hall’s vehicle is not repairable in time to rejoin the event.

Koch/French Aim for Repeat Stage Victory on Saturday

A year ago, Tasso Koch/Abby French made their Rally America National Championship debut at Rally Colorado and won a stage despite being scored with an overall DNF due to alternator failure.

“I grew up as a rally nerd, like most of the people out here,” Koch explained. “I had a vision of rally in my head, but my first big-time, national rally was Rally Colorado last year. It opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, and I spent most of the weekend wide-eyed and trying to absorb as much as I could. This year, coming back and having some expectation of what the roads are like, they’re rough compared to the hill climbs we’re most familiar with.”

Third overall at yesterday’s first service, Koch fell to 19th at the end of the day with what was eventually diagnosed as an ECU failure. With that in mind, he’ll be hoping for a repeat of last year, when the OTC Racing team was able to fix its issues, rejoin the rally, and win the second pass at CR 100 E/W. But Koch isn’t playing favorites when it comes to the stages here—at least not on the record.

“All the stages are a lot of fun, and that’s the tricky part, right?” Koch started.

“We recce’d that one, and you were like, ‘I can’t wait for this one,’” French said. “I’m like, ‘did you see that cliff?!’”

Koch laughed. “It’s a lot of fun, just the way the corners come together later in the stage. The first part is a lot like a hill climb, something that we have most of our experience with. There was some, I hate to say it, luck involved last year, as a lot of people had mechanical issues, but we were able to fix ours and rejoin, which put us in a place where we could go out there and have some fun.”

O.D.D. Racing Gives “Bucket List” Ride on Press Stage

Michael Faulk was grinning from ear to ear when he stepped out of the #824 O.D.D. Racing Subaru STi after Thursday’s media stage. After all, it’s not every day that you get to step into a rally car for the first time in your life and hang on as Cameron Steely takes you for a ride.

“I would drive by their shop two or three times a week, and see all these cars out there,” Faulk said. “Finally, the Friday after the fourth, I went by to talk to them, and they said ‘if you’re going to be over here on the 19th, we’ll give you a ride.’ I said ‘alright, yeah, I’ll do that!’

“It’s just bucket list stuff to make you laugh and smile. It’s crazy! I had Cameron laughing the whole time too. I used to drive dirt roads down south and stuck it out down there, but I couldn’t do it the way he does it. On the first turn, where the ditch is chopped off there, it looked like he was putting the front tire into the ditch. And all he’s doing is just laughing.”

Steely/Preston Osborn were second overall after the first loop of Friday stages, but were one of a number of competitors not to be able to contest the second loop. They’re expected to rejoin the rally this morning.