Sporting a field of 26 competitors, with almost half of them in 2WD, the 2015 Gorman Rally in Lebec, Calif., made for a great 2C event! The mileage of the rally doesn’t tell the full story, because the fastest competitors on one of their 3-mile stages couldn’t break the three-minute mark. Tight and twisty with hundreds of corners in the hot August sun, this rally is a challenge just to finish. At the after party, we got to experience the friendship and camaraderie that defines the California Rally Series. 2WD Challenge is supported by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports, who believe that starting with 2WD is the best path to future success in the sport.
Ryan Millen and co-driver Christina Fate have been carefully and slowly turning up the pace in their Toyota RAV4 this season, and this weekend was their time to shine. “No problems — and we’re not going to have any,” was Ryan’s mantra when they checked into the finish of stage nine. Ryan’s desert racing experience was put to the test on these stages, and the team responded with an unstoppable pace from the start. Setting the fastest 2WD time on every stage but one, they took home first in 2WD and $250 cash for the 2WD Challenge. Quite an impressive drive on these stages!
Andrew Lockhart’s sister and listed co-driver Robin Lockhart was unable to attend last minute, so Andrew asked Michel Hoche-Mong to hop into the co-driver’s seat. Michel has experience driving and finishing on the podium at this event in a Volkswagen Golf, so the pair hit the ground running. Almost immediately, times were being traded with another Volkswagen Golf team of Bret Robinson and Brent Ellzey.
Robinson took stage one, was slower on seven and nine, but tied Lockhart on stage eight. After the service break, Lockhart was a bit faster on 10 through 12, but Robinson grabbed a few seconds on 13 and even more on 14! Anything could happen going into the last stage, and Andrew Lockhart dug deep to pull out the fastest 2WD time on the Gorman Rally Power Stage! At the end of it, Andrew Lockhart collected $150 for second in 2C and Bret Robinson earned $75 for a hard-fought third place.
A last-minute entry from driver Brent Lee and co-driver John Dillon brought a Ford Fiesta R2 out to Gorman for Dillon’s 150th rally! Some early engine gremlins kept the team out of it until stages eight and nine, when they jumped back into the fray of times coming out of the second-place battle. Their perseverance allowed them to take over fourth place on SS12 and overcoming those issues earned them $25 for fourth in the 2WD Challenge.
Having the most fun of any 2C team out on the stages, Chrissie Beavis and new co-driver Erica Sacks were always smiling when they arrived at the finish controls. Driving their Volkswagen Jetta through all the tough and twisty stages, the team had a great event and a great attitude. With a fifth-place finish in 2WD they received $15 on top of the champagne for winning the California Rally Series P-Stock class.
Both of our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O’Neil in Dalton, N.H., offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience. Looking to learn to drive at the limit in a 2WD car? Go to the Team O’Neil Rally School at http://www.teamoneil.com. Looking to build a 2WD car? Talk to Streetwise Motorsports at http://streetwiseparts.com.