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Rally Colorado 2008 Recap

Now in its fourth year as a national level rally, Rally Colorado is shaping up to become one of America’s best and biggest rallies. The rally is based in the beautiful year-round resort community of Steamboat Springs, just a short drive west into the mountains from Denver. The landscape includes fast sections of road and open areas for great spectating. The high altitude, coupled with fast straights put the high horsepower Open class cars at a distinct advantage. This year as a national level rally, Rally Colorado is shaping up to become one of America’s best and biggest rallies. The rally is based in the beautiful year-round resort community of Steamboat Springs, just a short drive west into the mountains from Denver. The landscape includes fast sections of road and open areas for great spectating. The high altitude, coupled with fast straights put the high horsepower Open class cars at a distinct advantage.

Day 1

The day has been a tough one for the regional field, with five of the thirteen entries failing to make it to the end of the days action competing with the national competitors.

Steve Bis and Brian Moody have kept clear of any real trouble and sit in first place regionally in their 1994 Subaru Impreza. With a two and a half minute lead over the next closest regional entry, the pair dominated the regional event, winning all but two stages. “It’s been a pretty smooth day, but we did break a rear strut mount on stage eight,” explained Bis. “Once we saw our lead, we slowed down and took it easy to the end. This was our fifth year here, and we finally have a good result.”

Second in the regional event today is the Toyota MR2 of Jeremy Brown and Simon Branton-Housley. Despite a low ride height that could have been a problem on the rougher stages, the pair is also the fastest two wheel drive car overall today. “This our rookie season, and the first time at this rally,” explained Brown. “Our biggest moment came on stage three. We went off and thought the car was finished, but the car came out ok. If anyone has seen the last part of our exhaust, I’d really like to get that back!”

Just over ten seconds behind Brown and Branton-Housley are Michael Rose and Rebecca Greek in their Subaru Legacy Turbo. “A really trouble free day, with no mechanical problems. We’re really happy that the roads have dried out, and the grip is good,” said Rose. The pair had a close call near a long drop on stage nine today. Rose kept it on the road and kept clean to the end of the day.

Bryan Short and Kim DeMotte lost time on Stage 7. The team apparently had a flat right rear 6 miles into the 12 mile stage. They were able to change the flat at the spectator area but it cost them around 8 minutes. They had been setting competitive stage times all day with fellow Colorado Rally Cup competitors according to co-driver Kim DeMotte. “Now that we are so far behind in the standings we won’t be worrying about times as much and will work on getting more time behind the wheel. This being Bryans first rally the experience will be invaluable” said Kim. The pair sit just ahead of last place with close to a three minute lead over the Merkur XR4TI of Grant Hughes and Scott McCarty.

Shawn Hudspeth and Piers O’Hanlon ended their day early with a blown head gasket on their Eagle Talon, but are working away to repair the car in preparation for the regional rally tomorrow. Alissa Williams and Brittany Kilpatrick are also expected to run the regional event tomorrow, and despite DNFing their very first rally, the pair are all smiles, and are pumped to get back in the car in competition.

Looking to Tomorrow, the sunshine we enjoyed today should return, keeping the roads dry, fast and offering drivers some great conditions to test their mettle over the approximately fifty stage miles in the hills south of Hayden, Colorado tomorrow.

Day 2

The sun has risen on what will be another stellar day in Colorado, and teams have departed for the second day of action at Rally Colorado, and the Middle Cog 2 regional rally.

Open class battle continues for the top three entries in today’s Middle Cog 2 regional rally. Separated by only a minute going into stage 16 most teams are concerned about keeping it smooth. Stage 16 is a re-run of yesterdays very rough stage 2, only this time its being run in reverse. The first place pairing of Bis and Moody plan to play it safe, and try not to get a flat in order to maintain their lead. While the team of Rose and Greek currently in forth may push a bit to try to advance in the standings.

Michel Hoch-Mong who was doing dual national/regional finished very well. But on day 2
Car 31 Michel Hoche-Mong has started the day with a new co-driver. “Jimmy Brandt isn’t feeling well so I had to use my only crew member Peter Cowan as a replacement” Peter hasn’t rallied with notes before so the first stage was a bit of a warm up for the team. “I don’t think I have scared him yet, and by stage 2 we were on”

Some of the DNFs from yesterday have been able to repair their cars to start the regional rally today. Alissa Williams and Brittany Kilpatrick are back in action in their Group 2 VW Rabbit.

Also back are Michael Kilpatrick and Kevin Turner. Turner had sat in with Erik Schmidt yesterday after Erik and Larry Schmidt were both getting motion sickness on the first few stages. Erik Schmidt is back again today in the regional, this time with Alix Hakala in the right seat.

Scott Leonard and Adam Kneipp have been able to repair their VW Golf and get back to action.

Alissa Williams and Brittany Kilpatrick have made it into the last service. The team is having fun but currently still struggling with the same coolant problems as yesterday.

“We are having to put coolant in every stage to keep the car from overheating” said Alissa. The all-women team also had a slight off early in the day that had the pair changing a flat by stage end.

In the true spirit of rally the girls are determined to finish. “We will finish! Even if we have to take some extra time in service to get the car fixed, we will be there”

The Middle Cog 2 rally was won by Steve Bis and Brian Moody. The pair managed to open up a 50 second lead by the end of the day over second place finishers Erik Schmidt and Alix Hakala. Third place went to Michael Rose and Rebecca Greek. Both Bis and Rose also finished on the podium yesterday in the Middle Cog 1 regional and are thrilled to have had success again today.

In all everyone had a great time and when everyone got back to the awards ceremony. I think the competitors in all were very happy but some would like to have had better results but as I say it is 50 percent sheer luck in any motorsport competition on results.

Hope to see more California, Arizona, Nevada regional teams to come out to Rally Colorado in 2009. Shawn Hudspeth said he WILL be coming back…

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