img_3361.jpgNASA Rally Spec Focus teams converged in WV to contest the 3rd round of the Eastern States Rally Championship, Rally West Virginia. This event in its second year has quickly earned the reputation as an event that tests a team’s skill and decision making due to the tight roads that are extremely rough in places. Hampton Bridwell of Black Rock Rallysport summed it up this way, “Rally WV was one of the toughest rallies we have seen and the Ford Focus platform proved itself once again. The roads were tight, twisty and full of surprises and our strategy of placing consistently paced stage times with an aim to finish paid dividends.”

Rally Spec Focus is a NASA Rally Sport entry-level spec class whereby drivers compete in identically prepared Ford Focus rally cars prepared with specific components exclusively sold by suppliers like Ford Racing Performance Parts, DMS shock absorbers, Hankook tires, Team Dynamics wheels, and Racetech seats and harnesses which all support the program monetarily with contingency awards to the quickest teams.

Mechanically, Rally Spec Focus cars remain essentially stock, with only modifications to the suspension and minor bolt-on intake and exhaust systems. While the stock Ford Focus 2.0 liter engine produces 130-hp, it is expected that a Rally Spec Focus car will produce in excess of 170-hp. All Rally Spec Focus vehicles can be equipped with available upgraded final drive ration and limited-slip differential from Ford Racing Performance Parts.

The Focus showed it speed and toughness again at Rally WV with only one retirement and the class winner coming in 6th overall in 2wd.

Three Rally Spec Focus teams started on day one of the rally but only 2 made it to the end. The Rufroad motorsports team of Andrew Frick and Michael Hordijk were forced to retire on the 4th stage due to a mechanical failure. “The roads were great and I am disappointed that we were not able to make it to the end especially with how close the stage times were with Hampton after the first 3 stages.” Their retirement promoted the USUK Racing team of Simon Wright and Keiran Wright to 2nd place in the class; they had been slowed on stage one due to a shock mount failure. Repairs were made at service and were able to complete the rally without further incident. “Kieran and I are extremely pleased to have finished our third Rally Spec Focus event and our fifth rally of the year. The challenging and technical gravel roads make Rally West Virginia a real rally experience for the whole team,” said Simon Wright of USUK Racing

Hampton Bridwell and Josh Katinger in their Black Rock Rallysport SVT Focus seized the opening provided by their competitors’ early struggles and built a commanding lead at the end of day one. They then set their sights on the rest of the 2wd field again Hampton, “With a 12th overall and 6th in a field of 24 2WD cars competing in Max-Attack and a Spec Focus class win, this rally was our best showing to date and shows the overall competitiveness and potential of the RSF class”.

Full results maybe found at http://www.rallywv.com/results/maxattack.htm

For more information, visit http://www.rallyspecfocus.com or contact John K Shirley at [email protected]

The RSF teams now turn their attention to upstate New York for the final round of eastern season, Black River Stages, which will be held in late September.

Photo by Dragos Dorobantu Copyright 2007

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