tp07_mirpost.jpgBMX rider Dave Mirra, one of the most successful X Games athletes ever, has made a successful rally racing debut at The Rally Of The Tall Pines, the final round of the 2007 Canadian Rally Championship, finishing 22nd Overall. Mirra attacked the treacherously icy Canadian roads behind the wheel of a Monster Energy Subaru Impreza rally car prepared by top North American team Vermont SportsCar. Now fully hooked on the sport, Mirra is working with Vermont SportsCar on plans to enter the 2008 Rally America National Championship.

Mirra, who became a pro BMX rider in 1992, holds the record for most X Games medals (including most Gold medals), and has medaled in every X Games since they started in 1995. His current X Games medal count is twenty one. He is recognized as one of the World’s most well known Action Sports athletes and is credited with bringing freestyle BMX into the mainstream.

“This was an amazing experience. The elements you must overcome to finish a rally are unbelievable,” explained Mirra. “I have a whole new respect for the drivers and the sport of rally. Plus, the camaraderie among everyone was amazing; driver Nigel Mathew stopped to pull me out of a ditch on stage 13, if it were not for him I may not have finished my first rally! Thanks to everyone at Vermont SportsCar, to Ken Block, Monster Energy, DC Shoes and the sport of rally for making my first rally a priceless experience.”

Mirra’s goal for the rally was to simply finish, but the road conditions didn’t make it easy. The roads were slick with a layer of snow but they lacked any snow banks which would normally help keep the car on the road and out of the ditches. After starting off slowly Mirra began to set top 15 stage times, and even one top 10 stage time. He was then introduced to tire punctures, getting two punctures over the course of three stages. A late rally spin into a ditch nearly ended his day, but he was successfully towed out of the ditch by another competitor and able to continue to the finish. The time lost in the ditch dropped Mirra from a possible top 15 finish to 22nd Overall.

Mirra benefited from having experienced Canadian co-driver Alan Ockwell at his side. “His driving improved dramatically over the course of the rally,” said Ockwell. “He never took any big risks and the safety margin never changed, but our times relative to the competition got better and better. It was great fun sitting with him and he surely has talent behind the wheel.”

Vermont SportsCar fielded a second car at Tall Pines for Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block who is both a friend and sponsor of Mirra, through DC Shoes, the company Block co-founded. Block led the rally after two stages in his Monster Energy Subaru Impreza WRX STI but slid off the road on stage three and subsequently got his car stuck in a small ditch. He was eventually pulled back on the road by teammate Mirra but the time lost was too great and Block was forced to retire after arriving too late at the subsequent service stop.

“I made a simple mistake of putting the wheels slightly off line over a crest and the road went left, but my car still went straight. With no snow banks built up, there was nothing to keep the car from diving into a small ditch,” explained a dejected Block. “It took too long for us to get pulled back onto the and we got back to service too late to continue.”

“Dave did a great job, he had a good racing, learning and competition mind-set and showed that he has the potential to be a top level competitor sometime in the near future,” said Block. “He’s got a lot of natural driving talent and I see a huge amount of potential in him.”

Prior to the rally Mirra had already completed four days at the Team O’Neil Rally School in New Hampshire, where he spent some time driving one of Ken Block’s Group N Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars. Then Vermont SportsCar provided a private two-day training session for Mirra with American rally legend John Buffum, where he honed his newly learned skills even further.

Vermont SportsCar is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, Boost Mobile, Recaro, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy and PIAA. For more information on the team visit their website at www.vtcar.com.

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