Olympus was an eventful rally for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team. Driver Mark Jennings-Bates, codriver Jennifer Daly and service crew Dave Hood, Alex Schubel, Dave Steeper and Eric Bauld camped at the fairgrounds, and enjoyed the small town hospitality of the host community. Aside from concern about dust, recce was uneventful and the team felt well prepared for the weekend stages.

On Saturday the first regional rally came to a sudden end for the Prescribed Burn Team less than two miles into the second stage. The car slid slightly wide on an acute loose gravel corner; the soft bank edge fell out from under it and the car landed at the bottom of the steep outside ditch. Unharmed, Mark and Jennifer scrambled out of the gulley to await the course closing crew, who capably extracted the car and applied its first ‘you’ve been swept’ sticker.

A quick survey of the damage revealed two mangled rims with flat tires, a very crooked front wheel and a missing fog cover. Determined to continue, Mark limped the car back to the beginning of the stage in reverse, accompanied by an amused local landowner who offered to tow the rally car if it became un-drivable. On the way to the main road Jennifer accepted a generous offer of a loaner tire from the Sorensons in their course opening Outback, but even with two new tires the car was in no condition to attempt the transit to the fairgrounds. Luckily their service crew arrived promptly with the trailer and the team returned to service to assess the situation.

At service the crew replaced the driver’s front control arm and sway bar link, and straightened the front sub-frame. With a new set of tires, the car was ready in time to start the second regional, a commendable achievement for the volunteer service crew. The early off was not the end of the trouble for the Prescribed Burn Rally Team. Turbo problems caused them to limp through the first stage after the restart, effectively putting them out of podium contention. This problem was tackled in the later stages and resolved by the last day of the event, where the team came within seconds of reaching the maximum average speed allowed on the final stage.

Mark and Jennifer finished 6th in the second regional in their first Rally America event. The exciting, fast stages were a great shakedown for the car and the Jemba practice they got will prepare them well for their next Jemba event, Alberta’s Rocky Mountain National Rally in May.

The Prescribed Burn Rally Team is an Okanagan based performance rally team that is supported by BCResortHomes.com, Sun FM, Agar Paint & Autobody, BigO Tire in Westbank, OkanaganVisitor.ca. Provision Data, Stacy Screen Print, The Great Canadian Oil Change, Wishbone Industries, BELL Racing and NAT.

Photo by Warwick Patterson, www.formulaphoto.com

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