Round Three of the championship for two-wheel-drive rally cars pays another visit to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula; the Jake Himes Cup is up for grabs!

The finale the 2008 MaxAttack! Triple Crown Rally series will take place on October 17 and 18 on roads around Houghton, in Michigan's historic Copper Country. Sanctioned by Rally America, the venerable Lake Superior Performance Rally, which bills itself as the "Oldest, Toughest, Meanest Rally on the Circuit," will cover over 120 racing miles that will test rally teams, especially with the variable weather conditions and the slippery fall leaves. An excellent field of more than twenty two-wheel-drive rally cars will make the concluding event equally exciting and competitive as the first two rounds of the season in Oregon and West Virginia.

The opening round of the 2008 series took place in May at the Oregon Trail Rally, where heat, dust, and tricky road conditions proved to be challenging for the MaxAttack! teams. At the end of three days of competition, Andrew Havas claimed victory in a Honda Civic. Havas, from New York and teamed with California's Pete Pollard, also won the debut MaxAttack! event in 2007, and is the series only two-time winner thus far. Finishing second in Oregon was Michigan's dynamic duo of Eric Burmeister and Bill Westrick in their powerful MazdaSpeed3. Local hotshoe Cody Crane rounded out the MaxAttack! podium in Oregon; he and Washington's Jason Grahn had a great run in a Honda CRX. The slippery, dusty Oregon roads took their toll, however, as only 14 of the 24 starters completed the course.

Round Two of the 2008 MaxAttack! series moved east to the scenic hills of West Virginia's Randolph County. The narrow, twisty, hilly roads are always popular with the MaxAttack! drivers, and the competition is always fierce. This year was no exception. The MazdaSpeed3 of Eric Burmeister, who was teamed with Dave Shindle for this event, had a tremendous battle with the VW GTi of Josh Wimpey and co-driver Jason Grahn. The two teams traded seconds per stage, even tying on some stages, for much of the rally until the Volkswagen-mounted team was forced to withdraw from the event with a mechanical failure. Finishing second to Burmeister and Shindle was the VW Golf TDi of Michael Hordijk and Chad Sechrist. This was the first appearance by a diesel-powered vehicle in MaxAttack! history, and it was a good one! Rounding out the MaxAttack! podium were Hampton Bridwell and Josh Katinger in a Ford Focus.

The MaxAttack! teams are excited about returning to Houghton. The rally is always a true test of man and machine, with weather often being a big factor. It can be sunny, it can be rainy, it can be foggy, and it can be snowy… And this sometimes happens on the same day! Road surfaces are usually fairly firm dirt and gravel, although they can be very slippery if it rains (especially with autumn's fallen leaves). The rally also includes the famous Brockway Mountain stage, a short hillclimb up a paved road that is run twice on the rally's second day.

The event entry list shows several drivers who are capable of winning the season finale. Obviously series leader Eric Burmeister, teamed once again with Dave Shindle, will be the man to beat. But will Burmeister push the MazdaSpeed3 for the event win, or play it conservatively to ensure the series title and his name on the Jake Himes Cup? A formidable opponent will be the legendary Doug Shepherd, who has won many rallies overall as both a driver and as a co-driver. This time he will be driving a Dodge Neon SRT-4, with Karen Wagner reading the stage notes. The thunderous Ford Mustang of Minnesota's Mark Utecht is always a crowd favorite for spectacular rear-wheel-drive, dirt-flinging action; he and co-driver Rob Bohn will be a force to be reckoned with. After the disappointment of his West Virginia DNF, Josh Wimpey is readier than ever to challenge for top MaxAttack! spot, teamed with brother Jeremy for this event. Other teams returning for a shot at the MaxAttack! prize fund and season championship are Michel Hoche-Mong/Jimmy Brandt, Chad Eixenberger/Jay Luikart, and David Cizmas/Matt Himes, all of whom pilot Volkswagen Golfs.

The MaxAttack! Triple Crown Rally Series, presented by the Rallysports Group of America, consists of three events across the country, and each event will feature an $5,000 prize fund to be distributed among the top two-wheel-drive teams, as well as a season championship.

For more information about the MaxAttack! Triple Challenge and the Rallysports Group of America, please visit http://www.max-attack.com. For information about the Lake Superior Performance Rally, please visit http://www.lsprorally.com or http://www.rally-america.com.

About Rallysports Group of America
Rallysports Group of America, Inc. (RSGA) was formed as an organization in 2006 to advance the sport of performance stage rally in the United States. By providing education on performance driving, car preparation and safety, and by fostering the growth of meaningful competition, RSGA seeks to provide a sustainable and competitive arena for the advancement of North American performance rally that promotes increased value for rally competitors, organizers, and sponsors alike. For more information, please visit http://www.max-attack.com.

Photo by Brandon Shoulders

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments