Tricky combinations of gravel, snow and ice on the forest roads of Kananaskis Country were the setting for the last rally of the Western Canadian Series in Alberta this weekend. The Prescribed Burn Rally Team arrived in Kananaskis tied for the lead in the open class, and aiming to win the rally. Despite a disappointing mechanical failure at the previous event, the PBRT service crew was confident that their extensive repairs would see the rally car to a successful finish.

Rally teams who had witnessed the team’s previous troubles were notably surprised to see the Prescribed Burn Team in competition this weekend. During reconnaissance, driver Mark Jennings-Bates added many ‘icy’ warnings to tight corners in the pace-notes, reflecting rapidly changing and unpredictable grip levels throughout the stages.

Planning to excel and take the rally lead during the epic Powderface stage later in the day, Mark and Jennifer set a comfortable and competitive pace for the early stages in the Jumping Pound Demonstration Forest. The pace-notes were accurate and the Prescribed Burn Rally Car slid controllably through the slippery sections, putting on a show for the growing numbers of spectators who come to watch each year. Mark and Jennifer finished the second stage, and, as the first car out, watched and waited as the other cars came through the stage finish. After a delay in cars reaching the finish it became evident that one of the teams had had an accident on the stage and the competition was stopped so that they could be attended to safely. At the first service, the organizers reviewed the event and canceled the rally after two stages.

Depleted medical standby resources meant that the Powderface stage could not be prepared adequately in case of emergency; therefore, the rally was over, and the times from the first two stages would be used for the event podium and annual regional results. The Prescribed Burn Rally Team won second place overall and first in open class in the 2008 Kananaskis Regional Stage Rally. The team also took the 2008 open class title, and placed third in the overall standings in the Western Canadian Rally Championship.

Jennifer Daly, the team’s co-driver commented “Although the team faced many challenges, the season ended with impressive results and a rally car only slightly worse for wear, and nearly ready for the next season of tight corners and tough roads.” Jennings-Bates, the team’s driver, added, “It was a tough battle with other teams all year long, and without doubt it will be a very competitive season next year, which will be good for the teams and the ever growing number of spectators who turn out at the events now.”

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, Wyatt Auto Parts, OkanaganVisitor.ca. Provision Data, Stacy Screen Print, The Great Canadian Oil Change, Wishbone Industries, BELL Racing and Kelowna Moving Centre.

Photo by Andrew Snucins

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