Canadian rally driver Mark Jennings-Bates and co-driver Jennifer Daly took second place in the regional portion of Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Rally this past weekend. Thirty rally teams from across the country competed through the worst weather in over forty years. It was wet and snowy for the days preceding the event, and record precipitation and low temperatures were set during the rally. Despite the storm, the Rally4Life team camped out at the Skyline Ranch near Claresholm and prepared for a winter rally.

The hostile weather conditions made tire choice a significant factor in the outcome at Rocky. The Rally4Life team struggled through Friday’s initial stages, after selecting winter tires that turned out to be ineffective in the mixed road conditions. They ended the first day of the rally eighth regionally and fifteenth nationally. “It was less a case of tire choice and more a case of the only choice for a low budget team… we had to make the best of a bad situation” said driver Mark Jennings-Bates.

After considering tire choice for Saturday’s stages carefully, the team was able to take advantage of a new tire support programme provided by Yokohama and Rocket Rally. The valuable service provides on site tire sales and mounting, and the Rally4Life team was able to mount a set of specialized mud tires in preparation for the thick, sloppy Porcupine Hills Stages. On the right tires, and with their KSport suspension setup the team had an outstanding run, despite extremely snowy and muddy conditions. The snow, sleet or rain fell relentlessly throughout the rally, but Mark and Jennifer were able to take advantage of the challenging weather and absolutely enjoyed pushing back up through the standings. Deep snow forced the cancellation of stages and modification to the event schedule, so the rally was shorter than intended. The Rally4Life team advanced considerably, given the reduction in overall stage kilometres.

Quebec’s Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won the Rocky Mountain Rally with steady driving and wise tire choices. Squamish based Rocket Rally driver and 2009 Canadian Rally Champion Pat Richard and his codriver Alan Ockwell were second overall; the Quebec team of Bruno Carre and Yvan Joyal rounded out the national podium. Mark and Jennifer placed ninth nationally and second regionally. They shared the regional podium with first place Hardy Schmidtke and Adam Vokes, and third place JC Bourgeois and John Hall.

The hardworking Rally4Life service crew for the Rocky Mountain Rally was Dave Steeper, Alex Schubel, Eric Bauld and Jackie Jennings-Bates.

The Rally4Life Team will be aiming for an overall win at their upcoming home rally, the Mountain Trials Regional Stage Rally, on June 12 in Merritt BC.

The Rally4Life Canadian team is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and competes in the Western Canada Rally Championship and select events in the Canadian Rally Championship which is broadcast in High Definition on TSN and will be Canada’s first competitive car entry into the Dakar Rally.

Locally, the team is supported by Ksport USA, Helios Global Tracking, Aerius Engineering, BC Resort Homes, Big O Tires Westbank, AGAR Paint and Autobody, Wyatt Autoparts, Provision Data, Bell Racewear, Pinnacle Elite Athletes and Pinnacle Physiotherapy.



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