On Saturday, April 30th, tragedy struck the close knit rally racing community during the Olympus Rally based in Ocean Shores, WA.

31-year-old driver Matthew Marker of Elk Rapids, MI did not survive injuries sustained in a racing accident. Marker was in his fifth year of participating in the Rally America National Championship and was a popular driver among his peers. Marker was known to have ambitions of improving his Championship standings and taking part in building the sport’s popularity.

Matthew Marker’s co-driver (the driver’s navigator), Christopher Gordon of Brooklyn Park, MN, was not seriously injured in the accident.

The crash occurred when Marker’s car went off the road on a right turn, during the 6th competitive stage of the event, impacting a tree with the driver’s side of the car. Medical personnel responded to the scene quickly, but could not resuscitate Marker. The sport of rally in North America has not had a competitor-related fatality since 2003.

RallyCar Managing Director, J.B. Niday, knew Marker well describing him as, “a generous, loveable personality that wouldn’t think twice about offering parts to other drivers. He loved the sport and was a unique character from the first day he showed up at the Sno*Drift Rally four years ago.”

Team 600 co-driver Jake Blattner was close to Marker and remembers him as “a very passionate, energetic, hip gear head that used to turn up with glowing neon lights under his car on the night stages which the fans loved.” Like everyone in the sport, Jake is shaken but remains convinced that the organization does everything it can to keep competitors safe. “It’s a dangerous sport but that’s what sets it apart. Its you against the wild open road and the clock.”

Olympus Rally organizers and RallyCar officials decided to conclude the Rally American National Championship event at the end of Special Stage 6 and will award points based on those finishing times. The coinciding MaxAttack! 2-Wheel-Drive Series also concluded their event out of respect to the deceased and his family and friends. The John Nagel Regional Rally did continue as scheduled on Sunday and National competitors were given the option to enter.

About RallyCar
Based in Golden Valley, Minn., RallyCar sanctions the premier performance rally series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2011, RallyCar is conducting six National Championship events at venues across the country, from Olympia, Washington to Newry, Maine. RallyCar competitors reach speeds of well over 100 mph in modified street cars on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt or snow. Additionally, RallyCar sanctions the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship featuring rally cars racing door-to-door on tricky tarmac/dirt race tracks. More information about rally and rallycross can be found at www.rally-america.com, and videos can viewed at www.youtube.com/rallyamericaseries.

RallyCar’s 2011 Rally America National Championship is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Ford Racing, VP Racing Fuels, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Danza del Sol Winery, Team O’Neil Rally School, RECARO USA, Hawk Performance Brakes, Exedy Racing Clutches and Racewatches.com.

Action Photo Credit: http://WorldRallySport.com | Aaron Kathman
Head Shot: File Photo

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