The Mt. Hood Rally always promises amazing competition on the flowing Columbia River Gorge roads. This year’s event on Saturday, October 22nd delivered on that promise and produced an even tighter battle at the top of the leader board between last year’s top two Mt. Hood Rally finishers.

It was the Bend, OR team of Carl Decker and Adam Craig who avenged their 2010 second place Mt. Hood Rally finish by winning the final four stages in their 1993 Subaru Impreza to narrowly beat last year’s winner, Byron Garth also from Bend, OR, by 2 seconds for the overall spot.

Decker finished each stage in the top two and kept his event hopes alive fending off challenges from Mark Fox and Byron Garth. Fox from Salem, OR won the first two stages of the day before ignition problems surfaced in his 2007 Subaru STI and he discontinued the rally at Stage 6. Garth with Seattle based co-driver, Jason Grahn, dogged Decker in their 2006 Subaru WRX in the remaining stages, but came in at second place.

“It’s always a blast racing in the NW and the Mt. Hood Rally 2011 was no exception,” said Byron Garth, “Carl Decker seems to always have the upper hand on our 401Rally Team. No matter how much money we dump into our car, Carl and Adam always seem to pull a couple seconds on every stage.”

The Hood River, OR team of Dave Henderson and co-driver Terrence McDowell, rounded out the Mt. Hood Rally podium. Henderson ran the Mt. Hood Rally in a new 2004 Subaru STI in Super Production Class trim.

Two-time Belgian Rally Champion, David Sterckx from Los Angeles, CA, entered the Mt. Hood Rally in preparation for a 2012 Rally America campaign. He and co-driver Karen Jankowski from San Diego, CA stayed in the top five having never ran the Mt. Hood Rally before. They suffered brake failure on the first pass of the Fir Mountain stage and later broke a wheel the second time through the stage.

“We were very happy because we were very competitive…” said Jankowski, “The car we are running is an old car that unfortunately has lots of issues so we can’t wait until our 2012 SP Subie is finished being built and ready to race.”

In the Two-Wheel-Drive Class, Lakeside, CA’s George Doganis and Thomas Smith drove their 1997 Honda Civic to a 9 second win over second place finishers, Brian Gottlieb from Portland, OR and Don Burress from Seattle, WA, piloting a 1989 Honda Civic.

The Seattle based team of Adam Crane and Britta Nielsen completed the Two-Wheel-Drive podium in third place in their 1986 Toyota Corolla. Only 1 second separated Gottlieb and Crane to determine second and third place.

Safedrives.com organized a Two-Wheel-Drive Prize Fund funded by donations. Over $400 was awarded to Doganis for being the top Two-Wheel Drive finisher. You can see the total prize fund breakdown and bonus awards at : https://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?44521-2011-Mt.-Hood-Rally-2WD-Prize-Fund!!!

You can view Mt. Hood Rally final results at http://rallydata.com/Results/MtHood_2011_Club1Results.htm

Photo by Shelby Starbuck

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