Gorman is a rally that defines the toughness and spirit of Southern California rally competitors. If you’re from out of town, don’t call it “rough”. Gorman is the reason competitors from here are often successful all over the US. It’s a rally that teaches you what rocks and terrain to avoid. It shows you how hot your engine bay can really get, and how inadequate that rear skidplate you made out of 1/8″ steel is. Cap that all off with a legendary after party and you’ll never look at “just finishing” the same. Presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports: 2C the 2WD challenge makes this victory even sweeter with a cash prize for the top 5 2WD competitors.
Ryan Millen with co-driver Christina Fate will be taking the challenge for the first time in the RAV4. We’re not too worried as Ryan’s desert racing experience will really come into play here, but this will be a serious test for the new Toyota. Look for Ryan to pull off a solid finish and not take too much risk – the question is: Will this strategy be enough to land him in a top 2WD spot?
Markus and Alicia Saarinen will be looking for a bit of redemption at Gorman. Last year a mistake over a long crest landed them off the road, and literally ripped a wheel and strut off the tough little Mini Cooper. They will need to keep it clean here at Gorman to match their win in Idaho.
Bret Robinson is back to challenge 2C from his last outing in Prescott 2014 where he captured 3rd place cash in his VW Golf. This time with seasoned co-driver Brent Ellzey. These two have raced Gorman for years and will be prepared to challenge for the top spot. Also in a VW Golf: Andrew and Robin Lockhart are back to Gorman after not running the event for a few years. Look for this to be a great VW rivalry!
Co-Driver Chrissie Beavis slides over to the drivers seat again, this time to compete with co-driver Erica Sacks – Erica, the first US competitors to enter the Gazelle Rally in a side-by-side quad. Both of them have completed the Gazelle. That rally being a nine-day, all-women, off-road rally across the Sahara Desert. This team will no doubt have an interesting perspective of the Gorman stages in their Volkswagen Jetta.
Long time competitors Larry and Lance Gross in their tough Toyota Corolla will be trading times with John Black and Lori Stone in their equally capable Ford Ranger. Look for Javier Olivares and Brock Heinz to be in that mix with their Ford Escort. Gorman first timer Andrew Cowan and Tim Brown will see if they have what it takes. Chris Palermo will be looking to improve his speed here at Gorman with a yet unnamed co-driver. For some RWD fun, Steven Egger & Christopher Chenoweth are back sliding around their 318i BMW. While Christian Arboleda & Oscar Arteta push a Suzuki Swift to the limit! Twelve 2C competitors make up the large field for Gorman 2015!
Ryan Millen unstoppable at Gorman 2C, absolute battle for 2nd
Ryan Millen unstoppable at Gorman 2C, absolute battle for 2nd between Lockhart and Robinson.
Sporting a field of 26 competitors, with almost half of them in 2WD, the 2015 Gorman Rally in Lebec, California made for a great 2C event! The mileage of the rally doesn't tell the full story, as the fastest competitors on one of their 3 mile stages can't break the 3 minute mark. Tight and twisty with hundreds of corners in the hot August sun make this rally a challenge just to finish. At the after party we got to experience the friendship and comradery that defines the California Rally Series. 2C is supported by Team O'Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports who believe that starting with 2WD is the best path to future success in the sport.
Ryan Millen and Co-Driver Christina Fate have been carefully and slowly turning up the pace in their Toyota RAV4 this season, and this weekend was their time to shine. "No problems - and we're not going to have any," was Ryan's mantra when they checked into the finish of stage nine. Ryan's desert racing experience was put to the test on these stages and the team responded with an unstoppable pace from the start. Setting the fastest 2WD time on every stage but one, they took home 1st in 2WD and $250 cash for the 2WD Challenge. Quite an impressive drive on these stages!
Andrew Lockhart's sister and listed Co-Driver Robin Lockhart was unable to attend last minute, so Andrew asked Michel Hoche-Mong to hop into the Co-Driver's seat. Michel has experience driving and finishing on the podium at this event in a Volkswagen Golf, so the pair hit the ground running. Almost immediately times were being traded with another Volkswagen Golf team of Bret Robinson and Brent Ellzey. Robinson took SS1, was slower on 7 & 9, but tied Lockhart on SS8. After the service break Lockhart was a bit faster on 10 - 12, but Robinson grabbed a few seconds on SS13 and even more on 14! Anything could happen going into the last stage and Andrew Lockhart dug deep to pull out the fastest 2WD time on the Gorman Rally Power Stage! At the end of it, Andrew Lockhart collected $150 for 2nd in 2C and Bret Robinson earned $75 for a hard fought 3rd place.
A last minute entry from Driver Brent Lee and Co-Driver John Dillon brought a Ford Fiesta R2 out to Gorman for Dillon's 150th rally! Some early engine gremlins kept the team out of it until SS8 & SS9 when they jumped back into the fray of times coming out of the 2nd place battle. Their perseverance allowed them to take over 4th place on SS12 and overcoming those issues earned them $25 for 4th in the 2WD Challenge. We look forward to seeing Brent Lee and John Dillon at future events!
Having the most fun of any 2C team out on the stages, Chrissie Beavis and new Co-Driver Erica Sacks were always smiling when they arrived at the finish controls. Driving their Volkswagen Jetta through all the tough and twisty stages, the team had a great event and a great attitude. With a 5th place finish in 2WD they received $15 on top of the champagne for winning the California Rally Series P-Stock class.
Both of our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O'Neil in Dalton, NH offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience. Looking to learn to drive at the limit in a 2WD car? Go to the Team O'Neil Rally School at http://www.teamoneil.com. Looking to build a 2WD car? Talk to Streetwise Motorsports at http://streetwiseparts.com.
Our next event is already going to see a huge field of competitors as the Prescott Rally is the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship event. This winner take all, East vs. West competition, will have the extra bonus of being a 2C event again this year. Let's get more than 15 2WD cars on the start list so we can double the winnings! We'll see you in Prescott, Arizona on October 2nd, or you can follow the action online with #2WDRally #USRally #PrescottRally @NASARallySport