Black Box rally team completed the inaugural Empire State Performance Rally(ESPR) in Rock Hill, NY as the “best-placed stock vehicle”, finishing 6th overall. The rally covered over 230 miles of roads through the city of Rock Hill, NY, about 80 minutes from New York City.
ESPR is the only national tarmac rally in the United States, a rarity since almost all other US rallies take place on gravel. The event was fast, with rally drivers getting up to triple digit speeds frequently, and averaging over 80mph throughout the event.
Thanks to all the rally organizers and volunteers for making this event possible!
An amazing weekend filled with expanding the rally vibe into the mainstream motorsports consciousness just happened in West Virginia. NASA Rally Sport held a rally sprint event, as well as a very extended public rides session, at the Summit Point Motorsports Park. The event was a part of the HyperFest weekend, an annual motorsports festival that attracts over 10,000 visitors. Located in the northern end of West Virginia, the area is conveniently located to major metropolitan areas like Washington DC and New York City.
‘It was a huge success.’ said Anders Green of NASA Rally Sport. ‘We gave over 200 rally rides, and they all got out with huge smiles on their faces. These people are the next generation of rally drivers and volunteers. As a sanctioning body, investing time developing interest in rally, and educating people about how they can get involved and get started racing is one of the most important things NASA Rally Sport does.’ Maria Orsini of Summit Point Motorsports Park added ‘We had people at the gate saying that had driven all the way here specifically for the rally rides.’
The second day of the event was all racing. Two highlights stand out. First, was Alvin Fong winning the sprint. ‘It was HyperFest last year that pushed me to actually finish my rally car and get out on the stages.’ said Fong. That Fong could go from bystander to event winner in a year really speaks to the reach that this event has. That he managed to win by pulling out an amazing final run, besting hot shoe Charles Sherrill, is even more impressive. The second highlight was the new team of Corey Kline and Ben Brown managing a class podium.
Well we did it. With our 1st in Production AWD class/3rd overall finish at Prescott, we clinched the United States Rally Championship Production AWD Cup. Our performance also secured 2nd in the Overall USRC Championship, an impressive feat for an underpowered production class car in a predominantly open class field! A more in-depth recap will be posted later this week. Until then, check out pictures from the 2012 Prescott Rally!
Black River Stages proved to be quite an attrition rally for AWD cars this year. The 2012 running of Black River Stages claimed 4 cars on the very first stage; Peter Malaszuk/Dominik Jozwiak rolled their vehicle, Martin Egan/Jarrah Lankas hit a tree, Eric Wages/Sarah Montplaisir blew their motor, and Steven Czwalga/Steven Czwalga barely made it off stage 1 with rear differential failure.
The rally was also proving difficult for the Black Box rally team, which was plagued by mechanical setbacks and road penalties. A wheel fitment error forced the team to run on 1 set of previously used tires throughout the entire rally.
“We knew going into the rally that BRS would be tough. There was not ample time to test the car, so the first couple stages ended up being the shakedown for the rally car” Driver Alvin Fong said. A shakedown refers to a practice stage that competitors are usually privy to prior to the start of the rally.
Black Box rally team was off pace on day 1, accumulating over 4 minutes of penalties.
“After stage 5, we were pulled over for ‘insufficient tail lamps’, giving us a massive late penalty to the next stage. It was an almost comical series of misfortunes” stated Alvin Fong.
With the penalties, the team was left in 14th overall out of 27 starters. Most teams probably would have thrown in the towel at this point, but Alvin Fong was undeterred, vowing to set the pace on day 2.
And set the pace they did, with 8 stages left of the rally, the team of Alvin Fong/Amber Stacy clawed their way up from 14th overall to 4th overall; taking over 2 minutes back from the AWD leader. This allowed Black Box rally team to secure 1st Overall AWD in their stock heavy class Evo.
All photos credited to B Machin (email@example.com)