Nameless Performance Stage Rally – What’s in a name?

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The Nameless Performance Rally came to be when Rally America removed the ‘Olympus Rally’ from their schedule for 2013.  This was largely because the organizers of Olympus wanted to move the date back to the spring after last year’s’ issues with fire danger.  When the Olympus organizers attempted to renegotiate the schedule, Rally America said they wouldn’t alter their schedule for 2013 and with no resolution (among other issues) Olympus Rally was dropped for the season.  Rally America even went to the point of enforcing a non-compete stating that if the organizers decided to run it themselves, they could not use the ‘Olympus Rally’ name.

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So along comes Nameless Performance Inc., who despite their odd name happens to be a fairly well known performance parts fabricator located in the small town of La Center, Washington.  Despite their small size, Nameless has made quite the name for themselves (pun fully intended) with the quality of their parts and wide services they have provided rally teams and sport tuners.  Nameless decided to help sponsor the event, which would use many of the same stages as the previous Olympus Rally, but instead called it the “Nameless Performance Rally.”  As you can imagine, the double entendre of the sponsor’s name and the jab at Rally America for taking away Olympus was enjoyed by many in the Pacific Northwest rally community.

Nameless now being a regional rally meant they did not have the likes of David Higgins, Ken Block, or Antoine L’Estage competing.  What they did have was plenty of local action as drivers from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and even California duked it out in the dust and then the rain.  If you think a regional rally would be small and short, think again.  The Pacific Northwest has such as strong rally following that 43 cars started on Saturday (it would have been 46, but 3 dropped out car issues before getting started).  The rally had a 2 pass recce where drivers created their own pace notes, and had 120 competitive stage miles.  That’s no slouch of a rally.

Among the throng of locals were a few notable entrants such as David Henderson of Suspect Motorsports who won second in Super Production at Oregon Trail this year.  Also competing and normally driving a 2wd Ford Fiesta, Dillon Van Way was competing for the first time in a 4wd Super Production Subaru WRX STi.  And of course who could miss the Nameless Performance GT86 “Toyrobaru” project car driven by Will Orders and co-driver Toni Feaver of Australia.  All the rally classes were well represented.

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As for the rally itself, I only got the chance to attend on Saturday when the conditions were warm and dusty.  Once again I worked as a volunteer.  Even though I was there just one day, it was still great to spend the time out on the stages with these amazing cars flying by at speed.  I got the luck of being a road marshal at the end of a very long straight on SS1 / SS4, where cars would hit top speed and then slam on the brakes into a “Scandinavian Flick” for the 180 degree hairpin and then tear off down another long straight.  Once again, being a volunteer will always give you the best viewing positions at a rally.

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The biggest drama during the event was on SS3 Nahwatzel.  An unknown driver missed a turn and blew through some caution tape that closed off a bisecting road.  This driver apparently continued on through the closed off section and somewhere ahead re-connected to the racing stage.  This bisecting road ended up being a shortcut removing 2 miles of racing stage.  With the caution tape down, multiple cars went through this shortcut as it felt like a natural way the road should go.  After many other cars had blown through this shortcut, Carson and Chad Roskelley in their #38 Subaru Impreza realized that they turn, stopped and turned around on the shortcut to make it back to the racing stage.  Unfortunately as the Roskelley’s were returning through their own cloud of dust, Black Hole Racing’s Max Neher and Steve Warren also blew onto the same shortcut.  I chatted with Max and here is how he described what happened:

“Well, we started stage 3 good. Being my first rally behind the wheel I was just getting comfortable with my co-driver and him calling corners. He had written all his own notes and marked the instructions numbers accordingly. He called out instruction 5, crest into right 4. We hit the crest, at about 50mph. He called out right 4 again, telling me we were going to hit it. I didn’t see the turn at the crest, saw a straight away. I let off the gas, saw the turn/marker last minute. Then saw broken banner even later. As I focused ahead of me, mind you all this is happening at 40-50mph, I saw a car coming at me. I locked up the brakes and we probably hit head on at about 25-35mph.  Once we hit I made sure my car was turned off. I looked over at Steve and he was ok. He said grab a triangle. So I scrambled out as quick as I could and ran as fast as I could back up the road to warn those behind us. I could hear someone say “I’m sorry” as i was running. I thought I saw their co-driver (Chad Roskelley) getting out. Not sure who it was saying sorry. Steve may have talked to them. The silver Volvo (piloted by Kathy Hardy) almost blew the corner as well. I was holding the triangle up and gave a thumbs up since I didn’t have time to get the OK sign. I was giving a thumbs up and pointed to the turn. A second car came as I was further up. I gave them a thumbs up and held up the triangle too. Once I got two triangles up I got back to the car. By that time the other car (Roskelly’s Subaru Impreza) was gone. Steve was out walking around, he had given me the second triangle. I was looking over the car when the e-crew showed up. They asked were the Roskelly’s car was. I didn’t know. They then did their check up on both of us and dragged the car out of the way. Then they gave us a ride back to start since the stage was shut down.”

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Unfortunately the #758 Golf GTI of Black Hole Racing was damaged beyond repair and Max’s first rally was done at the end of SS3.

 

The GT86 of Will Orders and Toni Feaver didn’t make it that far either.  After the morning loop of stages they had to call it quits due to overheating issues, and some front suspension damage.  As this event was a shakedown of the new build, the Nameless Performance crew was taking their time to thoroughly analyze their issues.  I spoke with Will in the service park Saturday night and I asked him what he thought of the new car vs. his 450 HP Nissan Silvia he races in the Australian Rally Championship.  He said “They are almost there with this car, I’d say about 90% of what the Silvia is doing now.  What’s exciting is that this car has the potential to be 50% better than the Silvia could ever be.  It’s just a great to drive.”  He also explained that his main problem right now is getting good rear traction.  The team was working on suspension adjustments to see if they could fix the problem for Sunday.

 

Again, I wasn’t able to attend Sunday, which maybe I was lucky because the skies opened up and dumped a bit of rain.  Not a lot of rain, but enough to make it slick.  At least the drivers didn’t have to contend with the dust.

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The rally finished with the #227 BMW M3 driven by DirtFish Rally School instructor Derik Nelson taking the win.  That’s right.  A rear-wheel drive BMW beat all the 4wd entries, and rather handily as well.  This is the second overall rally win in a row for Derik and his co-driver Adam Newell, as they won the Idaho Rally just a couple weeks prior to the Nameless Performance Stage Rally.  Second place went to Mark Tabor and Co-Driver Kathy Hansen in their #232 WRX STi with a time +4:10 behind.  And third overall went to Chris O’Driscoll and co-driver Tracy Manspeaker in their #339 Subaru WRX who finished a very close +00:10 behind Tabor.

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23 of the 43 cars that started Saturday finished the event.  Unfortunately the Nameless Performance GT86, Dillon Van Way’s Subaru WRX STi, and Dave Henderson’s Suspect Motorsports WRX STi were all DNFs.  On the plus side for the GT86 project got a lot of real-world testing done, Van Way got two stage wins in a 4WD car, and Dave Henderson won 5 of Sunday’s 6 stages including the “Power Stage.”

Day 2 notes from the Suspect Motorsports Facebook Page:

“SS7 was the first of the 6 stages for the day, and although I tried very hard to throw it all away, by several “moments” and nearly taking the right rear quarter off with a tree, we made nearly a minute on the 2nd place car!! Well, next up was the “Power Stage”, which would if we won it, qualify for the NASA Rally Sport Championship rally in Arizona, it was a new one for the team, as co-driver Terry McDowell and I had never run a stage “blind” as in no recce, no notes, only a route book with general instructions and warnings, about every .5 mile, interesting, but so much fun to truly try and drive as fast as you can not knowing whats around the bend. The result was another stage win, and with that a time to slow it down and get the days win, which is hard to do sometimes, but we did it and survived the day in first, with 5 of 6 stage wins, a spot in the National Championship Run-Off, and a much more satisfying day!!

Huge thanks go to our sponsors, but without a great crew, we would not have been able to re-enter Day 2, Mike Doroski and Matt McClure did a great job keeping us on the road, and back in it with the turbo swap Saturday night!”

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The Nameless Performance Stage Rally was a great event and news on the wire has confirmed that next year the rally outside Olympia will return under the historically proper ‘Olympus Rally’ name as it should.

 

 

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