The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is the second race of the Rally America National Championship and is known as one of the most scenic. Named after the storybook home of Winnie the Pooh, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is a picturesque race with enough twists and turns to test every driver’s ability. Set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, this race is always a favorite due to its pristine surroundings and fast, tight roads. Although the main headline of the event is the National Championship, Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is also made up of two Regional events, 100 Acre Wood & Tresspassers Wil. These two regional events allow grassroots racers to compete on the same level as the factory Ford and Subaru teams, using the same stage roads as Ken Block and Travis Pastrana.
Tresspassers Wil, held on Friday, began as teams lined up at Steelville City Park for Parc Expose with regional competitors lined up next to factory teams, showcasing their hard work and passion for competition. Regional competitors travel from across the country to compete alongside their heroes, spending sleepless hours preparing their vehicle for the event in hopes of standing on the awards podium
From the start, Evan Cline and co-driver Jake Blattner set a blistering pace in their camo green Subaru STi, the lone Super Production Class car in the event. After running a limited 2013 season, Cline and Blattner ran into a slight problem prior to this past weekend’s event even beginning. With their suspension still in the process of being rebuilt from a previous event, Cline was unsure if they would even be able to race. Thanks to generosity and support from other regional competitors, suspension components were obtained and the pair was able to compete. Setting the fastest times on each of the eight stages making up the Tresspassers Wil regional event, Cline and Blattner took home the overall win by nearly three minutes over Henry and Cynthia Krolikowski. The Kroliowski husband and wife team maintained a consistent pace throughout the event in their Open Class Subaru Impreza, setting the second fastest stage times. Third place went to the Open Class Subaru Impreza of Dustin Kasten and Corina Soto.
The Open Class victory went to Henry and Cynthia Krolikowski as they battled throughout the event with Dustin Kasten and Corina Soto, who took second in the class. Missouri natives, Matt and Lauren Conte made their Open Class debut in their 1991 Subaru Legacy after making the move from Open Light in the off season. With a blistering start to the event, Team Conte Racing sat in second place position at the start of Stage 4, however an unfortunate mechanical problem resulted in a loss power and their eventual early retirement from the event. The depature of Team Conte Racing allowed Jari Hamalainen and Teppo Nummela to secure a third place finish in their Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.
In recent years, the Open Light class has become one of the most competitive in the Regional series. With vehicles limited to naturally aspirated engines, the class provides an ideal opportunity to improve driving abilities in addition to providing a doorway into rally competition. The 2014 Tresspassers Will, saw an 11-car field, made up of primarily Subarus. Throughout the event, the battle for the Open Light class win was tough as Jaroslaw Sazanski and Ray Vambuts traded stage wins with Chuck Surdyke and co-driver Kim DeMotte, each taking four out of the eight stages on Friday. By the end of the event, the duo of Surdyke and DeMotte held on to first place finishing nine seconds ahead of Sazanski, handing them the Open Light class victory. Rounding out the podium was the third place team of Kristofer Yahner and Tony Benusa, finishing two seconds behind the second place car.
In Two Wheel Drive, the 1980 Volvo 242 of Ian Topping and Jimmy Brandt took home the class win by 31 seconds over the BMW 328is of husband and wife team, David and Allison Kern. Third place in the class went to the husband and wife team of Samir and Rachelle Kaltak, running a rented vehicle in while testing for Maxxis Tires. Holding a usual presence in the Open Light Class, the team decided to try something different and compete in a Two Wheel Drive Mitsubishi Lancer, when asked about the difference compared to their Open Light Car, Samir responded with “I miss the power and control of the Subaru, I have a new found respect for the class”. Competition in the Two Wheel Drive class was extremely competitive as the top four competitors were separated by less than a minute, a notable fourth place finish by Brakim Racing’s, Matt Brandenburg and Brian Hintsbarger, after taking multiple stage wins earlier in the day.
OpenPaddock.net would like to congratulate all those teams who competed in this event; we thoroughly enjoy the passion and urge to compete that these grassroots racers bring to the event. Our coverage of the event is not yet finished; keep an eye out for part two of our coverage, with the 100 Acre Wood regional rally.
A full list of results can be found here: http://www.rally-america.com/events/2014/TRESS/results
Photos by Josh Tons