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 & Trespassers 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.
The 100 Acre Wood regional rally, held on Saturday, began as thousands of spectators lined the streets of downtown Salem hoping to see and potentially meet their favorite drivers. Once again, teams lined up for Parc Expose, with regional competitors lined up next to factory teams, showcasing their hard work and passion for competition. It is an opportunity for drivers and co-drivers, who do not hold a celebrity status, corporate sponsorship, marketing departments or an assembled team of professional mechanics to be someone’s hero, sign autographs, take pictures with fans and tell their story. They are simply motorsport fans, most paying their own entrance fees, and travel expenses as they travel from across the country to compete alongside their heroes.
As Saturday’s competition began, the camo-green Super Production class Subaru STi of Evan Cline and co-driver Jake Blattner set a blistering pace, once again setting the fastest times on all eight stages making up the 100 Acre Wood regional, en route to their second event win of the weekend. Continuing upon their success from Friday’s event, the husband and wife team of Henry and Cynthia Krolikowski , maintained a consistent pace throughout the event in their Open Class Subaru Impreza, setting the second fastest stage times on all but two stages. After holding on to third place overall throughout most of the day, a late retirement for Dustin Kasten and Corina Soto due to drivetrain issues gave Chuck Surdyke and Kim DeMotte a third place overall finish.
The Open Class victory went to the only Open Class competitors to finish the grueling event. Henry and Cynthia Krolikowski once again, brought their white and blue Subaru Impreza across the finish on Stage 17 to take home the win. After holding on to second place through Stage 16, the high attrition rate of the southern loop stage forced the retirement of the bright red Subaru Impreza of Dustin Kasten and Corina Soto. Jari Hamalainen and Teppo Nummela saw their event end following Stage 14 while the 1963 Saab 96 of Jeff Keller and Jason McDaniel suffered a blown engine on Stage 13.
The Open Light battle continued into Saturday as a 10-car field, made up of primarily Subarus, set off for competition. As with the Trespassers Wil event on Friday, the battle for the Open Light class win was fierce with Kristofer Yahner, Jaroslaw Sazanski and Chuck Surdyke all competing for the win. Once again, Jaroslaw Sazanski and Ray Vambuts traded stage wins with Chuck Surdyke and co-driver Kim DeMotte, each taking four out of the eight stages. The duo of Surdyke and DeMotte were able to maintain a steady pace throughout the event, eventually resulting in another Open Class victory, 26 seconds ahead of Yahner. A margin of 0.4 seconds separated Sazanski and Yahner entering the final stage of the event. Unfortunately Sazanski and Vambuts lost 22 seconds on the stage, resulting in a loss of position and handing second place to Kristofer Yahner and Tony Benusa with Jaroslaw Sazanski and Ray Vambuts finishing in third.
In the Two Wheel Drive class, the 1980 Volvo 242 of Ian Topping and Jimmy Brandt once again began strong, however an unfortunate engine issue on Stage 13 caused a connecting rod to be thrown through the left side of the engine block, ending their event. The BMW 328is of husband and wife team, David and Allison Kern took over the class lead following the retirement of the Volvo and established a one and a half minute lead over the second place BMW 325i of Brian McGuire and Brooks Freehill. Following a third place finish on Friday, the husband and wife team of Samir and Rachelle Kaltak began the day strong, until a rear suspension issue eventually resulted in their retirement. Third place in the class went to the blue 1992 Mazda MX-3 of Daniel Little and Andrew Gawboy.
OpenPaddock.net would once again 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.
A full list of results can be found here: http://www.rally-america.com/events/2014/100AWRR/results
Photos by Josh Tons