Without a doubt Jeff Seehorn was the star driver of Oregon Trail Rally 2015. Seemingly coming out of nowhere in his 6th ever stage rally he startled everyone by finishing what would have been 3rd overall behind David Higgins and Adam Yeoman if he was registered nationally. I know I said before that we should keep an eye on this guy, but I certainly wasn’t expecting stage times like we saw last weekend. Congrats on such an awesome Oregon Trail Rally Jeff, and we look forward to seeing you at Olympus!
Here’s Jeff’s account of the weekend in his own words:
It is crazy to think that one year ago Oregon Trail Rally was our maiden rally! Beyond excited with how our first rally of the season started off at Oregon Trail Rally 2015. We went into OTR knowing we had good speed, but not quite the speed that we found this weekend. Our goal was to be within 10 seconds of the top Super Production teams, not beating them by 10 to 30 seconds on some stages and swapping times all weekend!
We started off the rally with a few press stage runs at Portland International Raceway, giving a few fans and VIP guests rides in the car. It was good opportunity to give the new livery a show and shakedown the new E85 tune and suspension setup. The car ran strong but had a few issues: boost and a misfire issue intermittently. That night we tore into the car and found a semi loose coil connection and resolved the misfire issue going into the stages on Friday night. Boost issue remained unknown.
Friday night rolled around and we were ready for the spectator stages at PIR. With the wet conditions we decided to run gravel tires to get a good drive around the motocross track and over the grass to the jump. They worked well on the first part of the stage 1, but lost tons of time around the road-course, slipping and sliding on every corner. We turned a good time on stage 2 with no boost issues and the gravels hooking up on the large slick grass corner and back gravel section. At the first service we decided to switch to tarmacs and dropped 6 seconds on stage 3, the car felt like it was on rails around the road-course. On stage 4 the boost issue came back again where it defaulted to 8psi and wouldn’t pull hard down the back straight, and the tarmac tires didn’t fair well on the wet grass and gravel on the back section, our time suffered. We were happy to finish the night without damage and with the regional win at the Wagons Ho Rally.
We moved on to Saturdays stages at Dufur and were excited to start the real rally stages! We had fixed the low boost issue which ended up being a control solenoid before going out for the first 2 stages. The car felt strong and we were clipping along at a good speeds on SS6 until we got a really bad boost leak and lost power on Big Boyd from the jump on. We still posted a good time just running 10 seconds off Nick Roberts even with the boost leak. Back in service we got the boost leak resolved and headed back out and set the 4th fastest time on SS7. On SS8 Big Boyd we dropped 23 seconds with the leak fixed and good power but Roberts still had 11 seconds on us. The last 4 stages of the day we really put our heads down and started putting down faster times than the national SP guys. The last two stages, SS11 and SS12 we had 3rd overall fastest times of the day which put us in 3rd overall for the weekend combined times and gave us the regional win for the Shunpiker stages.
Sunday morning we moved on to the tight technical stages of the Trails End rally based out of Hood River. I guess we were the talk of the rally after Saturday and even as a regional car we started 4th on the road. It was an honor but quite a disadvantage being that I’d never been on roads that were un-swept before. You could say I was a little intimidated going out on the first stage of the day for Husky South SS13. We pushed a little too hard on the start of the stage and had a spin (my first spin), it cost us about 20 seconds. We moved on and focused on cleaning up our runs and it worked; our next run through on Husky II we went 25 seconds quicker, dropping the spin and another 5 seconds. The last three stages with Roberts having a mechanical we hung onto 3rd overall on combined results. Again we put our heads down and put in top times: 4th fastest on SS16, 3rd on SS17, and 2nd fastest on SS18. We won the regional for the Trails End Rally and were 3rd overall for the combined results for the weekend.
I really cannot believe how amazing the weekend turned out! It was a real treat getting to compete with the national level teams. All the top teams were super friendly and it was pretty cool getting to hang out with David Higgins and everyone else waiting for our minute to roll up. Though it was a bittersweet finish not being able to enjoy the podium since we didn’t enter nationally, Rally America really went above and beyond and treated us like National entries with a champagne celebration for the regional overall. I’d like to thank Bill Fogg, Doug, Steve, and Jeff with RA for taking care of the team. The event organizers and all the volunteers (like 250 something!) were awesome and it we couldn’t enjoy this great sport without you guys, thank you!
Michael Milos is one dedicated Co-driver, he puts forth such a focused effort going into each event. Not only does he lay down great notes on all the stages each weekend but he helps promote the team in many different ways. Special thanks to Michael for always going the extra mile, the team wouldn’t be as fast without you!
We had lots of people who helped us out for the weekend. First I’d like to thank David and Jesi Cain, otherwise known as the “Cain Inn” for putting us up in their home for two nights in Portland. They treated us like family and are awesome people, plus big rally fans. Thank you to the Cains!
My crew was awesome this weekend, Isaac Fish of Fishhead Tuning and his family made the trek down and helped out all weekend. Isaac and his brother Matt banged out services with ease and kept the car fast all weekend fixing all the little hiccups with boost control. Isaac’s wife Jennifer wrestled three young ones all weekend and even made an unexpected trip to get more E85 before Sunday. Thank you guys for all your dedicated help, you rock!
My family came down and helped with service, fed the crew members, and as always gave their ongoing support, thank you Mom and Dad for being there once again and proving that racing families are the best families. Love you both.
Last and not least, my very lovely fiancé Tristan, soon to be Seehorn. She helps me get ready for every rally very early on starting out with prepping and putting in late nights working on the car. She has always been so supportive of my racing, I knew she was a keeper when I met her at the racetrack! Love you Honey and thank you again for supporting me every step of the way.
Our sponsors have been awesome this year! Jerm Designs put in lots of time on the new livery, it turned out amazing and made the car look so fast that we had to back it up! Fishhead Performance and Reliable Truck and Auto hooked us up with the parts to tune to E85 and tuned the car as well, thank you for giving us a fast car to put up on the podium. AllWheelsDriven.net hooked us up on their suspension last year and we are really using it to its full potential, the car feels great on stage. They continue to support our team and we greatly appreciate it. Rockford Auto for always having the parts I need to keep the race car running and being there for me when I need a flexible work schedule. Hard Motorsports for their support on EBC Brakes and race gear. SXS Slideplates for their support and underbody protection materials. Line-X of CDA for putting in a bunch of prep work spraying coating on our fenders and rocker panels. Peachy Kleen for their continued support and contributions to the team. Shtnom for their support and soon to be team t-shirts, YES!!