A close battle at the front, massive accidents, and wide-spread attrition made the 2016 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood one to remember.
It feels like someone snuck “Do a Barrel Roll (Press Z or R twice)” into the Jemba notes this year. A Red Cross came out twice this weekend, delaying stages, and even more drivers had offs, rolls, and skids. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured in any of these instances.
A side effect of the delays, stages traditionally run in the dark that we feared gone, thanks to daylight savings, were now going to be run well after sunset. Additionally, as the darkness came so did rain showers that slickened the surface. It would turn out to be just enough moisture to reduce the dust going into the final day. The conditions helped create one of the closest, fastest, and most interesting rallies in a very long time.
Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom emerged the victors from a two day battle of mere seconds with Subaru Rally Team USA teammates David Higgins and Craig Drew. The duel between the Rally America champions went all the way to the final stage with neither driver attaining more than a 12.2 second lead. The win is Pastrana’s first at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood and represents the end of a two-year, 14 win streak for Higgins. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever driven,” said Pastrana,“We drove the absolute piss out of it.”
National Limited Open Class was hit hard by the attrition of the 100AW. Fan favorites Nick Roberts and Alex Gelsomino in the Technicolor/Mondrian inspired Subaru suffered an engine failure on Saturday, knocking them out. But it was Peter Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak who experienced the most dramatic event of the rally. A bad landing at the cattle guard jump caused their Subaru to roll nearly a dozen times. We’re glad to say that both drivers escaped with only minor injuries.
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Super Production is the only class that saw all major entrants finish. Returning champions Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Scott Putnam had a banner rally. They drove fast, steady, and clean to finish first in SP and third overall. Under a minute behind them were Jeff Seehorn and John Dillon with a standout performance that saw Seehorn earn his first ever Rally America National podium, which is even more impressive considering this is his first time competing at 100AW. But the real battle in SP was for the final spot on the podium. After suffering from a brake failure, Troy Miller pushed hard throughout Saturday, taking the position from Tino Fortunato to finish third in class.
The 2WD class was, by far, hit the hardest by the forces of this rally. The class was won by a newcomer named Dave Wallingford. Just behind him was the Team O’Neil father-daughter team of Steve and Alison LaRoza, who lead the class through Friday but suffered from ignition issues late on Saturday. Rounding out the podium was the Honda team of Jordan Guitar and William Jang, who also finished first in B-Spec, after a hard-fought battle with the Honda Star Car of RealTime Acura’s Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley.
Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn spent the weekend fighting electrical problems, fault codes, and blown fuses, ultimately struggling to fifth in class. Ryan Millen fought mechanical issues throughout Friday, attempted to Super Rally, but then was forced to retire early on the second day. Matt Brandenburg suffered from a differential failure early on Friday and could not restart the following morning.
In the rest of B-Spec, Keanna Erickson-Chang and Ole Holter kept a steady pace to take second in class. After a dramatic off Jean-Pierre Rasaiah and Matthew Hoffman managed to recover and finished third. Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley had a phenomenal drive in the Honda Star Car, standing as high as second in all of 2WD before a mechanical failure forced an off and their retirement. But don’t worry, they loved their time out in the woods.
Overall, 63 teams started the rally and only 36 finished. We think that exemplifies just how difficult the stage conditions were this weekend. We’ll go more in depth on what happened in each class in a later series of articles.
For more photos and event info from the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, you can also check out the new Facebook fan page North American Rally Updates or search the hashtag #100aw on Twitter.
Rally America next goes west for the third round at the Oregon Trail Rally, held April 22-24th.
6 Thoughts to “The Quick Recap – Rally in the 100 Acre Wood”
In his final interview with Jim Beaver, David Higgins thanked Lauchlin O’Sullivan for towing him through the final transit to the finish. That outstanding sportsmanship cost O’Sullivan a position but that’s the kind of competitor he is. Amazing.
Actually Lauchlin O’Sullivan did not drop a position. He still finished 3rd overall and 1st in SP. I believe the officials credited back any time lost after the water splash where he towed Higgins to the finish. As you said though, amazing sportsmanship. You see this time and again in rally racing, but hardly ever in any other form of motorsports. Cheers!
Thanks for the recap!! We did our best guys, on a good note we know what cause the BMW differential issue and it won’t happen again on a bad note it was a simple mistake to keep from happening. We would have loved to have got the chance to run with Ryan Millen for the first time, we only got to run 3 stages, DNF on 5 and stage 3 was cancelled and stage 5 we stopped to help the vehicle in front of us that rolled heavy in our line, could have been bad.
We did win 2 of the 3 stages we got to run with fastest 2WD stage times (tied on one with Steve LaRoza) Millen took the third stage, It was looking like it would be a great competition but no such luck, so bummed to see steely electrical gremlins too, we’re always trading times.
Yes, you guys were doing well while it lasted. We are just so bummed the issues you’ve had with the BMW. We love hearing M3 music on the stages! I may be wrong in assuming, but it just seems from an outside point of view that all that VAC power is beating up all the other components down the line. Something we talk about on our show all the time is that cars are a system of components and you can’t just change one thing without affecting everything else. Strengthen a weak point and now you just moved that energy to the next weakest link in the chain. That’s one reason why development is so time consuming and frustrating. I know you have been doing upgrades and tweaks to the BMW and we are just hopeful that all that work finally comes together for a trouble free event soon. I hope the folks waiting for the Brakimghini understand just how tough the development on something like that will be as well. They should not be disheartened if it has a few issues because in time it will be the beastliest bull in all of rally!
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