SLOSHES TO VICTORY IN 33RD ROCKY MOUNTAIN RALLY
Weather Provides the Major Opposition to Competitors
Just to have finished the 33rd annual Rocky Mountain Rally was an
achievement. The weather for the May 26-27 event was another opportunity
for competitors from across North America to see all four seasons
in one day---snow, sleet, rain, and sunshine.
The plan was
to race over the Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country and the
Blackfoot Motorcycle Park on Friday and in the Porcupine Hills,
west of Claresholm, on Saturday. Scheduled for 180 kms. and 14 competitive
stages, organizers saw 33 competitors start the two-day event and
20 still running at the finish. Sixty kilometers were cancelled
and five of the stages did not run.
It was left
to competitors from the east scoring the fastest times to win the
event. The top three finishers came from Quebec and the United States.
Rocky winner Antoine L'Estage, of Quebec, with co-driver Mark Williams
of Vermont, is currently on a winning streak. With his Rocky win,
he has claimed each of the Canadian championship events once. L'Estage
and Williams were in a John Buffum prepared Hyundai Tiburon in open
class with a finishing time of one hour, 13 minutes, 17 seconds.
The Rocky was the second win of the 2006 season for L'Estage.
very talented young driver, said, "I was very proud of how
everything went. The car was fantastic. Sure, the weather was a
problem but it was the same for everyone."
place was the father and daughter team of Sylvain and Chloe Erickson,
both of Quebec in a Mitsubishi Lancer. The last time Erickson entered
the Rocky Mountain Rally, in 2002 with his brother co-driving, he
won the event through two feet of snow. The Erickson's time was
one hour, 14 minutes, 29 seconds-one minute, 12 seconds behind L'Estage.
In third place
on the podium was the 2005 North American rally champion, Matt Iorio
of New Hampshire, and co-driver Ole Holter of California in a Subaru
WRX. Their Subaru was serviced by 2004 North American champion Pat
Richard of Vancouver. Iorio's time was one hour, 16 minutes, 51
In the regional category, first place was Brooks, Alberta businessman
Gord Olsen with Todd Patola of Port Alberni, BC co-driving in a
1994 VW Golf. Second was the Edmonton team of Warren Currie, with
Robin Chaplesky, in Currie's newly built Subaru WRX. Currie started
building the Subaru on Christmas Eve to have it ready for the 2006
rally season after destroying his Eagle Talon during an event in
BC in October.
Rocky Mountain Rally
Taking third was the Vancouver team of Aaron Neumann and Graham
Coates. Neumann debuted his very quick Honda Civic by winning the
opening event of the Western Canada Rally Championship in Cochrane
The Rocky Mountain
rally took its toll in attrition with 13 of the 33 entries failing
to finish. Stage mileage, the actual distance that competitors race,
was also shortened due to impassable roads. Five of the 14 stages
planned for the event had to be cancelled due to the poor weather
and muddy conditions. That included the very popular stages at Blackfoot
Motorcycle Park in Calgary on Friday night.
Among the teams
that failed to finish were last year's winner Peter Thomson of Toronto
and Rod Hendricksen, of Clinton, NJ, in Thomson's Mitsubishi Lancer;
three time winners, brothers Frank and Dan Sprongl, also of Toronto
in their yellow Suzuki Swift Plus; local pilot Carl Barrell and
Jeff McMechon in a VW Golf; and local driver Colin Armstrong with
Ryan Warrington, co-driving, in another VW Golf.
The next event
for the Canadian Rally Championship is in New Richmond, Quebec on
June 30 - July 1 while the next event in the Western Canada Rally
Championship is the Mountain Trials Rally, in Merritt, BC. on June
The Rocky Mountain
Rally organizers wish to thank Platinum Mitsubishi, for the loan
of a course car and advertising support; Northern Metalic Sales
(Calgary), for their ongoing support of the volunteers; and Globalstar
Communications for the use of satellite communication equipment
vital to safety when the event is conducted so far from regular
The Rocky Mountain
Rally is the second event in both the Canadian Rally Championship
(CRC) and second event in the Western Canada Rally Championship
(WCRC). The CRC will be televised on national television network
beginning in September.
More information can be found at
www.carsrally.com Canadian Rally Championship
www.rallywest.com Western Canada Rally Championship