Matthew Johnson Clinches Back-to-Back National Championships with Win in Michigan Apex, NC (November 7, 2007) - The Carolina RallySport team of driver Matthew Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey repeated as Rally America Production GT National...
Matthew Johnson Clinches Back-to-Back National Championships with Win in Michigan
Apex, NC (November 7, 2007) - The Carolina RallySport team of driver Matthew Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey repeated as Rally America Production GT National Champions with a dominating class win at the Lake Superior Rally in Michigan. Held on October 26 and 27 on the scenic upper peninsula of Michigan, the "oldest, meanest, and toughest" round of the Rally America series is a true challenge to rally competitors and their machinery. Known for abrupt weather changes, the rally can feature sun, rain, fog, and even snow-often on the same weekend. Fortunately the weather was relatively mild this year, but there were still plenty of other drama.
Going into the rally, the pressure was firmly on Johnson's shoulders. The Carolina RallySport team trailed fellow Subaru driver Patrick Moro and his co-driver Mike Rossey; nothing short of victory and a third place or lower finish for Moro would allow Johnson and Wimpey to emerge with the championship.
Pressure was eased in one respect when, on the second stage of the event, Moro and Rossey left the road and their WRX landed in a swamp. But it was far from smooth going for Johnson and Wimpey, as some rough event stages caused their transmission to lose third gear, and they had to run the final stage of the evening, all seventeen miles of Passmore, without that crucial gear.
Once again demonstrating true rally sportsmanship, championship adversary Patrick Moro provided the Carolina RallySport team with a spare gearbox, and crew members John Groo and Brian Burroughs stayed up until 5:00am to make sure repairs were successfully completed.
The second day saw Johnson and Wimpey not place a wheel wrong, as they kept a strong pace which resulted in fourth place overall and the coveted Production GT victory.
Johnson was understandably ecstatic about winning the Rally America Production GT National Championship for the second consecutive year. "It was a season of extreme highs and lows, with very little in between. We won at Sno*Drift, but then had a massive crash at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. I had to call in all the favors I could to get a car on the trailer and headed to Oregon, where the gearbox let us down. We were able win Olympus and Susquehannock Trail, but then lost championship ground when I stepped into an Open Class car at the New England Forest Rally to try and qualify for the X Games. We rolled again at Ojibwe, but then closed out the year with wins at Colorado and Lake Superior."
Johnson added, "It was a great year, competing against Pat Moro and Mike Rossey, who posted consistent results in the #59 WRX, as well as Stephan Verdier and Scott Crouch in the Flatirons Tuning Subaru #429. We pushed each other to the limit."
Plans for the Carolina RallySport 2008 rally season are being finalized, and will be announced soon.