Widget Earns National Championship with Colorado Victory Team Wins Colorado Cog Rally and Clinches Title Steamboat Springs, CO. Leon Styles (driver, Mission Viejo, CA) and John Dillon (codriver, Thousand Oaks, CA) clinched the national SCCA ...
Widget Earns National Championship with Colorado Victory
Team Wins Colorado Cog Rally and Clinches Title
Steamboat Springs, CO. Leon Styles (driver, Mission Viejo, CA) and John Dillon (codriver, Thousand Oaks, CA) clinched the national SCCA ProRally Open championship in proper style this weekend, winning the inaugural running of the Colorado Cog ProRally in Steamboat Springs, CO. The two day event, held 25-26 September, was the eighth round of a nine-round season that takes competitors from Michigan to Oregon, California to Maine, and with stops in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Colorado along the way. This is the first national championship for each of them, though they are two-time defending champions in the "Southern Pacific" division, which includes much of California, Arizona and Nevada.
"Cog proved a bit difficult at first," said Styles, who drives the team's Mitsubishi Evolution. "All the wickedly fast sections had muddy spots in unexpected places. We topped out at 114.3 MPH on one stage. There's not a lot of room for error at those speeds! Frank [the team's crew chief] remapped the engine to resolve an overheating problem. On Sunday we replaced the tires and kicked everything up a notch, which was what we had to do to win. Fortunately for the team, we were successful."
"Everyone worked hard all season," observed Dillon, who navigates for Styles. "All we needed to do to win the title was to simply finish the race. Instead, we pushed hard on the second day and clinched the crown with an overall victory. That explains why this win is so especially satisfying."
"This is a beautiful state and every time we race here, we win. Maybe we should join the Colorado Hill Climb Association!" quipped Styles. Styles and Dillon won the inaugural Pike's Peak Rally, along with the 82nd running of the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb, this past June.
Denise McMahon, the team's manager, arranged for the Holiday Inn in Steamboat Springs to be the hotel sponsor for the weekend. "We promised them we'd give them plenty of exposure," she reported. "I think an overall victory should do it!"
With the Open championship clinched, plans are already afoot for the 2005 season. "We're putting together a package to race at the World Rally Championship level next year," declared Styles. "We plan to run four events--Mexico, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Cyprus--if we can pull together the funding." Meanwhile, his codriver will partner with another team for the final SCCA race of the year, the Lake Superior Pro Rally in late October on the upper peninsula of Michigan. "Though I'm a few points down, I've still got a chance to win the Grant Whitaker Cup for the overall codriver championship. In this sport you can never give up, so I'll do all I can to be there at the end."