After Leading Overall, Victory Eludes Team in Minnesota Mechanical Failure Disappoints Team with Three Miles to Go Bemidji, MN. Although they led the Ojibwe Forests Rally at the end of day one, victory eluded the Widget Rally Team on Saturday,...
After Leading Overall, Victory Eludes Team in Minnesota
Mechanical Failure Disappoints Team with Three Miles to Go
Bemidji, MN. Although they led the Ojibwe Forests Rally at the end of day one, victory eluded the Widget Rally Team on Saturday, 28 August 2004. The Mitsubishi Evolution, driven by Leon Styles (Mission Viejo, CA) and navigated by John Dillon (Thousand Oaks), suffered a differential failure and left the team stranded on the final stage of the night with just three miles to go. This, the 19th annual running of the ProRally event, was headquartered in Bemidji, MN, and was the seventh round of a nine-race championship that takes competitors across the country from Maine to southern California and points between. Widget's "Driver Emeritus" Lauchlin O'Sullivan (San Francisco, CA) won the race, guest-driving for CPD Motorsports in a Subaru Impreza with Scott Putnam (Bloomington, MN) codriving.
"I'm so disappointed for the team," commented Styles. "We had a solid car and everything was working well. We took the lead early on and tried hard to keep up the pace for the rest of the weekend. As first car on the road on Saturday, we had a no-dust advantage but also knew we'd we be sweeping the gravel for the cars behind us, so we really pushed to hold onto the lead. Sadly, the differential tore itself apart just after starting the last stage. We limped 11 miles down the road, but the car quit completely and left us stranded with just three miles to go."
"Even though we couldn't cross the finish line this time, we gave our sponsors plenty of exposure throughout the weekend, and hopefully on the TV program as well," noted codriver John Dillon. "As far as the championship goes, our class lead looks pretty secure and we still have a good shot at the overall trophies too. We're facing some stiff competition, but if these things were easy to win, everyone would do it!"
The team travels next to Steamboat Springs for the Colorado Cog Rally September 23rd. "In this sport you can't give up," observed team manager Denise McMahon. "Leon and John remain focused on and committed to the 2004 championships and will race hard again for the overall wins in Colorado. Success at Cog will position them well for the last Pro Rally of the year on the upper peninsula of Michigan."
About the Team
The Widget Rally Team, that "serious team with a whimsical name," most recent victory was the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb and its associated rally. They are past divisional champions as well as having a California Rally Series title on their resumes. Widget supported by 7-24 AirX (www.7-24airx.com), a domestic and international trucking and air cargo company; Worr Games (www.worr.com), manufacturers of tournament-quality paintball guns; Perforce Software (www.perforce.com), makers of high performance software for computer professionals; and Tombstone Paintball Park (www.tombstonepaintball.com). The team insists on brakes by Porterfield Enterprises (www.porterfield-brakes.com) and utilizes the web services of Shults Dot Com (www.shults.com) for its internet needs.
About the Sport
Rallying is the ultimate team motorsport where street-licensed cars are raced at high speed on dirt trails with two people in the car, a driver behind the wheel and a codriver describing every bend in the road. U.S. competitors are not allowed to pre-run the roads so they are racing "blind," navigating from a route book provided just hours prior to the event. Cars can reach speeds above 100 MPH as they snake between trees and along the edges of cliffs in this sport of strength and stamina.