Bemidji, MN. The Widget Rally Team suffered a mechanical setback at the Ojibwe Forests Rally August 22nd and 23rd, forcing them to retire from the rally after a single stage. Leon Styles, Mission Viejo, CA, the team's driver and car owner,...
Bemidji, MN. The Widget Rally Team suffered a mechanical setback at the Ojibwe Forests Rally August 22nd and 23rd, forcing them to retire from the rally after a single stage. Leon Styles, Mission Viejo, CA, the team's driver and car owner, reported "I noticed an acceleration problem on the first transit. Every time I got on the gas the car seemed sluggish, like it was dragging something. It turns out the center differential failed. We were warned that it might last a few stages but it wouldn't make it to the end and we didn't want to risk damaging the rest of the car when it finally let go."
Codriver John Dillon, Thousand Oaks, CA, elaborated. "We drove the first stage [and tied for fourth-fastest time] but the car handled like an evil frog hopping around everywhere. We were on our way to stage 2 when we got the call advising us to think about withdrawing. The team's priorities have always been 'safety, fun, finish, and fast' in that order, so the safest thing to do was to pull out before the problem launched us into a tree."
Prior to the rally, Styles invested in significant repairs to improve the engine's performance and repair some slight body damage. The car left the service shop in Huntington Beach in immaculate shape and presented the team's sponsors in the best possible light. Perforce Software, 7-24 AirX, Worr Games, TeamSlam.com, Porterfield Enterprises, and Tombstone Paintball Park were all well-represented on the sharp-looking Mitsubishi Evolution.
"We're really disappointed," said Styles, "and this has pretty well ruined our chances for the independents' championship this year. It's time for us to regroup and rebuild for 2004. We'll give our sponsors a big show at the grand finale for 2003, the Ramada Express International Rally in December, but other than that we're done for the season." The Ramada Express Rally is headquartered in Laughlin, Nevada and runs December 12th through 14th on roads into and out of Arizona's Grand Canyon.