RALLY: ProRally: Gingras/Westrick Lake Superior preview

Houghton, Michigan Steve Gingras and Bill Westrick return to this year's Lake Superior ProRally with a new team and a new outlook. The Michigan natives are part of the Knight Racing All-American rally effort this season. Knight Racing, based in ...

Houghton, Michigan Steve Gingras and Bill Westrick return to this year's Lake Superior ProRally with a new team and a new outlook. The Michigan natives are part of the Knight Racing All-American rally effort this season. Knight Racing, based in Torrance, California, is a three-car team of Subaru Impreza 2.5RS Turbos.

Gingras, who was born in Marquette, Michigan, and Westrick, originally from Port Huron, Michigan, have done well at the Lake Superior ProRally in the past. The pair finished as high as third overall in 1992, 1996 and 1997, and briefly ran first overall in 1995 before a late event transmission failure put them. This year, running their Act II / Morrie's Subaru Knight Racing prepared Subaru in the Open Class, their highest finish has been fourth overall at the Ojibwe Forests ProRally in Minnesota. The pair ran as high as third place at the recent Prescott Forest ProRally in Arizona before suspension damage on a particularly rough section of road put them out of the event.

"The Knight Racing Subarus certainly have the potential to finish in the top five, if not win outright," said Gingras. "We had a multitude of mechanical ailments at Prescott, but were still in fourth place and only five seconds out of third when our suspension broke with only two stages remaining. We knew the new Sway-A-Way suspension allowed us to be much faster in the rough than the car that we were chasing. We were pressing our advantage in the rough and just hit a dip in the road a little too fast."

"Quite a few teams went out in the first four stages on Friday with various mechanical problems, many related to flat tires or suspension failure," said Westrick. "We started the Saturday stages in third place, only a few seconds out of second place. On two stages, we set the second fastest time. This despite several problems that could have put us out of the running including a leaking head gasket, loss of brakes on two other stages, and failure of our rally odometer and intercom."

The Lake Superior ProRally is the final event in the SCCA ProRally Championship this year, but it is an important event for Gingras and Westrick. "We have always loved this event", commented Gingras, "Since I am originally from Marquette, I have always considered this my home event."

"Coming back to Houghton each year is special, " said Westrick, "It's very much a homecoming to me." Westrick is a 1987 graduate of Michigan Tech and alumni Brother of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at MTU.

Other members of the Knight Racing All-American Subaru Effort are Lon Peterson / Bill Gutzmann (car #48), and Jonathan Ryther / Janice Damitio (car #49). All three Subarus utilize products specially developed for Knight Racing, often from off-road racing technology. The three car team is the only one in the world to rally Subarus with custom built manual valve body automatic transmissions developed by Rancho Transmission, best known for the automatics used in Off Road Racing trucks.

Sponsors include:
Car #50 - Steve Gingras / Bill Westrick
Act II Microwave Popcorn
Morrie's Subaru, Minnetonka, MN
Knight Racing - all three cars
Sway-A-Way Suspension
Rancho Transmission
Leading Edge engines
Pirelli Tires
Avila Auto Body
RAW Motorsports
Keller Signs

-KR-

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Series SCCA