The 2020 American Rally Association, Presented by AMSOIL season was one that will not be soon forgotten. The new year brought optimism, growth and high expectations with nineteen events on the original schedule. But a pandemic hit and put the roller coaster of rally on hold after just one national and one regional were in the books.
But after seven months of uncertainty, teams began to roll back into paddocks, starting with the Southern Ohio Forest Rally, a first time ARA national. From there, the national and regional series picked up steam, and despite some early season cancellations, competitors found seven more opportunities to rally, including the late-season add of the newly minted New York Forest Rally.
Over the next several days, the ARA will individually recognize our 2020 National and Regional Champions with a snapshot of how they got to the top spot. Today we focus on the ARA National LN4WD and the NA4WD Cup.
National LN4WD Sound For Sanders/Smith
When Robert Sanders unveiled his 2018 Subaru WRX at the Lake Superior Performance Rally in October 2019, he was looking to get some valuable seat time and shake down the new car. A fourth in class and 14th overall proved enough for the 2019 National Limited 2WD champion to make the move full time in 2020.
A full schedule is what propelled Sanders to the ARA LN4WD title this past season. Sanders was one of only four drivers to compete in all five ARA National events in 2020. He scored points at all five rounds, including the LN4 win at the Ojibwe Forests Rally, and podium finishes at the Southern Ohio Forests Rally (3rd) and the Show-Me Rally (2nd).
Sanders worked alongside Co-Driver Boyd Smith for four of the five nationals, starting at SOFR and running through the final event at the Olympus Rally. Those four rallies gave both Sanders and Smith 65 points and the largest gap of any of the sixteen recognized ARA class championships in 2020 (36 points). For Smith, the Co-Driver title was his first ARA championship.
Teammates George Hammerbeck and Lewis May finished second after picking up a podium finish (2nd) at Ojibwe and a fourth at Show-Me. Daniel Colburn and Cameron Case teamed up for third overall, just three points behind Hammerbeck and May.
Colburn was able to challenge the two Limited 4WD cars in his NA4WD 2006 Subaru Impreza and in doing so locked in the ARA's NA4WD Cup. Colburn and Case each notched eight class points after finishing third in class at SOFR and winning at Ojibwe.
Behind them was a massive three-way tie for second between Driver's Josh Armantrout, Michael Miller and Geoff Weide, all finishing just one point behind Colburn. The same held true for their respective Co-Driver's, with Daniel Kelly, Angelica Miller and Derric Throne all finished one point behind Case for the Co-Driver championship.
Up Next: Monday review of the ARA East Regional O2WD
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