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  • Writer's pictureARA Staff

Despain Dialed-In on Final Loop for Rally Colorado Win

Rangely, Colo. ~ With temperatures hovering near the century mark at Rally Colorado, it came down to a blistering pace on the last leg to sort out the overall winner and the final podium positions on Sunday.

Jacob and Michael Despain had a mountain to climb to catch day one leaders Steve Bis and co-driver Kelly Keefe. Despain held the overall spot for most of the first day but lost their 1m 18sec lead on the last stage after breaking an axle and getting towed in by Chris Miller (editor’s note: Bis was incorrectly identified to have towed Despain in Saturday’s release.)

Photo Courtesy Rupert Berrington/Rally Colorado

On Sunday’s first leg, Bis held the advantage, increasing his overall lead from 8.2sec to 10.7sec. But Despain came out motivated for the last loop. He picked up 31.5secs on SS11, 14secs on SS12 and 34secs on the final stage to take his second straight Rally Colorado overall by more than one minute.

It feels amazing,” said Despain. “It was a hard battle to the very end, and we are glad to be here on top and back-to-back winners. A couple of scary moments, a little bit of overheating, some misfiring problems but we pushed to the end and got the win.”

It was still a successful rally for Bis and Keefe. The 2018 Rally Colorado winner won three stages and finished second overall while also taking top honors in Limited 4WD. Bis also moved into third overall in the ARA West Regional standings and leads the West L4WD class.

“Exhausted. That was fun and awesome and hot, and the best,” said Bis. “I loved having a little mini battle (with Despain). I think he took the fresh tires (on the last loop) and we, well, took the same tires we were on the whole time (laughing).

Photo Courtesy Rupert Berrington/Rally Colorado

The race for third overall came down to an epic battle of Open 2WD cars. Chris Miller and co-driver Crystina Coats and the tandem of Joseph and Samantha Chiarelli swapped class positions all rally long.

Times on most stages were within a few seconds of one another, and Miller and Coats held and 8sec advantage and control of third overall after SS11. But they ran into undisclosed issues on SS12, dropping 1m 40secs by the end of SS13 and falling one spot to fourth, just behind the third place finishing Chiarelli’s.

“Amazing,” said Samantha. “The roads were awesome. So much fun.”

Added Joseph: “Best event in the world.”

Krishna Gandhi and co-driver Dustin Foudray drove their 1995 Subaru Impreza to fifth overall and second in NA4WD. Ben and Ken Burt were sixth overall and third in NA4WD.

Christian Otto and Lea Croteau took home Open 4WD honors. Scott McCarty and co-driver Socorro Chavez won the Limited 2WD class.

Up next for the American Rally Association is the ARA Central Regional, Missouri Ozark Rally on August 5th. The next Green APU National Rally Championship event is the Ojibwe Forest Rally in Detroit Lakes, Minn. August 25-26. For more information on the ARA and the Green APU National Rally Championship, go to


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