Olympus Rally Success for Semenuk, Block while Miller Manages Regional Overall
Shelton, Wash. ~ After a Saturday that took 16 cars out of the Olympus Rally, it was anything, but Sunday drive for the 59 remaining competitors for round three of the American Rally Association’s Green APU National Rally Championship.
Olympus is historically an attrition-filled contest, and with the rain mixing with huge rocks and technical stages, every track had the chance to change the outcome for competitors.
Subaru Motorsport USA’s Bandon Semenuk was unphased by the rough roads and put together a clean run through the mud-filled stages. After winning all six stages on Saturday, he took all six stage wins on Sunday, bringing his winning streak to four straight rallies dating back to the 2022 Lake Superior Performance Rally.
Tom Williams was up for the challenge of probing his Ford Fiesta R5 and had the proper set-up to chase down Semenuk. Williams was driving a very good rally, but his mistake-free weekend suddenly stopped on the Powerstage when he pushed through a patch of loose rocks and was forced off the racing surface.
Williams late exit opened the door for Jeff Seehorn, who seemed to find more and more comfortable with every passing mile. Seehorn and Patrick Gruska appeared to be in their separate rally showdown at times, including two stages that ended in a tie to the tenth of a second. But Gruska couldn’t get the final push he needed to move past Seehorn, allowing Seehorn to finish second overall.
Gruska did notch his second RC2 overall win in a row and his second straight overall finish.
Jason Bailey had control of the LN4 class heading into Sunday. He managed on the final day to take the class win and finish fourth overall, besting Javier Olivares by just under a minute.
The most extensive talk in the paddock all weekend came from the impressive diving by Lia Block. She controlled the top spot in Open 2WD throughout the day on Saturday before a tough SS6 caused her to lose the lead. But she rebounded with a veteran presence on Sunday, running times equivalent to a top-five driver. Though she finished seventh overall, she did secure the first career class win, besting top O2WD cars driven by Dave Clark and Michael Hooper.
In the ARA West Regional, Andy Miller ran a very clean rally at Olympus. He had a comfortable lead coming into Sunday, and his stage management was solid, taking the ARA West Regional overall and the NA4WD class victory. Michael Honn checked into the final time control second to Miller in the overall standings and NA4WD class.
Regional Open 2WD winner Eric Bailey finished third overall. Niels Kroeze took home Limited 2WD honors, and Kristen Tabor won the Limited 4WD class.
The 2023 Green APU National Rally Championship will feature eight national rounds, starting in February and finishing in October at the Lake Superior Performance Rally. Up next for the national series is the Oregon Trail Rally. The ARA also offers three regional championships across 21 events, including next month’s Bristol Forest Rally. To learn more about the ARA, go to https://www.americanrallyassociation.org.