Speedway, Indiana (July 17, 2018)
Heading into New England Forest Rally (NEFR) the ARA regional championships are starting to shape up. Two events down in the west and one in the east see the championship standouts making their moves to the front.
Each ARA national event in 2018 is split into two regional events, each one offering an opportunity to score points in the championship. For NEFR, those events are Friday's Maine Rally and Saturday's New Hampshire Rally. A driver's or co-driver's best result from the two regional rallies is taken as their championship points position for the weekend.
Making the trek north are many of the same faces who competed last month at STPR, but there are a few exceptions. Let's see how the championship leaders got there.
In the east, the Open 4wd regional driver's and co-driver's championship is a tie between Brian McNamara/Mustafa Samli and Luis Teixeira/Aris Mantopoulos, both taking wins during the STPR weekend. Teixeira and Mantopoulos are making the trip up to NEFR, while McNamara and Samli are skipping. A great opportunity for the former to extend their lead.
Limited 4wd is much the same story as it's higher-specced counterpart, Eamon Fallon/Bernard Farrell are tied with Emmanuel Cecchet/Mike Willard after taking one win a piece at STPR. Again mirroring the battle in the open class, Cecchet and Willard will make the trip to NEFR, while Fallon and Farrell will not.
NA4wd was highly contested at STPR with thirteen teams entered in the class. But Corey Crossan and Anthony DeGuiseppi managed a clean sweep of the event and lead the championship coming into NEFR.
The eastern Open 2wd championship is being fought by contenders for the national championship, with Seamus Burke and Martin Brady dueling hard against O2wd national leaders Erik Potts and Claudia Barbera-Pullen. Burke and Brady currently lead the eastern regional championship, but Potts and Barbera-Pullen hold a strong lead nationally. This battle will be fun to watch develop.
In Limited 4wd, Jordan Guitar and Chris Sladek lead the championship after a strong STPR. The national championship leading team will look to extend their leads on both fronts this weekend.
In the west, the ARA West Regional Championship is on its midseason break after two events.
Mark Tabor and Kathryn Hansen hold a strong lead in the western Open 4wd championship after a second place finish at Oregon and a first place sweep at Olympus. The pair hold that lead over Tino Fortunato/Glen Ray, who's car was unfortunately lost to fire in Oregon, and Corey Salsbery/Phil Myers, who won at Oregon, but skipped Olympus.
In Limited 4wd, Matthew Dickinson and Daniel Piker lead thanks to consistently strong finishes. Overcoming a best of fifth in Oregon to sweep the weekend at Olympus puts the pair in a strong position moving into the second half of the season.
NA4wd saw a great championship battle in the opening half of the season. Blake Lind/Tricia Lind and Andy Miller/Shaun Tracy are the definition of evenly matched. Through both OTR and Olympus Rally, the two teams battled for tenths and constantly traded stage wins. At the John Nagel Rally, Saturday's regional event at Olympus Rally, Andy Miller came out on top by a mere 1.4 seconds only for Lind to strike back and take the win on Sunday. Miller and Lind head into the latter part of the ARA season tied after splitting wins at both Oregon and Olympus.
Open 2wd was dominated by DirtFish instructor Nate Tennis and Alex Jardevall. The pair currently lead the western championship after putting on a showcase performance at the start of the season. Tennis and Jardevall set an unmatchable pace in 2wd, even to nationally classed cars, and set multiple top five overall times.
Limited 2wd sees a close championship between Matt Tabor and John vonAhlefeld. Tabor leads vonAhlefeld by a single point after two rounds. Both have scored wins this season, but vonAhlefeld skipped the season opener in Oregon while Tabor competed in both events so far, though he failed to finish Olympus. Despite the disappointing performance, the single point earned from starting that rally puts Tabor on top during the midseason break.
The ARA East Regional Championship heats up this weekends at the New England Forest Rally. Follow ARA on Facebook for updates and livestreams throughout the weekend.
Photo Credit: Alex Wong (Top), Lori Lass (1), Chris Daley (2)
About American Rally Association (ARA)
A member-driven organization dedicated to the sport of Stage Rally, the American Rally Association provides a transparent, inclusive, and growing sanctioning body to competitors throughout America. A 501 (c)(3) non-profit and wholly owned subsidiary of the United States Auto Club (USAC), ARA is led by seasoned Stage Rally professionals who work hand in hand with an experienced Board of Directors to deliver a framework for safety, competition, promotion, and education for all aspects of the sport. The common goal of our members, volunteers, and organization is a thriving Stage Rally program in America.