Sandblast Rally 2007

Press Releases

Press Release 9

For Immediate Release - February 18, 2007

RALLY SPEC FOCUS SEASON BEGINS AT SANDBLAST RALLY

  • Spec formula delivers on promise of close racing
  • All new cars built for this season

This weekend was the eleventh running of the Sandblast Rally, and it brought with it a whole new class of rally machinery. Rally Spec Focus, a car formula put together by NASA Rally Sport, began its first season with a bang with a whole slew of new cars built just for this class.

The intent of the Rally Spec Focus class it to provide very close racing by mandating a two wheel drive car of high specifications. All competitors are required to have identical top of the line, rally-bred suspension built by DMS, Hankook Tires, Team Dynamics wheels, RaceTech seats and harnesses, and a host of Ford racing parts.

Rally Spec Focus driver Andrew Frick noted, "The car is fast, a huge leap up from the VW I had been developing. Having the spec made the build much easier, there's no way I would have been ready for Sandblast in time if I had to develop this car from scratch. I only had six weeks after getting the car back from having the cage built, and the entire build was done in that time."

Simon Wright and son Kieran Wright were also enthusiastic about the class. "We really wanted to test ourselves against the other drivers. The Rally Spec Focus class gives us the chance to do that without having to wonder if we won or lost due to someone else spending thousands of dollars on a super hot engine."

Burak Tuglu and Mustafa Samli, proudly flying the Turkish flags on their windows, ended up dominating the rally, and taking first in the Rally Spec Focus class. Frick showed his new speed right at the start, matching times with Tuglu to the exact second on the first stage. Although he had more stages that closely matched Tuglu, Frick's podium shot evaporated after a close encounter with a stump on stage three. "It was a tough day for me, but I'm really excited about the season. Matching times to the second after a fourteen mile stage, well I just know that Burak and I are going to have lots of battles this season."

Taking second was the team of Wright and Wright, who unquestionably know that endurance wins championships. A careful and thought out build, attempting to maximize the car's potential within the allowed rules, has been happening behind closed doors for five months. "We wanted to build a very solid car from the get go," reported S. Wright "and this second place shows we definitely accomplished that."

Also making a good name for himself was Hampton Bridwell. Although troubles ended his rally early, he showed promise as he got the car sorted later in the day, and managed to edge out Wright on his last stage. These two will certainly be running neck and neck at future events.

Note to editors:

  • Sandblast Rally took place in and around the towns of Cheraw, Patrick, and Chesterfield, South Carolina.
  • The rally occurred on Saturday February 17th.
  • Royalty free images available: (http://www.sandblastrally.com).
  • NASA Rally Spec Focus is the only spec two wheel drive class in America for rally cars
For media support contact Anders Green: +1 919 697 5282 anders@pobox.com

Press Release 8

For Immediate Release - February 18, 2007

MARK ELY CROWNED FIRST EVER RALLYMOTO™ CHAMPION

  • A shining new talent dominates at Sandblast Rally bike event
  • BMW versus KTM battle rages throughout the day

Sandblast Rally occurred this weekend and it ushered in a new day for motorcycle competition. NASA Rally Sport's first rally to include its RallyMoto™ program brought twenty nine pioneers to the start of the stage line on just two wheels. The road conditions, which ran the gamut from hard clay to deep soft sand, combined with a forest of open pine trees, reminded many competitors of the Portugal stages which open what is undoubtedly the penultimate event for motorcycles, the Dakar rally.

Mark Ely was quick right out the box at NASA Rally Sport's inaugural RallyMoto™ event held at the Sandblast Rally. He managed to ride his specially modified Honda XR640 to victory over the difficult conditions of the forest roads around Patrick, South Carolina.

Ely's relatively sparse official racing biography had many competitors asking "Who is this guy?" However, further probing revealed that Ely may not have been so in the dark about this after all: his riding partner, Eric Burmeister, is a factory rally car driver for Mazda.

It seems that as long as there has been desert and motorcycles, two of the shining stars have been BMW and KTM. These two motorcycle manufacturers continue to duke it out in the toughest conditions in the world, and this weekend they brought that fight to Cheraw, South Carolina.

Eric Burmeister put a big twist to the wrist on the first stage and came out with a smoking stage time that put him second overall. Unfortunately, the gearbox of his KTM520 MXC picked stage two to select nothing but fourth gear. This opened the door for Team Max BMW rider Mark Albertson on his BMW R1200 HP2 and Adventurer's Workshop rider Christopher Wyckoff with his KTM 950 Adventure S to leap onto the podium. The battle between these two riders wore on for the rest of the event, ending with Wyckoff second overall, and Albertson third.

Notable also was the performance of local hero Brian Shaver. Shaver, who lives in Cheraw, SC, where the event is hosted. Shaver has been involved with volunteering for the car portion of the rally for several years. "I've always wanted to see what I could do on those roads if I got the chance", said Shaver "and when the opened it up to bikes I had to do it. These roads are my backyard and that has to be worth something." The knowledge of the local conditions and pure skill was enough to have Shaver finish well up in the results, ahead of some much more potent machinery. Note to editors:

  • Sandblast Rally took place in and around the towns of Cheraw, Patrick, and Chesterfield, South Carolina.
  • The rally occurred on Saturday February 17th.
  • Royalty free images available: (http://www.sandblastrally.com).
  • Sandblast Rally is the first rally in the country to offer motorcycles the chance to compete in a traditional stage rally format, in NASA Rally Sport's trademarked RallyMoto™ program.
For media support contact Anders Green: +1 919 697 5282 anders@pobox.com

Press Release 6

For Immediate Release - February 18, 2007

CELCUS DONNELLY WINS SANDBLAST RALLY

  • Donnelly's new car demands respect
  • Just seconds per stage determine second place

A new champion has been crowned for the Sandblast Rally and taken home the crystal! It seems that 2007 is starting off to a fantastic start for driver Celcus Donnelly and codriver Noel Gallagher. Donnelly has built a new Evo 8 for this year and the potential is just explosive.

When asked about his new ride, Donnelly remarked, "It's a big step up even from my last car, which was quick. I think I'll be able to take it to Seamus with this one." Initial reports are that this may indeed be the case as unofficial times were exchanged between codrivers Gallagher and Eddie Fries. Unfortunately, Seamus Burke's car withdrew just after the start of the rally with mechanical troubles as Burke is fine-tuning the performance of his new engine. "You always want to win it on the stages, of course," said Donnelly at the awards party, "but I'm happy with the power of the car and the season looks good."

The battle for second place had plenty of drama, as Enda McCormack burst out of the gate. Bob Wall spent the rest of the day reeling him in, with their times for Stage 4 differing by only one second. Wall initially reported that the additional power of his new Subaru WRX Sti was enough to surprise him all over again in regard to the performance envelope of these cars, but the novelty factor was overcome.

Stage 5 saw Wall turn up the wick and grab a full twenty seconds back for himself. This began his climb up the leader board and by the last stage he had managed to wrest second place from McCormack.

A large two wheel drive contingent arrived at the event ready to challenge the car-swallowing sand as much as each other. For the more powerful two wheel driver cars, the intimate road knowledge held by former event organizer Greg Healey was unbeatable, and he took first in the Modified 1 category. Following with second in class was the RallyTruck, a long-time Sandblast crowd favorite, piloted by Mike Hall and Dave Stockdill.

Josh Wimpey and Jeremy Wimpey proved that it is not always about your drive train, as their small displacement two wheel drive car muscled its way up to an astonishing seventh overall in the deep sand. Rafal Listopad and Gregorz Dorman were unable to match the pace, and took second behind the Wimpey team. Note to editors:

  • Sandblast Rally took place in and around the towns of Cheraw, Patrick, and Chesterfield, South Carolina.
  • The rally occurred on Saturday February 17th.
  • Royalty free images available: (http://www.sandblastrally.com).
  • Sandblast Rally is the first rally of the Eastern States Rally Championship season sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport.
For media support contact Anders Green: +1 919 697 5282 anders@pobox.com

Press Release 6

For Immediate Release February 15, 2007 LARGEST RALLY IN AMERICA STARTS THIS WEEKEND
  • andblast Rally kicks off February 17th.
  • 68 teams largest in America since 2002
The NASA Rally Sport's 2007 Sandblast Rally starts on Friday, and with 68 teams converging on Cheraw, South Carolina, it will be the biggest rally in the America in years. The entrants include both cars and new for this event, motorcycles.

The rally has some new stages this year, increasing the length of the event to just over 76 miles. Trigger is all new, featuring narrow roads and a long water crossing. Fire Drill has been expanded to three times its original length, and now includes a very technical section covering what was a train bed many years ago.

"The bike teams have really turned this into a large event", said Anders Green, who is the chairman of the event. "NASA Rally Sport came up with a trademarked program called 'RallyMoto™', which lets street legal bikes run the stages. I think it's great to have somewhere in North America where bikers can get a little taste of what Dakar is like. Not just the terrain, but the style of a stage rally event. We've certainly got the sand, even if we don't have the dunes!"

Media from various groups and manufacturers have registered to cover the rally with video and print. The 2006 event has about 1600 photos available on the web site, so this year should also prove to have a cornucopia of images.

Live updates from the event will be available vial the SandblastRally.com web site. Competitor stories and reports from the volunteers in the field will be called in to rally driver Mark Lawrence who will be posting them throughout the day. Having competed in the event several times himself, Lawrence will certainly be able to let the flavor of the event come through. Live scoring will also be available to see the stage times progress throughout the day.

Note to editors:

This year's Sandblast Rally will take place in and around the towns of Cheraw, Patrick, and Chesterfield, South Carolina with scrutineering and registration on February 16th and racing on Saturday February 17th. Royalty free images may be found on our homepage at (http://www.sandblastrally.com). Sandblast Rally is the first rally of the Eastern States Rally Championship season sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport.

For media support, please contact Anders Green.

+1 919 697 5282 Anders@pobox.com.

Press Release 5

TOWN OF CHESTERFIELD JOINS SANDBLAST RALLY

Chesterfield, SC (February 12, 2007)

The Sandblast Rally formally announced today that the Town of Chesterfield has come on board as a sponsor of the event. Portions of the racing event will be held within the town itself.

"I'm excited about Chesterfield getting involved." said event organizer Anders Green. "They approached us with a gung-ho attitude and they've been very helpful in finding some resources that we needed."

A 'Parc Expose', the rally term for what amounts to a car show with the drivers present, is scheduled for the Friday night before the race. While Sandblast Rally traditionally hasn't scheduled a Parc Expose the day before the event, the addition of volunteers from Chesterfield made this possible. The public will be able to walk around the cars and motorcycles in front of the Chesterfield Visitor's Center at approximately 6:00 pm on Friday, February 16th.

Team Chesterfield, a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting the town and growing the area in all aspects, including tourism, first approached Green two months before the rally. Gary Graves spearheaded the effort to bring some of the racing glory associated with the event to Chesterfield. "Having Sandblast Rally come through Chesterfield clearly benefits the town. It's just one more step in our plan to make downtown an even more exciting location for all the citizens and families in the area. Not only is the town's reputation enhanced, the store owners there see a direct benefit." noted Graves.

The awards ceremony will also be held at a Chesterfield locale. Also in the works are plans for 2008 to have the awards at the historic Visitor's Center on Main Street. "The event is certainly growing. With the extra help we've received we've been able to add some activities that we didn't previously have the manpower for. And the Visitor's Center will be a fantastic location." said Green "The classic brick of that building and the cutting edge technology in these race machines captures exactly what South Carolina is all about."

More information on the event, including ways to get involved through volunteering, can be found on SandblastRally.com. Sandblast Rally is the first event of the Eastern States Rally Championship, a series of events run by NASA Rally Sport.

Press Release 4

For Immediate Release February 1, 2007

SANDBLAST RALLY LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY

  • Sandblast Rally kicks off February 17th.
  • RallyMoto™ joining this year's competitive field
  • 60 teams max out the entry list

The 2007 Sandblast Rally is only three weeks away, and preparations are well underway to make this year's event bigger and better than ever before. 60 teams will take to the stages in mid-February, making this season's rally one of the largest rallies in the country.

Covering more than 76 competitive miles, Sandblast Rally will feature nine stages including Sand Trap Reverse, one of the event's trademark stages along with several driver-favorites including Campbell Lake and Hunter Pond.

Joining the field of competitors this year will be the RallyMoto™ drivers, adding a Dakar-like feel to the action on the South Carolina sand. 26 of the registered 60 entrants will contest the rally on specially modified motorcycles, very similar to the motorcycles which take to the desert in the Dakar Rally every year. The event marks the first time that a point-to-point rally will include motorcycles in the United States.

MAX BMW Motorsport will provide the field with half of the RallyMoto ™ competitors and will host the largest team contingency during the weekend.

Notable entries in the rally include Scott Gardner in his Audi S2 Quattro and Carrie Wilburn in her Subaru Impreza. Both drivers are returning to action after contesting the 2006 Sandblast Rally.

Sandblast Rally Chairman Anders Green is not only anxious for this year's event, but is looking forward to the introduction of the RallyMoto™. "I'm very excited about the bikes adding a Dakar style to this rally. Our roads are much more sand than gravel, so I think that the riders will be getting a taste of what that incredible African event is like. The feedback I'm getting from the riders so far is that they're very happy to have a place in America where they can learn about rally. Everyone is asking who's going to win overall, bikes or cars. I can't wait to find out myself!" he said.

Note to editors:

This year's Sandblast Rally will take place in and around Cheraw, South Carolina on February 17th. Royalty free images may be found on our homepage at (http://www.sandblastrally.com). Sandblast Rally is the first rally of the Eastern States Rally Championship season sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport.

For media support, please contact Anders Green.

+1 919 697 5282 Anders@pobox.com.

Press Release 3

SANDBLAST RALLY PARTNERS WITH THE TOWN OF CHERAW

Cheraw, SC (January 15, 2007) - The organizers of the Sandblast Rally are happy to announce that the town of Cheraw has come on board as a sponsor. This is the second consecutive year that Cheraw has partnered with the racing event that will happen on February 17th.

"I'm excited about Sandblast", reported Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram, "I've been out to spectate in the Sand Hills, and those cars are amazing. I don't how those drivers do it. For the town, we evaluated the economic impact that the rally has on Cheraw, and it clearly showed that this is exactly the sort of event we want to continue to encourage. The benefit to the citizens of Cheraw, not just in status but in real dollars, is sizeable."

The Sandblast Rally is a racing event that takes place on closed roads throughout the Sand Hills State Forest. High horsepower all wheel drive vehicles blast through the woods at speeds over 120 miles per hour. The two wheel drive cars fight a very competitive battle, with driver skill coming to the forefront as they tackle the sandy roads, unique in condition within the Eastern States Rally Championship. This year marks the addition of motorcycles to the list of machines allowed to compete.

"I think it's fantastic that Cheraw wants to continue their involvement with the rally." says Rally Chairman Anders Green. "Renewing their sponsorship for another year really says that our event has a value to this community. With the national exposure that Sandblast Rally received last year, it's clear that having this kind of motorsports event based right in Cheraw helps make it a tourist destination. Our rallyists love these roads, and all year long I hear from them how nice the people are in South Carolina."

Spectating the race is possible at several spots throughout the forest. Information on tickets and locations is available via SandblastRally.com. The event is also looking for volunteers to help marshal the race. "The marshals get a great deal", says Green "because they are positioned right on the course. They'll see more of the race than I will! We try to take care of them as best we can, with free T-shirts, lunch, and inviting them to the awards banquet with all the drivers. There's a training discussion the night before where we go over everything they need to know, so there's no experience required." People wanting to volunteer can call 919.303.0218 or preferably email Anders Green at anders@pobox.com.

The Sandblast Rally is the first event of the Eastern States Rally Championship (ESRC), which travels as far north at New York and as far west as Tennessee. More information on the rally can be found on SandblastRally.com. The ESRC is run by NASA Rally Sport, which sanctions events all across the country. For information on NASA Rally Sport and the ESRC, visit www.NASARallySport.com.

Contact: Sandblast Rally Media 919.697.5282

Press Release 2

NASA RallyMoto™ REVVING UP FOR 2007

Sandblast Rally inaugural event for rally bike program

Cheraw, SC (January 2, 2007) - The word among the motorcycle community is beginning to buzz about the National Auto Sport Association's (NASA) RallyMoto™ Program leading up to its inaugural event, the 2007 Sandblast Rally.

RallyMoto™, NASA's brand of cross-country motorcycle rallying is to run in conjunction with selected events in 2007 in its well-established national automobile stage rally program. RallyMoto™ is similar to "Rally Raid," which is considered by many to be the toughest motorcycle sport in existence. In essence, the riders have to navigate around an extended course interspersed with timed, full speed sections called "special stages" or "special tests". The route between each special stage is known as a "liaison section" and is run at normal road speeds (several terms originate from French, as many of the International events, notably the Dakar Rally, are run by French organizations).

The Sandblast Rally, infamous for its vehicle swallowing sand on certain sections that has stranded more than one rally car in the past, promises to be a challenge for the bikes as well. "Sandblast is about the closest you can get to Dakar style racing in the Eastern United States," stated Anders Green, organizer of the Sandblast event, "It's got both deep sand and fast sections, and I guarantee that the bikers will be worn out after their 200 plus mile day on their machines."

The RallyMoto™ portion of the event is already attracting significant interest, including the Team Max BMW team being led by Max Stratton running at least three BMW R1200 HP2s in the above 650 cc class, as well as Andrew Fekete on an Adventurer's Workshop sponsored KTM, and Jim Goodlett on an ESSCAPE.com sponsored KTM LC4 640 Enduro. While shaping up to be a BMW versus KTM battle in the middle and large bore classes, the 250-450 cc class appears to be the province of Suzuki, with a pair of DR400s already slated for entry.

"We are looking forward to running the bikes," continued Green, "It will be interesting how the event finishes out, as it is unclear which classes will have the best advantage given the conditions of the rally. However, anyway you slice it, it will be a challenge for all the competitors, and surely will be a great start to what we envision will be a new, different and extreme series of events for the bike community as well as for the automobile rally community in the United States."

More information on the Sandblast Rally, including a RallyMoto™ FAQ, can be found at www.sandblastrally.com. More information on NASA's RallyMoto™ program, including rules, can be found at www.nasarallysport.com.

Contact: Wilson von Kessler
wilson@nasarallysport.com
(423) 265-2020

Press Release 1

For Immediate Release - March 16, 2006

SANDBLAST RALLY HEADS TO HOT IMPORT NIGHTS CAR SHOW TO PROMOTE THE SPORT OF RALLY RACING

This Saturday representatives from Sandblast Rally will be headed to the Hot Import Nights car show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their mission there will be to further fan participation in for the next event and educate local car enthusiasts about the sport.

"The exhibit hall in Charlotte is only 66 miles from our spectator headquarters in Patrick, South Carolina." said Anders Green, chairman of the event, "I don't think most folks know that real rally action is that close, they think that they would have to go to Europe to see a rally up close. We're excited to let these guys know that we've got Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru WRX, hot VWs, and all sorts of other cars racing on dirt roads only a short drive from their home town."

Hot Import Nights is a car show tour that crosses the nation. Catering to a demographic of young car enthusiasts, the show includes music DJs, outrageous custom cars, and modeling competitions. David Wharton of Hot Import Nights said, "We had about 12,000 people attend last year's show. While many of our attendees are more interested in how a car looks, we are seeing a growing interest in real motor sports like rally."

Also attending will be John Shirley, President of NASA Rally Sport East. Members of the local Subaru community will also be helping man the booth till the show finishes at midnight. "Having John there is cool, I think that meeting 'rally big wigs' is a rare opportunity for most spectators. And having the NASIOC.com guys is a huge help, those guys have been very supportive of the rally." Says Green. Travis Pastrana, the X Games superstar, will also have his rally car at the show.

The towns of Cheraw and Patrick host the two-day event. Both towns are happy about Sandblast Rally returning to the area. "We're excited about the rally coming back to Patrick" says Wendell Perdue, Mayor of Patrick, "as we think it's a great way to promote our town and our Pine Straw Festival." Andy Ingram, Mayor of Cheraw, stated, "This is exactly the kind of event that we love to have in town. It adds a genuine feeling of excitement to the area and the tourism impact is significant." The last event saw local hotels and restaurants filled with a record number of enthusiasts coming from hundreds of miles away to spectate the stages.

Sandblast Rally was the first event of the 2006 rallying season for the Eastern States Rally Championship sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport. Visit SandblastRally.com for additional information on the rally and more than 1600 pictures of rally racing excitement from the 2006 event. The next event will be in February 2007. More information on the Hot Import Nights car shows can be found at HotImportNights.com.

Organized by Anders Green of Lina Racing

Eastern States Rally Championship NASA RallySport