1994 - Started in PRO Rally with Open class Ford Escort GT 1995 - Won SCCA Northern Pacific Divisional title and Class 2 Northwest Regional Championship Also, seventh overall in Open class in 1995 SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series 1996 - First to build Group 5 car for new class; won four events and missed the championship by just a few points 1997 - Took off season to build new twin-turbo Supra 1998 - Car debuted with class wins at Doo Wops and Rim - crashed at Wild West; DNF at STPR; won Maine; clinched Group 5 championship at Prescott.
Having been a mechanic or team manager in racing for 20 years, Ralph Kosmides was looking for a low-cost, family-oriented racing series to become involved in as a driver at the beginning of 1994.
He chose the SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series, and hooked up with co-driver Joe Noyes, an insurance agent in Seattle, and Dave Clark, a race car fabricator and long-time rallyist, also in the Seattle area. They purchased a Ford Escort GT, and Ralph started learning the sport of PRO Rally.
Having turned wrenches for such racing stars as Ivan Stewart, Rod Millen, and Steve Millen, he was familiar with the stresses of racing, but had to learn the unique driving skills needed to become successful in PRO Rally.
1995 was the pivotal season for this new racing team, with Kosmides/Noyes winning both the SCCA Over 2 Liter Northern Pacific Divisional Championship and the Class 2 North West Regional Championship. They also scored well, with a couple of top ten finishes, whenever they entered the national SCCA/Michelin PRO Rally series events. Perhaps the guttsiest drive of the whole 1995 PRO Rally season was Kosmides' finish of the Wild West event after spraining his wrist from a crash on the media stage.
With the help of his company - the Ruby's Restaurant Group, of which he is CFO and co-founder - and Toyota Motor Sales in U.S.A., Kosmides, Noyes and Clark have put together a new Group 5 effort for 1996 around a Toyota Supra. Group 5 is the new Open class for 2WD cars with adjusted displacements of more than 2.4 liters.
The car has finished all six divisional rallies it has entered so far this year, with the highlight being its Group 5 win at the Doo Wops PRO Rally in Washington in March. The the car passed its first big test in April as the pair drove to a Group 5 win at Wild West PRO Rally, also in Washington. Ralph and Joe lead the Group 5 points standings going into STPR after sweeping to victory at the rough Rim of the World event, but a DNF due to a crash in Pennsylvania and a third-place finish in Maine, the lead has shrank to only a few points.
Henry Krolikowski's Dodge Shadow and Kosmides' Toyota then battled it out for the Group 5 title, with Krolikowski edging Kosmides by just a few points at season's end.
As many people have followed its progress in SPORT COMPACT CAR magazine, Kosmides - with the help of national champion Dave Turner of Turner Motorsports - has a new 300 hp Toyota Supra twin turbo for '98. The car opened with an impressive class win at the Doo Wops PRO Rally in March, and fought off tough competition (Carl Jardevall's Volvo and Lon Peterson's Fire Arrow) to win at Rim. He was set for a top finish at Wild West when he crashed. He has since DNFed at STPR, but won Maine to take command of the season points. A crash put the team back in the pack in Minnesota, but Ralph had enough of a points cushion to clinch the title at Prescott - his first national title.