FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2002
Contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Salem, Missouri -- Mike Halley of Sand Springs, OK, drove his Volkswagen New Beetle in the 100 Acre Wood Rally on February 23, 2002 and was rewarded with the title "National Champion." Racing in the Production class for stock automobiles (only safety and limited suspension improvements are allowed), he and veteran codriver John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA) of the Widget Rally Team overcame slippery conditions and several water crossings to finish first in Production and in the top 20 overall from 53 entries.
In addition to awarding coefficient 3 Sports Car Club of America ClubRally points for the 2002 series, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood hosted the 2001 ClubRally National Championships, sometimes called "The Shootout." The CRNC is an invitation-only event where the top ClubRally competitors from each part of the country are invited to compete against one another for the title of ClubRally National Champion in each of the five SCCA classes. In addition to Halley's win in the Production class, John Drislane (NY) claimed the Open crown, Mike Hurst (IN) staked out the Group 5 win, Randy Bailey (TN) took home the Group 2 title and Mark Utecht (MN) earned Production GT honors.
"This was like the Olympics for amateur rallyists," noted Halley. "While international teams were racing down mountains near Salt Lake City we were racing over the hills and through the forests of south central Missouri."
Halley's RealAutoSport, LLC rally effort is largely self-funded, meaning he is usually chief mechanic as well as tow truck and rally car driver. Fortunately for him he was able to enlist Tulsan Paul Flores as Crew Chief for the weekend. In turn, Paul was ably assisted by new crew members Steve White and Corrie Burns from Saint Louis. Though they'd never attended a rally before they proved helpful during the service breaks and relieved the driver from the stress of wrenching on the car.
"We were delighted to have Paul, Steve and Corrie helping out," noted Dillon. "Drivers are always quicker when they can focus on their driving instead of the car." The codriver added that "Mad Mike" kept his promise this weekend. "I've been fortunate to take home first place trophies in several categories, but never in this class. Mike promised me a Production victory and by golly he kept his word!"
"It's the least I could do," laughed Halley. "He kept me pointed in the right direction during the special stages and on time for the transits. It's always a pleasure when John navigates for me."
Though Halley and Dillon were the in-car crew, the star of the show was the New Beetle itself. Said the driver, "Man, every where we go this New Beetle Rally Car draws plenty of attention. I've never signed so many autographs in all my life!" His codriver added, "I could hear the roar of the crowd over the engine and road noise as we raced on the short spectator stage."
The "StudBug," supported in part by Brad Noe VW of Tulsa, boasted new, trophy-winning paint and artwork by Eric Cameron of Hocus Pocus in Mannford, Oklahoma. Halley added, "It takes a lot of support to field a competitive team and I'm thankful that so many fine companies have chosen to help us." The RealAutoSport, LLC Rallye Team is assisted by DMS Shocks (www.dmshocks.com), KC HiLiTES (www.kchilites.com), Danny's Auto & Tire (918.865.4950), Cameron Collision and Restoration (918.865.3696) and Competition Graphics (www.competitiongraphics.com). Dillon and the Widget Rally Team brings additional support from Porterfield Enterprises (www.porterfieldbrakes.com) and Shults Dot Com (www.shults.com). "Widget is known as 'partners in speed on the performance rally circuit,'" said the co-driver. "I'm pleased we were able to partner with Mike and RealAutoSport LLC for this successful National Championship run."