Press Release

March 23, 2001
Contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231

Triumph in Tennessee for O'Sullivan and Dillon
M&M Motorsports Wins at International Cherokee Trails Rally

Chattanooga, Tennessee -- In the team's first race for 2001, Lauchlin O'Sullivan (San Francisco) and John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA) won the Production GT (PGT) class at the International Cherokee Trails Rally. In almost four hours of racing, the pair finished over 15 minutes ahead of the second-place PGT car and crossed the line an amazing seventh overall despite campaigning a stock Mitusubishi Eclipse. (Only safety equipment and minor suspension improvements are allowed, meaning the Eclipse is much heavier than most other rally cars.) Dillon dedicated the win to Phil "Rags" Deushane, a long-time racing friend who died from cancer three days after the rally.

This Tennessee triumph bookends nicely with the close of the 2000 season, where O'Sullivan and Dillon won in PGT at the Ramada Express International Rally in Laughlin, Nevada. In addition to the class win in Nevada, the duo finished third overall and won $4000 in prize money.

"What a great way to start a new season," said driver O'Sullivan. "The roads were challenging, especially the muddy stages on Thursday, but our Eclipse ran flawlessly." Co-driver (navigator) Dillon added "Lauchlin drove hard all weekend and kept it between the ditches and the trees. There's not a scratch on our new paint job." Budget Auto Works in San Bernadino provided the team's new colors, a dynamic blend of yellow and blue that garnered plenty of media attention.

Team manager John Moore, unable to attend the race due to a cancelled flight, praised his crew. "Even though I couldn't be there with the guys, I knew Tom [Laeng] and his son Aaron would take good care of the car and the team." Moore added "We wanted this win in order to demonstrate to our sponsor partners the value of the team, but to finish so high overall despite racing in heavy PGT trim was an added thrill. This race really showed off Lauchlin's driving skill." The father and son crew members received extra help from Allison Meadows, Janice Damitio, and Mike Irby.

Co-driver Dillon praised O'Sullivan as well. "We had some navigation problems at the beginning and end of the White Oak Flats stages, but he kept his focus and got us through the rough stuff without incident." "Because it's a stock transmission, the gap between first and second gear is a little long, making it tough to get through the tricky hairpins," commented the driver.

Performance rally is a sport where teams race across desert paths, logging trails, and other unimproved roads in cars licensed for street use. The team consists of a driver and navigator, the latter calling instructions from a route book provided by the rally organizers just prior to the start of the event.

Normally rallyists are not allowed to pre-run the course. This rally was an exception, where competitors could make reconnaisance runs, but budget constraints meant that neither driver nor co-driver could attend the "recce" and thus had never seen these roads before. Indeed, it was their first visit to Tennessee. "I doubt I would have ever made it to Chattanooga if it hadn't been for the rally," said Dillon. "I hope next year to spend a few extra days after the event to explore this whole beautiful state."

M&M Motorsports is based in Big Bear, California. Product sponsors include Direct Signs, Clutch Masters, Berdoo Transmissions, Budget Auto Works, Porterfield Enterprises, Fleet Glass, and Shults Dot Com. CTX Mortgage provides primary sponsorship for the team.

The team's next race, the Oregon Trail ProRally, takes place April 7th and 8th in Tillamook, Oregon. With any luck they hope to reprise their last two victory performances and move into the championship points lead.

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