FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2001
Contact: Jerry Brownell
Team Yo! Rallysport
Munising, Michigan -- Team Yo! Rallysport closed out a full season of rallying this past weekend at the Ottawa and Keweenaw Challenge ClubRallys by clinching 2nd place for the season in the their class in the very competitive Central Division of the SCCA Performance Rally Series.
"I would have been thrilled to have came away with the championship," said team driver Jerry Brownell, "but we've got to be happy with 2nd as well. This is only our 2nd year rallying, and we are doing this on a shoestring budget with outdated equipment. The car was well built in its time, but that time was the late 80's. This car has been rallying for 13 years, now."
The team rallies a Group 5 (larger displacement 2WD Open Class) 1983 Chevy Citation X-11 that was built in 1988 by Light Performance Works. The company is renowned for building the 1999 Production Class Champion "cute car" VW New Beetle seen in a series of Volkswagen commercials last year. They also built the 2001 Production Class Champion VW Golf, driven by Tony Chavez and the 2001 Group 2 Champion VW Golf, driven by Dr. Dave White, among other successful machines.
The weekend was a struggle for Team Yo! from the very start. Before the rally had even begun, they had broken two half shafts and replaced a failed brake master cylinder, the latter in the final hour before the start of the rally. On the 2nd stage on Friday night the engine management system went to "limp mode" for a short time then corrected itself.
While running a solid 2nd in class on the last stage Friday night, the engine began misfiring again, then they suffered a flat rear tire with 6 miles to go. "We decided to keep going," said Brownell. "We would have lost 3-4 minutes changing it on stage. Because it was a rear, I was able to maintain decent speed without losing control." They finished the stage losing just over a minute.
"But that wasn't all," continues Brownell. "We changed the tire outside of the stage only to find that we had a strut bearing failure and the strut had gone through the side of the strut tower. It looked like a bullet hole!" The team searched Saturday morning for parts so they could resume the rally Saturday afternoon. "We ended up with a stock strut for a Cutlass Ciera Wagon. Not exactly a Bilstein rally strut, but it beats spectating."
Saturday's struggles continued. "With two different struts, the car was bounding all over the road," said Brownell. "Then at the 1st service, we found that the engine cradle had broken completely through and was being held together by the massive skid plate. I wanted to take it easy the final few stages, but somehow only 1 ½ miles into the last stage we drifted wide and hit a 12" diameter rock squarely on the rear axle, tearing it nearly completely out of the body." Quick advice from fellow competitor, Colin McCleery had the team racheting the axle back to the body with a come-along making the long drive back to Hancock to finish the rally. "Too bad there's no award for perseverance," said Brownell.
The team's next event is planned to be the Sno*Drift ProRally, based out of Gaylord, MI, January 25-27, 2002. To find out more about SCCA Performance Rally, visit the SCCA website at www.sccaprorally.org. Team YO! would like to congratulate Colin McCleery and Jeff Secor on their Central Division Group 5 championship, as well as for all of their advice and support over the season.
Team YO! Rallysport, 1567 Coit N.E. Grand Rapids, MI 49505