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Press Release

Mark Ely Crowned First Ever RallyMoto™ Champion

Cheraw, SC February 18, 2007

*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: (
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