FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cheraw, SC February 20, 2006
This weekend Seamus Burke and brought home a fifth consecutive win at Sandblast Rally. Coming off the last stage, Burke and co-driver Brian Sharkey lead by almost two minutes over his closest competitor, Jeremy Drislane. Drislane, who put in an excellent performance, started fast and remained at full throttle to ultimately best Charles Sherrill who took third place. All three teams competed in the Prototype 1 class which contains the most exotic cars to enter the event.
Leading the stock cars in SS1 class, Donal McGivney – a favorite going into the event – was momentarily surprised by the speed of Darrell Pugh on Stage 2. McGivney and co-driver Noel Gallagher regained the lead and kept a steady winning pace throughout the event. Unfortunately, Pugh dropped out of contention after trouble on Stage 6. This left the door open for Emilio Arce and Sarah Gardescu to move into second place in class. Scott Wilburn and Carrie Wilburn managed a consistent event, set a brisk pace, and took no chances with their podium finish for third.
In the two wheel drive Modified 1 class, Robert Cutler and John Atsma set a quick pace in his blazing yellow Porsche 911. Greg Healey and John McLeod, despite 15 years of competition in this venue, was not able to catch the more powerful vehicle and finished in second. Mike Hall outlasted Kent Davis when Davis snapped a drive shaft and left Hall to fill third place.
First-time U.S. rallyists, Brian Rutledge and Philip Reid gave an excellent showing and finished the event with no bodywork to fix. Brian Street put his Baja 1000 experience to use and also managed to finish the event. Robert Maunz and Mark Sackett, navigated the course in a car they had built themselves and survived the sometimes grueling deep sand in this all-day endurance race.
The towns of Cheraw and Patrick played host to the two-day event and shared true Southern hospitality with rally competitors and fans alike. Local hotels and restaurants were filled with a record number of enthusiasts coming from hundreds of miles away to spectate the stages.
Sandblast Rally was the first event of the rallying season for the Eastern States Rally Championship sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport. Visit SandblastRally.com for additional information on the rally and more than 700 pictures of this year’s event.