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Press Release

Burke, Lawless, and Rivas Take Top Three Spots in 2004 Sandhill Sandblast Stage Rally

Cheraw, SC February 9, 2004

Cheraw, SC – Seamus Burke and co-driver Charlie Bradley fought off Tom Lawless and co-driver Jason Gillespie to win the 2004 running of the Sandhills Sandblast, Round One of the Eastern States Rally Championship. Lawless got off to an early start, taking the first two stages, causing Burke to “turn in up a notch” and take the next three. Proving that their Mitsubishi Evo VIIIs and driving skills were very equally matched, Lawless then took stage six, and Burke stage seven, allowing him to win by a narrow 15 second margin over the 65 miles (105km) of the timed competition. Jason Rivas and co-driver Casey Blust kept the podium from being an all Mitsubishi affair, coming in third in their Subaru WRX. All three vehicles were Prototype One class prepared.

Greg Healey and co-driver John McCleod came in 11th overall, and first in Super Stock in their Subaru WRX, with Chuck McCrary and co-driver Darrell Krueger nipping on their heels, coming in one spot back in both the overall classification, and the Super Stock class in their venerable Mitsubishi Galant VR4. Danny O’Brien and Vincent Karney rounded out Super Stock, coming in 14th overall, the class results being split by spoiler Randy Zimmer with co-driver Russell Strate in their Prototype 2 class Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS.

First of the two wheel drive cars, and 17th overall were Jeff Field and co-driver Michael Hordijk in their stock class late model Toyota Celica. They were followed by Dan Brosnan and co-driver Tom Hoppe in a Modified Two class Toyota Celica, and Mark and Duffy Bowers in their Modified One class Mitsubishi Starion.

The soft sandy roads took their toll on the field, with 22 out 40 starters taking the finish. The event was not without excitement, as John Drislane and co-driver Ronan Burke rolled on special stage five, having been running in third behind Burke and Lawless up to that time. Slick conditions as well caused shunts between stuck VW Golf competitors Tim Meyer and co-driver David Toy, and following drivers Anders Green and co-driver Amy Feistel, as well as Mark Lawrence and co-driver Scott Williams. The impact ended the Green/Feistel effort due to a broken a-arm. Lawrence/Williams went out later in the event with a blown headgasket, and Meyer/Toy, after a heroic effort of straightening their left rear axle with a hydraulic press and a come-along managed to complete the stages, taking second in Stock class.

Organizer Charles Sherrill was extremely pleased with the successful running. “As expected, the event gives us an idea of where the competition will be in the Eastern States Rally Championship. Burke and Lawless ran as close a race as I have seen in a long time, and Drislane would have been up there in the standings as well. It will be interesting to see what happens at Rally Tennessee in March.”


The 2004 running of the Sandhills Sandblast was sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport, organized by Charles Sherrill and Sandblast, LLC, and constituted Round One of the Eastern States Rally Championship, coordinated by Rally Promotions, LLC. For more information, visit,, or contact Dr. Kendall Russell of Rally Promotions, LLC at 10406 Lovell Center Dr. Knoxville, TN 37922; Office: (865) 671-1133; E-mail:

Round Two of the Eastern States Rally Series is Rally Tennessee, taking place on March 20, 2004. It is headquartered in Cleveland Tennessee, and will run on the roads of the Cherokee National Forest.