FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cheraw, SC (March 10, 2013)
After an absence of four years, and against the largest RallyMoto field in recent history, Mike Gilkey stormed to an early lead at the Sandblast Rally and didn't look back. Checking conditions on the first stage, he finished just five seconds ahead of eventual second place overall Bobby Wooldridge, managing to average less than one mile an hour faster than Wooldridge. On stage two Gilkey cracked the throttle wide open and put another forty seven seconds on the table between himself and Wooldridge, solidifying the lead he would carry all the way to the end of the rally. Stages five and six saw Wooldridge pick up the pace and get back to within a few seconds of GIlkey's times on those stages, but it wasn't enough to change the final outcome and Gikley went home with the top honors.
The race for third wasn't without drama. David Jansen grabbed the last podium spot on stage one, but went down on stage two, twisting a knee and taking him out of the race. Scott Dorrer, fourth on stage one, should have inherited third, but had a bobble on stage two and then major trouble on stage four, removing him from podium contention. That left former Dakar racer Bill Conger, playing the long game, to sweep up with his consistency. He posted the third fastest times on four out of seven stages, and knowing that an occasional flash of speed over the day from his competitors wouldn't eclipse his overall pace, Conger's cool head brought home the final overall podium spot.
The Moto Heavy class had Gilkey and Conger, so the top two spots were sewn up. The third place battle began with Jason Adams taking an early lead, with Jenna Novic right behind. Stage two turned out to be a big shake up, with Novic going down and Peter Alexeev, "everybody's favorite Russian", blasting ahead of the rest of the field. These three stayed in lockstep for the rest of the stages.
Moto Medium had last year's season champion, Kurt Weigand, sporting the winning 101 number plate, take top honors while managing a fourth overall. JJ McCarthy was a solid second, but the battle of the day was Ken Anderson. Anderson began the day in sixth, but continued to claw his way back up, finally managing to cross into third by the penultimate stag and open up that lead a little bit more on the final stage against rider Aaron Gibson. Gibson, last year's winner, has been struggling against his ECU for the better part of a year. An entirely new system has removed the electrical gremlins from the bike, but more dyno time is still needed "I was way down on power. It just wouldn't light up on the top end, I couldn't get over 80." said Gibson.
The Moto Dakar class, limited to 450 cc's, was dominated by Wooldridge. Braden Childers managed a very smooth run to second place, and while there was some contention during the first three stages for third, by stage four TJ Jarret had eeked out a lead that he grew the remainder of the day.
The growing Moto Light class, for small bikes under 250 cc, was led by Sarah Roth. Kevin Schuler was neck and neck for the first two stages, but didn't make it past stage 2. Logan DesAutels showed early promise for a podium but trouble on stage five dash his hope, leaving Ignatius Liberto and Gage Gregory to carry the rest of the trophy hardware home.
NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body in the US, focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools, technology, and systems to the organizers, racers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is a core mission of NASA Rally Sport. Making sure that rally remains a sustainable and affordable passion for the drivers and organizers while building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen goes hand in hand with that mission.
Media Contact: Anders Green email@example.com
The event was part of the Atlantic RallyMoto Cup.
More information is available on: http://nasarallysport.com
Photo of Michael Gilkey, Photo credit: Stonepier Photography
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