Early Rally Colorado Entries Foreshadow Deep Field, Aggressive Battles
Last month’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally may end up seeing the largest entry list of the 2018 Rally America National Championship, with over 60 crews eventually taking to the stages, but don’t sleep on the depth of the field due to show up at July 20-21’s Rally Colorado, the halfway point of the season. With just under two weeks left of early entry registration, there are already 36 entries set to take on the roads in Rangeley—just one fewer than the 37 who competed last year.
Of course, the championship leaders are on the entry list, with Open Light duo Dave and Michael Brown set to return to action in their home event and Open class standouts Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak looking to take their third overall victory in a row. Also registered already are Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn, whose first season in a Super Production car for O.D.D. Racing has so far resulted in two overall podiums.
But those three are far from the only crews who competed at SOFR that have already confirmed they’re coming to Colorado. Among those who have already signed up, the Super Production class will see Mark Williams reunite with co-driver Ben Peterson after pairing with Angela Cosner in Ohio, while Zachary Whitebread returns with his co-driver to be announced; in Open Light, Fabio Costa will look to put a DNF at SOFR behind him. In 2WD, Zachary and Craig Lumsden are listed as swapping their cars from SOFR, with Zachary moving into the Group 5 Mazda and Craig in the Group 2 Volkswagen.
But a quick look at current registrations also lists a number of well-known and well-respected names in the American rally community.
The biggest news about the event came out last month when Rally America announced the addition of UTV competition to Colorado, and Stephan Verdier became the first to sign up for the event in the UTV Turbo class with a 2017 Polaris RZR XPT. Verdier, a former championship contender in Rally America’s Production GT class, also competed in Formula Drift and Global Rallycross for a number of years. Rally Colorado will mark his first Rally America event since the 2008 Oregon Trail Rally. Tag Rally Sport has also purchased a new UTV for Rally America competition starting in Colorado, and driver Tracey Gardiner is currently on the event entry list.
Also returning to competition will be Steve Bis and Scott McCarty, who won two stages and placed third overall in this event last year. In a limited championship schedule, consisting of only Rally in the 100 Acre Wood and Rally Colorado, Bis cracked the overall top 10 and sixth in Super Production class points with a pair of consistent performances. He’ll be competing in Open Light this year.
CPD Racing and co-driver Scott Putnam registered for their first Rally America event of the calendar year in Super Production, but the driver on the entry blank may come as a surprise. Nick Roberts, one of the team’s top rivals for previous SP titles, is currently slated to step into the car for his first event in the series since 2016. In addition, William Petrow is entered in only his second Rally America event since 2015, while longtime Rally America host Matthew Johnson is listed as co-driver for Grant Hughes.
With a month and a half before the event begins, expect a number of additional entries to show up on the Rally Colorado entry list in the coming weeks.