Kramer and Kimmett Overcomes the Cold to Podium at Regionals
Jon Kramer from Ligonier, PA with co-driver Adam Kimmet from Leesburg, VA completed an amazing rebuild of their Open Light Class 1993 Subaru Impreza in a single week. The team recorded their rebuild processes in a timelapse video sequence displaying their level of dedication. The rebuild apparently went pretty well as the team finished in first place in the Drift Regional Rally and third in the Sno Regional Rally. Rally America caught up with Jon Kramer to provide some more background to the video and highlight the inner workings of grassroots rally.
What happened when you rolled the car at the 2012 STPR Rally and what did you need to repair for the Sno*Drift Rally?
I went a lil' too hot into a turn on day two at the STPR Rally and our rear wheel found a hidden drainage culvert. Not sure how many rolls but I like to imagine that we launched into a graceful cartwheel/barrel-roll with a 1/2 twist. We ended up on the passenger side doors blocking 3/4 of the road. I managed to dent or destroy every exterior panel on the car except for the hood. We also had snapped off a rear hub and bent most of the front and rear suspension arms.
The major work (not on the time-lapse) was replacing the roof and massaging the rear quarters straight. My buddy Andy worked his magic and introduced me to the misery of sanding bondo. He put in a ton of his spare time in my garage and did an amazing job getting everything straight. The time lapse started on January 16th which was a week before we had to leave for Michigan. At that point the car was a shell with a passenger seat, struts, and a single headlight--there was plenty of work left to get ready for Sno*Drift.
How long did the rebuild take and was there any thought that you might not make it?
There are seven of us in the clip: My co-driver (Adam Kimmett) crew (Adam Moore, Billy Weidensall, John Roscinski,) and also two other buddies (Kris Wilkins and Andy Reynolds.) These guys were determined to get to Sno*Drift. They actually came out on an earlier weekend to help harvest parts from three other Subarus to complete the transformation. I really appreciated their help with the rebuild and then also as my crew.
The actual time lapse was shot over five days during the final assembly so it doesn't show the bodywork or parts scavenging portions of the rebuild. The breaking point was the Friday before Sno*Drift when my wife, son and I all got knocked out by the flu. The car didn't even have an engine at that point but I was forced to stop. I started questioning if we would make it…or if I even wanted to. On Monday I decided it was time to be done with the flu and make a final push.
Where was the car rebuilt? It looked like you had a full shop at your disposal.
The car was rebuilt in my home garage. It's not fully insulated and the only heat was a borrowed kerosene torpedo heater. The big concern was that the beer would freeze if we left it in the garage overnight. I picked up a used lift a few months back and its install took priority over any preparations for winter warmth.
How much did winning the Drift Regional and making the Sno Regional podium mean for you?
Sno*Drift was super fun. After spending weeks trapped in a frozen garage driving the car was a vacation. My crew had suffered to get me to the event so I had no other choice but to try and win for them. My primary goal was getting to the end and seeing what a Rally America finish line actually looks like. I had also heard rumors about Bonfire Alley and wanted to experience the fire balls for myself. Winning was a great bonus.
What is next for your team?
The STPR Rally is next. Wellsboro is about 4 hours from my home and most of my crew is from PA. I will again be out for redemption since we rolled ourselves off the podium and into a DNF last year. Maybe this time I will slow down a bit when it gets tight.