by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter

Images via Racer Dave

The Galvanizing Moment // The Return // From One Extreme to Another // Returning to Colorado // Down the Stretch // The Champions (today)

On November 10, in their home state of Colorado, the Browns and many of their closest friends celebrated this year’s accomplishments at a private party. Even as it sunk in that they’re the 2018 Rally America National Champions, both brothers still remain in awe of what they’ve pulled off—and neither are shy about crediting the many volunteer crew members who helped put it together.

“The one person who spent more time helping me than anyone was my dad,” Dave says. “He really gave me a lot of encouragement, and he spent many weekends at my house to help make sure we could get to the next race when it often didn't even seem possible. He really made a huge difference. All of our race crews were amazing too! They were all volunteers from all over the country and I'm so thankful they spent their time to help us be so successful and have such a good time. A few people even went to multiple races which was amazing and definitely gave us that team feeling.

“I have to imagine that since most of the crew joined us for just one or two races, they were super excited in the moment and thought it all was a major success. I definitely saw the individual successes at each event, and was excited by the records we were setting, but I was quickly drawn back to focusing on the daunting task of racing an entire season. I was so overwhelmed all the time by constantly fighting to get to the next race that there wasn't much time to celebrate. Plus, I was very conscious that a championship season isn't about one or two successes. It's about consistently being successful.”

“We went into 2018 to compete for the Open Light class championship,” Mike admits. “I was hoping for us to be on Open Light podiums throughout the year and any overall podiums would just be a wild bonus. I could never have imagined we would be on six overall podiums, especially at six races that we have never raced before!”

Rally has always been a sport that rewards its competitors in more ways than just results. For some, it’s the thrill of simply attending and making friends along the way. For others, it’s completing an event, especially in a car they built themselves. But with a little luck and perseverance, it’s possible for any racers to find themselves standing on the podium in an event somewhere along the way.

And if there’s any lesson that can come out of the 2018 Rally America season, it’s that a homebuilt car can be driven to a national championship. Just remember: champions don’t quit.