by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Rally America

Rally Colorado is unfinished “Bis”-ness no more for Colorado native Steve Bis.

After trouble for Adam Short/Danny Norkus in SS9, Bis/Scott McCarty took the overall lead at the second annual event in Rangely, Colorado and never looked back. The Open Light crew entered Saturday’s action second overall, were consistently in the top three on each stage throughout the event, and eventually took the victory with a total time of 2:37:48.0—over four minutes ahead of second place Jerry Kendall/Cody Melius (Open). Roger Matthews/Jack Penley (Group 2) completed the podium.

While Bis/McCarty are no strangers to the Rally America National Championship podium, having taken third place in both Rally in the 100 Acre Wood and Rally Colorado last year, they were still looking to make up for a possible win in last year’s rally. After leading late into the event, they lost significant time on the final stage after being obstructed by another competitor, prematurely cutting short a close battle with Dave Brown/Mike Brown for the overall victory.

Just how grueling was this year’s event? Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak, Cameron Steely/Preston Osborn, and Tasso Koch/Abby French were the first three to pull into Friday’s first service area. None competed on Saturday: Fetela/Jozwiak couldn’t solve their gearbox issues, Steely/Osborn had a blown motor, and Koch/French were unable to locate a new ECU.

As for Brown/Brown, the defending race winners, they certainly had the pace to defend their crown—just not the luck. Losing 24 minutes to electrical issues on Friday essentially ended their event early, but they managed to complete all 12 stages to earn maximum finishing points. In fact, they were the fastest car on nine of the 12 stages throughout the event, including the last five on Saturday. With Fetela/Jozwiak a DNF, the finish gives Brown/Brown an extra eight points in the overall standings.

Fifth overall and best in the Super Production class was Brad Ames, whose co-driver Terry Crawford was replaced by Valerie Briley on Saturday due to a medical emergency and granted an exemption to continue competing. Greg Healey/Philip Barnes topped the Group 5 entries at ninth overall, while Chris Sladek/Zach Pfeil rebounded from a cracked oil pan to take the B-spec victory at 15th overall.

The UTV Turbo class made its Rally America debut this weekend as well, with four entries taking on the challenge. But despite entries from action motorsport superstars Rhys Millen and Stephan Verdier, only one UTV finished the event—the one manned by Tadd Rigsby/Camron Harshman in their first-ever rally. While UTVs were not scored in the overall results, Rigsby/Harshman demonstrated a winning pace, posting the fastest time on the final eight stages of the event.

The 2018 Rally America National Championship resumes in two weeks’ time at the Sno*Drift Summer Rally in Atlanta, Michigan. Top competitors like Nathan Usher/Marianna Langosch and Jimmy Pelizzari/Kate Stevens will return to take on Fetela/Jozwiak, Brown/Brown, and others. In the meantime, stay tuned for more storylines from Rally Colorado!