Friday, December 29, 2006

Wilson/Orr complete a great developmental season

Michael Orr (on the right) at nearly double the age of his driver Matthew Wilson (on the left....and THAT'S an interesting ratio!), the offspring of Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team boss Malcolm Wilson have put together a true training year for the youngster. The team was on a mission to improve all season....keeping points and placements as secondary. And improve they did....a great article here on the duo.

It is very important to note that Orr discusses how the duo placed improvement over accomplishment during the season, and how pleased he and team bosses were with their stats.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons doing DAKAR. Trust is everything.

From this article

"For Vatanen, the importance of making fewer mistakes than the opposition is the key to success in the Dakar. With his 20 years of experience, Ari knows that no team or driver will be entirely incident-free over the 16-day, 9,000km event, so it is the degrees of error that will make the difference between first and second. For this reason Dakar is unique in the importance of the co-driver's role.

The rest is Dakar In '07, Italian Fabrizia Pons will take the seat next to Ari and he does not underestimate how vital her role is. "It's essential to have someone next to me who I can trust because otherwise you know that you are only fighting for third or fourth place. Co-driving in Dakar is more important than in any other event. Even a top co-driver will get lost a couple of times in a rally but the difference is will you lose two minutes or 15 minutes."

How indispensible are co-drivers? And let's remember Vatanen is 54 years old! These guys (and gals) are awesome!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Co-drivers are great repositories for data. They gather if from all possible sources and acrchive for they never know when it will come in handy! Click in the image below to go to the article......

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Wild West is over. I really thank Jamie Thomas for allowing me to ballast the right side of her car for that event which allowed me to accumulate a few more points and gain the fourth overall position as a US Co-Driver. Matthew Johnson and I had sewn up the PGT Championship effectively after Tanner Foust's bad off at Colorado Cog in September.

I want to say that in my opinion (and I haven't had the privilege of co-driving for Travis or Ken or Dedo or Matt), Matthew is the best "driver" in US Rallying today. He gets more out of a Production Subaru than is possible. His finishes and stage times were ALWAYS superior to GrN cars, and the list of top 5 finishes overall this year is unparalleled. He deserves a funded Open ride. I'm honored to have assisted in this year's success.

And while I'm at it...I want to thank our fellow competitors in PGT. I've never raced with such complete gentlemen in all of motorsport. Had Eric Langbein not towed us into Wellsboro in the middle of STPR we never would have finished the tranny swap in time. And had Tanner Foust not given us push starts with our missing first gear at Cog, we never would have gotten off the uphill starts. These two exhibitions of sportsmanship and camraderie alone make the class worth running in. Thank you gentlemen. You make the sport what it is today.

Wild West rally was kind of a bust....rain had washed away most of the permissions to use the stage roads we'd expected. But John Forespring and his intrepid committee put together some fun stuff for us to do and we ended up racing about 28 stage miles...most of them at the old Seattle International Raceway. Fortunately Jamie had been to two driver's schools there and she was flyin'!

So now it's the "Off-Season" which in American Rally is about 8 weeks!

But a lot has transpired and we're only in the second week of the Off-Season!

First, and the press release will go out in the next day or so....Matthew and I are breaking up. Yes, it's true....but it has nothing to do with anything more sinister than he wants to run with Jeremy Wimpey (Eric Langbein's co-driver for the '06 season) and I want to co-drive for Justin Pritchard (in Eric Langbein's old WRX). So that little tidbit will hit the news soon.

How did this come about? I have always told Justin that if he ever got out of that silly open-wheel racing he's been doing for the past ten years and got SERIOUS about rallying that I would want to help him get to the top. Justin has rallied a pick-up truck, a 1966 mini, a non-descript VW Golf and a 1976 Ford Escort...but never anything with all four wheels pulling! The recent Subaru contingency announcement has many US drivers thinking of running in the PGT class for 2007 (click here for more info). Justin's racing experience coupled with his rally stage miles over the past 4 seasons make him an odds-on favorite to challenge this year's PGT Champ, my '06 ride, Matthew Johnson.

So I get to run up at the pointy end of the stick again!!!

Running with Matthew this season (we won 5 out of 6 races....even sat on the overall podium for Ojibwe with Travis Pastrana and Matt Iorio) was the confirmation of my saying that "Old age and wisdom COUPLED with youth and skill is unbeatable."

So this year may break down to the "young guys" vs. "the old guys", 'cuz Justin's pushing 40! And I'm....well....I'm........uh..........wise!