15 Oct 2005 - For immediate release
For more information, contact: John Dillon
Widget Rally Team
P. O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Widget web site: www.WidgetRacing.com
e-mail: John @ WidgetRacing.com
Prescott, AZ. It's tough to be a rookie, especially a rookie rally driver. The challenges of car preparation, learning to drive on dirt roads, finding crew members to work on the car, and coordinating the paperwork leading up to the event, all contribute to stress in the car and potential disaster on the stages.
Blake Yoon (Hancock Park, CA) and codriver John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA), in Yoon's first season behind the wheel, overcame these obstacles to win the Prescott Rally held in Arizona the weekend of 7-8 October 2005. The win, Yoon's first overall victory, catapulted him into first place in the points standings for the California Rally Series championship.
Yoon enlisted the aid of Leon Styles as a driving coach and codriver Dillon, both of the Widget Rally Team, to help him manage his speed and succeed without crashing his Subaru. (A week earlier in New York he hit a rock, which tore up his suspension and launched him into a tree, leaving his mechanics a lot of work to do and less than two days to do it.)
"The car seemed really down on power Friday night," reported the driver, "as if we'd lost the turbo. I was pretty discouraged at that point, but Leon and John encouraged me to keep going, keep on racing at a steady pace. They reminded me that rally is all about hanging strong and being there at the finish. If you'd asked me Friday night how we'd do, I'd never have imagined we'd take home first overall!"
"Blake has a real talent for speed," noted Styles. "He just needs a little help learning how to 'read' the car and roads and keep it all under control so he doesn't go off a cliff or into a ditch. That's why I suggested he put John in the codriver's seat. John and I raced together for three years and earned several championships, so I knew he could provide some additional 'in-car' coaching. I'd say it worked out pretty well, didn't it?"
"We started off easy at first," explained Dillon. "The First View stage with its huge drops is not the place to go off, and we needed to get used to each other in the car. I felt comfortable with his driving for most of the night, so we kept working on driving lines, pacing of the notes, and smoothness. On Saturday we picked up the pace until we were just 33 seconds behind the overall leader."
Yoon's codriver continued, "When mechanical problems forced them out, the real challenge for us began. Being first on the road means you have to redouble your focus to avoid mistakes. We had a couple of minor 'moments' on the last stage of the night, thanks in part to bad lights and a stuttering engine, but we still finished over a minute and a half ahead of second place. This was a very satisfying win."
Blake's first victory came on his birthday, with his wife Danay and son Alejo present to celebrate.
Also on hand was Herb Hudson, whose Pit Bull Energy Drink supports the team's race effort. "It meant a lot to me to have Herb there for my first victory," said Yoon. "It's because of his help that I was able to step up to a four-wheel-drive car and can run a national championship next year."
With the "first win" milestone behind them now, they're each working on plans for the next race. Dillon will be racing with Ralph Kosmides at the Reno Rally December 3rd, while Yoon's next event is the Ramada Express International Rally in mid-December. The two are working out details for a possible reunion in the near future. "I think we worked well together," said the codriver, "and I look forward to racing with him again."
Yoon echoed those sentiments, saying "It was great having John in the car, knowing I could commit to the corners and blind crests with his calls. I'd never had someone tell me to 'go faster' in the car before! I hope we'll be able to race together again soon."
About the Sport
Rallying is the ultimate team motorsport where street-licensed cars are raced at high speed on dirt trails with two people in the car, a driver behind the wheel and a codriver describing every bend in the road. Competitors are not allowed to pre-run the roads so they are racing "blind," navigating from a route book provided just hours prior to the event. Cars can easily reach speeds above 100 MPH as they snake between trees and along the edges of cliffs in this sport of strength and stamina.
About the Team
The Widget Rally Team, that "serious team with a whimsical name," is supported by Perforce Software (www.perforce.com), makers of high performance software for computer professionals. The team insists on brakes by Porterfield Enterprises (www.porterfield-brakes.com) and utilizes the web services of Shults Dot Com (www.shults.com) for its internet needs.
Blake Yoon is sponsored by Pit Bull Energy Drink, providing "attitude in a can" and energy when it's needed most, and distributed by Hip Hop Beverage Co.
CAPTION: Blake Yoon and John Dillon won the Prescott Rally Oct 7-8, 2005, in a Subaru WRX. Photo © 2005 Bill Rogers of Motorsports Memories, and used by permission. If you'd like a high-res version of this picture, please let us know and we'll send it along.
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