18 July 2006 - 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
West Covina, CA. Brian Scott (driver, Phoenix, AZ) and John Dillon (navigator, Thousand Oaks, CA) won the Treeline Rally, headquartered in West Covina, CA, racing a Ford Focus last Saturday, 15 July 2006. It was the first time that either of them ever finished first overall in a two-wheel drive (2WD) car, though John has been the winning codriver twice before. Along the way, they set fastest time on four of the six stages. The car, prepared by Andy Brown of Techsport Racing, proved it's toughness despite the brutal heat and rough roads that make Treeline one of the most gruelling events on the California Rally Series calendar.
"This was not an easy win, not by a long shot," reported Scott. "We chased transmission gremlins until late Thursday night, just in time to put it on the trailer bound for California. When the rally started, the downhill leg seemed pretty smooth, but coming back up at the end of the day we had terrible overheating issues. The car sucked up a couple of gallons of water at the end of each stage. I was driving with one eye on the road and the other on the gauges."
The car wasn't the only thing overheating. "I forgot to plug in my 'cool suit' on stage 5, the longest of the event," Scott added. "The most frightening part of the rally was when we got to the end of the stage and I realized my physical condition wasn't so good. I felt pretty close to heatstroke. Fortunately I'd been careful keep hydrated for the last few days, so I recovered after just eight minutes of cooling. We went on to win the next stage too!"
His codriver talked about their strategy for victory. "We knew we were down on horsepower compared to the big 4WD turbocharged cars, so we pushed hard on the downhill section to put some time 'in the bank' for later in the day. We had almost a minute cushion ahead of Lisa [Klaasen] and Piers [O'Hanlon] in their Mitsubishi Evolution, but they were charging hard behind us. They took three seconds out of us on stage 4 and another second on 5, even with a flat tire, before they were sidelined with mechanical problems. I don't think they could have caught us on the last stage because it was so short, but we pushed hard anyway, all the way to the end, just in case."
He added, "I'm bummed for Lisa and Piers though--they had a great rally going. It was her first time racing a 4WD turbo car yet they'd moved all the way up to second place when the Evo died." Indeed, less than half the teams that started the rally were able to finish, due mostly to suspension failures or heat exhaustion.
"Treeline is the most grueling rally I've ever done," said Scott. "There was so much to overcome that to win it overall, especially in a 2WD car, is particularly gratifying. With all those fast 4WD cars out there, that doesn't happen very often!"
The team travels next to Rally Tennessee in September, where they resume their battle for the U.S. Rally Championship racing a Subaru WRX STi.
Scott Roofing of Phoenix, AZ, provides significant backing to the Techsport/Widget partnership, while Perforce Software (www.perforce.com) also offers financial support. 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.
Photo © 2006 Bill Rogers of Motorsports Memories
# # # # # END # # # # #