25 Aug 2012 - 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
Frazier Park, CA. The Widget Rally Team successfully met their goals at the 2012 Gorman Ridge Rally by completing the event racing a Toyota Corolla prepared by Streetwise Motorsports. As a result, John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA) officially notched his first "finish" behind the wheel, with Katianna Pihakari (Anaheim Hills, CA) calling the notes and keeping him focused on driving. Along the way they picked up a second-place trophy in the CRS-2 class. This NASA-sanctioned event is part of the United States Rally Championship series on the 25th Aug 2012.
"Wow, we really did it!" exclaimed the driver. "Our goals for the weekend were straightforward—make it all the way to the end without drama while seeking continuous improvement in my driving skills. Our priorities in the car are always 'safe, fun, finish, and fast' in that order. We met our goals by maintaining to our priorities. It's a relief to check into the final time control knowing that the car is in one piece."
His co-driver explained that "We stuck to our game plan and it shows in the stage times. His driving grew more confident as the rally progressed and in general our times got better throughout the day and evening. And you know what? We had a lot of fun!"
Dillon praised his co-driver, pointing out that "I've codriven for Katianna many times so I knew I could count on her professionalism and ésprit de corps when it came time to switch seats. She did a great job with the notes."
Doug Nagy, crew chief for the team, made it clear that he and his Streetwise team pulled out all the stops to make sure the car was ready. "We suffered a couple of set backs over the last year, but it's not our nature to give up or make excuses. Instead, we put in the extra effort to make extra danged sure that the car would be rock solid reliable so that John and Katianna could get maximum seat time and be there at the finish. Also, as this was Katianna's first race after a serious back injury last November, we wanted to pay extra attention to the safety of the team."
One of the challenges for the car was the suspension," said Nick Taylor, one of the crew members. "Doug worked hard with Bret Norgaard and the folks at Bilstein Shocks to get something for us in time for Gorman. Those guys really busted their chops to make sure we'd be ready, suspension-wise. It's obvious that the Bilsteins really served us well this weekend."
The team's biggest issue was not with the car, but with the intercom headset in Katianna's helmet. For most of the rally Katianna's microphone didn't work, so she had to shout her calls and use hand signals for the critical instructions. She ccommented, "I had vocal training when I was younger, which explains why I still had a voice at the end of the rally!"
Widget is fortunate to have several team partners working with them, including Shults Dot Com for web hosting services, Porterfield Enterprises for racing brakes, and Streetwise Performance for car preparation. For Gorman, Mako and Karen of MakoFoto, a renowned action photography company specializing in the television and automotive world, also lent a hand by providing several video cameras to the team.
"We had cameras on the roof, behind the seats, in the cockpit, and even hanging off the driver's door, so there's a lot of footage for to enjoy," noted Katianna. "Watching the video and the camera angles makes it clear why MakoFoto is so highly respected in the field."
The team's next rally is in Prescott, Arizona, Sep 28-29.
Photo © 2012 by Motorsports Memories and can be used by the media as needed. If you'd like really hi-resolution images, please let us know.
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