Rally America National Awards Banquet presented by BFGoodrich Tires
The “Who’s Who” from the nation’s top rally drivers gathered from around the United States and Canada, dressed up in their best suits and dresses, with teammates, crew, friends and family along with officials from New Jersey Motorsports Park to honor the season’s year-end award winners and recount the highlights of a very busy season at the Rally America National Awards Banquet presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
It was a dramatic season that ultimately crowned a new overall Rally America Champion following Subaru Rally Team USA’s Travis Pastrana streak of four consecutive National Championships, a new Super Production Class winner and a show of dominance in the 2 Wheel-Drive Class.
RallyCar honored each class’ podium winners with the aid of Rally America sponsors BFGoodrich Tires, Racewatches.com and Able Planet providing special awards at the year-end awards banquet.
BFGoodrich Tires Performance & Achievement Award
Dan Passe, Public Relations Manager from BFGoodrich Tires, presented a Performance & Achievement award to Subaru Rally Team USA’s longtime driver Travis Pastrana from Davidsonville, Maryland, for his outstanding record-setting achievements in Rally America competition over the past five years.
In the past five years Travis Pastrana has amassed the following results:
# 22 wins and 37 podium finishes in 51 rally events
# 152 stage wins in 475 stages
# 2 gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medals in 5 X Games Rally events
# Rally America Rookie of the Year
# 4 consecutive Rally America Championships
Able Planet, Inc. Provided Special Gifts to Award Recipients:
Rally America National Championship contingency sponsor Able Planet, Inc. was represented by David Goldschmidt from Wheatridge, CO who was in attendance for the event and he graciously presented each year-end award recipient with Able Planet noise canceling headphones and microphone head units valued at $300 each.
201 Jeff Moyle Cup “Rookie of the Year”:
From seemingly nowhere, Joseph Burke of Powder Springs, GA, silently appeared at the 100 Acre Wood Rally and soon landed his first overall podium with a third place finish at the New England Forest Rally in his Super Production Class 2003 Mitsubishi EVO VIII. At just 19-years of age, Burke has shown amazing consistency and driving maturity as well as turning his talents into results. Though, some will argue that Burke’s success isn’t a surprise because he comes from a rally family whose father, Seamus Burke, started rallying at a young age in his native Ireland and has been rallying cars for years in the United States and Canada.
“Other than the overall championship, I feel that rookie of the year is one of the most prestigious awards given by Rally-America,” said Burke. “After receiving the trophy and seeing the caliber of the past winners on the side of the award next to my name, it really makes the time and effort throughout the past season worthwhile.”
Keep an eye out for this dynamic talent as Joseph Burke hits the Rallycross tarmac and dirt in the U.S. Rallycross Championship.
Rally of the Year:
The New England Forest Rally (NEFR) was overwhelmingly chosen for “Rally of the Year” by RallyCar staff and national drivers. The event showed vast improvements over 2009 through expansion of the Rally Organizer’s relationship with the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine and adding L.L. Cote as a new event sponsor – both of which assisted the Organizers in successfully executing a fun and exciting event to conclude the 2010 Rally America National Championship season.
Drivers specifically enjoyed the fast and technical roads the New England Forest Rally is known for and putting on a show for fans at the annual Super Special that’s held at the Mexico Recreational Park with an entertaining jump that was sponsored this year by Red Bull.
The NEFR Organizing Committee continued to capitalize on the popular VIP bus tour they introduced two years ago by providing fans with buses to the famous Concord Pond stage. Organizers also introduced a number of new stage roads on the second day of competition centered around the popular fishing and hunting community of Errol in northern NH.
“The New England Forest Rally staff organized a well run and well executed event,” said RallyCar Managing Director, J.B. Niday, “With the addition of the MaxAttack! Two-Wheel Drive Series, the New England Forest Rally was a fitting background to finish the 2010 Rally America National Championship in dramatic fashion.”
2010 John Woolf Cup and Grant Whittaker Cup:
These two prestigious awards are given to the overall Rally America Champion driver and co-driver each year. The team the award is named after made a huge impact when John Woolf and Grant Whittaker won the 1980 Golden West Rally (featured in the BFGoodrich film “Race Against Time”) in their very first competition appearance.
In 2010, the Woolf and Whittaker Cups were presented to the Rockstar Energy Drink team of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, both from St. Jean-sur-Richelieau, Quebec, Canada.
L’Estage, a seasoned veteran of rally competition in his native country of Canada along with his co-driver, Nathalie Richard, have been contesting the Rally America Series off and on for a number of years, finishing as high as 7th overall as a team in the 2008 Rally America national Championship. Richard however has taken the co-driver Championship two times in the past.
This year however, L’Estage & Richard finished on the podium at each of the six Rally America National Championship events and won the last two events outright to cap off an exceedingly strong finish against privateer and fellow Mitsubishi pilot Bill Bacon from North Chelmsford, Massachusetts and 4-time Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana from Subaru Rally Team USA.
Claiming the 2010 Rally America National Championship is particularly sweet for L’Estage & Richard who are also contesting the Canadian National Championship as well as the North American Rally Cup championship – and they’re doing this with one car – a 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution X – built, prepared and serviced by the legendary John Buffum from his Libra Racing workshop in Colchester, Vermont. L’Estage even made an appearance at X Games 16 in 2010 and walked away with a bronze medal in the Rally Car Racing event!
2nd Place Overall: Driver: Bill Bacon (North Chelmsford, Massachusetts)
Co-Driver: Peter Watt (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Car: 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
Sponsor: Bacon Motorsports
3rd Place Overall: Driver: Travis Pastrana (Davidsonville, Maryland)
Co-Driver: Christian Edstrom (Chappaqua, NY)
Car: 2010 Subaru WRX STI
Sponsor: Subaru of America, BFGoodrich, Vermont SportsCar
RaceWatches.com from Homestead, Florida showed their support of this year’s Rally America National Champions by presenting both Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard with custom-made Louis Chevrolet watches from Switzerland which were specially engraved with Rally America logos, the word “Champion” engraved on the side of each watch as well as the names of the winners – each watch was worth in excess of $2,500 each. Tony Castaneira from Racewatches.com made the trip from Florida to personally present the one-of-a-kind watches to the 2010 overall Rally America National Champions, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard.
Joseph Burke, the 2010 Rally America Rookie of the Year from Powder Springs, Georgia, was also presented with a similar Louis Chevrolet watch by Tony Castaneira as he was selected through a year-end drawing to be the recipient of the 2010 Rally America Racewatches.com Contingency Award.
The Jon Woodner Cup – Two Wheel Drive:
The Jon Woodner Cup is presented annually to the Rally America National Two-Wheel-Drive (2WD) Champion and is named after a dedicated and influential rallyist, Jon Woodner. Eleven-time U.S. Rally Champion John Buffum remembers Woodner as, "… a sportsman in the truest sense. He raced for the pure joy of doing it.”
After a dominating 2010 performance with four National 2WD wins and two second place finishes, the Jon Woodner Cup was presented to 24-year old Christopher Duplessis of Mason Township, Maine. This was Duplessis’ second Woodner Cup win in just three years as he won it previously in 2008 as well.
Beginning the 2010 Rally America National Championship season driving his familiar 1990 Volkswagen GTi with his longtime co-driver, Catherine Woods from Chelsea, Quebec, Canada sitting in the right seat, Duplessis won the first three Rally events of the year before switching to a SPARCO and 0-60 Magazine supported 2009 Scion xD at the Oregon Trail Rally to help with the car’s development. Switching back to his familiar Volkswagen for the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in June, Duplessis claimed the top spot on the 2WD podium once again before switching back to the ’09 Scion for the last Rally of the year, Duplessis’ home event, the New England Forest Rally in Newry, Maine where he finished 2nd in class.
Duplessis amazingly never dipped below 2nd place all year long and effectively won his class by mid-season. Duplessis’ success not only allowed him to win the Woodner Cup for a second time, his success also provided him with his first-ever invitation to the coveted ESPN X Games Rally event in Los Angeles.
With the 2010 Rally America 2WD Championship and X Games 16 in the record books, Duplessis is now setting his sights on honing his skills in the first-ever U.S. Rallycross Championship driving a Subaru WRX STI in the AWD class.
2nd Place 2-Wheel-Drive: Driver: Dillon Van Way (Carencro, Louisiana)
Co-Driver: Ben Slocum (Petoskey, Michigan)
Car: 2002 Ford Focus
Sponsor: 600 Racing
3rd Place 2-Wheel Drive: Driver: John Conley (Monument, Colorado)
Co-Driver: Keith Rudolph (Centennial, Colorado)
Car: 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4
Sponsor: Conley Family Racing
The Roy Donison Cup – Super Production:
The Roy Donison Cup was originally awarded to the Production Class winner before the class was replaced in 2009 with the Super Production Class. In its’ second year of competition, the Roy Donison Cup and Super Production Class honors were awarded to Patrick Moro from Dublin, Ohio and longtime Co-Driver Ole Holter from Long Beach, California.
Pat Moro overcame early season challenges at the Sno*Drift Rally in northern Michigan in January and the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri in February before stringing together a pair of podium finishes in his PMR Motorsports-prepared 2005 Subaru WRX STI at the Olympus Rally in Ocean Shores, Washington and the Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, Oregon, while holding off a hard charging Ramana Lagemann at the New England Forest Rally. As a result, Moro’s success not only allowed him to capture the 2010 Super Production Championship, but also allowed him to return to Los Angeles, California in late July alongside teammate Timothy Rooney for ESPN’s X Games 16.
2nd Place Super Production: Driver: Ramana Lagemann (Somerville, MA)
Co-Driver: Chrissy Beavis (San Diego, CA)
Car: 2007 Subaru WRX STI
3rd Place Super Production: Driver: Jimmy Keeney (Colorado Springs, CO)
Co-Driver: Jason Grahn (Seattle, WA)
Car: 2007 Subaru WRX STI
Sponsor: Able Planet, Inc., BFGoodrich Tires
RallyCar will introduce the 2011 Rally America National Championship calendar in the coming month in addition to a new 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship. Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing and is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.
RallyCar is proudly supported by the following corporate sponsors: Subaru of America, the Danza del Sol Winery of Temecula, California, BFGoodrich Tires, Exedy Racing Clutches, Hawk Performance Brakes, Able Planet, Inc., Racewatches.com, Rallytire.com, RECARO USA, Ford Racing & Mazda.