Two rallies, one trip. Two CRS class victories, one USRC class win. Two great events, one fantastic time! 2007 USRC 2wd Production class champions Kristopher and Christine Marciniak achieved their goals and finished Idaho 9th overall amid a strong contingent of all wheel drive teams, thus gaining valuable points for both the regional and national championships respectively. Not putting a wheel wrong all weekend, the team’s only issue came from a chicane cone that was hit in a spectator area – this lead to some minor road points that the team later nicknamed “spectator points” as the Dodge Rally Neon was completely sideways, giving the crowd a good show on the final stage.
The beautiful Idaho stages, held in the Boise National Forest, made for some of the best rally roads the Rallynotes.com team has ever driven. Do not mistake the word ‘best’ to mean ‘easy.’ With extremely abrupt drop-offs, pine trees, downhill narrow twisty corners, short straights, and the occasional cattle making its way onto the route, these smooth roads mean business and any lack of concentration or a missed call will ruin your weekend quickly.
“Lots of fun, a solid weekend,” remarked driver Kristopher Marciniak. “We were pretty exhausted from two pass recce’, but the notes were spot on and I could really trust them the first time out. We had no issues with traction, just trying to maintain speed up these steep hills after a few hair-pin turns is really hard in a 100-something horse power car.” The Dodge Rally Neon was rolling on new strengthened steel rims provided by TuffRims.com
The Rallynotes crew teamed up with Richard Rockrohr & Marie Jacobs and their production AWD Subaru Impreza, sharing crew and resources for both North Nevada and Idaho Rallies. As Richard and Marie are local residents of Boise, their gracious accommodations felt like home. We would like to give a big “Thank You!” and add that our experience at Rally Idaho wouldn’t have been as smooth without their help. Congratulations to them on their 8th overall and 2nd in class! We look forward to teaming up with them on future events.
Smooth turns to bumpy and rough, as the team prepares themselves for the next extreme event (and self-proclaimed “rally-versary”): Gorman Ridge Rally – August 16th, 2008.
A little over two weeks ago, the Rallynotes.com team captured their first in class victory at the North Nevada Rally. This weekend, the City of Mountain Home will host the Idaho Rally 2008. It’s round 3 of the United States Rally Championship and event 5 of the California Rally Series Championship that the team will be vying for points. The two day performance rally takes place in the Boise National Forest just 30 miles east of Boise. Competitors will race on very technical, narrow and often elevation changing Forest roads with stages ranging from 7 – 14 miles. They will have spectator areas for the fans to come and check out the action!
The Dodge Rally Neon has been looked over and stored in Idaho for the last few weeks. The team will be flying in to make reconnaissance, held early on Thursday morning. This will be their second time writing stage notes from scratch and they’re looking forward to the challenge. “It’s a lot to do.” said driver Kristopher Marciniak. “Unlike organizer supplied stage notes, where you might have to tweak a corner or two, this is 100% on you to get it right the first time.” When asked about the pressure of writing notes Co-Driver Christine Marciniak responded: “The car is already up there, so we’ll be relaxed and ready to go.”
Coming off their win in Nevada, the team is pumped to continue the winning season with the USRC! Amateur radio APRS tracking will be on and the Rallynotes.com team progress can be tracked before, during and after the event. Check out: https://rallynotes.com/rallycar-tracking/
The team is ready to take on its first 2008 USRC event – Rally Idaho!
Eighty miles Northeast of Reno, past the Black Rock Desert, the 2008 North Nevada Rally will be held on the roads around Purgatory Peak. Smooth twisty stages and stunning scenery are all part of this revived California Rally Series event to be held on Saturday, June 21st. Cars and bikes will be on the route as this race will include a NASA Rally Sport RallyMoto™ event as well.
The Rallynotes.com team makes this their first stop on a trip continuing on to the USRC Rally Idaho in July. Driver Kristopher Marciniak explains. “It didn’t make sense to drive all the way up to Reno and back to Southern California, and then head up to Idaho three weeks later. As we really want to support this CRS regional event, we made plans to do both rallies in one round trip.” To do so, the team will instead tow to Boise, Idaho following the North Nevada Rally on Sunday, then fly home and back later. “Needless to say we booked our flights early and we’re saving a lot of money over the cost of towing and time off work. With the cost of fuel you can’t expect to get there for cheap anymore; it now has to be budgeted like tires and parts, but we’ll be out on the stages!” added Kris.
Co-Driver Christine Marciniak started her season early by co-driving for John Black in his recently purchased Ford Ranger pickup at the Plan B rally in Ridgecrest, California. “I was more than happy to help John, and get some early season seat time. Our goal was to have fun and finish, but we also managed to go fast and place first in class. It was also a great opportunity to navigate for a different driver in a different type of vehicle.”
The Dodge Rally Neon will be in top shape, driving on new Tuff Rims! These strengthened steel wheels use laser cut rings to support the outer and inner edges of the rim. This design will help prevent punctures, leaks and damage to the rally tires. For those of you who missed the silver wheels on the car, the new Tuff Rims have been powder coated to match!
One trip for two rallies means everything will need to be accounted for and triple checked. The team will need to make sure extra spares and parts are packed for the long haul. Amateur radio APRS tracking will be on and the Rallynotes.com team progress can be tracked before, during and after the event. Check out: https://rallynotes.com/rallycar-tracking/
Rallynotes.com is ready to have some fun at the North Nevada Rally!
The team started the 2007 Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival last weekend with hopes of doing well in a regional class and to secure a runner up spot in the United States Rally Championship Production Two Wheel Drive Class. In an unbelievable twist with a rule in the 2007 USRC regulations the team was completely unaware of, the event was scored high enough so that they would have a shot at winning the championship.
Early in the rally on Friday the team passed their competition, a Ford SVT Focus driven by Hampton Bridwell & Josh Katinger. They were stopped on SS3 and forced to retire after losing a timing belt. At this point, if the Rallynotes team finished the rally they would have enough points to win, but simply finishing this event would prove to be a dramatic challenge.
Friday night the extra protection from plastic skidplates added to the rear of the car for this event started to overheat the gas tank. Driver Kristopher Marciniak explains: “All I could smell was fuel. We pulled over on the transit back to service and I opened the fuel cap and got the expected ‘woosh’ of over-pressurized fumes. Later that night my Crew Chief Harry Bushling made some adjustments with a battery powered jig saw.”
This weekend, the 2007 Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival will be the place to be for USRC rally action! Headquartered in Laughlin, Nevada, the rally uses roads throughout the amazing Hualapai Indian lands and even into the Grand Canyon for a three day exhausting event that will push the team to its limit. Team Rallynotes.com will be looking for a strong finish to secure a second place in the Production 2WD championship. They will also be competing for podium points in the CRS rallycross to be held Sunday along side the SuperStage at the Laughlin MotorZone Special Events Area.
Driver Kristopher Marciniak talks about his strategy for this event. “It’s going to be tough not to think about what happened last year. We pushed hard on Friday and got our best regional class result ever. We continued to push on Saturday and turned in some awesome times until a ‘blind crest into a ditch’ almost wiped us out. We limped back on Sunday to finish the event and had a fantastic time – but it was a struggle that took a lot out of us. It’s tough to prepare for something like that, but we’re going to push just as hard out of the gate and see where we stand. Having the ability to run recce` this year I think will make a huge difference.”
An essential part of this team is the service crew. No other rally is as tough on the crew as it is in Laughlin. With one hundred mile tow transits and remote service locations, having everyone sharp for when the car arrives is essential for the team’s success. Co-Driver Christine Marciniak explains: “Kris and I have experienced the International Rally from almost every angle possible – spectating, volunteering, and competing – so we know how exhausting just getting to the remote stages and service locations can be. We have a great volunteer crew that is experienced and focused. They know how important it is to be timely but not rushed, and we are so grateful to have friends willing to literally make the long haul towing us around.”
The crew and the car are ready to rally for this non-stop grueling three day event that will determine where they end up in the standings of a national championship, a regional championship, and rallycross championship! It’s going to be a blast!
This year’s 20th Annual Prescott Rally, held in beautiful Arizona was a fantastic event for the team. With a 10th place on the Friday regional event and a 10th place on the Saturday event, the team scored a 9th overall for the USRC National weekend, with a much needed 1st in Production 2WD. Setting a good pace on Friday and bumping it up on Saturday, Driver Kristopher Marciniak and Co-Driver Christine Marciniak set 8th fastest on SS6 in their Production Stock Dodge Rally Neon.
“There was a little bit of warm-up time needed on Friday. Christine and I haven’t been in the rally car in about six months, so we didn’t charge out of the gate like usual, but everything about the car was working well and we were 100% on Saturday morning. I gave the service crew plenty of time to watch us on the computer,” said Kris. The crew utilized their new APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) to keep tabs on the rally car all weekend. This system also allows fans and friends alike to watch the rally on the web from anywhere. It tracks location, speed, direction, and altitude. Check it out at: rallynotes.com/rallycar-tracking/
On Saturday the team encountered its only minor mechanical issue during the event. The inner front pads had begun to wear to metal. Fresh brake pads were procured and installed with time to spare during the evening service. The Bilstein suspension worked effortlessly all weekend and the team is looking forward to a set of RumbleSoft Racing machined housings for its next event – The Laughlin International Rally in Nevada.
The dedicated service crew was made up of volunteers who trekked all the way from Southern California for the event: Judd Barber (Team Manager), Harry Bushling (Crew Chief), Kevin Patterson, and Dan Green made up the group. The team would like to extend a special thanks to Kevin Patterson for the use of his vehicle for reconnaissance on Thursday.
Everything is building up to the final round of the USRC in Laughlin Nevada. With its fast roads and even faster national competitors the Rallynotes.com team will be pushing for a class win!
The 20th Annual Prescott Rally, held in beautiful Arizona will be the location where the rallynotes team will start its 11th rally and celebrate their engagement anniversary. This event is by far the team favorite. Great flowing roads and a wonderful southwest backdrop make for a fantastic weekend in the woods. They will be looking for their second USRC Production 2WD win and will be gunning for a top spot in the regional class.
Hopefully getting some of the drama out of the way early, Driver Kristopher Marciniak discovered a much worn center differential pin in the transmission. “This is our backup transmission, and I pulled it out after Prescott in 2005. It wasn’t until yesterday that I discovered the differential pin had been half chewed through by the planet gears. Had I not discovered it – well, lets say the rally would have ended very badly.” Check out pictures of the completely worn pin.
A new name on the rally car! Co-Driver Christine Wittish and Driver Kristopher Marciniak were married on August 11th. The two celebrated with family and friends in New Jersey, a honeymoon in Tahiti, and a second celebration with rally friends in California. The vinyl C. Wittish has been changed over to a C. Marciniak. The two are officially a rally couple.
The forest roads may be off limits this year, but that’s not going to stop the Rim of the World organizers from putting on a great show in less then a week. The center of the action will be the Lancaster Fairgrounds for a unique format called ‘Rally Challenge.’ This event, which is part rally super special, part rallycross, all with a spectacular Rim of the World flavor, looks to be quite a show. Spectators will get to watch the action all day up close from the grandstands along with tons of other activities from an autocross to a car show. For more information on the event held this Saturday April 28th, go to http://rimoftheworldrally.com.
The team is pumped up to show off its skills. Just like the super stage at Laughlin last year, the competition is going to be fast and close. The Dodge Rally Neon is in great shape for an attack on the USRC Stock classes. “We excel at the super specials, usually with the fastest production car times. It’s a pumped up rallycross – and that’s what we do when we’re not running stage rallies,” said Driver Kristopher Marciniak. The team recently finished 2nd overall in a CRS rallycross at Glen Helen organized by formularallyx.com.
The team is going to benefit from their outstanding performance last year. Not just through experience, but financially as well. “For Rim, I’m really excited about the USRC Rookie of the Year Scholarship, which was so generously retro-acted for the 2006 season. This scholarship has made the 2007 USRC season, which was going to be hard to budget with our upcoming wedding, a lot easier to participate in,” exclaimed Co-Driver Christine Wittish. For more details on the URSC check out their website at: http://www.unitedstatesrallychampionship.com
We hope to see you at Rim!
Last weekend in Blythe, CA. the Desert Storm rally swept into town. It was accompanied by a vicious rain storm that didn’t seem to faze the organizers or the twenty plus teams running the event. The weekend was full of surprises much like the rain. Some large boulders, fresh puddles, and deep washes were found around the fast corners of the stages. Taking it easy on Friday the team finished 8th overall. Saturday, however, a jump taken too hard gave the team their first mechanical DNF (did not finish) with the Dodge Rally Neon.
“It was a bummer – but we drove the car out and over to spectate the Harquahalla stage before being picked up by the crew. We could have done some heroics in service, but I knew we needed at least an hour to repair the rear suspension – tough to do in 20 minutes, so we decided to ‘call it’ right after the stage,” remarked Driver Kristopher Marciniak. As a consolation prize, the team scored a second place in CRS P-Stock on Friday, earning valuable points for this year’s championship.
The lightweight crew consisted of Judd Barber as Team Manager, Brian Driggs and Vanessa DuLaney as Co-Crew Chiefs, and Jake Caler lending a hand on the mechanical work. “The time and effort that the crew puts forward is always appreciated and unexpected. Having all the little stuff taken care of is so important, but often goes unrecognized. The crew did great this weekend,” said Co-Driver Christine Wittish.
The Dodge Rally Neon will be repaired and strengthened for its next outing: The Rim of the World Rally Challenge in April.
Author: USRC Media
The United States Rally Championship Board of Directors and it’s organizers have announced the “Rookie of the Year Scholarship” for the 2007 United States Rally Championship season.
The requirements for the Rookie of the Year scholarship program are listed in the USRC GRR’s and state the following. “The title will be awarded to the rookie driver and co-driver who have placed highest either in the AWD USRC Championship standings or in the 2WD Championship standings.”
Michael Taylor, President of the United States Rally Championship, Inc. stated, “This program will offer a 25% discount off of entry fees on all USRC events for the following year awarded to the chosen Rookie of the Year for 2007. We hope this program will help our competitors with their costs.”
The 2007 United States Rally Championship Rookie of the Year will be announced at the final event of the season, the Laughlin International Rally.
Board member Ivan Orisek added “The Board and Organizers also agreed to offer this discount to our 2006 Rookie of the Year team for the 2007 events.” Congratulations Kris Marciniak and Christine Wittish.
Reply: What can we say but WOW! We are planning to run as many USRC events as possible this year. Christine and I would like to once again thank the USRC for their support.