The Oldest, Meanest, Toughest Rally on the Circuit

Here we are less than one month before LSPR hits the roads in the Upper Peninsula! Preparations are fully underway with the stage schedule falling into place and the route book expected to be finished next week. Different this year for LSPR is the handling of service areas with respect to timing. In the past LSPR has used MTCs for entering and leaving service areas, allowing teams to enter early and declare their time. This year to be more aligned with Rally America and other events we will be using and ATC to enter and leave service areas – this means teams will be required to enter service on their minute. Look for the stage schedule to be posted soon.

The supplemental rules and the Reconnaissance rules for LSPR have been posted and can be found in the competitor section of the website.

This years event is back on the national scene and as a result we have a greater need for volunteers than the past few years. We have packed the schedule even tighter this year with extra activities and I would like to put out call for volunteers for a few extra positions:

  • There will be a practice opportunity for rallyists on Wednesday October 16 held at the Keweenaw Research Center. This is an opportunity for teams to spend a day on roads that are similar to the stage roads they will see during the rally and shakedown and tune their cars. Volunteers are needed to work positions such as radio, marshal, controls, etc.
  • On Thursday October 17 we will be hosting a reconnaissance day (“recce”). LSPR recce will be held using an open format in which teams are allowed to go out and survey the stage roads on their own while adhering to the rules we have set. Volunteers are needed for observation controls. These are controls which are set up in unannounced locations to ensure that the teams are adhering to the rules of the recce.
  • The day before the rally we need crews to head into the woods and put up banner tape to mark areas to warn the public that a dangerous situation will exist.
  • The day after rally we always endeavor at LSPR to return the stage roads we use to a condition cleaner than when we started. We do this by going out and collecting all of our banner tape, signs, etc as well as any other trash left behind.
  • We also, of course, need volunteers for all of our normal positions for the rally itself – Radio, Marshals, Time Controls, etc.

If you can help with any of these positions please email the Chairman or the Rallymaster and let us know what positions you are interested in and register online noting the job in the extra information area.

A number of volunteers have already signed up. If you plan on volunteering please take a few minutes to pre-register with us. You will still need to show up for registration in person to sign the proper forms and receive your packet but it will help to streamline the process if you can register in advance.

Rally-America issued a press release this week detailing some of the races that are shaping up to be a showdown at LSPR this year. I have included it below and you can see the original release in the LSPR News section on the Rally America website.

LAKE SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE RALLY IS THE DECIDING FACTOR FOR

RALLY AMERICA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

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The seven-event Rally America National Championship will conclude at the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) in Houghton, MI on October 18-19th and all but one Rally America Championship will be decided at the final event. Crowning the overall, Super Production, Two-Wheel Drive and Manufacturers’ champions makes LSPR the most anticipated finale in recent memory, and promises to be an all-out shootout with national teams vying for a last chance at victory.

At the season’s midpoint Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew amassed enough points to position the team just one win away from locking up their third consecutive Rally America National Championship title. But their title has remained elusive when the Hoonigan Racing Team suddenly staged three event wins since the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in June to force a title showdown at the final round.

“LSPR was always my favorite event back in my early championship wins in 02 and 03,” said Higgins, “The conditions can be very like home with many surface changes with grip and weather, can get everything from sun to snow and ice. It’s going to be tough battle but hope I can rely on my 13 rally championship wins to seal another.”

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The Hoonigan Racing team fell 35 points behind Subaru prior to STPR in the overall standings and the only option was to outright win the four remainingRally America rounds to stay in the chase. Subaru’s lead appeared insurmountable, but all that remains is a must win at LSPR for Block’s first Rally America title.

“LSPR has shaped up to be a massive event for me this year,” said Block. “To have the championship come down to such a close finish is exciting not just for myself and for David, but for the fans as well. It’s either of ours to win and I’m looking forward to doing battle with David out on the final stages of the season.”

A Super Production Class champion will be crowned at LSPR as current points leader David Sterckx and Karen Jankowski defend their points advantage from Rally America’s youngest driver, Mason Moyle, with co-driver John Hall guiding him to their finest season finish to date. Sterckx and Jankowski took over the SP standings lead at STPR, but failed to secure their title at the previous round at the Ojibwe Forests Rally held in late August.

Now the door is cracked open for Moyle and Hall to possibly snatch the title if he wins the class at LSPR and Sterckx fails to finish. Moyle’s chances improve as LSPR is his hometown event and he knows the roads and conditions better than most.

SSterckx_OFR2013_Alex_Haugen_LSPRuper Production’s Nick Roberts will complete the SP season

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in 3rd place, but the Rookie of the Year prize is just within his grasp at LSPR. Roberts was trailing another Rookie of the Year candidate, Brent Hercelinsky, a Ford Fiesta driver in the Two Wheel Drive (2WD) category, until Roberts won his first SP Class at the Ojibwe Forests Rally. Roberts is now the Rookie of the Year frontrunner by 5 points over Hercelinksy.

In 2WD, current points leader Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey driving for Scion Racing Rally xD, find themselves in danger of letting their first2WD title slip to Ford Fiesta drivers Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth. Comrie-Picard shot out to an early season lead until Reeves entered at the Oregon Trail Rally and won every 2WD class since. LSPR now becomes the deciding factor where the 2WD winner will likely hold the 2WD title barring any surprises.

“I’m seriously looking forward to the battle we’re going to have at LSPR. We’re leading the Championship but have to beat Brendon here to win it. On the one hand, I’ve done this event before and know the roads better than he does. On the other hand, I also know how difficult the event is, because I’ve never finished it! But Brendon is up against the same challenges, we just know them a little better. We’re looking forward to a great race!”

Third place in 2WD is essentially locked up by Dodge Neon SRT4 driver Chris Greenhouse who plans to return to LSPR to continue his battle with the Scion and Ford drivers.

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The Rally America Manufacturers’ Championship is also up for grabs between Subaru and Ford. Subaru currently leads the standings 18 points ahead of Ford, but after factoring the five best results the top finishing manufacturer at LSPR will be left holding the Manufacturers’ Championship cup.

The only championship decided early this year is the B-Spec Championship dominated by Honda Team Research’s James Robinson. He won each event he entered and dominated the B-Spec Class driving a 2009 Honda Fit against his rivals.

LSPR was added back to the Rally America national calendar this year after running as a regional event the last three seasons. Fans will once again be able to visit with top national teams and drivers at LSPR’s Parcs Expose – a meet & greet before competition begins on Friday and Saturday – in Houghton, MI on Friday at Country Inn and Suites & Rock House Restaurant from 12:30pm to 1:15pm, and in L’Anse, Mi on Saturday at Front and Broad St, along the lake from 8:30am to 9:30am. LSPR spectator guides will be available at Parc Expose or free to download at www.LSProRally.com.

Spectators can see the teams work on cars at any of the three Service Parks, Copper Country Mall Friday from 1:35pm to 2:45pm Covington Township Multi Complex Friday from 3:30pm to 10:30pm and Saturday from 10:15am to 4:30pm. Food and drink will be provided by local clubs and groups.