Maxxis and Honda Performance Development [HPD] tackled the fourth round of the American Rally Association [ARA] National Championship at New England Forest Rally [NEFR] with their 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport.
Continuing to pursue the Limited 2WD championship, HPD/Maxxis Rally returned to NEFR with driver Jordan Guitar and co-driver William Jang, who stepped into the co-driver seat for the first time since helping the team secure the B-Spec championship in 2016. “We’re happy to return to NEFR this year,” stated Jordan, “These roads are challenging, but very fast and exciting!”
NEFR consists mostly of fast technical stages on gravel logging roads. Day One consisted of four stages. Concord Pond was a notable stage due to the presence of a sizeable jump, which is popular with both fans and drivers alike, and navigating it plays a key role in how much work the teams will be required to do at service.
As the teams hit the stages, the HPD/Maxxis team would pursue at a conservative pace, running times that would be comparatively quick, but would preserve the car for the rougher stages to follow. After the first three stages, the Civic was just starting to pick up momentum, and was sitting 13th overall. Unfortunately, a fire during the fourth stage meant the end of the day for the rest of the teams. “We were saving the car a bit today,” stated Guitar, “but we were just starting to pick up momentum. The car is holding together very well, and we are excited to really start pushing tomorrow.”
Day Two would consist of seven stages near the Errol area. Continuing its pursuit of the L2WD championship, but wanting to stay competitive with the Open entries, the team started to push early in the day, and was gradually able to start pulling out some time on competitors in the Open class. “We are really starting to get in the groove,” stated Jordan at the first service, where the HPD/Maxxis team was running third among 2WD entries. “The car feels great, and the Maxxis tires are providing a ton of grip on these surfaces.”
As the team returned to the stages, it was determined to push just a bit harder, and really start testing what the Civic could do. Stages Nine and 10 saw the team continuing to put down very competitive times, and on Stage 11, it was able to put down the second-fastest stage time nationally in 2WD, and the fastest regionally. After a quick service, the teams were faced with the final stage (13). This stage road consisted of large aggregate gravel, and featured some large rocks embedded in the ground. HPD/Maxxis continued to push, and again put down a solid time that would rank near the top for the 2WD teams.
At the end of the event, the Civic would finish first in National and Regional Limited 2WD, and would be the third-fastest 2WD car by time. “We are really happy with how well the Civic did this weekend,” stated Jordan following the awards, “This rally presents tough and challenging stages, but the Civic really showed its mettle this weekend. It took all of the tough terrain in stride, and the Maxxis tires really let us put down some excellent stage times. We want to say a huge ‘Thanks’ to Maxxis, HPD, and all of the crew that were able to help keep us going this weekend.”
Look for the Honda Civic at the fifth round of the American Rally Association National Championship in Detroit Lakes, MN at Ojibwe Forest Rally on August 24-25th.