Maxxis renewed its partnership with Honda Performance Development to continue campaigning the 2015 B-Spec Fit and the 2017 2WD Honda Civic Sport at the third running of the Sno*Drift Summer Rally.  This rally utilized many of the same roads as the first round of Rally America competition earlier in the year. While the roads were familiar, driving them without the usual covering of snow was a first for the team.   

As the second new event of the 2017 season, Rally Wyoming would be unique for the Maxxis / HPD Rally Team, becoming the first event at which pace notes would be written without assistance.  At other National Rally events, a baseline set of pace notes is provided from which teams can make minor changes.  For this inaugural round of Rally Wyoming, however, teams would be responsible for creating their own pace notes from which to attack the stages! 

“This is the first time for me to try to write notes, and what an event to learn on!” said driver James Robinson. The key defining feature of the Rally Wyoming event is its high degree of technical difficulty.  Unlike some other North American Rally events, Rally Wyoming is an incredibly tight and twisting track through privately owned acreage.  “We normally can average close to 60 miles per hour on nice dry stages, but we’ll be lucky to break 40 mile-per-hour average speeds here!” James noted.  “I think my co-driver is going to get a workout this weekend!”

The event kicked off just outside of Lusk, Wyoming, with 23 cars at Parc Expose.  The rally was broken into two separate legs of around 22 stage miles each on Friday, and a similar schedule on Saturday.  The unique aspect of Rally Wyoming was that all of the transits were extremely short, given that all of the stages were constructed on 3,500 acres of private land.   This was both a blessing and a curse, in that it was difficult to get lost between stages, but it also didn’t allow much time for the driver and co-driver, and – more importantly – the car, to cool down between stages. 

After the first leg of competition, the HPD/Maxxis Civic was running well and staying in touch with the leaders in 2WD.  “These conditions are incredibly challenging,” Robinson noted at service.  “It’s deceptively rough and very dusty, but very enjoyable because you really have to work to keep your speed up in these unique conditions.”

Moving into the second leg of Day 1, Overheating issues began to plague the team.  “We’re starting to really pack the radiator with dust and debris from this rough course,” detailed Crew Chief Jordan Guitar.  Fortunately, some quick countermeasures at the front bumper helped to give the new Civic some additional toughness for cooling. 

Moving into Day 2, The HPD / Maxxis Civic was holding onto third place in 2WD, and looking to secure another top-10 finish.  “We’re still at bit of a disadvantage against our main rivals without our Rally Suspension, but we’re trying hard to keep ourselves on the podium, and keep in touch with the current two-wheel drive National Championship points leader, Cameron Steely,” Robinson said. 

With only a few stages to go, misfortune befell Steely’s car, and the HPD / Maxxis Team of Robinson and John Sharps moved into second place in 2WD and sixth overall for the inaugural Rally Wyoming.  The strong finish moved the HPD / Maxxis team into the overall lead in the 2WD National Championship, with only two events remaining.

“I’m gutted for Cameron,” observed Robinson before the start of the final stages. “He’s had the worst luck this year, and we’ve been fortunate enough to keep finishing consistently.  Even though our car isn’t up to the pace of his, it looks like we’re getting a strong boost in the championship moving into the final two events.”

Rally Wyoming Results:

 

Car

Driver/Co-Driver

Overall

In Class

Honda Civic

J.Robinson/T.Hansen

6th

2nd

 

Look for the THR B-Spec Fit, CR-Z and the new THR Rally Civic throughout the remainder of the 2017 Rally America Series.