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 unique Show-Me Rally in Potosi. Misosuri.  This one-day rally utilized many of the same roads as the second round of Rally America competition earlier in the year. While the roads were familiar, driving them without the usual Pace Notes and Recce was a first for the team.   

As the second one-day event of the 2017 season, the Show-Me Rally would be unusual for the Maxxis / HPD Rally Team… No Pace Notes!  In the other National Rally events, a baseline set of Pace Notes is provided from which teams can make minor changes.  For this event, however, teams would be operating on Tulip Notes, without the opportunity to pre-check the stages. 

“This will be a bit of a throwback for me… I started my rallying career using Tulip Notes!” said driver James Robinson. “It takes a different skill set to read the road and try to keep speed up without having detailed Pace Notes. It will be interesting to see if our team can adapt quickly.”

The event kicked off just outside Potosi, Missouri, with 23 cars at Parc Expose.  The rally was broken into three separate legs, with nine competitive stages.  The unique aspect of the Show-Me Rally is that, because it is a one-day event, there is no possibility of recovering from a crash or a mechanical failure.   This meant that the team would have to run quickly, but conservatively, to maximize the potential championship points earned. 

After the first leg of competition, the HPD/Maxxis Civic was running well and already leading 2WD.  “The stages are so smooth and fast,” Robinson noted at service.  “We’re actually setting overall fastest stage times!”   

The bad luck for James’ main competition, Cameron Steely, struck again.  On Stage 1, Cameron’s Fiesta broke a half-shaft.  “I’m gutted for Cameron,” observed Robinson before the start of the second stage. “He’s had the worst luck this year, and we’ve been fortunate enough to keep finishing consistently. 

In addition to the Civic, the HPD / Maxxis Fit was also running strongly and leading the B-Spec class.  “These stages are really showing the potential of the B-Spec Fit.  Even though it’s a low-powered car, we’re able to keep a lot of momentum,” said driver Dan McCarron.  “We’re already over a minute up on our B-spec competition!”

Moving into the second leg, the front-running Civic ran into some trouble.  “We carried a bit too much speed in one of the corners in Stage 5 and went off,” said James at the second service.  “We actually got stuck on the side of the road on a log, which high-centered the Civic.  Fortunately for us, our team mates in the Honda Fit were able to pull us off the log and get us back in the race.” Thankfully, there was no damage to the car, so the only impact was a four-minute penalty.

“Without the sacrifice by our teammates Dan McCarron and John Sharps, we would have lost a lot more time, and lost our chance at a good finish,” stated Robinson following the incident.  “We hope we can claw back some time to get back on top of the 2WD leaderboard!”

The final leg of the rally consisted of two 10-mile stages, run close to sunset. The Civic team had built up a two-minute lead over the next 2WD car during the first four stages of the event, but had lost four minutes due to the “off” on Stage 5.  Thanks to the fact that no damage had been incurred, the team was able to make up another minute on Stage 6.  After the cancellation of Stage 7, the Civic team would have to make up an additional minute on the two remaining stages. 

At the finish of Stage 8, the Civic team had set the fourth-fastest overall time, and recovered 51 seconds.  By the penultimate stage, the Civic team had set the third-fastest overall time and recovered an additional 55 seconds.  This meant that the Civic team was able to return to first place in 2WD, while climbing back to fifth overall!

“We’re ecstatic with this finish, and for the championship points we’re getting, but we’re mostly just thankful that our teammates helped us back on the road!” said Robinson at the finish of the Rally.  It turned out that by helping to get the Civic back on the road, the Fit team of Dan McCarron and J. Sharps gave up their chance for a first-place 2WD finish, in addition to their impressive B-Spec victory.

“Normally, we’re not competing against our own teammates, but in this case, Dan was our main competition for the 2WD win,” Robinson continued. “Thankfully, he and John were willing to settle for second in 2WD, which in itself is an amazing result for a B-Spec car.”   

In an odd twist of rules, the HPD/Maxxis team also received a unique bonus:  First and Second Overall as National competitors!  This meant that the team was able to score three podium finishes in a single event!

We were very shocked when they read the results,” observed McCarron after the awards ceremony. “Because the Show-Me Rally is typically a regional event, the majority of the entrants register as regional competitors.  We registered as National entrants, and it turns out that even though we finished fifth and seventh overall, we were the highest finishing National entrants!”

With this remarkable finish, the HPD/Maxxis team is poised to win two national championships at the final round, Lake Superior Pro Rally.  “We’re optimistic that our consistency in both B-Spec and 2WD will allow us to win both titles,” said James.  “It would be an amazing end to an already incredibly successful Rally Season!”

Show-Me Rally Results:

Car

Driver/Co-Driver

Overall

In Class (2WD)

In Class (B-Spec)

Honda Civic

J.Robinson / B.Penza

5th

1st

N/A

Honda Fit

D.McCarron/J.Sharps

7th

2nd

1st

Look for the THR B-Spec Fit, CR-Z and the new THR Rally Civic at the final round of the Rally America National Championship, the Lake Superior Pro Rally.