FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2002
Contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Widget Website: www.WidgetRacing.com
Prescott, Arizona -- An overall victory at the Prescott Forest Rally in Arizona on 26 Oct 2002 clinched both driver and codriver championships for the Widget Rally Team. Leon Styles, Mission Viejo, CA, driver, and John Dillon, Thousand Oaks, CA, codriver, finished first overall after a challenging race over the desert roads that range from the cliffs above Jerome to the valley floor near Perkinsville. Weather played a significant factor in the rally, with two stages tested under heavy rain and hail conditions. On the previous day the two finished third overall in a separate rally at the same venue. Both rallies counted towards Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) divisional titles.
"This weekend we drove conservatively, with our eyes towards the championship," reported Styles. "We picked up the pace a bit on the second day, placing the race leader [Andy Brown, with Alex Gelsomino codriving] under a little pressure. When they slid wide at a hairpin and damaged their suspension, we knew we had it in the bag if we could just keep the car on the road."
Although a win appeared likely with two stages to go, the last running of the Perkinsville stage almost unraveled their hopes. "We lost the turbo about two miles in," observed Dillon. "Leon adapted to the loss of power but we both worried that it might lead to a more serious problem."
In the spirit of sportsmanship that is characteristic of club-level rallying the second place driver, Jay Streets of San Francisco, offered to help the Widget team if they needed assistance. "If you get stuck and need to be pulled out, make sure you've got your tow strap ready and I'll stop for you," he told the team. Streets, racing in a Group 5 Volvo with codriver Ole Holter, held a healthy lead over his nearest class rivals and went on to finish the rally second overall.
The team's car, an Audi Quattro S2 prepared by George Plsek of Tato Motorsports, proved itself strong and reliable all weekend. "A large part of this season's success is due to the durability of the car," said Styles. "I know when George tells me the Audi is ready to race that I can drive with confidence and push it to its limits."
Though Styles and Dillon have both clinched the SCCA Southern Pacific divisional championships, they still have one more title they hope to earn, the Open 4WD crown for the California Rally Series (CRS). Thanks to their results from Arizona and their previous victory at the Gorman Ridge Rally, the two now hold a commanding lead in that contest. The Widget team's final rally, the Ramada Express International Rally hosted in Laughlin, Nevada on the 14th through 16th of December, is the final event of the 2002 CRS calendar. A solid result there will earn the pair a second championship for the year.
As for the 2003 season, the team is still considering its options. The Widget Rally Team is supported by Tombstone Paintball Park, Sampson Racing Communications, Porterfield Enterprises, and Shults Dot Com. Additional sponsorship is being sought to help the team race the full national series. If the money can't be found the team may choose to vie for the Western States Rally Championship instead.
For more information contact John Dillon at John@WidgetRacing.com
or visit www.WidgetRacing.com.