FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2004
Contact: John Dillon
Creativity in Action
P.O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Laughlin, Nevada -- Wolfgang Hoeck (Somis, CA), driver for Mozart Racing, and John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA), codriver for the Widget Rally Team, teamed up to win the Group N battle in the final rally race of 2004. They also finished second overall behind a higher-horsepower Open class car. It's the first time the two have raced together. The event, the Ramada Express International Rally headquartered in Laughlin, NV, December 10-12, took place over hundreds of miles of dirt roads in Arizona and on the lands of the Hualapai Indian Nation. Next year this rally will serve as the finale for the inaugural season of the new US Rally Championship.
Hoeck and his wife Julie Lin won the Group N class at Ramada Express 2003 and finished third overall. Dillon recently earned his first national championship, as a codriver in the Open class. He's finished on the podium twice before at the Ramada Express, in 2000 and 2001, both times with Lauchlin O'Sullivan driving a PGT-classed Mitsubishi Eclipse.
"Scott and the rest of the Clean Racing crew gave us a flawless car this weekend," explained Hoeck. "Our biggest problem was a softening tire at the end of the third stage, but it didn't slow us down that much." Scott, his brother Joel, his parents Denny and Jo Anne, and niece Caryn were joined in service by Julie Lin, who opted to skip the event because of a cold. "I knew I was coming down with something and didn't want to take a chance getting sick in the car. Congestion, along with all the elevation changes in the rally, would've made my head explode!"
"Everyone on the Mozart Racing Team made me feel welcome, like I was part of the family," said Dillon. "I've raced with several talented drivers over the years. Wolfgang definitely ranks in that 'highly talented' category. It was a pleasure to get in the car with him. I knew I could trust Wolfie to handle any road conditions we might encounter."
Satellite phones by World Communication Center (WCC) have been part of the Widget toolkit for much of the 2004 season. This year, WCC stepped up and helped sponsor the rally itself, offering free phone calls for the fans to anywhere around the world and providing data connections from the remote stages into rally headquarters to expedite scoring.
This was the seventh running of the Ramada Express Rally, an event known around the world for its majestic vistas, challenging stage roads, and wonderful hospitality. Dillon is one of the few competitors fortunate enough to have participated every year. For 2004, teams got to race twice on the Diamond Creek Stage, where competitors start at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and race to the top. "Diamond Creek is my favorite stage in the whole country," declared Dillon. "What an awesome piece of road!"
The international rally takes place over three days, but each day is also scored as a separate event within the California Rally Series championship. On the last day, comprised of four short "Super Stages," Widget driver Leon Styles took home first place honors. "I couldn't commit to running the full rally," he explained, "but I thought it'd be fun to put on a show for the fans on the SuperStages." Styles earned the 2004 national Open driver's championship, so he plans to skip the 2005 season.
"This was my first time racing with someone besides Julie in the car," observed Hoeck. "I couldn't have picked a better substitute. Everbody on the team had a lot of fun this weekend. To win the Group N race and finish second overall was a super way to cap the season."
About the Sport
Rallying is the ultimate team motorsport where street- licensed cars are raced at high speed on dirt trails with two people in the car, a driver behind the wheel and a codriver describing every bend in the road. Normally competitors are not allowed to pre-run the roads so they are racing "blind," navigating from a route book provided just hours prior to the event, but for Ramada Express, teams were allowed one pass on the roads before the race started. Cars can easily reach speeds above 100 MPH as they snake between trees and along the edges of cliffs in this sport of strength and stamina.
About the Teams
Mozart Racing campaigns a Mitsubishi Evolution VII prepared by Clean Racing and sponsored by Sparco (www.sparcousa.com) and Mobil (www.mobil.com.)
The Widget Rally Team, that "serious team with a whimsical name," is supported by Perforce Software (www.perforce.com/wrt), makers of high performance software for computer professionals; 7-24 AirX (www.7-24airx.com), a domestic and international trucking and air cargo company; Worr Games (www.worr.com), manufacturers of tournament-quality paintball guns; and Tombstone Paintball Park (www.tombstonepaintball.com). The team insists on brakes by Porterfield Enterprises (www.porterfield-brakes.com) and utilizes the web services of Shults Dot Com (www.shults.com) for its internet needs. Satellite phones are provided by WCC Global Satellite Communications (www.wcclp.com).