In Photos: Shannonville Stages

Posted on 26. Apr, 2013 by in Event Coverage, Rally News, Regional Events

Erik Ockwell, Special to Flatovercrest.com

When driven on race tracks, rally cars aren’t the most graceful vehicles. Tall suspension and fat tires make rally cars gnarly on gravel stages, but when fitted with low profile pavement tires and big wheels, they tend to look a bit awkward.

Despite this, every year the hardcore gravel-heads show up at the Shannonville Motorsports Park in the spring to give their vehicles a taste of high speed action with an event organized by the Peterborough Motorsports Club. Flatovercrest.com was on hand to check out the action and find out what went down.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (12 of 33)

I made my way to the rally with my brother, who was volunteering as as part of a timing crew. If a two-time, Canadian rally champion is willing to volunteer his time for regional rallies, so can you!

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (6 of 33)

I also came across the current national 2wd championship leader Paul Hartl. He was looking forward to showing the other two wheel drive competitors how his Volkwagen gets it done.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (15 of 33)

Having Can-Jam Motorsports, a shop that prepares some of the best road racing Subarus around as your service crew certainly helps when you need to drive your rally Subaru on the track. Martin Donnelly showed up with road race suspension and tarmac specification brakes on his STI. Would this be the hot setup?

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (13 of 33)

Some service areas are so sparse, it seems almost peaceful. Alan Ryall’s Subaru is always spotless. Well before the rallies, at least.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (14 of 33)

Having your shop only minutes away certainly has its perks. Ian Crerar was excited to test out his latest rally machine, a beautiful Porsche 911 with a fantastic new graphics scheme.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (32 of 33)

The Clearwater Designs team is really stepping it up this year when it comes to the look of their rally machines. Ian’s wife Michelle Laframboise had an awesome new scheme going on as well.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (33 of 33)

Peter Reilly shows his carbon fiber hood who’s boss. The throttle body stays, the hood gets the chop.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (16 of 33)

Before every rally, there is a competitors’ meeting during which the organizing crew goes over any last minute changes and updates to the day’s racing. Rally organizer Peter Watt lays down the law.

EO FOC Shannonville Portrait (4 of 5)

Most competitors patiently listen and pay attention.

EO FOC Shannonville Portrait (3 of 5)

Radios were checked once the meeting was over and the action was ready to begin.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (30 of 33)

Heading out onto the track I came across these marks on the back straight showing evidence of a serious car fire. Not a good way to end your day’s racing. Luckily no fires occurred during the rally.

EO FOC Shannonville Portrait (1 of 5)

I also apparently found out where old tires and gas barrels to go to spend the rest of their days.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (19 of 33)

The new addition for this year’s event was a section of gravel road running parallel to the main back straight with a few turns in it. It made things a bit tricky for the cars setup for the pavement.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (21 of 33)

Several teams chose to start out on gravel tires to get a feel for the gravel section. Chris Martin got that feel pretty quickly.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (27 of 33)

Many teams eventually settled on a tarmac tire, as it offered the best grip for most of the laps of the course.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (24 of 33)

Unfortunately for the teams who made this choice, the rough gravel sections were hard on their track tires, leading to situations like this. Jonathan Strack does the uncool version of a burnout.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (2 of 33)

One of the interesting aspects to this format was that there were opportunities for competitors to pass each other, something that rally drivers don’t typically encounter. Alexei Stapinski is hunted down by Paul Hartl.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (3 of 33)

For most of their laps, however, it was business as usual. You would have never guessed this photo was taken at a racetrack!

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (25 of 33)

On the last stage before the lunch break and service halt, Martin Donnelly found himself in a very unique position. He slid wide on the gravel section and hit a tree. How many drivers can say that they hit a tree at a racetrack? The damage was assessed by his crew.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (26 of 33)

Luckily the damage was not too severe and could be fixed.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (31 of 33)

With some assistance, of course. Martin’s daily driver pickup was used to pull the front bodywork straight so his radiator could be properly installed.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (1 of 33)

Chris Martin had an easy morning and his car was running great. He was testing out a new front brake setup that he was hoping to use for the rest of the season.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (10 of 33)

Another casualty of the mixed conditions. Check out the hole on the inside of the rim. How does that even happen?

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (23 of 33)

Racing resumed after lunch with the courses run in the opposite direction. It’s amazing how different a track feels when driven backwards.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (8 of 33)

At the end of the day, most cars looked a little dirty and their tires very used up.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (4 of 33)

Despite fuel delivery issues near the end of the rally, Paul Hartl with his navigator Chuck Storry managed to finish the event in third place in the two wheel drive class.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (5 of 33)

Second in class went to Alexei Stapinski and Jeff Hagan, who handled the large infield puddle/lake like a boss. He never even lifted. What a legend.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (22 of 33)

First place in two wheel drive went to Jonathan Strack and Brian Sexsmith, whose consistent fast driving kept him up front despite his flat tire.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (9 of 33)

The two wheel drive winners had their own podium and champagne ceremony, which was nice as historically they’ve rarely had the chance to have their moment of glory.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (34 of 33)

Third overall in the rally went to the always fun to watch team of Chris Martin and Jeff Lehmann. Their flat tire cost them too much time to come out on top.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (28 of 33)

Second overall went to the masters of consistency Ryan Huber and Kelly Mathew.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (20 of 33)

While the overall win went to Martin Donnelly and his navigator Angela Cosner. I guess the race suspension and brakes were the hot setup. Just don’t ask the tree.

EO FOC Shannonville Landscape (29 of 33)

Their champagne also tasted pretty sweet, I’ll bet.

EO FOC Shannonville Portrait (2 of 5)

Congrats to Martin and Angela on a fine job.

That’s it for our coverage of the Shannonville stages rally. The next Ontario regional performance rally is the Lanark Highlands Forest Rally on May 4th.

Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “In Photos: Shannonville Stages”

  1. Paul Hartl

    26. Apr, 2013

    Thanks, Eric. Great pics, great write up!

  2. Stewart Hoo

    26. Apr, 2013

    Erik,

    The format you used to tell the story was great. I like it. The pictures were great.

    Thanks to you and Flatovercrest.com for the coverage.

  3. Martin

    29. Apr, 2013

    That was really good

  4. John Merry

    01. Dec, 2013

    Alan…a new career perhaps!?!

Leave a Reply