2022 Black Bear Rally in the books!
Updated: Aug 11, 2022
This past weekend the third round of the OPRC - the Black Bear Rally - took place in Catchacoma, ON. The only stand-alone event for the 2022 season saw 10 entrants contend with the baking sun and high summer temperatures, neither of which slowed anyone's enthusiasm for a great event!
Andrew Wallbank and David Bell set the fastest time out of the gate on SS1 in their Subaru Sti, but unfortunately suffered engine issues that hampered them the rest of the day, ultimately leading to a retirement after SS5. Matthew Ballinger and Crawford New, in their production class Subaru WRX, took 6 of the next 7 stages. A timing issue and subsequent penalties dropped them to 2nd overall by the end of the event. Jonathan Drake and first-time co-driver Ian Lantz eventually took the overall win after a close battle with Ballinger/New all day, with most stages being separated by just a few seconds. 3rd place went to 2021 OPRC Novice Champion Trevor Pougnet & co-driver Ryan Rouleau in their production class WRX, happy they made the last minute decision to enter the event!
Charles Hammer and Guillame Dozois took 4th overall and 1st in 2WD in their 1984 Volvo 242 Turbo, with the Ford Fiesta ST of Sean McConnachie and John Gerryts hot on their heels. After a spin and small excursion in the first loop of stages, McConnachie and Gerryts battled back to 2nd, just 7.5 seconds back from Hammer/Dozois by the end of the day. Rounding out the 2WD podium was newcomer Mark Toufanov and co-driver Justin Ranni in their Toyota FR-S.
The event saw several newcomers and some competitors we haven't seen out in a while, including Chuck Storry's Lancia Delta Integrale debuting on Ontario roads after contesting the season opener in Quebec, upping the pace as the day progressed. Newcomers Roderick Jones and co-driver Sam Roxton in their Mazda 3 also showed improved times throughout the day.
Unfortunately Grant Rawcliffe and Brandon Pace had an off road excursion in their newly acquired Ford Focus on the 4th stage. While the crew were ok, the car was unable to continue.
Full results of the day's action can be found here.