Round 3: Black Bear
Just over a week ago, competitors were enjoying the stages up in Catchacoma, Ontario, for Round 3 of the OPRC - MLRC's Black Bear Rally
13 of the 14 teams that started the event made it to the final time control, and while the 4WD team of Eric Courchesne and Patrick Levesque won the first 4 stages of the day, mechanical issues would have them eventually retiring from the event on the penultimate stage.
Marc Bourassa and Elise Racette, having overcome some issues at the beginning of the rally, were then able to win the next 3 of 4 stages but it wasn't enough to climb their way back up the results table.
A consistent performance by Sebastien Clark and first time co-driver Antoine Laliberte brought them the rally win with a minute lead over second place finishers Jeremy Drake and Deric Jackson (another first time co-driver). A small fire under the hood for Drake/Jackson at the end the first loop didn't stop them aiming for a podium spot.
Third overall went to the US based Emmanuel Cecchet with Jonathan Desgroseilliers alongside, finishing in front of their Frog Racing teammates Margaret Sharron and Jennie Holden. This podium result extends Cecchet's lead in the 2023 OPRC Driver's championship to 25 points, ahead of event winner Clark and 2WD winner Toufanov - who currently share 2nd overall. Two rallies left in the season means there's still points up for grabs.
In taking the 2WD win at the rally, Mark Toufanov and co-driver David Bell ensured they held onto their places at the top of the 2023 2WD Driver and 2WD Co-driver championship results table.
Eric Vanderwal and Alton Gonsalves took 2nd 2WD and while Roderick Jones & Audrey Godin looked set to take 3rd place, a broken engine mount on the last stage meant the final spot went to Grant Rawcliffe and Brandon Pace.
The Novice win went to 5th place driver Michel Drapeau, whose co-driver Jean-Sebastien Delisle picked up some more points to keep the top spot in the 2023 OPRC overall Codriver championship.
A great event thoroughly enjoyed by all and as usual a big thanks to everyone for supporting it, both competitors and volunteers. Keep your eyes on the Black Bear Rally social media for drone footage of the event - once those thunderstorms were out of the way, the drone was able to get up in the air to capture some shots of the action from above.
Full results can be found on www.rallyscoring.com
Thanks to the generosity of the 2023 OPRC Season sponsors: Clarington Hyundai, Clarington Kia, Ontario Motor Sales, Durham Harley-Davidson and Marigold Ford-Lincoln, we were able to provide much appreciated prize money for this stand-alone event.
Round 4 of the OPRC - Rallye Defi Petite Nation - gets underway in less than 3 weeks time in Montpellier, Quebec. Make sure to get those entries in for www.rallyedefi.ca
See you out there!