Salem, MO (February 15th, 2011) — The Rally America National Championship continues the last weekend of February in the majestic foothills of the Ozarks. That’s where two international rally champions will try to get to the end of the event and hold off the early challenge from points leader Travis Hanson who won the first event of the season last month on the frozen roads of northern Michigan.
More than forty teams are scheduled to compete on some of the best roads in the nation for rallying at the 100 Acre Wood Rally based in and around Salem, MO on February 25-26th, 2011. The fast, tight, twisty, and normally dry roads will create some excellent opportunities to see the driver/co-driver teams challenged in their battle for National Championship points. Two of those teams have one goal: re-establishing their preseason favorite status!
2010 Rally America champion Antoine L’Estage of Montreal, Canada will once again look to do battle with former British and American champion David Higgins who commutes to the events from Trefeglwys, Mid Wales. L’Estage and Higgins both went out with mechanical problems at the Sno*Drift Rally last month leaving the top step of the podium to Hanson who grabbed his first national overall victory in a Super Production car, another first for the Rally American National Championship.
Looking to improve on another first at Sno*Drift is BMX legend and action sports star David Mirra from Greenville, NC. Mirra had his highest finish to date with a second overall at Sno*Drift. He’s in a good position to put the Subaru Rally Team USA on the top of the Championship standings. Mirra has exhibited remarkable improvement in his fourth year of rallying and is within striking distance of nabbing his first overall event win.
David Higgins, Mirra’s Subaru Rally Team USA teammate, was considered a heavy favorite for the 2011 Rally America Championship having won the 2004 British Rally Championship and multiple SCCA ProRally titles. But his return to U.S. competition was marred by a mechanical setback. Now he needs valuable points at 100 Acre Wood. The championship only has six events so there are few opportunities to stumble in the short season.
The same is true for L’Estage, the 2010 Rally America, Canadian and North American champion. The Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team driver, Antoine L’Estage, uncharacteristically overheated at Sno*Drift after getting stuck in a snow bank. It was his first DNF since 2008. His second place finish at 100 Acre Wood last season catapulted him to the top of the standings and started him on his way to one of the most successful rally seasons in North American history.
Much of the North American rally community, however, remains abuzz over the Hanson win at Sno*Drift; a near four-minute victory in a Super Production (SP) Class car against more powerful Open Class machinery. Hanson set a blistering pace in the Michigan cold and he hopes to continue a strong showing in Missouri where he won the Super Production category last year and finished fifth in the overall standings.
In the National 2 Wheel-Drive (2WD) Championship, 2009 Rally America Rookie of the Year and 2WD Champ, Dillon Van Way from Carencro, LA held off charging 2010 2WD National Champ, Chris Duplessis from Mason Township, ME at Sno*Drift. Both were campaigning never been tested rally vehicles. Van Way brought RallyCar’s first 2010 Ford Fiesta entry to a national event win in a close, hard-fought battle with Duplessis in a 2010 Scion xD. They’ll bring that same drama to 100 Acre Wood.
The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood will see a contingent of local teams vying for regional rally honors. Topping the list is 100 Acre Wood former event chairman, Kim DeMotte from Webster Groves, MO a long time 100 Acre Wood organizer and co-driver who enters this year as a driver in a historic 1972 Datsun 510.
It was DeMotte who was around when rally organizers first took on the name 100 Acre Wood, the forest home of Winnie the Pooh, the fictional stories favored by generations of children worldwide. In fact several of the regional events that run concurrent to the National Championship take on names from the Pooh series including Trespassers Will, a legendary sign in the Pooh story. It’s also the name of one of the weekend regional events.
Twin brothers from St. Louis, MO, Mark and John Huebbe, who also organize the 100 Acre Wood Rally, will compete against Demotte in addition to splitting the “Honey Jar Challenge” $1,500 cash prize reserved for the top 5 Volkswagen teams to finish the weekend. Honey Jar Challenge information can be found at
The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood will begin with a Parc Expose, a meet & greet with the drivers before competition starts for the day, at the Potosi Lions’ Park at 1:00pm Friday, February 25th. Fans can arrive to seek autographs and pick up spectator information before heading to various spots in the woods to watch the rally action.
Another Parc Expose on Saturday, February 26th will be held in downtown Salem at the intersection of 4th & Main Street at 8:45am.
For a complete event schedule and to download the official 100 Acre Wood Rally spectator guide please visit www.100aw.org.