RALLYCROSS BY BRYAN TIPPENS
RACING IN THE CLOUDS –
The term “cloud” has recently come to have a new meaning in the technology and business worlds. But for our SCCA RallyCross drivers, the word has an
entirely different meaning all together, and there are few
places they’d rather be than in the clouds of this young, but
This month, we sat down with a few of those
RallyCrossers to see why they keep kicking up the dirt.
Opting to pilot a 1988 Pontiac Firebird, Ted Atencio is not your average RallyCross competitor.
Vehicle: 1988 Pontiac Firebird GTA (A.K.A “Mullet1”)
Class: Prepared Rear-Wheel-Drive
Tires: Bridgestone Blizzak and Kumho
Rallycross Highlights: 2010 fourth place PR Rallycross
Q: Why rallycross?
A: I raced Bret Hunter [No. 61 SportsOptical.com Honda
CRX si] in another venue. He let me co-drive at some
RallyCross events and I was hooked.
Q: Mullet 1 is a sizable car to get through a tight RallyCross
course, but you make it look easy. How? What is your
A: The key is seat time – get some. It doesn’t matter if my
car is broken. I will drive anything – my Mom’s car,
whatever. I still get out there anyway that I can. I don’t
wait for events to practice. I find test and tunes, schools or
$10 all-you-can-drive days at Colorado Off-Road Extreme
and go play.
Q: How long have you been in the SCCA? What are your
A: Two years, but it’s only my third year racing overall. In
that short time, RallyCross has very inexpensively helped
me build my program, test and hone my abilities on dirt
and connected me to a great network of others with
similar goals. My sights are set on the RallyCross
National Championship in Tulsa this year, and next year I
plan to run SCCA RallyCross and Solo with my Trans-Am
and FIA Stage Rally in a Subaru STI.
Q: Rallycross can be a really easy motorsport to get into.
Some say even easier than Solo. Would you agree?
A: It’s much easier. Dirt is more forgiving than tarmac and
an everyday driver with a stock street
setup can be competitive, sometimes
running better times than modified
cars – although if you have a
brand-new car you might want to tape
the bottom edges with some painter’s
tape to protect them, but that takes
seconds and is easy. The rules are also
way simpler, and special setups and
tires aren’t required.
Q: What level of prep do you need and
what does it cost?
A: My car is street legal and totally
stock other than a cold air intake – and
[the car] has 198K on the odometer.
RallyCross requires more frequent oil
changes and cleaning or replacing of
the air cleaner than if you didn’t race,
but I have never done anything or used
“racing” specific parts. As with
autocross you can expect tire wear, but
the kind of tires used are way less
expensive. Depending on driving style,
a good set of snow tires might last you
a whole season. Without doing a ton of
preparation and with almost no
expense, I can show up, go hammer
down and leave with a smile every
Q: Crystal ball time: Do you have any
Tulsa predictions to share?
A: I think that in PR Will MacDonald,
Greg McMahon and Anna Rolsma
will be my primary competition, with
more experience than me, I will try to
learn what I can from them and apply
it as quickly as possible.
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX
Class: Modified 4WD
Tires: BFGoodrich and Silverstone
Highlights: 2007 M4 National
Champion; 2009 first place M4
Eastern States Championship; 2011
first place M4 Western States
Q: What brought you to the sport and
A: I was at a video game LAN
gathering next door to World Arena in
Colorado Springs, Colo., and saw an
autocross going on. I went over and
checked it out. Then, through
autocross and SCCA, I found out about
RallyCross. I already had an interest
in rally when I got my Subaru so
RallyCross was a perfect opportunity.
Q: When you first made that transition
from autocross to RallyCross, what
kind of adjustment was it for you and
A: It was simple and now a lot of
classes match autocross for the most
part, such as Street Touring to PA,
Street Mod to M4, and so on. I don’t
autocross as much as I used to except
for the winter events. RallyCross is my
main focus now, as I find that I have
more fun and more runs at RallyCross.
Q: Any predictions for the 2011
RallyCross National Championship?
A: I predict Colorado drivers sweep
other classes, except for possibly the
rear-wheel-drive classes since we don’t
have a large following in that, but for
AWD, we have got that down. On that
note, I’d like to thank the Colorado
Region for being an awesome club.
Thanks also to Subaru for their
generous contingency and a great
Vehicle: 1985 Toyota MR2
Class: Stock Rear-Wheel-Drive
Tires: Firestone Winterforce snow tires
Highlights: 2010 SR Western States
RallyCross Champion; 2010 SR
RallyCross National Champion; 2010
Ironman award for attending all 2010
Colorado RallyCross events; 2010
second place overall SR Colorado
Q: What brought you to Rallycross?
A: After seeing WRC on TV back in
high school I was hooked. I searched
the Internet for rally in Colorado.
Initially I raced a SAAB 9000 at a
driving school at Watkins dirt bike
park. A year later I bought a Volvo 740
GLE for $250 off a free classifieds ad
at 7-11 and the rest is giant clouds of
dirt in the rear view mirror. I have
been a member of SCCA since 2009
but it’s my sixth year competing in
Q: You’ve gone from RallyCross to Solo,
where other people often come the
other way. What kind of adjustment
A: Both are a lot of fun and I’ll run
plenty of both in the future. However, I
would say the best bang for my buck is
Rally Cross due to lower fees, more
runs and cheaper tires. Also there is
the simplicity – SCCA RallyCross Rules
are easy to understand. Do you have
engine mods or rally tires and are you
two- or four-wheel drive? Finally, the
cost to be competitive is much lower.
It’s not uncommon to show up in a car
bought for next to nothing on used
snow tires and hold your own.
CONTACT LUCAS LAESER