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Our first snow rally...very slippy!!


Gumball Sti Racing: - Sno*Drift Update (Feb 2011)

Sno*Drift is the first scheduled national Rally America event held late January in northern Michigan. With a new co-driver and lot's of snow and ice our team set out to tackle and conquer some of the season's most challenging rally stages....here's our story.

Pictured here: Godzilla raced 22 miles of rally stages/transits at speeds in excess of 65mph!!!!

Months of planning, preparation, and testing paid off as we laid down some blazing stage times....our rally car, named "Godzilla", is wicked fast and on ss1 (special stage 1) a nervous new co-driver accidentally called a turn early and we went off on the very first stage, at speed, turning under some marker tape and proceeding down a small access road....the time lost cost us a third place stage finish as we had to slow down, turn around, and head back to get on stage. Even with this scenic tour...we still managed a 5th place stage time out of 50 competitors and I laughed about it through the entire event. "Left 4+ under tape"....haha

I slowed down a touch on the next few stages allowing us to work together as a team, build trust, and get faster and faster......Soon we arrived at SS5 which was the hardest stage of the entire event...this grueling single track stage is simply called "The Ranch" and contained miles of skinny rock cuts, ravines, and accute turns literally around trees ...

We felt good and were now running in top form.....that positive feeling quickly disappeared early in "the ranch" stage when our lights went out entirely and would flash on for a moment only to go out again for what seemed an eternity. (Like a scene from Pitch Black)

With complete darkness broken by very brief moments of light...forced me to take a mental picture of the tight twisty sections, rocks, and so so many trees.....remaining relatively calm I somehow managed to stay flat on the go pedal in the darkness... while missing most hard objects... near the end of the stage we unfortunately came upon two slower cars which cost us precious time as we attempted to find a place to pass by ...

We finish The Ranch with a stage time within 30seconds of third place....

Our speeds continued to improve into the second day until a shattered suspension on ss15 left us on the side of the road with 13 miles of stage left. With some quick thinking, mechanical prowess, and POR (Press On Regardless) spirit...we removed all components and turned our rally car into a rear wheel drive snowmobile.

(If my calculations are correct.. car will run on red flap!!)

(Suspension...suspension!?! We don't need suspension!!!)

On the skidplate...we completed 22 miles, 2 stages, and 2 transits with speeds in excess of 65 mph to get back to the service area. As we were coming in...there was lot's of radio discussion as the RA officials had never seen anything like it.

Here's a video of us pulling Godzilla into service... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9p1eswBg_s&feature=player_embedded

Our amazing crew from Performance Motorsports Services then jumped into action. After a brief thirty-eight minutes and a loud well deserved standing ovation our car was ready!!!

The car felt great and Godzilla had an entirely new front-end. We proceeded to the second to last stage....en route our brakes failed (pedal was completely on the floor) and we ran the last two stages of the event with NO brakes....even managed to pass a few cars on those last stages.....we pulled in to finish area glad to have completed all stages of our first Rally America event....unfortunately we were then DNF'd after finishing (bummer)....

We definitely made a first impression, and the top teams are now watching... Godzilla is screaming fast and if she continues to perform we should be able to secure some solid national Canadian/US finishing positions. Our sights are set on trying to compete, earn top finish positions, and qualify for this year's X-Games competition.

Our team is a professional top-tier national entry with proven experience.....we continue to push forward and go for it!!!

The national events we compete in are major with lot's of opportunities for brand exposure and marketing.

The next national event is less than 3 weeks out.....prep prep prep....can't wait!!!!

Stay tuned and remember... "Pin it to Win it!!!"

Richard Burton
North American Rally Athlete