Rally America Honors 2013 Champions

PHOTO: Overall Rally America Champs David Higgins (left) and Craig Drew. (Lars Gange Photo)
PHOTO: Overall Rally America Champs David Higgins (left) and Craig Drew. (Lars Gange Photo)
PHOTO: Overall Rally America Champs David Higgins (left) and Craig Drew. (Lars Gange Photo)

WILLISTON, Vt. – The 2013 Rally America National Championship ended the season in spectacular fashion with nearly all of Rally America’s championships decided at the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) on Oct. 18-19 in Houghton, Mich..

Following LSPR’s conclusion, officials of Rally America, Inc. recognized the year-end national awards winners at the LSPR banquet.

John Woolf Cup and Grant Whittaker Cup: These two prestigious awards are given to the overall Rally America National Champion driver and co-driver each year. The awards are named after John Woolf and Grant Whittaker who are fondly remembered to have won the 1980 Golden West Rally (featured in the BFGoodrich film “Race Against Time”) in their very first competitive appearance.

Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins from Trefeglwys, Wales, and Craig Drew from Bristol, United Kingdom are this year’s overall Rally America Champions after successfully overcoming Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino in a tight battle at LSPR. The Subaru and Hoonigan drivers were in full attack mode and both teams traded leads during the event. But it was Block and Gelsomino who suffered a crash that gave Higgins and Drew their third consecutive Rally America title, and Higgins’ fifth American championship since he began competing in the U.S. in 2002.

Roy Donison Cup: The Roy Donison Cup was originally awarded to the Production Class winner at the end of the year before the category was replaced in 2009 with the Super Production (SP) Class. It was the influence of Roy Donison that the SCCA created the PGT Class before he tragically passed in a testing accident in 1979.

The winner of the Roy Donison Cup is David Sterckx from Los Angeles, Calif., in just his second season competing in the U.S. and Rally America. Sterckx came close to winning the SP Class in his first rally season, but this year was his to own when he took over the SP Class standings with class wins at the Oregon Trail Rally, Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally and New England Forest Rally.  Sterckx joins an exclusive list of SP drivers who have finished the Rally America season in third place on the overall points standings.

Sterckx’s co-driver, Karen Jankowski from San Marcos, Calif., is the top finishing SP co-driver.

Jon Woodner Cup: The Jon Woodner Cup is presented annually to the Rally America National Two-Wheel-Drive (2WD) Champion and is named after a dedicated and influential rallyist, Jon Woodner from New York. Eleven-time U.S. Rally Champion John Buffum from Colchester, VT remembers Woodner as, “… a sportsman in the truest sense. He raced for the pure joy of doing it.”

The year’s 2WD Championship is awarded to Brendan Reeves from Wedderburn, Australia, the second time the Jon Woodner Cup has been won by a foreign national. Reeves entered the Rally America National Championship in the third round at the Oregon Trail Rally and promptly won five events in-a-row. The final round at the Lake Superior Performance Rally proved to be a close finish with second place’s Andrew Comrie-Picard, but Reeves persevered in the final two stages to take victory.

His sister and co-driver, Rhianon Gelsomino from Park City, Utah, narrowly won the 2WD Co-Driver’s Championship.

Jeff Moyle Cup “Rookie of the Year”: The Jeff Moyle Cup is named after a successful driver who made a huge impact from the very first year he competed and eventually found himself as a qualifier at ESPN’s­ X Games. Moyle touched every driver he met with pure enthusiasm and zest for excitement. This much-anticipated award is given annually to a first-year driver who achieves the most points in National Championship competition – regardless of class.

This year’s recipient is Nick Roberts from White Bear Lake, Minn., who competed in all seven Rally America National Championship events in a Super Production Class car. Roberts was trailing Brent Hercelinsky, another Rookie of the Year candidate, until Roberts won his first SP Class at the Ojibwe Forests Rally and finished the season on the SP Class podium. The strong finishes placed him ahead of Hercelinsky in the overall standings as the top placing Rally America rookie. Roberts has proven to be an extremely competent driver in the highly competitive Super Production Class.

Manufacturers’ Championship: Rally America reintroduced the Manufacturers’ Championship in 2013 after an absence of ten years. However, Rally America recognized not just an overall manufacturer winner, but also class categories in Super Production, Two-Wheel Drive and B-SPEC.

Subaru of America took the overall Manufacturers’ Championship in a head-to-head battle with Ford Racing at LSPR. It is Subaru’s second American Manufacturers’ title since winning it in 2001.

Subaru of America also claimed the first ever Super Production manufacturers’ title. Ford Racing took the Two-Wheel Drive category and Honda Performance Development claimed the B-Spec category.

Rally America will announce a Rally of the Year recipient at a later date.