Return to Action
With less than 2 weeks between the Irwindale and Seattle events, the guys from Evolution Racewerks and Jim Pierce Motosports worked tirelessly to build me a brand new car after my wreck at Irwindale. Unfortunately, the new car didn’t come together in time and I had to sit out the Seattle event. The final event of the year for the 2wd Global RallyCross championship was at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado Springs.
The car was ready and I drove 18 hours straight to get there in time. I qualified 2nd, behind the Porsche 996 from Sweden on day one. I went on to win all of my heats and faced the 996 in the Super Rally finals. The 996 is too fast and well developed compared to my Civic so I had to settle for 2nd place at the end of the day.
Day two was pretty much a repeat of day one. I qualified in 2nd position again and I was dominating my heats. However, I did have some overheating issues, which I cured by using cardboard and race tape to channel more airflow through my radiator.
In the A main I got a decent launch and was able to pull into the 2nd position, right behind the 996, by the 2nd corner. I maintained that position all the way to the end, though not without a couple mistakes that almost cost me a position. I’ve very happy with the new car and I think with some additional development and seat time, we can challenge the 996 for a win. There’s something to be said about a $15k Honda chasing down a $150k Porsche!
Here is a video of the entire A main. Enjoy….
Global RallyCross - Irwindale CA
Is been a while since my last update. Between buying a new RallyCross car, building a new RallyCross car to replace the first one that I destroyed, graduating from MBA school at USC and keeping my new boss(s) happy at work, I haven’t had a lot of time for website updates!
Needless to say, there’s a lot of ground to cover. The inaugural Global Rally Cross event at Irwindale Speedway was my first door to door racing event, and it was epic. The guys at Evolution Racewerks (www.evolutionracewerks.com) worked hard to get the new Honda Civic ready for the event. On day one, we had a host of new car bugs, which ultimately ended our day when the car died during my semi-final heat due to an anemic charging system and an overly hungry electric power steering pump. However, I managed to qualify 2nd fastest so I was pleased with the new cars potential.
Overnight we saw clearing skies and the installation of a new battery and alternator. During practice I made one mistake and punched a jersey barrier, calling for me some track side repairs with large hammers. The charging issue reared it’s ugly head again during qualifying but I was able to turn the power steering pump off and finish my qualifying session; 2nd fastest again.
During the A main I got a bad launch and settled into the 3rd spot. I immediately took the joker lap giving myself a clean track. As we finished the 4th lap, I had slid into 2nd place right behind Mathew Johnson. With one lap to go things were looking good…for about 10 seconds! As we transitioned from the dirt section to the pavement, I was fighting massive amounts of torque steer…and when it caught it snapped the Civic into the inside wall, exploding the plastic, water-less barrier, which spun me sideways right in front of the 3rd place car.
At least we made the highlight video!
RallyCross Debut Universal Rally driver Andrew Sutherland is planning on making his RallyCross debut at the Global RallyCross Championship season opener on March 26th in Irwindale California. Andrew will be piloting a highly modified Honda Civic in one of the two 2wd classes. The car is currently being converted from a Honda Challenge race car to a RallyCross and Rally car.
For more info on the Global RallyCross Championship: www.global-rallycross.com
Honda what??? January 10, 2011
For some reason, I bought 3 Honda Civic EP3's. I'm still not sure why but I think it was out of boredom, and it's not that I have time to be bored but if I'm not actively working on a project, I tend to shop around for more work! Enter Craigslist and I know have 3 Honda Civics.
For the sake of full disclosure, I did “trade” one of the cars to Fred Su, owner of Evolution Racewerks as I realized that three civic shells might be a tad much, even for me. Also, this way, Fred won’t harass me as much about having 3 more cars in the shop if 1 is his!
The cheapest one of the lot, a $400 gem I found in Las Vegas, is in need of a new quarter panel. Off with the wrinkled skin.....
One Step CloserThe Universal Rally Evo X is finally caged! Next step is to seam weld the bottom and get it painted before reassembly. The team at Evolution Racewerks (www.evolutionracewerks.com) tig welded the Custom Cages International spec T-45 cage into the chassis. This cage is homologated and FIA approved, providing the highest level of safety possible.
The complexity and layout is very impressive!
Stay tuned for more progress...
Gorman 2010 Battle
Round 3 of the California Rally Series Rally Moto series took place in Frazier Park,
California as riders competed in the 2010 Gorman Ridge Rally. Universal Rally
rider Andrew Sutherland won this event in 2009 and was looking for a repeat victory.
Learning from last years race, Andrew selected a lighter more maneuverable rally bike
that could better cope with the rough and twisty roads of the Gorman Rally; sidelining
his KTM Enduro in favor of a Husaberg 450. There was a dramatic drop in power by
switching to the smaller bike but it was offset by the increase in handling prowess of the
The learning curve was steep but by the 3rd stage Andrew was able to post a stage time
less than a second slower than the leader, Bike Bandit sponsored rider Chris Martin.
Andrew pushed again on stage 5 and took the stage win by 6 seconds. Staying close
throughout the event, the duo tied on stage 7, down to the hundredth of a minute!
However, Andrew couldn’t consistently match Chris’s pace and ended the day in what
is becoming a familiar position this year, 2nd place. With the championship wrapping up
at the Prescott Rally in October, there is little hope of breaking Chris’s firm grip on the
“This was one of the most competitive rallies I’ve been in, cars or bikes”said Andrew.
“It was a lot of fun battling Chris for the “W”and I tried my best to make him earn it,
which he did”.
Andrew also stated that this may be his last year competing in Rally Moto events, on a
regular basis. “I want to get back in the car. After returning to bikes and pushing myself
for 2 years I realized why I switched from racing bikes to cars back in 2001. I’m not
willing to take the big risks required to truly go fast on a bike anymore, self preservation
seems to kick in sooner as you get older. With my MBA program wrapping up in the
spring of 2011, I’ll have more time to dedicate to finishing my current rally car projects
and running some events.”
2010 High Desert Trails
The first Rally Moto event of the 2010 California Rally Series calendar took place on April 17th in Ridgecrest California. With the competitor turn-out up 200% over last year, the season was off to a great start. Universal Rally rider Andrew Sutherland was looking to kick off the season with a win. However, between a busy work and school schedule, he was only able to complete one training ride since winning the 2009 CRS Rally Moto Under 800cc Championship last October.
Andrew started first on the road but dropped 13 seconds in the first stage to new comer Chris Martin. Andrew attacked the second special stage but fell victim to newly formed hole in the early part of the stage and highsided his KTM 690. The wreck cost him valuable time, but more detrimental was the heavy impact his right shoulder sustain in the off. Andrew spent the rest of the day nursing a battered and swollen shoulder. Frustrated with his poor start, Andrew charged back to win stage 3 outright.
After the long lunch break, the rider tackled the last 3 stages of the day. After such a long break Andrew’s shoulder continued to worsen and he was losing around 3 seconds per mile to the leader. After a difficult day, Andrew finished in 2nd overall and in the Under 800cc class. Next stop, the super high speed roads of the North Nevada Rally, June 4-5 (www.northnevadarally.com). The KTM 690 should shine on these stages!
A big thanks to Bike Bandit ( www.bikebandit.com ) for sponsoring the 2010 CRS Rally Moto Championship.
The Custom Cages roll cage is fully tacked into place. Once the weld sample is approved we can start the welding!!
Acid Flash Back
After two weeks in an acid bath the shell is ready to be seam welded and caged. It turns out that the aluminum roof skin couldn’t handle whatever the toxic cocktail was and it disintegrated clean off of the car!!
EVO X Makeover
Universal Rally's latest project is starting to pick up steam. A 2008 Mitsubishi EVO X was dropped off for a two week spa session that will include chemical baths reaching 230 degrees. Once clean and phosphate coated, the shell will receive a healthy dose of seam welding and an FIA approve cage.
2009 CRS Moto Champion!!
Andrew Sutherland wraps up the CRS Moto Championship at the Prescott Rally
Universal Rally rider, Andrew Sutherland, contested the 2009 Prescott Rally riding a KTM 690 Enduro; scoring a win on Friday night in the Rally Moto Under 800cc class secured the 2009 California Rally Series (CRS) Moto Championship for the Under 800cc class and Overall. On Saturday, Andrew wasn’t able to match the speed of his Under 800cc competitor or the leader in the Over 800cc class and finished 2nd in class and 3rd overall on the day. The combined times from Friday and Saturday put Andrew 1st in class and 2nd overall for the weekend in Rally Moto.
This was Andrew’s first time on the Prescott Rally roads and without the assistant of notes and a co-driver, he lacked the confidence and local knowledge required to go flat out through the various high-speed turns and blind crests. This event hosted the fastest stages of the series as riders saw triple-digit speeds on almost every stage!
The inaugural CRS Moto Championship garnered a handful of competitors throughout the season with the number of entries growing at each successive event. Looking forward, there will undoubtedly be new faces and fierce new competition as the CRS Rally Moto class grows in 2010.
Photo courtesy of Lorne Trezise - http://www.frozenmotionphotos.com/
Gorman Ridge - Rally Moto
After a several month hiatus from riding, Andrew Sutherland tackled the Gorman Ridge Rally roads aboard his 2008 KTM 690 Enduro, round 5 of the United States Rally Championship and the backbone of the California Rally Series (CRS) series.
Since the competition in Rally Moto was non-existent at this event, Andrew focused on beating as many rally cars as possible. After 12 stages at race-pace on the physically demanding Gorman roads, Andrew finished 6th overall and 1st in Rally Moto. An off course excursion on the second to last night stage cost Andrew a couple minutes and at least one position in the overall standings as he struggled to find a path back to the road.
Andrew’s finish cemented his CRS Rally Moto Championship lead in the under 800cc class.
Next stop, the high-speed roads of the Prescott Rally – www.Prescottrally.com
Heartbreak in Idaho Part Duex!
Team Universal Rally had another tough year at the 2009 Treasure Valley Idaho Rally, round 3 of the United States Rally Championship (http://www.unitedstatesrallychampionship.com). The duo of Andrew Sutherland and Amar Sehmi left the road 5 miles into the first stage on day 1 while negotiating a tricky lefthand corner that became increasingly narrow at the exit. Andrew's Open class Subaru was basically running in rear-wheel drive mode due to a nonfunctioing center diff. The lack for front grip and constant oversteer didn't help as the rear of the car was sucked off the road and down a 30 foot ravine where it came to rest on some boulders just above a stream.
The team will definitly be back in Idaho next year for another shot at the overall victory.
Heartbreaker in Idaho
Team Universal Rally made the trek up to Mountain Home, Idaho to compete in round 3 of the United States Rally Championship (http://www.unitedstatesrallychampionship.com). After the first day of competition, Andrew Sutherland, along side co-driver Amar Sehmi, was leading the overall standings by less than 15 seconds. Day two of the event saw nail biting competition and a dramatic race to the finish. The Evolution Racewerks/Sutherland Bros Racing Subaru came to a slow stop 3 miles into the final stage of the day with a blown headgasket, ending the teams chances of an overall win!
More Pictures to come....
North Nevada Rally Win!
Team Universal Rally driver Andrew Sutherland and co-driver Amar Sehmi put their brand new Subaru Impreza Open Class rally car on the top of the podium in this years revitalized North Nevada Rally with a NASA Rally Sport Open Class and Overall victory!! The team was still putting the final touches on the car the night before the event and had only completed a very limited number of "shake-down" miles before the start of the rally.
The new car going through tech inspection.....more action photos to follow...
2008 Plans 12-12-07
Universal Rally is still in the planning phase for 2008 and a Rally America class selection and schedule of events to attend has not been decided. Progress on the Open class car has been good (see below) but there are still several key componetnt that need to be installed to make the first event of the year, Sno-Drift (www.sno-drift.org) on January 25th, 2008.
The other option is to prepare the teams current recce car,a 2006 Subaru WRX, for the Production GT class. This would allow the team to compete for the Subaru Plan A contingency payouts which is much needed boost to the team budget.
Idaho Success 6-16-07
Andrew Sutherland and co-driver Josh McConnell earned a 2nd overall and 1st in class in the inaugural Idaho Rally. This event was Andrew's first rally on a sealed surface and it was Josh's first time ever in a rally car. A two pass recce was provided which provided an extra level of complexity to an already challenging situation.
The team piloted a rented Ford Escort from Jim Peirce Motorsports (www.advanceoffroad.com) . The car is typlicaly used for endurance road racing and was modified to meet rally regulations. With only 130 naturally aspirated horsepower the key to success was carring as much speed as possible. The plan worked as the team quickly secured 3rd overall and 1st in class during the morning stages. By the final stage they had moved into 2nd overall and remained 1st in class.
Group 5 Champions!!
Andrew Sutherland wins Group 5 at Reno! The 2006 Reno Rally was the finale for the Southwest Cup Rally series. Andrew’s victory at Reno gave him enough points to take the Group 5 Driver Championship and place 2nd Overall in the series. Co-Driver Chrissie Beavis also took top honors in the series despite her entry as a Group 2 Driver at Reno.
- Andrew Sutherland 2005/06 Group 5 Driver Champion
- Chrissie Beavis 2005/06 Group 5 Co-driver Champion
Read more here: http://www.universalrally.com/6.html
11/20 - Update
With less than two weeks until Reno things are looking a "sparse"
11/01 - Update
Finally! I know it’s been a long time since we updated the website and I apologize…it’s just really hard finding good web-gurus that work for free!
In the last year and a half a lot has gone on. I’ll give you the consolidated version:
- We won day one of the 2005 Reno Rally, 1st overall and 1st in our class.
- We placed 2nd overall on day two of the 2005 Reno Rally and 1st in our class.
- We finished the season 2nd overall in points for the Rally America Western region.
- We went to the Rally America Regional “run-offs” in Missouri to race for the overall club Group 5 championship.
- We led the Group 5 championship race from the first stage….all the way until we rolled 2 ½ times into some trees.
We’ve been rebuilding ever since!
The rebuilt and revised car will debut in December at the 2006 Reno Rally http://www.renorally.com
Here’s a sneak peek…
More to come!!