Article and photography by Randy Montgomery
Olympus Rally was held last weekend in Shelton, Washington. The event started with the announcement that Olympus Rally is officially a Rally America sanctioned event once more after a one-year break. Similar to the Oregon Trail Rally, the Olympus Rally offers extremely beautiful scenery, an assortment of obstacles, miles and miles of back roads and, most important, it has its NW Rally fans! It will be awesome to have Olympus on the national event roster next year giving the teams another event, and giving the sport yet another opportunity to expand and grow. Rally America seems to be doing all they can to help the sport evolve; they’re now nationally televised and in the process of adding other venues. We can’t wait to see what they produce next.
Held as a regional event this year, Olympus began with the PARC Expose at 9:30 on Saturday morning, giving the spectators an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather while viewing the rally cars up close and meeting the drivers, co-drivers and teams.
A very special award, which was hand built by shop owners Jason Griffith and John Hoyenga of Nameless Performance in La Center, Washington, was given out during the drivers meeting. The Noble Way Award was presented to Ron Barker in honor and memory of rally driver Matthew Noble Marker, who passed away during the Olympus Rally in 2011. The award is given to those in the Rally community who put their own needs aside to offer any support needed to the Rally teams or the sport.
When the first car hit the Stillwater stage around 10:45 a.m., the Sun was out, the spectator areas were filled to the max and the roads were dusty and screaming to be driven.
All the teams drove to the best of their ability and gave the fans an amazing show, and, by the end of the day, there were some casualties. Around a quarter of the original participating teams ended up not being able to finish the two-day program. There were transmission problems, a few minor accidents and several other debilitating car troubles. But, in the sport of Rally, that’s to be expected and in the end everyone left with his or her head held high.
Day two of the Olympus Rally was only scheduled for half a day, but still managed to pack three fun-filled stages into the program including Nahwatzel, which is a 27-mile stage that goes on forever and always manages to test the teams, drivers and, especially, the cars. Spectators filled the viewing area as always and the excitement level was on par for the way the teams were knocking out the stages. Rally is an amazing sport, but without its fans I believe it would be a little different; the fans were excited to be there and they let the teams know it as the cars drove through the spectating areas. The teams returned the favor by getting the cars sideways, spraying gravel everywhere and sometimes even giving a honk and a wave while doing it.
When the dust settled and the stages came to a close, the results were announced for the two days of racing. The Saturday and Sunday races were split into two separate races: Saturday being the John Nagel Rally, and Sunday the Ray Damitio Rally. Be sure to click the links below and check out all the results from the events.
Overall, our first place winners were Hardy Schmidtke and Chris Kremer in their Mitsubishi EVO VIII; second place went to Byron Garth and Jake Blattner in their Subaru WRX STi; and Jeff Seehorn and Jason Grahn in their Subaru WRX STi secured the third place overall spot. Congratulations to all the winners from this weekend as well as to all the participating teams; everyone was driving amazingly and it’s always such a blast to be a part of the Rally community! So, until next time, keep the shiny pieces up and Rally on!