September 18th, 2006
The Vermont SportsCar Subaru team experienced mixed fortunes on the dusty high speed roads near Steamboat Springs Colorado at this year’s running of the Colorado Cog Rally. Burgeoning rally star Travis Pastrana crashed heavily on Day 2 while battling for the lead, which helped persuade teammate Ken Block to drive conservatively to a 4th Overall finish, just seconds from a podium spot.
There was a high rate of attrition at the Cog Rally with numerous cars rolling violently off the road. This was most likely due to the combination of high speed, flat out roads and their loose dusty gravel surface. Some of the roads featured long straights and fast flowing curves that saw the top competitors routinely reaching speeds over 110mph on the narrow dirt roads. Amazingly only 10 cars finished the event out of 31 entrants!
Day 1 of the rally saw Pastrana set a blistering pace, finishing the day in 3rd Overall just seconds behind reigning US Champion Pat Richard and WRC legend Stig Blomqvist. Pastrana had a victory within reach for the first time this season and has now proved he has the makings of a future champion. But things went spectacularly wrong on the first stage of day 2 when Pastrana left the road at high speed and rolled numerous times, destroying his car in the process. Both he and co-driver Christian Edstrom walked away from the shunt uninjured and in good spirits. “What a wild ride, it’s amazing how the roll cage kept us safe, I’m really upset because I felt at this rally I closed the gap to Pat and Stig, but at the same I’m time happy that Christian and I walked away from this unhurt.”
DC Shoes co-founder and star rookie rally driver Ken Block began the rally with the goal of just finishing after crashing his rally car at the previous rally. After seeing Travis’ car off the road he slowed up. “It may be part of rally, but it is still hard to see,” explained Block. “Travis’ wreck was a catalyst to remind me of my original goal which was to finish, not to push, but to finish.” Although driving conservatively, Ken traded stage times with former factory Mitsubishi driver Lauchlin O’Sullivan, and finished the rally only 6 seconds behind the veteran driver. Block is now a shoe-in for rookie of the year honors and has a lock on 3rd in Group N standings.
Vermont SportsCar heads next to Rally New York, Sept 29-Oct 1 with Ken Block. Rally New York is not part of Rally America Championship but Block will be competing to gain further experience. Travis and Ken will drive together again at the final round of the Rally America Championship, the Lake Superior Rally in Michigan, October 21-22.