Thursday, June 22nd, 2023
The Canadian Rally Championship returned to action at the 50th anniversary of Rocky Mountain Rally, round 2 of the 2023 championship. After the most recent editions were hosted in Alberta, the rally made a popular return to the Columbia Valley, British Columbia. The later calendar date meant the teams faced hot temperatures and dusty, rough roads.
A large alliance of teams from Quebec made the effort to tow West for the event, but unfortunately their efforts were largely met with attrition and bad luck. The championship leaders, Alexandre Moreau & Ian Guité were the first to drop, suffering a fuel pump issue on the opening loop. While they were able to fix and continue, they incurred 10 minutes penalty for illegal servicing. By the end of the rally they had climbed back to 8th overall, capturing 5 all-important points to retain the championship lead.
The brother-sister duo of Tanveer and Naila Deen proved the event could change roads and provinces, but they’d still bring their A-game. The 2022 event winners drove a smart weekend, conserving tires and showing some mechanical sympathy through the opening days’ stages. A picture of consistency throughout the weekend, the pair finished 10 of 12 stages with top-3 stage times, including 5 stage wins. They successfully descended the Hawke stage for the final time on Sunday, chalking up the win by 35-seconds.
After a back-and-forth battle with perennial rival, Jason Bailey, all weekend, Boris Djordjevic and John Hall emerged from the battle alone with second place secure in hand. Going into the final stage, Bailey and Shayne Peterson trailed by just over 10 seconds. The temptation was too great to ignore and Bailey spun trying to reel Djordjevic in, losing over 12 minutes in the process.
Bailey’s misfortunate also escalated Graham Bruce and Patrick Levesque to the overall podium, making it an Alberta sweep. A highly experienced rallyist and driver, Bruce has an uncanny ability to put himself in the right place at the end of a rally to capitalize on other’s mistakes.
In two-wheel drive, the expected ding-dong battle between Chris Greenhouse’s Dodge and Nick Wood’s monster Datsun never materialized after Wood’s engine expired on Day 1. Greenhouse and Ryan Scott stayed focused on winning their class, despite sitting in a tantalizing 4th overall much of the rally. A few close calls kept the team busy at service, but they accomplished what they came to do, with Chris Greenhouse claiming his first Western win ever – Canada or USA.
Fellow Americans, Eric Bailey and Jordan Rock, brought their Scion FRS across the line in second in two-wheel drive and 6th overall.
Although not without his own mechanical issues, Vincent Trudel’s efforts to come West from Quebec were rewarded with the Production 4 class win alongside co-driver, Michelle Miller.
The Canadian Rally Championship, presented by Subaru, continues on the opposite end of the country on the July 1st weekend at Rallye Baie des Chaleurs in New Richmond, Quebec.