Mazdas in the Dirt

Miata and RX-7 drivers take five wins in the three RallyCross National Challenge events

The three rounds of the DirtFish RallyCross National Challenge – Central, East and West – have been completed, with Mazda drivers taking at least one victory in each round, and sweeping all the rear-wheel drive categories in the first event at Heartland Park Topeka.

In the West event held at Snoqualmie, Wash., in late July, Howard Duncan won Stock RWD in his 1999 Miata, with wife Linda finishing second. Duncan is the SCCA’s Senior Director of Rally/Solo, and because the RallyCross National Challenge was so close in both time and distance to the two National Solo events at Packwood, Wash., he decided to bring his Miata to join in the fun.

“When the 2017 National Solo schedule for the Packwood Champ Tour and ProSolo ended up immediately before the DirtFish West National RallyCross Challenge, we decided to tow the car out to Washington and use it again to test Solo courses by putting on some wheels and tires…and then put on our snow tires to run the RallyCross event,” Duncan explains. “This was our first event outside the familiar confines of Midwest Division, and the first time we would be driving on a gravel or dirt surface. We both adapted more quickly than we expected and surprised ourselves by doing as well as we did. My compliments to the Northwest RallyCross folks for some great courses and their hospitality!”

In the Eastern event held a few weeks prior at The Rally Farm in Catlett, Va., it was a story of dust and mud – mud created from heavy rains early in the week led to high cone counts as drivers slid unpredictably through, into and around the cones. After the course dried out, the next story was dust – with large clouds drifting across the field as competitors scrambled and pushed to make up for lost time or hold on to solid morning runs. Shawn Roberts drove a fast and amazingly cone-free event in his Miata to win Prepared RWD at The Rally Farm.

The East event followed a central event held in May at Heartland Park Topeka, where Mazdas swept the rear-wheel-drive classes. Miata drivers took two of the three classes, with Matthew Grainger winning Stock and John England taking the Modified RWD class. RX-7 pilot Bee Thao won the Prepared RWD class.

The DirtFish SCCA National RallyCross Championship in Topeka, Kan., back at Heartland Park, takes place in October.

DirtFish RallyCross National Challenge
Snoqualmie, Wash., July 22-23, 2017
Class: winner’s name; hometown; car
Stock – Rear Wheel Drive: Howard Duncan; Topeka, Kan.; Mazda Miata

DirtFish RallyCross National Challenge
The Rally Farm, Catlett, Va., July 7-8, 2017
Class: winner’s name; hometown; car
Prepared – Rear Wheel Drive: Shawn Roberts; Woodbridge, Va.; Mazda Miata

DirtFish RallyCross National Challenge
Heartland Park, Topeka, May 13-14, 2017
Class: winner’s name; hometown; car
Stock – Rear Wheel Drive: Matthew Grainger; Weston, Mo.; Mazda Miata
Prepared – Rear Wheel Drive: Bee Thao; Leesburg, Va.; Mazda RX7
Modified – Rear Wheel Drive: John W England; Baltimore, Ohio; Mazda Miata