Ryan Huber Wins Rough Black Bear Rally

The same stages that can be so tough for competitors in the Rally of The Tall Pines in the fall proved equally difficult in the heat of summer. Out of the 16 cars entered, only nine finished the rally.

Even eventual winners Ryan Huber and codriver John Vanos ran into trouble, suffering both minor contact with a tree on the first stage, and a puncture on the third. However, other than those incidents, they had a near-perfect rally that saw them win 4 out of the 6 stages, finishing 17.5 seconds ahead of second place.

Martin Donnelly and Angela Cosner came through in second, despite running with some visible front end damage of their own. Donnelly openly congratulated Huber during the podium ceremony, admitting that he had been pushing as hard as he possibly could for the entirely of the event.

Rounding out the podium were Ian Crerar and navigator James Drake, running a Mitsubishi Evo IV instead of the Porsche 911 that had seen action in recent events. They battled with Eric Vlasic and Chris Pye throughout the rally, but in the end bested the Subaru Legacy crew to round out the podium.

In turn of events, only two entrants from the 2WD category were able to finish the rally. Gary Sutherland and co-driver Yevgeniy Gospodinov took first in the class, surviving the war of attrition that claimed the majority of their competitors.

Also making through the rough stages intact was Chris Krepski, who took second spot on the podium with Sebastien Richard, in just their second ever rally .

Notable DNFs included Crazy Leo Urlichich and new co-driver Andrew Roughead. Competing in a special 'exhibition' class as Urlichich continues to reacquaint himself with competition driving, the pair were running very well, and had built up a five minute lead before engine issues took them out of the event.

Also failing to make it to the finish due to motor trouble were Nicola and Massimo Narini, debuting a brand Subaru Impreza running in exhibition class. The 2010 OPRC Champions were making their return to the sport since they last competed at the 2011 Rally of The Tall Pines.

The next round of the OPRC, the unique Galway-Cavendish Forest Rally, takes place on August 10th in Catchacoma, Ontario. The rally takes place on relatively smooth quarry roads, in stark contrast to the arduous stages of Black Bear.