The first shout-out should go to Chang Ho Kim’s outstanding efforts to bring home “a come from behind” win in SFWD. The sole National Champion for 2021 from NER. He was joined in class by Hal Denham, who started out a little conservative but marched up the standings to a respectable 4th by the end of the week. Kim Hapgood finished 7th, just outside of the trophies, but she was smiling!
The drive of the event has to go to Jeff Denmeade, who put on a brilliant display Sunday climbing over some very talented MAWD drivers. This was his first RX Nats, and he “drove like a Denmeade” to quote his wife. Putting in fast run after fast run, Jeff defiantly rose to the occasion, nabbing 2nd out of 28 drivers in the Modified AWD class.
In the Prepared AWD class, Clifton Kangas fought hard, but was bested with a bit of unfamiliarity in the mixed conditions. Driving Warren Elliott’s EVO 9’s for just the second time, he ran clean but came up short as Marc Hill claimed his third consecutive title. Hill even noted, “the outcome would have been different if we were racing in the third or fourth group.” A second place in a borrowed car is still something to be proud of, especially when both Clifton and Hill were over 50 seconds ahead of the rest of the class.
Warren Elliott had to share Jeff Denmeade’s right hand drive EVO 4 for the last four runs on Sunday, unfortunately dropping to 7th. Despite the disappointing finish, Warren really worked his ass off to help and assist anyone who needed it, all throughout this event. It cannot be understated his sportsmanship.
Vaughn Micchiche really embodied how much fun you can have at a motor race event. His smile and enthusiasm is infectious. He made a last minute decision to leave the Audi A4 at home and rent a SIERRA to take on pro driver Cole Powelson. Watching Vaughn get to grips with the Sierra cars was a treat, and he proved his mettle taking 2nd place in the Constructor 2WD class.
Todd Kean, who has spent most of his time on the Solo courses and dominating those competitions, showed his versatility and strengths as a driver by running MAWD in his Subaru. This was his first Nats, and only his second dirt event! He scored well on Saturday, and it was looking like a top three performance until Sunday dried and the fast cars hooked up. “Made some last minute weight reductions and minor power modifications, but it was like bringing a knife to a gun fight in MAWD with half the horsepower of much of the class.”
Making his first appearance at the RallyX championships, George Farrar finished 9th in SFWD, another solid performance for a novice.