Burmeister Rallysport Mazdaspeed3 Wins MaxAttack! Event in West Virginia
After rocketing to a 2nd place finish with codriver Bill Westrick in the two-wheel-drive MaxAttack! event at the Oregon Trail Rally, Eric Burmeister and crew headed to West Virginia with veteran codriver Dave Shindle for the Rally West Virginia, a twisty, hilly round of the US Rally Championship based in Elkins, WV.
The MaxAttack! event for two-wheel-drive cars boasted 19 of the fastest 2wd rally teams in the US competing for the $5,000 purse, and the chance to win the Triple Crown prize, the Jake Himes Cup. In all, 33 cars took the start of Rally West Virginia.
The rally proved to be a very demanding test of man and machine over two days of forest racing. As Day 1 got underway, the MAZDASPEED3 of Burmeister/Shindle was matched in speed with the VW GTI of local favorites Josh Wimpey and Jason Grahn.
“At the first stage, Josh was giving me all kinds of advice, reminding me of what the stage road was like,” recalls Burmeister with a smile. “But when we tied to the second at the end of Stage one, the helpful tips were over!”
On Stage 2, Burmeister/Shindle beat Wimpey/Grahn by a scant 3 seconds, but the VW would take back 2 of those seconds on Stage 3. After the fourth stage, the teams were tied right to the second once again.
“As we lined up for Stage 5, I knew I had to push harder,” explains Burmeister. “I told Dave I wanted to take 5 seconds out of him on the short (3.8 miles) stage. We drove hard and he was spot on with the notes. As we crossed the finish I couldn’t wait to get the times. We got six seconds on him!”
Burmeister then knew his winning pace, but Josh wasn’t going to give up easily. He took back 3 seconds on Stage 6, bringing the MAZDASPEED3’s advantage back to just 3 seconds.
The last stage of the day was 7.3 miles long. “I told Dave we needed to get 10 seconds on him to feel comfortable going into Day 2. We just pushed ourselves and worked together like a machine. The words came out of his mouth and translated through me into action.” The pressure worked. The Mazda pulled out another 13 seconds on the Volkswagen on the final stage, partly helped by a mistake on Josh’s part.
Day 2 started with a long transit to Mill Creek, WV. As the cars lined up to take the start, the Josh Wimpey VW suddenly shut off. Several competing crews, including Burmeister pushed the car and tried to diagnose the problem in the few minutes before the start at the timing control, but in the end, a manifold air pressure sensor left the VW sidelined.
“I was really bummed,” tells Burmeister. “I just love that kind of close competition and would’ve done anything to have a fair race with Josh and Jason to the end.”
With a couple minute advantage over the new second place contender, the MAZDASPEED team had some breathing room…or did they?
As Day 2 wore on and the rally continued to take its toll on many of the teams, it became apparent that, though they started 6th, the Burmeister Rallysport team was in a real possible position for a podium finish in the Overall classification (two- and four-wheel-drive cars combined)! This is rarely done at a national level event in a 2wd car.
Burmeister, Shindle and the crew soldiered on… driving smart, but keeping them in contention in case something big should happen. On the second to last stage, something big did happen.
Overall rally leader Otis Dimiters pushed too hard on a very fast left turn and rolled his Subaru STI violently. It was one of many wrecks throughout the weekend, but this one allowed Burmeister and Shindle to move from 4th to 3rd and claim a spot on the Overall podium.
“I’m just so happy to put the Mazdaspeed3 in this kind of position!” exclaims Eric. “The car is amazing and I have to thank all the folks who helped me develop it to make it a winner!”
The Burmeister Rallysport will be travelling to the Lake Superior Performance Rally for the final round of the MaxAttack! Triple Crown Rally Series in October. As it stands, Eric is leading the points chase for the Jake Himes Cup.
For more information about Burmeister Rallysport, please see: www.burmeisterrallysport.com
Eric wishes to thank the following:
MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Dave Shindle, Art and Pat Burmeister/Burmeister Engineering, LLC., Missy and Kirsten Piatek, Bill Westrick, Bob Olson, Beryl Ann Burton, Ben Bradley, Adam Pickworth, Eric Adams, TiAL Sport, Inc., Shenan Bennett, Mark Bowers, and all the dedicated workers at Rally West Virginia.
Burmeister Rallysport uses RaceTech Seats www.racetechseatsna.com , Protrac shocks www.protrac.nl
, RC Engineering fuel injectors www.rceng.com
, Cosworth engine parts www.cosworth.com
, turbochargers by Garrett www.turbobygarrett.com
, engine management by MoTeC Systems USA
www.motec.com, and wastegates and blow
off valves by TiAL Sport, Inc. www.tialsport.com