June 3rd, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 22
Local racer wants to organize fast and furious event in the community
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Shawn Bishop photo
Nick Spencer and co-driver John Kesslar (standing on the middle car) beat out 23 other vehicles to place second in the Radium Hot Springs Rally on forestry roads outside Radium Hot Springs B.C.
Pass Herald Reporter
The Pass’ very own speed racer has a father-in-law for a pit crew, a Subaru in lieu of the Mach 5, a paramedic/firefighter for a co-driver.
He also has ambitious plans to bring rally racing to the community.
Nick Spencer was born in Nova Scotia and splits his time between Lethbridge and the Pass.
A few weeks ago he was behind the wheel of his Subaru WRX STI and placed second in the Radium Hot Springs Rally on rural roads outside Radium Hot Springs B.C.
“We never gave up,” said Spencer. “For the last two seasons I’ve been fighting issues with my turbo in my vehicle. We got it fixed two weeks ago and I just drove the wheels off it.”
Spencer and co-driver John Kesslar beat out 23 other vehicles, many of them highly modified performance machines with hundreds of thousands of dollars under their hoods.
The pair was leading during the last stages of the race but were beaten by a professional driver in an open class vehicle.
Spencer and other members of the Crowsnest Pass Rally Club would like to see rally racing return to the Pass.
The 20-member organization enjoys closing down logging roads on the weekend and tearing around the backcountry.
Spencer said he’s scouted out over 300 kilometres of usable rally racing roads in the community.
“The Pass has some of the best roads in Canada for rally racing,” said Spencer. “There’s nowhere else in Canada, that I’ve found, that has that much road.”
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He’s hoping to organize a practice rally in June with about five other competitors so he can get public feedback. He said local law enforcement seems to be onboard and he’s approached local businesses for sponsorships.
For Spencer, racing is a family affair. His father and brothers have all raced different vehicles. He got into rally as an EMT volunteer at race events.
Rallying, or rally racing, takes place on public roads. The rally cars themselves are usually heavily modified but street legal. The race is not run on a circuit but on a point-to-point format
Each car has a co-driver who sits in the front passenger seat. The co-driver’s job is to navigate by reading off a set of notes often over a radio headset so they can be heard over the engine. The co-driver is often seated lower in the car to improve weight distribution.
Though racing at high speeds through wooded areas on rural roads might sound dangerous, rally car safety has improved considerably over the last couple of years. Each car is equipped with two fire extinguishers, a roll cage and racing suspension.
To get wildlife off the roads, special cars with sirens and horns drive through the course to hopefully scare off any wildlife before the race.
There are also different classes of racecars from the highly modified to unmodified classic cars.
June 3rd ~ Vol. 85 No. 22
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