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The best first podium ever – 2010 Rallye Baie des Chaleurs

August 13, 2010

Dedicated to those, who made it all possible:
My family at home and my racing family, Can-Jam Motorsports.

For some reason I have always wanted our first national podium to be second place, not third. Dreams come true, all you have to do is believe.

Crazy Leo's first national rally podium in Canada

There we were, in New Richmond, Quebec, before the start of arguably the best rally in North America. Here are five unique things that make Rallye Baie des Chaleurs, a drivers’ favorite.

  1. Absolutely wild rally-loving atmosphere created by thousands of fans that fill town on rally weekend. The spectators make all the drivers feel like superstars and there’s nothing better than hearing the roar of the immense crowd inside the rally car when you slide across the bridge at the famous Camp Brule spectator area.
  2. A whopping 1.8 kilometer straight section of stage that becomes a very narrow “time warp” tunnel when approached at 200 km/h! You race just feet away from the trees on both sides and this straight ending at a nearly blind 90 degree left turn.
    Driven at night in the top end open class car, the “time warp” is, in my opinion, the single most exciting and adrenaline pumping experience in the Canadian Rally Championship. And I mean it.
  3. The biggest jump in North America, made even more exciting by countless spectators and numerous accidents that have occured there over the years.
  4. A 24.39 kilometer-long final stage, that is considered the best stage of the Canadian Rally Championship and combines all of the above plus one of fastest-ever smooth sections, a very tight hairpin, rough twisty goat trail, and a stunning New Zealand-type road running alongside a beautiful Quebec valley. Due to an unbelievable chain of events in 2010 our team now holds the record for this stage.
  5. Properly crazy after-rally party with the ever-popular hula hoop lady. It’s the second best party of the season, after CrazyLeo’s party at the Sword Best Western in Bancroft, on the Saturday of the Tall Pines Rally.

Excited already? Continue reading to learn why the 2010 edition of the event made it one of the most exciting ever!

The drama began about 2 hours before the start of the rally on Friday. Two-time Canadian champion Antoine L’Estage approached us asking to use our not-too-stock Subaru Wrx Sti practice and recce machine we affectionately call The Bastard.

Antoine has been a great help to me ever since my first rally (Perce-Neige Maniwaki that I did in the Bastard). Neither me, nor the team didn’t have to think twice and we started prepping the Bastard for what turned out to be its fastest ever run on the loose stuff.

Antoine L'Estage preparing Crazy Leo's Bastard car to rally

Antoine and Nathalie Richard finished the event in 6th place claiming crucial championship points. They drove the car to its limit and would have had a comfortable 3rd place if not for the 2 flat tires that had to be changed on the stage costing about 6 minutes.

RockStar command driving Bastard

The Bastard finished the rally with not a scratch on it, but having set a scratch time on one of the most challenging stages! We are really pleased we could help and I was touched by Nathalie’s warm thank you message.

Thanks to the organizers for putting on another great event at Baie!! The fans really got their money’s worth!

Our story had its ups and downs for many reason (between our two families there were four cars competing, some faring better than others) but suffice it to say that our hero of the day was Leo. Although some people think that our Mitsubishi Evo X was fixed and using it was an option, that was in fact not the case. For a moment we thought it might have the potential to start (but probably not finish) the rally but in reality, starting the event was not even possible.

So, as generous as he is, Leo let us use his stock recce WRX STi with a legal cage and seats while Can-Jam Motorsports, Rocket Rally, and Libra Racing all worked together to prep the car in about 1.5 – 2hrs. A HUGE thanks goes out to ALL those guys and especially to Leo. Saturday night, Leo most fittingly won the ‘Spirit of the Rally’ award. I wish I could give him one too!

What are the chances of there being a spare rally-able car hanging out at service two hours before the start? That’s luck. Getting to use it … amazing. Happy to say that Antoine drove that car to its limit, especially on the last stage and brought the “Bastard” (as it’s affectionately named) back to Can-Jam without even a scratch.

Thanks again,
Nathalie & Antoine

Chrissie Beavis, the Beast and I made the rest of the team proud by finishing second with the car absolutely intact.

Crazy Leo and Chrissie Beavis at Rallye Baie des Chaleurs

Not everyone was that lucky. The rally had 11 major accidents with some broken bones and a lot of destroyed equipment.

The most spectacular crash involved VW Golf driven by Tom Labrecque and his girlfriend Sarah Gagnon who rolled right after the big jump in front of amazed spectators. Tom and Sarah got out of the car just in time to avoid charging Nick Mathews with his sister Kelly, who, after setting the jump record for this year had to avoid another competitor’s car, lost control and barrel rolled, smashing into Tom’s VW.

Gagnon and Labrecque crash at Rallye Baie des Chaleurs

Everyone was ok, but both cars were a write off. Rally cars are really strong ;)

I bet not a single spectator could have thought that they will be treated to anything as exciting again, until they saw Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell taking the jump at full tilt in their wrecked STi with flames from underneath the car.

Pat Richard podium Rallye Baie des Chaleurs

Pat rolled earlier in the stage, but was still able to bring it home in 1st place. True champions never give up!

Many locals agreed with some rally veterans that this was the best rally they have ever seen in terms of drama and action.
Life is an incredible journey full of amazing coincidences: I have always said that Baie is my favorite event, and who would have thought that that’s where the first podium will take place, especially on a crazy year like this.

Crazy Leo and Chrissie Beavis second place at Rallye Baie des Chaleurs 2010

I am writing this on board the Air France Airbus A340 headed to Paris and we are flying right over the Gaspésie Peninsula, I can almost see the stages….

Crazy Leo flying above the stages
It’s a kind of magic.

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posted in Blog by Crazy Leo

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9 Comments to "The best first podium ever – 2010 Rallye Baie des Chaleurs"

  • samuel boudreau (CR3) wrote:

    great wrinting about Rally BDC!
    for me its like MC donal !
    I’ IM LOVIN’ IT !!!
    see you at Rally-defi !!

    Reply | Link

  • Stephen Hollema wrote:

    Very nice Leo! Thank you for sharing about the race from your point of view! Very Excitting! I just love the pic of you crossing the bridge sideways!! And congrats on the podium finish!!!

    Reply | Link

    Crazy Leo

    CrazyLeo Reply:

    >I just love the pic of you crossing the bridge sideways!!

    Notice how the rear shocks compress? :)

    Reply | Link

  • Stephen Hollema wrote:

    Ya thats awesome! and the right front is of the ground to! Shows the power of The Beast!!

    Reply | Link

  • Randy Samson wrote:

    thanks Leo

    I am thrilled to have this opportunity
    learning from the best is so satisfying

    Randy

    Reply | Link

  • Lisa wrote:

    Wow! I read it and i don’t can do whitout big smile! True, the last year was crazy rally never see in BDC. If you like the BDC like that, say you than spectator like you biggest! All people in New-Richmond like you for all show you do and for the funny person that you are!
    This year, you make a beautiful show at the “S” before the Camp brulé at the last stage! It’s just CRAZY!
    (Sorry, my english is so bad, but I absolutely will to write you this comment) Thanks

    Lisa

    Reply | Link

    CrazyLeo Net Reply:

    Haha, thanks! I love people of New Richmond, because they are crazy passionate fans!

    Yes, this year we went a little too wide on that right-hander -;)

    Reply | Link

  • Aiden Carwile wrote:

    Very good article.Thanks Again. Really Great.

    Reply | Link

  • It’s Okay, We’re Still Gonna Win wrote:

    [...] the 2010 Baie Des Chaleurs rally, Subaru’s Pat “Rocket” Richard and co-driver Alan Ockwell saw their [...]

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