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Mixed feelings and unexpected turns of 2011

January 17, 2012

Crazy Leo Can-Jam Rally Team

If I had to sum up the 2011 season in one sentence I would say: “We’ve accomplished more than I could have predicted at the beginning of the year, but we haven’t reached the expectations that I had at mid-season.”

To understand the present we need to remember the past. We had finished 2010 on a downer with 5 straight DNF’s including 4 crashes in a row. Something needed to be changed… so what do we do, crash again, at the first event of the 2011 season – Rallye Perce-Neige.

Soon after, thanks to one of my dearest rally friends, a breakthrough followed. That was the partnership with an experienced Irish co-driver Martin Brady. Through his hard work and dedication, Martin proved to be the force I needed, to stay on the road, and he was great fun at all the parties.

As consistency improved, I decided to conduct a bold experiment by introducing major changes to my ‘pace note’ system. It took nearly two events for me to realize that the changes were NOT working. The understanding came at Rally Defi, where a lot of my friends couldn’t understand, why I wasn’t happy with a second place finish… instead, I was so disappointed, because by then, I knew that all the hard work we had put into the new notes, was not working.

We went into the last three events (Pacific Forest Rally, Rallye de Charlevoix and Tall Pines) with nearly a brand new ‘pace note’ system. The consistency was there, but the speed wasn’t. Yes, we had led rallies briefly and had some good battles… hell, we even won one of the most prestigious rallies on the continent, and finished second in the National championship, but we were never there on pace.

I will say this again: I won’t be happy until we have the pace to win rallies. Therefore, 2012 will bring even more hard work for the team. We will compete on both sides of the border – trying ourselves in the Rally America Championship and I will have a new co-driver alongside me. I’ve already met with him in Europe and it looks very promising!

I know we’ve improved in 2011, but the competition has gone forward as well. We are closer than we’ve ever been and I am definitely even more hungry for success, and still passionate about our amazing sport!

Warm regards and thank you to my family, the team, friends, organizers, volunteers and sponsors… you people are the ones who make it all possible!

P.S. Tomorrow we will announce, who the new co-driver is. Will post a short video interview that we shot on an iPhone in Bulgaria.

Historic Tall Pines brings my FIRST NATIONAL WIN!

December 12, 2011

My dear friends, we have finally done it!

I’d like to share what myself, co-driver Martin Brady and the team has said after the event. And, as always, some great shots for the fans we love!


«This victory is a testament to the amazing effort of our entire team. Tall Pines is a very challenging event and luck was on our side… but luck only comes to those, who work hard! To have my first win just 100 kilometers away from the university I graduated from feels truly special. I am also very happy that we managed to keep Rally of the Tall Pines crown in Canada. Besides, this win puts us into a solid second place in the 2011 Canadian national championship!»
— “Crazy” Leonid Urlichich

Credit Claude Lamoureux


«It was an epic event from the outset with a huge challenge posed by the arduous nature of the stages and the quality of the entry list. I knew after recce it was going to be a busy event and it played out just like that. We started the event not as fast as we would have liked and it took the first two stages to settle down and dial ourselves in. Antoine L’Estage was going very fast but the Tall Pines roads bit back and mechanical failure put him on the sidelines. We were now in our stride and went into Mayo Lake a stage we felt suited us, and it did because we came out of it leading the rally, we stayed clean but fast and David Higgins and Pat Richard succumbed to punctures. Not a surprise given the rough bedrock in that stage which Leo clearly managed to drive around!

It was a lead we were never to relinquish and now came one of the most challenging tasks of my competition history, to keep Crazy Leo on the road for another 100km at a speed that was just enough to win, we had a 3 minute lead and we played the percentage game so well, knowing we were going slowly and bleeding time to Higgins but as part of a game plan. Can-Jam fettled us excellently in every service and just like the whole season gave us a car fit to be fast and lasting. The last stage was a nervous one we still had 29km to go but the plan and the team effort all culminated in success and we returned to Bancroft as winners of Canada’s most prestigious event.

It was a great honour to be part of the team this season and to see our names on the Tall Pines trophy beside all the luminaries and legends of North American rallying was and will be one of my proudest memories in motor sports, a fitting end to the season.»
— Martin Brady



«A lot of sacrifice and dedication has been put in by the team. It’s a testament that hard work still pays off and to finish the season in style by giving “Crazy Leo” his first Canadian national victory on such a historic event, is a dream come true. He truly is “Living the Dream”!»
— Can-Jam Motorsports


Left to right:
Stewart Hoo, Nicholas Hoo, Mac Calder, Kevin Hoo, Martin Brady, Christopher Ko,  Blake Hoo,
Leonid Urlichich, Charlie Papapetrou, Duane Hoo, Sean Smith, Jason Hoo


Special THANK YOU goes to our epic co-driver Martin Brady!
You’ve kept us on the road for 7 events in a row and that brought us 7 podiums, including a national win!


Credit Eric Choi




Credit Michel Matton


Credit John Merry


Credit Rob McNeil





Credit Eric Choi

To follow us at Tall Pines Rally

November 26, 2011


To follow us at Tall Pines Rally please go to our twitter, Facebook Fan Page and check out the LIVE coverage!


New poster — get one at Tall Pines!

November 24, 2011

Here is a story about how hard work pays off, and how you make your own luck.  Antoine Bélanger-Leclerc took some good shots at Rally Defi, and I was impressed by a new photographer on the scene.  We started talking and he got really excited, when he learned that there is a chance that one of his pics will make it on our poster.  The picture I liked had amazing sunlight, but also some sun stains. Antoine put in a lot of hours into cleaning the image up, merely hoping that the picture will be chosen.

Our plan was to make a collage poster with 10-15 pictures from 2011 season. So a bunch of pictures were sent to our designer. I was pretty confident, that Antoine’s image will get used amongst 10 others. On the due date the designer sends me back the poster and a note that reads: “Sorry, the collage idea didn’t really work, so I made something very different, using only one picture. Hope you guys like it!” Can you imagine how surprised I was when the only picture that was chosen was Antoine’s?! What a coincidence. Some would say “luck”, some would say “work hard and it will come”.

You can take a look at the poster here and get a copy this Saturday at the Tall Pines Rally!


CrazyLeo VIP Rally Experience

November 15, 2011


CrazyLeo VIP Rally Experience

Rally of the Tall Pines — November 25-26, 2011

1st Place Prize

Ride in the co-driver’s seat with CrazyLeo in his official 2007 STi Rally car during shakedown on Friday. As you hit speeds of nearly 200 km/h on a gravel road, then take a massive jump, this is one ride you will never forget.

The winner and the guest they choose to bring will also be treated to:

  • Accommodations at the Best Western in Bancroft for Friday & Saturday nights.
  • All day transportation on Saturday in a luxurious coach bus.
  • Complimentary lunch, dinner, and snacks during and after the rally.
  • Access to heated VIP tents at the Iron Bridge & Golton Spectator Stages.
  • Tours of the rally service area and Special Stage (SS) road.
  • Tour of the Town of Bancroft hosted by the Mayor and Town Councillor.
  • Access to the official CrazyLeo Cameron’s Brewing after party with unlimited free beer!
  • Prize pack including CrazyLeo T-shirts, toques, posters and Tall Pines clothing.

Eligibility

Open to anyone with a Facebook account, one entry per contestant. Must be 19 years or older to attend the after party, held at the house behind the Best Western’s main building.

How It Works

E-mail your all-time favourite rally picture to Chris@CrazyLeo.net The picture can be of any driver, from anywhere in the world, competing in any form of rally, you can even send us a picture you just found online (if the photo is not yours, please send us the link where you found it so we can give the proper credit).

Upon approval, we will watermark this image with the CrazyLeo logo, then upload it to Facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial. Once your photo has been uploaded we will e-mail you the link. The winner will be decided based on the picture with the most “likes” on their photo.

Photographers if your photo is sent in by another contestant and wins, we will mail you a CrazyLeo prize pack. As a photographer if you do not approve of having your photo part of this contest please e-mail Chris@CrazyLeo.net to have it removed.

* Facebook will only allow users to “like” your photo if they have already “liked” the CrazyLeo’s official fanpage. If promoting your photo, you may want to send users the www.facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial link along with your photo link. The winner will be decided: November 23, 2011 @ 10:00pm
For more info about the contest visit www.facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial or e-mail chris@crazyleo.net


Vivez une expérience de rallye VIP avec CrazyLeo

Rally of the Tall Pines — Les 25 et 26 novembre 2011

1re Place

Tour dans le baquet du copilote avec CrazyLeo dans sa voiture de rallye officielle, une STi 2007, pendant les pratiques («Shakedown») du vendredi. Lorsque vous atteindrez des vitesses de près de 200 km/h sur des routes de gravier, puis ferez un saut gigantesque, vous n’oublierez jamais cette expérience.

Le gagnant et l’invité de son choix recevront aussi :

  • L’hébergement à l’hôtel Best Western à Bancroft les nuits du vendredi et du samedi.
  • Le transport toute la journée du samedi dans un autocar de luxe.
  • Complimentary lunch, dinner, and snacks during and after the rally.
  • Le lunch, le souper et des collations pendant et après le rallye.
  • L’accès aux tentes VIP chauffées dans les spéciales spectateurs Iron Bridge et Golton.
  • Visites de l’aire de service du rallye et d’une route de spéciale (SS).
  • Visite de la ville de Bancroft en compagnie du maire et d’un conseiller.
  • Accès au party « Cameron’s Brewing » après-rallye de CrazyLeo avec bière à volonté.
  • Ensemble cadeau incluant t-shirts, tuques et posters de CrazyLeo et vêtements du Tall Pines.

Éligibilité

Ouvert à tout détenteur d’un compte Facebook. Vous devez avoir 19 ans ou plus pour pouvoir assister au party qui aura lieu dans une maison située derrière le bâtiment principal de l’hôtel Best Western.

Comment ça fonctionne

Vous devez envoyer par courriel votre photo de rallye préférée à chris@crazyleo.net. La photo peut être de n’importe quel pilote, de n’importe où dans le monde, participant à n’importe quelle forme de rallye. Vous pouvez même envoyer une photo que vous avez trouvée sur Internet (si la photo n’est pas de vous, veuillez aussi nous envoyer le lien vers le site où vous l’avez prise afin que nous puissions accorder le crédit photo).

Lorsque la photo aura été approuvé, l’équipe du CSCS la marquera du logo de CrazyLeo et la mettra en ligne sur Facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial. Lorsqu’elle sera en ligne, vous recevrez un courriel avec le lien vers votre photo. Le gagnant sera décidé en fonction de la photo ayant reçu le plus de mentions J’aime.

*Facebook ne permettra de cliquer sur J’aime une photo que si l’utilisateur a préalablement cliqué sur J’aime de la fan page officielle de CrazyLeo. S’il s’agit de votre propre photo, vous voudrez peut-être diriger vos visiteurs vers le la page www.Facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial en même temps que le lien vers votre photo. Le gagnant sera déterminé le 23 novembre 2011 à 22 h.

Pour plus d’informations sur le concours, visitez le www.Facebook.com/CrazyLeoOfficial ou envoyez un courriel à chris@crazyleo.net.

2011 Rallye de Charlevoix: The dream come true! Great battle with Antoine L’Estage and John Buffum

November 7, 2011

Dear friends, this year’s Rallye de Charlevoix will go down in history as a very special event for our team.


The magic started with the news that the legendary rally driver John Buffum would be co-driving for Antoine L’Estage. Up to this point we hadn’t been able to match Antoine’s pace, but we knew, that because John and Antoine didn’t have much experience in the car together, this rally was going to be our big chance!


If on that day, October 22nd, you weren’t at the event, or checking stage times live, you missed one of the best battles in North American rallying! Here is how it started. Martin Brady and I tied John Buffum and Antoine L’Estage on the first 2 tarmac stages.

On stage three we were beaten by… one second! Common! The two champions, who have 17 million rally wins combined, only beat us by one second after 24 kilometers of rallying! I was boiling with excitement and was only hoping that we would not crash too early! The next stage was new for this year, with some rough spots, short strips of tarmac and a very fast second half. I drove as hard as I could, while constantly correcting pace notes on the fly. I couldn’t believe it, but we beat the champions by six seconds and jumped into the lead by five. I was ecstatic!

Charles Warren, charlevoixendirect.com


Next up was a long, 35 kilometer stage that had everything a proper rally can throw at you. Embedded rocks, water-splashes, narrow and technical sections, fast and crazy stretches, straights and bumps and dips and jumps! The champions had the better of us this time, by five seconds, which  meant that we were tied (again!) going into the two spectator-packed “La Pax” stages.

I have never liked short stages, because I suck at them! We came out five seconds behind. With two night stages to go, totaling over 28 kilometers, everybody knew that it was far from over. Both these stages were the repeats of what we had done earlier, so the notes had been checked and I was ready to wrap the Beast around a tree, but I wasn’t slowing down! Leaving the last service I received a blessing from the team to go “write it off!”. Not often do you get a carte blanche like that. I could feel that something very special was about to happen!

On the second to last stage we had a good run and I was surprised about our pace at night. When I started rallying, Andrew Comrie-Picard said that driving at night “separated the men from the boys”. Only now I was starting to understand what he meant. We fought back to within four seconds from L’Estage and Buffum.

Jeff Bachman — twitter.com/jeffbachman


Now, sitting at home it’s impossible to express how excited, proud and honored I was! In the recent events we were never in a position to have a proper fight: we were too far behind the top two teams, and often well ahead of the fourth place guys. And that takes away the excitement and makes you always take a little more care, because there is simply no point in taking chances. You try to drive quickly, but it’s not the same… the fight is something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time and the dream finally came true! And it couldn’t have been a better fight, than battling with arguably the two greatest drivers on this side of the pond!

Before starting the last stage I asked Antoine if he would do thing: go as hard as he could. If we were to win this rally, I wanted it to happen because we were truly the fastest. James Cameron himself couldn’t have orchestrated it any better! A cold, dark night somewhere far north of the mighty Saint Lawrence River,  two fire-breathing rally cars ready to define the laws of physics. There were four  people from four  different parts of the world. There were 17 kilometers left to go for… and only one second separating them!

Start line… first gear… count down… launch control…

ONE THOUGHT: “I AM the happiest man on Earth. There is no more pressure, no more tactics. Just go as fast you can, whatever happens, it is worth it!”

… drop the clutch!


I wish I could drive like that every time! Nearly every braking point was perfect, the straights seemed shorter than ever, the car handled beautifully, it felt like birthday and Christmas on the same day! If you are a driver or a co-driver, I wish you could feel what I felt at least once in your life. Just going as fast as you can, without thinking about anything else. Not slowing down where you normally would, braking that little bit later and being that little bit earlier and harder on the throttle. This is why we love what we do, this is it!


We tied Antoine and John on that stage, and we lost the rally by one second. After the initial disappointment I realized that it couldn’t have ended any better. My dream came true, I got my fight and that fight was a very special one. We’ve reached another level of driving at night, and that’s a big achievement.

After seeing Lewis Hamilton struggle last season in Singapore, I’ve realized a very important thing: you learn much more from your defeats than from your successes. After this amazing Rallye de Charlevoix, I am even more determined, hungry and ready to take it to the next level! I simply can’t wait for the Rally of the Tall Pines!

I want to say a huge thank you to my team, Can-Jam Motorsports and especially to Duane Hoo, his brothers Kevin and Nicholas, their father Stewart, Richard Wong, Sean Smith, Ken Anctil, James MacKenzie and all the others, who have battled alongside me for all these years. Special thanks goes to Antoine L’Estage and John Buffum for their advice, honesty and support. And of course, to my mom and dad, who have had to put up with me for the longest! -:)


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