Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:58am
by Bill Wood
There are items on a wish list, items on a bucket list and items that should be drowned at the bottom of a bucket.
It’s the items in that third category that struck 2012 American Super Production rally champions Lauchlin O’Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam Friday before the 100 Acre Wood Rally even started.
On the Shakedown Stage Friday morning O’Sullivan and Putnam launched down the road to get in a little practice before putting their 2008 Lucas Oil Subaru WRX STI into competition at one of the fastest rallies in the American championship.
But without warning, the rear end of the Subaru “stepped out” and could have continued but a tree caught the car and ended the crew’s weekend.
“We were two turns into the Shakedown Stage when, all of a sudden, the car came unglued,” Putnam said. “The thing just went sideways right into a tree.”
O’Sullivan, an ex-factory driver for Mitsubishi and former American 2WD champion, said he was disgusted with himself after the accident.
“It was a cold car and we were going pretty good and it seemed like the rear end locked up,” O’Sullivan said. “It happened so quick. It was the first time we really got into the brakes pretty good. It was like I pulled the handbrake pretty quick. The rear end just stepped out. Everything happened wrong.”
It was a high speed corner on the Shakedown Stage about two-tenths of a mile after the start.
O’Sullivan and Putnam won the Super Production category at the Sno*Drift Rally, the first event of the 2014 season last month in northern Michigan. They were able to overcome an ill-handling machine at that event. The pair said the service crew worked on the car Thursday night after it was prepared in Southern California.
It’s unclear what went wrong but the accident took O’Sullivan and Putnam out of the event before it even started Friday afternoon.
“It was a pretty massive hit,” Putnam said. “It’s all part of the deal. Nobody tries to do this. It’s just part of the sport.”
After their championship in 2012, O’Sullivan and Putnam won the Super Production category at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood last year finishing third overall. But they had troubles last season when they rolled this same car in Oregon and missed much of the season having it rebuilt.
Changes in the rear-end at Sno*Drift last month were constant to get the car fast on the snow and ice covered roads traditional at the only winter rally on the American championship.
“It’s fixable and we’ll be at Oregon Trail in May,” said Putnam. “We didn’t drive it down to the Shakedown Stage. We just hopped into it and drove it. Maybe it happened because the car was cold. Lauchlin said the car felt good until it all came apart.”
The car now will be sent to a shop in Minnesota where the body work will be done before it returns to Southern California where it’ll be prepared for Oregon May 2-4.
There are items on a wish list, items on a bucket list and items that should be drowned at the bottom of a bucket; items like this accident on a fast flowing road outside Salem, Missouri Friday morning.
by Bill Wood