I guess it all started with my first introduction to the Subaru Impreza WRX back in 2001. I had read about it in a car magazine and was really excited to find out it was going to be shown at the Twin Cities Auto Show. When we got to the show, there it sat, in the traditional eye-catching World Rally Blue color, with the full Subaru yellow swoosh wrap. It wasn't a stylish car, but it's capabilities for a reasonable price is what impressed me. Jump ahead a year, and a good friend at the time purchased a 2003 WRX, and showed me just what all those numbers on the page could produce. Jump ahead another 5 years, after owning some various dependable and useful vehicles, but nothing exciting, I had the funds to purchase my very own WRX and I started shopping around. This was only made possible sadly from my father passing away. But he always lived his life to the fullest and taught me to enjoy it. After taking a couple for a test drive, I came across a dark red 2007 sedan at Westside Volkswagen that I couldn't resist and purchased it the next day. The thrill of the turbo just pushing you back in your seat and how great it just stuck to the road kept my adrenaline pumping, and I would think of all kinds of excuses to take it out.
I soon became very active on MNSubaru.com and started coming out to meets, meeting a ton a great, down-to-earth people. In no-time at all, I was registered for my first rallycross, finding that it was a rather inexpensive way to go and play in the dirt, and see how good I was compared to others when it came to slippery conditions. I was told by other more seasoned competitors that it would be a good idea to find some winter tires to use for the most traction at the Cannon Falls site. I didn't have the funds to buy any, but one of the participants, Jesse Lang, was super friendly and offered to lend me a set of his. I knew then that this was my kind of crowd. The night prior, I prepared everything I would need, making sure my walkie-talkie had fresh batteries, my helmet was approved, and got to work on my numbers. It was suggested to buy magnetic vent covers, and paint or tape your numbers on them. After making some homemade stencils and spray-painting "50" on them, it felt that much more real to me that I was about to see my motorsports career start. Sleep did not come easy that night, the excitement was flowing through me so much. The next morning, I met up with most of the others at a half-way point to the course and we caravaned the rest of the way. When we arrived, I changed out my wheels and then was asked about mud-flaps and how much I cared about the paint job. This worried me enough to find someone with some masking tape to cover up the paint behind the wheels. Once again, Jesse and a few others helped me out, and they even gave me an impromptu racing stripe (Emily Bevalacque's doing). After the driver's meeting, we got into our cars and proceeded to the start line. Once the parade lap was over, I waited nervously for my turn to start. I've never felt so much anticipation in my adult life. When the starter waved me to go, I floored it. All tires hooked-up at once, and I was off! I can't completely remember that first run, but I do remember after I crossed the finish line, my body was just alive with the energy rush from the adrenaline. Holding up my hand, I could see it visually shaking. The last 60 seconds of my life were insane! I took my next run, then parked back in the paddock. Giddy would be an understatement. We asked each other what kind of times we got briefly, and just how many cones we "munched", then went out to work the cones for the other group that was lining up. After another few run sets, we had the awards meeting. It was just as laid back and fun as the driver's meeting, and I found out that I didn't want to win the infamous Scooby Lunchbox, awarded to the person that made the biggest blunder of the day. Luckily, I didn't recieve that award, but I did place 3rd in my class, Prepared All-Wheel Drive (PA). I was extremely proud and was already thinking about how I could get faster. A few weeks later, I was signed up for the next rallycross.
From there, I made it out to every event that I could, and helped out with a few of the stage rallies in northern Minnesota and saw how the pro's do it up close and personal (even meeting Travis Pastrana and getting his autograph!). Eventually I retired my WRX (Sonja) from rallycross when I purchased an ugly but extremely dependable 1995 Subaru Impreza 2.2L coupe for a very good price.
It actually helped improve my skills, as I didn't have nearly the power or the suspension as my WRX, so I had to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it.
These last few years, I've met some really close friends and have been slowly getting more and more involved, not just with rallycross, but also helping out with autocross events and auto shows. Last year, I became a board member for the Land 'O Lakes region of the SCCA and one of the two Rallycross Chairmen, helping to organize the events and inspring more people with a love for racing dirty to come out and play with us. Eventually, when I have kids, I'd like to see them get involved and maybe even turn my WRX into a fully caged stage rally car and make it something to bond with them over. My only regret is that my father couldn't do the same with me, but I'm sure he's watching over me and would be extremely proud.
Rally, rally, rally!
SCCA Land 'O Lakes
Board Member/Rallycross Co-Chairman