During the 2018 Eastern Tennessee RallySprint, which took place on 7th April in Tazewell, TN, proved to be successful for Noble Star Rally Team driver Amanda “RalyGrl” Skelly. Skelly has been building her new rally car over the past 2 seasons, encountering numerous setbacks in the process. Over the winter, Skelly had the 1997 Subaru Impreza completely overhauled for the 2018 season; including a new cage by Restoration Race Works, Inc. of Raleigh, NC and an engine build by TurboTime Subaru Specialists of Apex, NC.
Skelly was joined by long time NSR member and co-driver Lori Clute. The rallysprint served as the first reuniting event for the ladies since their last race together at Sandblast 2015, where they retired Skelly’s old rally car. Clute has been co-driving consistently for NSR driver Matt Peterson of a 1994 Civic in G2/2WD classes.
“I really enjoyed having Lori back in the silly seat. It has been awhile since we have had the chance to work together, and it has been so awesome to see her talent and confidence grow over the years. She did a great job and I am thankful she was able to jump in and help me shake some of the bugs out of the new car, and myself!”, says Skelly.
The event is part of the new RallySprint series through NASA Rally Sport, which includes 3 more events for the 2018 season. Skelly plans on attending as many of the events in the series as she can.
Skelly drove the car 360 miles to the event. According to the team, the car ran flawlessly during the event and left everyone smiling. The one day event yielded a a variety of surface conditions, as well as an array of weather ranging from rain to snow. The extra slippery conditions, with deep mud and puddles in various spots throughout the course, made traction and control challenging for the competitors.
“I honestly could not have asked for a better event to get to know the car. Despite perhaps needing a pillow to sit on after about 3 hours of driving to the event, it was great having some additional seat time, and really enjoyed the course! There were several degrees of turns and lots of elevation changes that presented a lot of opportunities to throw the car around and see how it would [and would not] respond. It gave me the chance to familiarize myself with the new car without the pressure of flying through the woods at speed,” adds Skelly.
Crew Chief and build manager, Ryan Davis of TurboTime, had positive thoughts about the overall experience.
"I admit it was a bit nerve wracking planning to drive the car so far; so fresh from some major changes and continuing improvements, but in the end it provided some positive results. Amanda was able to spend a significant amount of time alone driving the car, giving her the maximum time to adjust prior to competing for the first time in what is essentially a new car; even compared to the rebuild last year. The results how exactly what we hoped, a steady but sharp progression in comfort that translated to faster times, including a best of day. This reassures those of us that are trying to provide Amanda a very special and truly custom built tool for the dirt, that we are on the right path. Having driven the car back, I agree with Amanda's assessment that the as installed cushions are not up to endurance status, some folded jackets helped!" concludes Davis.
Skelly can be seen competing during the rallysprint hosted by NASA RallySport later this month during Hyperfest at the Virginia International Raceway on 18-20 May.
Skelly would like to thank all of her 2018 Sponsors:
Link ECU, TurboTime, Whiteline, Restoration Race Works, Inc., Turtle Gloves, Team Illuminata Motorsport (TIM), BRAID Wheels USA, DCCDPro.com, Impression Center Company, BridgeMoto, Ksport USA and Rocky Mountain Autosports.
You can follow Amanda and the NSR Team along at:
Instagram - @RalyGrl
Instagram - @NobleStarRally
Noble Star Rally Ready to Attack STPR
June 5, 2015
Noble Star Rally Successfully Completes Day One of New England Forest Rally
July 19, 2014
A Bitter Sweet End to the New England Forest Rally