Matthew Earl and his Ford Focus rally car made the trip to the Sandblast Rally in Cheraw, S.C., to compete in his first true rally race.
During the shake-down stage, Earl discovered driving his front-wheel drive Focus at speed on certain terrains would be interesting.
“Going 80 miles per hour in a front-wheel drive car on sand is sketchy at best, but the event itself was exactly like I thought it would be — fun,” Earl said.
“The worst part of it all was the actual build of the car and getting it ready to race,” he added. “We finished 17th overall and sixth in our class. Dwaine Cromer was my navigator and did a great job keeping us on course. We only had one mishap when we hydroplaned on some water and high-centered on a bank only an inch from a tree, but that’s all.”
“Overall it was a great experience,” he said.
Earl, of New Tazewell, plans on attending a couple of rally cross events before competing in his second rally in July at Rally West Virginia.
He is competing in the Eastern Tennessee Region-Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) rally/autocross events and competes in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Rally Sport events.