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BRCC Motor Sports Team Shows Up for Olympus Rally

The Black Rifle Coffee Motor Sports Team faced a number of challenges April 24-25 at the Olympus Rally. The DirtFish Olympus Rally is not only one of the most widely recognized American rallies in the world but also one of the most technically challenging events on the American Rally Association calendar. Based in the logging town of Shelton, Washington, this former World Rally Championship stop covers 134 miles over 12 stages — the longest of which, Nahwatzel, clocks in at 20.75 miles. 

What the rally anticipated to be a wet weekend ended up being (relatively) warm, but even with the dry weather, the stages were still rocky, bumpy, and occasionally slippery. The weekend started with 89 cars, but with all of the technical challenges in the different stages, only 53 of the drivers completed the weekend. 

“I feel great, the vibe today at the start of the 2022 Olympus Rally; this is one of my favorite rallies on the planet, second only to the one … but couldn’t be more different from the rally we just completed in Mexico,” Dave “Texas” Carapetyan said. “Mexico is super dusty, hot, rough stages, and Washington is super flowing, crazy gravel roads through the moss-slicked trees.”

Photo by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog. 

“Well, I didn’t die,” Mike Glover said between stages. “Seven cars crashed, so I’m up seven places. If everyone crashes in front of me, I might win. If I brought the car home kinda in one piece, then I’m good. I’m having a good time and I’m learning a lot. Some guys push the limits, and I’m just more of a clean and controlled driver. I’m happy with where I was and where I’m going.”

On the second pass of the super special stage, nearly all of the rally drivers were thrown for a loop, with everyone except for the Subaru Motorsports drivers making a wrong turn, or shortcut, rather. Since it was such a widespread error across nearly the entire field, the officials threw out all the stage times for that run of the super special stage.

“I haven’t felt like I was gonna die that many times or been so close to going off so many cliffs or into so many trees on a stage since maybe when I started rallying back in the early 2000s,” Travis Pastrana said. “But honestly, at the end of the day, we’re better of than Ken Block, so we’ll take it”

“Day One was full of mixed conditions, real slippy in the morning and bone dry in the afternoon,” Tom Williams said. “We were able to make our gap a little bit larger, and we just have to maintain that today, and the best way to do that is by going flat out.”

Photos by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog.

Subaru drivers Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams took the overall win for the first time, while Subaru’s (and BRCC’s) Travis Pastrana and Rhianon Gelsomino took second overall. In their debut at Olympus Rally, BRCC’s Tom Williams and Ross Whittock took third. This overall podium is a career-first for Williams, and his RC2 win is the second in a row.

Photos by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog.

The race results for the entire team were as follows:

Travis Pastrana: second overall and second in class O4WD

Tom Williams: third overall and first in class RC2

Mike Glover: fourteenth overall and third in class L4WD

Dave Carapetyan: DNF

Bucky Lasek didn’t compete, as he was competing at the X Games.

Photos by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog.

“The difference between driving and truly rallying is in the homework,” Pastrana said. “You can look at a stage time, see someone beats you by a minute, then when you think about how many corners were in a stage and figure out the places where you need to brake 100 yards later or earlier, that makes all the difference.”

There were a number of crashes that switched up the the top of the pack for the overall competition, as well as each individual class. Sadly, on the second day of the rally, Dave “Texas” Carapetyan and co-driver Danny Norkus ended up nose-first in ditch on the first pass of the Wildcat stage, unable to finish the race and get back on the stage, landing the pair a “DNF,” or did not finish. (Carapetyan wasn’t the only one to end his race here, as his direct competition made the same mistake on the last pass of the same stage.) 

Photos by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog.

After Glover’s DNF at the 100 Acre Wood Rally event, finishing the Rally of Nations in Mexico (albeit losing a wheel as he crossed the finish line) was a step in the right direction, and now, landing a class podium at Olympus is a great success. This is Glover’s first year of racing, and between events, he has been working with Carapetyan at Rally Ready Driving School and Gelsomino at OZ Rally Pro to hone his skills. 

“I’ve now realized why winning in rally is so difficult: There’s so many moving parts,” Glover said. “Between the car, the drivers, the mechanics, everything. It’s a collective challenge.”

Photos by Lauren Warner/BRCC Blog.

Where to find the team next: The team heads to Portland International Raceway for the Oregon Trail Rally, May 21-23.