by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter

Images via Racer Dave

MAKING OF A CHAMPIONSHIP
The Galvanizing Moment // The Return (today) // From One Extreme to Another // Returning to Colorado // Down the Stretch // The Champions

Nearly two months after the Temple Canyon incident, the Browns returned to racing action with a repaired car at the Monarch Hill Climb, and took a class win and record. Just a week later, it was onto Rangely, which hosted the first running of Rally Colorado in nearly a decade.

“(The Monarch) runs were amazingly helpful to loosen us back up and work off some of the nervousness Mike had,” Dave says. “After a little more work on the car we were ready to rally! Rally Colorado has a lot of history, and it was great to race with a bunch of my Colorado rally friends. On top of that the Rally Colorado roads are some of the best there are—they are so technical, so challenging, so varied, and so fun!”

The first edition of Rally Colorado to take place in Rangely saw two scheduled passes each on six stages, split evenly between each day. The Browns worked through tough terrain that eventually claimed a number of quick competitors, but they managed to bring the car to the finish. It was only after they completed the event that they found out that they weren’t just standing on the podium—they were on top of it.

“It was only our second rally, so we were still amazed that it was even possible for us to just finish that many miles of racing off road in essentially a street car,” Dave continues. “All we wanted to do was finish and not have another crash, so we never even looked at times. It wasn't even until several minutes after we finished that an official walked up and shook my hand and said congratulations on the win. I wasn't really sure what to make of it at that point but I was happy we won.

“When they brought out the Rally Colorado Cup with the names of all the famous previous winners of Rally Colorado on it, that's when it all hit me how amazing it was to win overall. Even then, it wasn't until the following week that I found out we were the first Open Light car in history to have won a national event overall. Then I was really in disbelief! In just two months I went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. The contrast in emotions was amazing which made the highs that much higher.”

“Our Rally Colorado win took months to sink in,” Mike adds. “Last year, I would think that it was awesome that someone from Colorado won Rally Colorado when somebody mentions it, but I would have to convince myself that Dave and I were the ones standing on top of the podium. Dave and I both have many victories in racing throughout our lives, but winning Rally Colorado was definitely the biggest by far, at least for me. It was a surreal experience that I’ll never forget.”