July 26, 2014 – Charlotte, N. Carolina.
Geoff Sykes returned to the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the only current Lites driver to have made the podium last year and was the favorite to do so again. However by the end of the first day, it was looking tough. As Sykes told it: “The good news was that I got the fastest time in the final free practice. I felt very comfortable in the car, the set up was good and the engine performing flawlessly. But like many other cars, we were hit with the problem of the tires coming off the rims when the car drifted across the ruts.”
The tire problem ended each of Sykes’ practice sessions, but he was able to do a good number of laps. Unfortunately in seeding/qualifying, it happened on the first turn of his first hot lap. “This was a huge disappointment,” said Geoff. “If you don’t qualify well, you start near the back, which means you lose the opportunity of the hole shot at the start. Plus you get held up by traffic and run the risk of more contact.”
The second day started promising with Sykes battling for the lead in the heat race, but that came to an end shortly after. “Basically the fiberglass hood flexed and knocked the master power switch off. Game over!” said Sykes.
The finals race was exciting but equally devastating for Sykes, as it included contact that nearly pushed him off the edge of the jump, followed by another two tires that de-beaded. “It just wasn’t our weekend”, said Geoff. “Again, I know we can do the fast laps and make the passes, we just have to get past the mechanical issues and bad luck. No DNF’s last year and now, 3 DNF’s in 4 races and in the race I did finish, the engine was only running at half power!”
ABOUT RALLYCROSS AND GEOFF SYKES
Rallycross combines circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition with intense, crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment, featuring a challenging course that includes jumps, unbanked turns and changing track and surface conditions that can include dirt, gravel and wet asphalt.
Geoff Sykes is driving his second season in Global Rallycross, having come from an autocross and road racing background with multiple records and championships in the BMW CCA racing series, and is the 2013 GT champion in the US Touring Car Championship.
Sykes’ rallycross racing includes support from SONY Team Action Cam, RallyPro at The Firm, BendPak, Midnight Oil and Stepco Insurance.
Photos: Matt Kalish