Jeremy Keck is the only local driver among the 14 who have entered the 2017 Waste Management Winter RallySprint being held on Waste Management property in Antrim on Saturday, Feb. 18. Keck’s co-driver is first-timer Christopher Wimbrough. Both live in Wellsboro.
It is expected that more competing teams will register before the day of the event. The field is limited to 30 cars.
“Chris competed in his Ford Focus in a RallyCross held on Sunday of STPR weekend. The RallyCross is sanctioned by SCCA and hosted by the Central New York Region of SCCA and Reaper Motorsports, which includes myself and my regular co-driver James Quattro,” said Keck. “Once you compete in an event like RallyCross, you want to continue competing and the next logical step is the winter rally,” he noted.
The 2017 winter rally is the third for Keck. He competed in 2014 and 2015.
He is also hoping to compete in the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) on June 2 and 3 this year. Keck said that with the change to the American Rally Association as the sanctioning body, he is not sure whether he will be able to or not. "It depends on what the entry fee is," he said. Quattro is not participating in the winter rally; instead trying to save enough money to pay the entry fee for STPR in June.
In 2013, Keck added safety seats, harnesses and a roll cage in the passenger compartment of his 1999 Subaru Impreza to meet rally car safety requirements and drove in STPR for the first time. He competed in STPR again in 2014 and 2015.
'During my first STPR in 2013, I only had third gear. I made it to the corner on the Waste Management stage in Antrim and broke down just before the uphill climb to the finish line."
In 2014, during his first winter rally, the ball joint on Keck's Impreza fell out and the wheel hung from the suspension. "The car broke down on the same corner as it had during STPR. I lovingly call it 'Keck's Corner,'" he said. "It was my fault. I didn't re-seat the ball joint properly after installing a new CV shaft axle." After making repairs, we were going to run the last two stages for seat time to get as much rally driving experience as we could and ended up getting high centered on a snow bank less than a mile into the next stage,” said Keck.
"In the winter of 2015, I ran a clean race. Everything went right. By the end of stage one I was in third place and held on to finish third overall and third in the Open Light Class," he said.
In 2016, Keck sat out both STPR and the winter rally due to a lack of funds. "I would rally all the time if I could. But I'm a single dad with one income so I really don't have the budget to rally as often as I would like. The temperature on winter rally day last year was 60 degrees. The snow and ice were melting. Water was draining everywhere. It was a big muddy mess. There were lots of flat tires and broken suspensions because of it. That was one time I was glad I couldn’t enter."
For this year's winter rally, Keck is entered in the R4U class. "It's the same class with a different name since the winter rally is now sanctioned by Sports Car Club of America.” He is in the light class for four-wheel drive vehicles. “My hope is temperatures are in the 30s and there is lots of snow. Chris and I haven't attempted to practice because we've both been busy with work. We will get together soon,” he said.
Area businesses interested in sponsoring Keck’s team are welcome to get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-439-5026.
|photo by John Eaton|
Co-driver, Chris Wmbrough (left) and driver, Jeremy Keck are shown with Keck's 1999 Subaru Impreza. He will be driving his Impreza during the Saturday, Feb. 18 Waste Management Winter RallySprint.