Tag Archives: Geoff Sykes

GRC Lites Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman remains perfect in GRC Lites competition, winning his fifth consecutive race at The Dirt Track on Charlotte on Sunday. This victory, over Geoff Sykes and Sebastian Eriksson, extended Wiman’s points lead to 29—clinching him the inaugural series title.

HEAT RECAPS: With two sets of heat races and no last chance qualifier, drivers were racing purely for bonus points rather than advancement. Wiman swept heats 1A and 2A, while Kevin Eriksson and Mitchell deJong split 1B and 2B, respectively.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: For the second race in a row, Wiman failed to secure the holeshot in the final, this time falling behind Kevin Eriksson as a rough start dropped deJong through the field. But Eriksson’s good luck faded fairly quickly, as a cut right rear tire dropped him through the field like a stone until he eventually ended up seventh.

Geoff Sykes managed to avoid trouble at the start to coast to an easy second place, while jostling between the rest of the field allowed Sebastian Eriksson, who had missed his second heat race, to climb from ninth to fourth in the first lap. He battled with deJong once again, reminiscent of their duel in Atlanta, but held third place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  7. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  8. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  9. Tyler Benson, #60 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 106
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 77
  3. Mitchell deJong, 69
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 65
  5. Alexander Westlund, 63
  6. Geoff Sykes, 57
  7. Austin Dyne, 53
  8. Harry Cheung, 46
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 15

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Personalities // Geoff Sykes: Taking The First Step

Recently I’ve been asked this question a lot “How did you get started in racing?”  So I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey up to this point.

GRC Lites is made up of a wide variety of different drivers, all of us trying to get to that next level ourselves.  Some of us come from off road racing, like rally and short course, while others come from road racing, like oval and road course.  My first step into racing was autocrossing in my dad’s street car with the San Diego chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.

The BMW CCA holds weekend events in stadium parking lots, with basically a small track laid out with hundreds of cones in a wide open space.  The course layouts are usually about a mile in calculated length and take about 60 – 90 seconds per lap.  Drivers are evenly spaced, cars are categorized by class and laps are timed.

There are so many benefits to autocrossing, also known as SCCA Solo; it’s cheap, you can do it in your street car, it’s safe, it’s technical, it’s social and, did I mention, it’s cheap!  All it costs is a membership, a small entry fee for the day, a helmet which you can buy or rent, and access to a car.

You burn up some fuel and maybe some tires, but if you drive smooth and efficiently, you’ll save time on the track and money in your pocket.  The total I would typically spend on an autocross day would be about $100 for a full day of fun and usually a trophy at the end of the day.

It’s safe because the courses are set up for a wide variety of drivers, from first timers to seasoned veterans.  You typically won’t get into any trouble; the course is set up away from walls, light poles and other possible hazards.

The courses are very technical; they have to be so as to fit inside a parking lot, generally more than 20 turns.  Good courses will have a variety of on and off camber turns, increasing and decreasing radius turns, hairpins, chicanes and slaloms.  It’s a lot like driving a go-kart course in a car, you have to master patience, car control and awareness…  three things any driver will tell you are critical to being a successful driver.

If you get a chance, walk the course.  It will teach you to focus and look for racing lines and surface changes, while you’re not controlling a 3000 lb. car.  You’ll find your times are decreasing every run and you always seem to want more laps by the end of the day.  Learning the course before you drive it for the first time is clutch.

The events are social; you have a group of people who all share the same interest in cars and racing as you do, and a lot of the people I met autocrossing years ago are still close friends of mine today.  You spend a majority of the day meeting new people, comparing cars, BBQ’ing and strategizing with competitors on the fastest way through the course.

Once you’ve mastered autocrossing and car control, check out your local track.  Chances are the same car club you autocross with, also puts on track days and high performance driving events (HPDE).  The only difference is the speeds are much higher, as well as the danger factor.  Don’t get over your head; learn from the instructors.

Also, SCCA has added Rallycross to their event list (same thing as an autocross, only it adds dirt to the mix).  But, you probably know a thing or two about Rallycross if you found this article

Check out the SCCA website or look for a specific regional and/or national car club in your area.  Chances are there’s a specific event that’s exactly what you’re looking for.   Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions about getting involved, I’ve got some time before Round 5 at Charlotte, NC.

Geoff Sykes
Facebook.com/GeoffSykesRacing
Instagram & YouTube:  @GeoffSykes
Twitter:  @geoffreysykes
#road2rallycross
www.SCCA.com
www.BMWCCA.org

GRC Lites photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

Autocross images via Geoff Sykes

GRC Lites Race Preview: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: GRC Lites begins the second half of its season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as drivers attempt to top Joni Wiman and become only the second winner in class history.

TUNE IN INFORMATION FOR ATLANTA:

ENTRY LIST: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman’s dominance of the GRC Lites class continued at X Games Los Angeles, as he ran away with his third straight victory and a gold medal hanging around his neck. Mitchell deJong cruised to the silver medal, while Sebastian Eriksson—who had to give up second place due to a stop-and-go penalty—inherited third place when Alexander Westlund crashed in the race’s late stages.

THE TRACK: Atlanta’s ten-corner layout runs clockwise, utilizing much of the tri-oval and pit road sections of the oval. The tabletop jump returns to the oval frontstretch, while two long straightaways mean that cars with higher horsepower may have an advantage.

DRIVER CHANGES: Tyler Benson, son of former Super Bowl champion and NFL Pro Bowl selection Brad Benson, will take over for Halid Avdagic in the renumbered #60 car. Benson brings to GRC Lites a wealth of motorsports experience, from power boats to ATVs, and was trained by the Skip Barber Racing School at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Saturday’s GRC Lites event at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Tyler Benson, Driver, #60 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. But being my first race, I’m going into it more as a learning type experience. I don’t expect to be in the back, but in reality I don’t expect to be in the front—I want to go out and learn what these cars are about, because I haven’t had a chance to get any seat time in them yet. I just want to get acclimated to the car, so that way, for the next race, I’m ready to keep progressing and pushing it harder.”

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: “I did a little bit of training from X Games until now. I went to RallyPro at The Firm and spent a couple of days there fine-tuning my off-road skills, so I’m hoping to come in faster than I’ve been previously. I did a quick track walk and we’re going to have a lot of consistency changes with the asphalt—with the drag races here, it’ll be sticky asphalt on the inside, the regular NASCAR track on the outside, the grass on the inside. So there are going to be a lot of different changes here that we won’t see, so that’s going to be a lot of learning quickly. The schedule’s going to be a lot easier on us, so we are going to get a little bit of time to make changes on the car. The biggest change that I’m making in myself is that the easiest way to get time out of the car is the driver. Hopefully I’ve got a little bit more honed skills in off road and we’ll come in ready to battle.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 63
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 46
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 41
  4. Alexander Westlund, 39
  5. Mitchell deJong, 38

GRC Lites Race Preview: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: GRC Lites will make their X Games debut at Irwindale Event Center, marking the halfway point of the series’ inaugural 2013 season.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman survived an action-packed finale at Bristol, avoiding an accident that sent Kevin Eriksson on his roof and gave Sebastian Eriksson terminal damage. As the only driver on the front row for the restart, Wiman coasted to an easy victory over Austin Dyne and Alexander Westlund.

THE TRACK: The layout for X Games Los Angeles at Irwindale Event Center is much different than the one that GRC used in its inaugural race at the track in 2011. The eight-turn course begins with a sweeping banked turn, as in Bristol, before ducking into the infield and negotiating a tight dirt section.

ROOM FOR ONE MORE: Lativan driver Reinis Nitiss will make his GRC Lites debut on Sunday, driving the #15 car. Racing with Set Promotion in the European Super1600 championship, Nitiss has three victories in six starts this season, giving him the points lead with three races remaining in the season.

PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: X Games Los Angeles will represent the only opportunity for GRC Lites drivers to earn an X Games medal this season. None of the drivers competing have any X Games experience, meaning that the event winner will score gold in their very first attempt.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Sunday’s GRC Lites event at X Games Los Angeles:

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m stoked on being at X Games. I always went to the events as a kid, through Southern California, San Francisco, and back to LA. I’ve always followed it, always gone just to watch, and now to be in a competition is pretty surreal. Not only that, but for it to be in my backyard, and to be a part of the last X Games in LA, is one of the biggest things for me. The course is going to be interesting, because we don’t get to see it until pretty much the day of the race thanks to the schedule. I think it’s going to be interesting to learn the course so fast. It’s all going to happen all at once, and it’s going to add into the energy of everything.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m really looking forward to this race. This is where I first saw rally, and it’s pretty surreal to actually race it now. It’s a pretty prestigious event. I’m very thankful to be here. This season, we’ve had our struggles, but hopefully we’ve got our bad races out of the way. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been a good learning year so far.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 42
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 30
  3. Austin Dyne, 28
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 28
  5. Alexander Westlund, 28

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross at Bristol Motor Speedway: Track Drive with Tanner Foust and Geoff Sykes

GRC TV: Track Drive with Tanner Foust and Geoff Sykes

Bristol Motor Speedway features one of the most unique layouts on the Global Rallycross schedule this year, a wide and fast layout that utilizes both the oval’s infield and its sweeping, banked turns. Two-time defending Supercars champion Tanner Foust and GRC Lites driver Geoff Sykes took GRC TV around the track in anticipation of Saturday’s race.

GRC Personalities // Geoff Sykes: Road 2 Rallycross

The Road to Rallycross is not a straightforward one. It’s a lot like a rallycross course itself. You come into it with a plan of attack, but once the green flag drops, you’re on your own. There are obstacles around every corner and once you’ve gained traction, the road changes to dirt. There are ups and downs, hazards and fierce competition, ready to jump on your slightest mistake. There are choices to make, take the short cut or the long road… timing is everything.

Throughout racing I’ve had my victories and defeats. I came into Round 1 at Loudon with a solid plan of attack, but faced many challenges on race day. For some of us, it was the first time we’ve driven the cars on dirt and to their limits. My biggest challenge was learning the Supercar Lite and getting comfortable in the drivers seat with switches and controls I’ve never used before. The weather certainly didn’t make this an easy task, every time I went out for a session the track was different.

Coming from a road racing background, my goal was to learn the thresholds of the car and the differences between the changing track surfaces, mainly the dirt and the jumps. Unfortunately, I had a malfunction early in qualifying, disabling me for almost the entire session. The master electrical cutoff switch disengaged on the outside of the car and I was forced to watch my competitors compete for times from the side of the track. I missed out on setting a competitive seeding time and lost valuable time to learn the track. I had to start my remaining sessions from the back of the field and play catch-up to my competitors during the heats.

Round 1 certainly did not go as I anticipated. Since the race, all I can think about is getting back out there and learning from the challenges I faced. I’m always pushed to learn from my experiences and by the support from my family, friends and all the fans of rallycross around the world. Nobody goes into a race expecting to lose, if you do you shouldn’t be there, we’re driven by the competition and the need to succeed. There are no checks or trophies for us at end of the race, the only checks are reality checks. My defeat in Loudon is pushing me to excel much harder than a victory would have done and I’m heading to Round 2 at Bristol ready to compete.

Geoff Sykes
Facebook/geoffsykesracing
Instagram: @geoffsykes #road2rallycross

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

2013 GRC Lites Test with OlsbergsMSE

Watch as GRC Lites drivers take their first laps in their cars in preparation for the series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11. OlsbergsMSE team principal and vehicle designer Andreas Eriksson explains the concept behind the car, while drivers Geoff Sykes, Mitchell DeJong, and Sheldon Creed talk about what the new vehicle feels like from a driver’s standpoint.

Geoff Sykes To Drive In New GRC Lites Class

LOS ANGELES, CA, May 9, 2013 – Geoff Sykes, multiple regional and national champion in BMW Club Racing, signed with the Olsbergs MSE team to drive a Supercar Lite rallycross car in the 2013 Global Rallycross season.

“To drive for OMSE is a great step in my racing career” said Sykes. “We are working very hard to make this a successful season and I’m looking forward to some exciting racing. The team has a great history and it’s a real privilege to be part of them.”

The new class features a spec all-wheel drive car built by OMSE, with a normally aspirated engine in the rear, delivering over 300 horsepower in a lightweight race chassis.

“The cars are really well built.  The Mountune/Olsbergs engines have a great range of torque, handled by the six speed Sadev transmission, and the Ohlins suspension really puts that power to the ground. I come from a road racing background and this is an awesome car!”

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.

Global Rallycross Supercar Lites will run at least five events in 2013, including live and extended coverage on tv, web and social media platforms.  With exposure in over 200 countries and 200+ million homes and a social media reach of over 160 million YouTube plays, 12 million tweets and 45 million Facebook likes, Global Rallycross has fast become a very successful and popular motorsport.

Olsbergs MSE develops, constructs and operates cars for international rallycross and its drivers have included back-to-back GRC champion Tanner Foust, along with WRC two-time world champion Marcus Gronholm and X Games’ all around athlete Brian Deegan.

Sykes became national champion in 2011 in his rookie year in the BMW CCA racing series and followed that up in 2012 as the national runner-up champion in the highly contested Modified division.  Along with a record of two regional championships, five overall race wins, 16 overall podiums and five class lap records, Sykes also placed second overall in his first FIA WTCC event at Sonoma Raceway, driving in the GT division of the US Touring Car Championship.