Thursday, July 21, 2011
Travis Hanson celebrates the most successful season of his career as the newly crowned Rally America Super Production Class Champion.
The 26-year-old from Littleton, NH flawlessly campaigned a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI with his father Terry as co-driver to a remarkable third place finish in the overall Rally America National Championship - a feat never accomplished before by a Production driver.
Hanson began making history and headlines at the opening round of the 2011 season when he became the first Super Production driver to ever claim an outright win in the National Series, defeating the factory-backed Subaru team, the privateer Rockstar Rally team, and a slew of fast Open Class cars at the Sno*Drift Rally. The under-sponsored crew of Hanson and Hanson immediately captured the hearts of fans and gained significant attention from the media with their story of underdog triumph. Hanson went on to control the points lead of the overall Championship well into the fourth round of the six-round Series, another first for a Super Production team, and clinched the SP Class Title by the fifth round.
Hanson capped off a perfect year standing third on the overall podium at the New England Forest Rally (NEFR), the sixth and final round of the Championship. Maine's rough and rugged logging roads nearly put the privateer out of the event when he faced mechanical issues on the second day of the rally.
Hanson battled Tom Lawless, a quick Open Class driver, throughout the race. He explained, "we had a lead of about one minute at the start of the second day, but with the troubles we had he [Lawless] steadily gained time. We pushed the car as hard as possible to the edge of overheating and in the end were able to beat him to the podium by only 7 seconds!"
Although their Subaru suffered overheating issues and a cracked oil pan at the final race, the Hansons managed to finish the rally at the top. "It was great to see the team pull together and get the car back on the road. I am so lucky to have such a skilled crew...without them my success wouldn't have been possible," he said.
Hanson displayed dynamic driving abilities he has developed over the span of his young career by consistently finishing in the top five overall on each event of the 2011 Series. J.B. Niday, director of the RallyCar Rally America Championship, recognized the progress Hanson has made in his five years of driving at the National level. Niday congratulated Travis and Terry for their outstanding season by saying, "Travis has shown us his speed in the past, but this year he was consistently fast and drove six clean rallies. He certainly took his game to another level this season."
Hanson's high level of success is not easily achieved by privateers in this sport. Hanson said, "we have run season-long with a tiny budget, which we made work with help and support from our sponsors, friends and family." T. Hanson Motorsport is backed by Team O’Neil Rally School, Olson’s Auto Body, Exedy, Broken Motorsports and Dick Hannah Subaru.
Photos: Pete Kuncis/www.onalimbracing.com