IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. HERE ARE THE IVY LEAGUES OF SPEED
In the pursuit of his go-fast education, Tim O’Neil has destroyed hundreds of cars. But you don’t have to. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where a teenage O’Neil first taught himself to dodge cops and drive like a moonshine runner, the five-time U.S. and North American rally champion can turn boring drivers into back-road demons—without having to dig your incisors out of the nearest oak tree. It’s called Team O’Neil Rally School, a 560-acre private playground carved from a reclaimed gravel pit.
I’m a big fan of old cop and detective shows. One of my favorites is The Rockford Files that aired in the 1970s and starred the legendary James Garner as private detective Jim Rockford. The Rockford Files was famous for the car chase scenes in which Rockford would race down bad guys in his Firebird Esprit. Rockford’s signature car maneuver was the J-Turn in which he would start off in reverse, spin the car 180 degrees and then continue forward in the same direction. Because the move was used so often on the show, the J-turn is often called “The Rockford Turn.”
In late June, at the Subaru-sponsored Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire, an electric racer took part in the event for the first time (and it wasn’t the Subaru Stella EV).
Team O’Neil Motorsports and Ford Racing are proud to announce the return of their 2013 2wd Championship winning team for the 2014 Rally America season, with a new driver, Andrew Comrie-Picard.
Tim O’Neil, the 1990 Mt. Washington Hillclimb overall winner and record holder, will be driving EVSR #02, a 100% electric race car, during the 2014 Subaru Mt. Washington Hillclimb set for June 26-29 at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, NH.
The car is accelerating toward a blind curve. The man in the passenger’s seat waves his hand down, down, down, mimicking the motion of a foot on the gas pedal. If he could be heard, he would be saying “GAS, GAS, GAS, GAS, GAS,” but instead he’s pantomiming for the three people in the car, including himself. The ancient Audi Quattro, roaring like an outraged camel, hogs the conversation.
The Team O’Neil Rally School is the coolest place in New England that you probably don’t know about. Founded in 1997 by champion rally driver Tim O’Neil, the school is based at a 600-acre campus of gravel roads, carved into the craggy White Mountains not too far from where the Old Man’s face fell off. O’Neil maintains its own fleet of cars—mostly Ford Fiestas, Audi 4000s and the most abused BMWs you’ve ever seen—but today I’m upping the ante with something a little different.
Winter driving presents a unique set of challenges, but it also gives drivers opportunities to discover areas where they need improvement. We often hear students here at the driving school make comments like “I’m a great driver in the summer, but I have a lot of problems in the winter.” That should be a huge red flag for any driver; it means that your skills are not really up to par and that you are getting away with a lot of bad habits that will bite you sooner or later… especially when data suggests that most fatal crashes occur in the summer time.
Never confuse confidence with competence. Our Winter Safety Schools have been developed with over 20 years of experience in skid control education, and will give you the skills and proper instincts necessary to deal with changing road conditions and harsh winter driving.