We put the Hurt on Dirt


Panda Crane T-shirts

Hello friends and family,

I am writing you this e-mail because Myself and Adam Crane are attempting to rally in the far off exotic country of Mexico.  First a little back story.  For those of you that do not know, Adam Crane has been rallying his 1985 Toyota Corolla for over 6 years now, and for the past two I have joined him with my own 1987 Corolla.  We have had a lot of fun with local rallies from Canada, to California, and everywhere in between.  Every year a rally takes place in central Mexico of the highest magnitude.  Adam and I have set the sights of team Panda-Crane to attend Rally Mexico in March of 2013.  Adam has been buried in his garage for the past few months building an all new Corolla for the event, and myself and Ken have been busy getting the Panda up to the standards necessary to compete in Mexico.
OK, enough of the boring stuff.  The reason for this e-mail is that we are selling T-shirts, Hoodies, and Dickie work shirts with the team logo on it to try and raise a little bit of money to help us along the way.  Everything is Navy Blue, the T-shirts are $20, the Work Shirts are $30, and the Hoodies are $35.  They will all have the attached logo on the back.  If anyone is interested please respond directly back to me with the shirt(s) you are interested in, and the size that you want. All of the shirts will be high quality screen printed and either mailed to you, or hand delivered by myself.  I will be sending the shirts out for print on November 9th, so I would like to get any orders by then, and will get them back approximately 2 weeks after that.  If you know of anyone else who may be interested that I did not include on this e-mail, please forward it on.  If we’re lucky enough we may raise enough money to buy a tire or two.  Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this post.
Dustin Embrey

the ‘Mountain Hood’

‘Patches’ at Mt. Hood 2011

There is an event in Oregon called the Mt. Hood Rally. Since Doo Wops has faded due to Ray’s passing, Mt Hood gained the title of the North West’s best ‘local’ rally. It has good roads that are consistent from year to year. The roads are a nice mix of tight and twisty, ‘thread the needle’ fast stuff, and some rough sections that can test cars too. Entry fees and it’s place on the schedule make it a kind place to debut a car, or driver. This year there’s a bit of ‘old’ being mixed in.

When I built ‘Patches’ I was issued a book, stating that the safety equipment met the rules. The book is also a log of the events the car has run.  Only the log book in ‘Patches’ knows how many times we’ve run the Mt.Hood. I haven’t had to staple more pages in, but I’m really close to 30 events, and for the first time, the driver’s signature on the page, won’t be mine.

I’m doing the event. I’m co-driving for Larry Clark, Dave’s dad. I’ll even be in a Toyota. Car #509. ‘Patches’ will be driven by Charles Buren of SafeDrives.com. I wish him luck. The ‘Purple Panda’ is hungry.

Come on down to beautiful Mt. Hood Oregon next weekend, October 20th, for the Rally.

Olympus Rally 2012 – Corollas Carry On


Adam Crane – Britta Nielsen
1986 Toyota Corolla, 2012 Olympus Rally

Dustin Embrey – Jeff Canavan
1985 Toyota Corolla, 2012 Olympus Rally


Thanks to the Organizers and Volunteers of the 2012 Olympus Rally, who, despite the fire danger and lack of spectators, gave us some long, fun, days of rally.

In case you were wondering, both Dustin in the Purple Panda, and ‘Patches’ with Britta and I, finished both days of the Rally. How did we do? There is a nifty results tabulator that can show you the 2wd stage results, which we think is better than sliced bread. – Three things to note, 1. Both Dustin and I ran out of gas on Stage 5. 2. Add 30 seconds to my time on Stage 3 (timing error in our favor- doesn’t affect our class results, does make us look like rockstars) 3. Stages 8 and 9 were canceled due to dust.

Did we have anything else to report? Sure. Volvo wheels are weak. Dustin bent at least 2 wheels, destroying both tires. I bent a wheel too. We’re hoping to find some budget to buy some wheels from these guys: BraidUSA.com. – I also owe Al Kun a fancy rally wheel for letting me borrow a spare wheel.

The next event is less than a month away! Mt Hood Rally will be down in Oregon on Oct 20th. ‘Patches’ is for rent, but Dustin is going to try and dominate like I did last year.

There are other stories to share, along with in-car videos and fun pictures. We’ll add them next week. Click Here to find our Olympus Videos

Great Experience

I just wanted to share a great experience I had.  I was looking for lights for the upcoming night stages of the Olympus rally.  I went to http://www.visionxwholesale.com/ and talked to Rick Freeman, their Accounts Manager.  Far too often good customer service and knowledgeable representatives are hard to find, but I can say that this was a truly pleasant buying experience.  If you guys ever have any lighting needs don’t hesitate to talk to Rick.


Hello Rally friends.  The weekend of Olympus, September 22 and 23rd, is upon us, and set to be an incredible race.  Last year’s Open Unlimited class winner David Higgins is returning with a healthy lead in the championship.  Ken Block, one of the only Americans in history to score points in the WRC championship is bringing his 2012 Ford Fiesta.  While the Open class may be roaring their way through the hills of Shelton this year, let’s get to the most exciting thing about Olympus,  this year has the most exciting 2WD line up you will probably ever see in a Rally America Event.  Below I am going to go over the competitors I know and tell you what I know about them.  If I miss some it’s only because I don’t know enough about them, so be sure to check out the spectator guide as well as the entry list here to pick your favorite.

Who would I be if I didn’t talk about us first?  Adam Crane is busy building Corolla Rally Car 2.5, Hatches.  In the meantime Patches, as always, is running like the pieced together monster it is, and will be bringing all 114HP to Olympus with Adam’s incredible piloting with it.  The Purple Panda suffered a friendly cliff dive through a tree into a roll last winter, but has a new front end, brand new 2.5” exhaust for the 20V to breathe through, and is ready to roll.  Dustin is hoping that the configuration is finally in a stable place and will hold the car together long enough to finally put his arch nemesis Dave Clark firmly in his rear view mirror.

DAVE CLARK:  Speaking of Arch Nemesis.  Dave Clark is an extraordinarily talented driver in a pretty new 1985 Toyota Celica.  This will be the third race for Dave Clark in this new car built by Barrett Dash.  He has plans to drop a turbo 1ZZ in this car soon, so this may be Dustin’s last chance to beat him before he has a real motor on his hands.  Keep a close eye on Dave, he’s a textbook case of driving talent making low power go fast.  Also, his wife Jenatte is by far the brains of this group.

WILL ORDERS:  Talk about power.  Will’s 1989 Silvia is packing a turbo and he has no qualms using it to project him and his car to victory.  He’s already shown what he and his car are capable of, squeaking a 2WD victory out of the hands of the capable ACP at Oregon Trail and coming in 4th overall.  This man from Australia is to be feared and admired, if your eyes can’t catch him coming by, make sure and listen to the sweet turbo music echo through the hills.

ANDREW COMRIE-PICARD:  ACP as he’s known is currently in second place in the nation for 2WD.  He’s got a turbo Scion xD.  He’s an experienced, talented driver with a record to prove it.  Look for an epic battle between him, Chris Duplessis and Will Orders for the win here at Olympus.

CHRIS DUPLESSIS:  Chris has instructed at both Dirt Fish Rally and Team O’neil schools.  He has spent the last year racing at the WRC Academy level.  He has a healthy lead in the 2WD class and looks to keep it here at Olympus.  Chris is fast, and well-known here in the Northwest.

DILLON VAN WAY: Dillon is a 2WD staple in Rally America.  He is the 2009 2WD champion.  He’s a young driver with a lot of talent.  If he can keep the axles in one piece look for him to do well.

TOM BURRESS: Tom Burress is wicked fast.  His turbo Golf has plenty of power, and he drives it like a man with no concerns.  Lucky for his brother and co-driver Don, he is also extremely talented.  Sadly the turbo power proved too much for the gearbox at last year’s Olympus and Tom blew it up besides a few of the higher gears.  He’s got a new gearbox this year and it should hold out much better.  Tom is my wildcard bet for the winner of 2WD at Olympus this year.  Tom also gave me a ticket once, I forgive you Tom.

BRIAN GOTLEIB: Brian Gotleib has been getting quicker and quicker the more I see him.  He’s got a sweet Civic and an even sweeter service rig.  Chat this guy up in the pits if you’re interested in all there is to Privateering a team.

KRIS DAHL: I don’t know a lot about Kris, but I believe his Dad and him have been rallying for a while now.  He’s got a very solid Civic that always looks clean.  Look for a solid quick finish in Olympia.

GARTH ANKENY: Garth has an awesome ’69 Saab 96, and you won’t believe how fast he can make it move.  You’ll find Garth at just about any event in the Northwest.  If you need tires he’s your guy.  In all reality he is the guy to go to for anything car building wise, because he knows everyone.  Classic Rally for the win.

DAVE HINTZ: Dave has one of the first BMW M3’s I have seen rally in the Northwest.  He’s like a Mathematician behind the wheel.  Clean lines, clean car, clean race.

BARRETT DASH:  Barrett will build a car, Barrett will race a car.  Come talk to him if you are interested in building a rally car.  Look for consistently fast times in his Mazda 3, which was used by Dave Henderson last year in the Pacific Northwest to crush the 2WD competition.

JOHN REED:  John Reed sucks.  And by that I mean he is awesome, and his car is awesome.  As far as I know this is the first rally Corolla to get a Beams 3SGE swap.  Adam is currently working one into the new car, and needless to say, there is jealousy that he is getting it done.  Really can’t wait to see this car.

NATE TENNIS: Nate Fing Tennis.  This man makes a Saab look like a damn Porsche out there.  Tennis has been teaching at Dirt Fish recently, and it is great to see him out again.  Look for some scary speed coming from him.

SEAN MEDCROFT:  Sean Medcroft decided to use all 250HP of his Ford Merkur at last year’s Olympus rally and a tree moved his cage two inches inside the car.  While he may have learned his lesson, his wife and co-driver quickly made him forget, and so another Ford was born.  Sean is a great driver, and definitely someone to talk to about rallying.  When it comes to consistent quality in a rally car, Sean is king.  His cars are well thought out, solid, and built strong.

BRYAN WATSON:  If my memory serves me correct, my first memory of Bryan was at Mt Hood 2010, where he managed to roll his VW into oblivion.  Well now he is back with a Rabbit, and a turbo the size of Wiscaaaaaaanson.  If the manifold bolts manage to hold the turbo on, look to see that bright green monster flying.  This car laughs in the face of 16 valves.

EDWARD MCNELLY: I don’t know him, I’ve never met him.  But he is here with a Fiesta R2.  Come say hi to me Edward.  Look for him to do well.

DERIK NELSON:  Deep in the mountains of the Dirt Fish Rally School, a cloud has been cast over the 2WD rally world.  Rumors are Derik Nelson has a BMW M3 within 100 lbs of the minimum weight limit for it’s engine.  This is the first time you will see this car, this will not be the last.

’86 Day!

Considering I’ve owned many of these great RWD Toyota Corolla GT-Ss in the past 10 years, I only got clue’d in about ’86 Day’ today. The car we love to race goes by the chassis code AE86. Today is August 6th. This is ’86 day.

Link to SpeedHunters post

Click the photo to read the post

I’d like to point to this other great blog and a post about a Norwegian with his own huge passion for Toyotas. His goal a finishing a car for a big event is something I can relate to. My favorite part (other than how cool his car looks) is his 80/20 concept; “If you are going to make something 100 percent perfect, it will require 100 percent of your time. But if you turn down your standards just a notch and make it 80 percent perfect, which is still pretty good, it will require only 20 percent of your time”

And finally, just to show how much tinkering I’ve been doing during my build of ‘Hatches’ the WRC Rally Toyota, I present the video, ‘Hatches.5’

Thanks for visiting – Here you are!

I’ve managed to hit the two buttons on the computer that it takes to create a time-lapse video of our time at the car show.  See if you can spot me!

If you want to be sure that I haven’t neglected the new car ‘Hatches’ just watch this:

The 2012 Greenwood Car Show!

Dustin and I are planning on taking First and Second at this years Greenwood Car Show. We’ll park ‘Patches’ and ‘The Purple Panda’ as close to 80th as we can.

For all the new visitors to this website looking for more rally information, I’m putting a few links below for you to check out.

Spend some time exploring the blog, and catching some exciting videos.
Local Rally-X http://oregonrally.com/ http://rallybc.com

NW rally Forum http://www.specialstage.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?29-Pacific-Northwest

NASA sanctioning body http://www.nasarallysport.com/main/

Rally-America sanctioning body http://www.rally-america.com/

NW Rally Experience/School – http://dirtfish.com

World Rally Championship – http://wrc.com

Our next event is going to be the Olympus Rally in Shelton Wa.  on Sept 22-23rd.

Thanks for visiting!

Idaho Rally 2012 – 5th Gp2

The Crane Rally Crew has ended their long off-season with a mid-pack finish at the 2012 Idaho Rally. Adam and Britta in #742 ‘Patches’ were 5th in class, while Dustin and Jeff in the #206 ‘Purple Panda’ managed 8th. The Idaho Rally was a perfect event to come back to. The organisation was excellent, the roads were great, and the competition was top notch. 39 cars entered, 15 of them in the 2wd class. Regulars from the NW like Dave Clark, Jason Staats, were joined by Sean Lane, Michel Hoche-Mong and several other competitors from down south.

While the event and competitors were prepared for us, we weren’t ready for them. ‘Patches’ got a bit of cleaning and love, but I came down with a cold that had me feverish and snotty all weekend. The Purple Panda got some new body work, but was missing some power from the engine, which had only a quick shakedown before the event.

The Olympus Rally is next on the calendar, but it’s a long ways off, in September. Look for more refinement from your classy pals in the CraneRallyCrew.

Videos are up Here: http://contour.com/users/acrane

See http://www.IdahoRally.com for more info

Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay

We’re back from Idaho

This is just a quick post to thank everyone who made the 2012 Idaho Rally a fun event.

Competitors, Organizers, volunteers, photographers, diesel pumpers, teammates, our crew (Ken), our hosts (Neal, Priscilla).  Thanks.

Here’s a video of the prep to keep you busy while we finish the event write-up and up-load the incar videos.

If you keep an eye on our twitter feed, you’ll have first dibs on the videos as they’re published.