From extreme rock racing and rock crawling to world rally racing, Jose Manuel Ponce has managed to finish 2 WRC MEXICO rally events, without any prior rally experience. The first was in 2008 in a rental where he was named the rookie driver amongst the Mexican Peugeot 206 Class, and last year with his co-driver Bill Bridge where they survived and finished 2nd in Class A6. There were set plans to go compete in Europe but their main sponsor was purchased by a new corporation who does not work with any motorsports due to an internal policy, so their racing for 2010 was put on hold.
Ponce now returns to kick off 2011, by being the first Mexican to ever race in the King of the Hammers, the ultimate desert race, as an international guest star team representing Mexico. Ponce was working on a new Jeep Speed 3700 Class / Ultra 4 rig but due to limited time and resources, he decided to build a new partnership with Javier’s Gulf Coast Crawl Shop, a great racing and fabrication crew out of Texas, whom he met at a MOROC rock race back in 2009. The GCCS (Gulf Coast Crawl Shop www.gulfcoastcrawlshop.com ) family business is headed by Javier and Marcus Ibarra, and chief fabricator/designer Dave Gutwillig. GCCS has chosen Dave Gutwillig to be Ponce’s teammate for this upcoming endurance desert rock race at the Mojave Desert, California on Feb 6-11, 2011 organized by Hammerking Productions founded by Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll. Only 100 teams with approved Ultra 4 Class rigs are allowed to race this world class event that attracts 60,000+ spectators who come watch teams from the USA, Japan, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, and England. The Laredo World Rally Team/GCCS will also compete in the new Ultra4 Series. The Ultra4 Tour consists of six events across the United States that will test the limits of the unlimited 4-wheel-drive racing machines known as Ultra4 cars and the teams that drive them. Click here for more info www.kingofthehammers.com and www.ultra4racing.com
Dave Gutwillig will also be joining Ponce at Rallye de Paris, a regional Rally America Texas event, as a navigator, while Heath Catron of Ballz Out Motorsports will be riding shotgun in the homologated Peugeot 206 for the 100 Acre Wood event www.rally-america.com . Heath Catron was the adopted navigator for Ponce at the King of the Hammers LCQ 2009 and now joins this unique world rally family in 2011. Heath will be navigating for Louie Keener at the King of the Hammers LCQ 2011. Ponce and GCCS also plan on participating in the new Texas 400, a Texas Extreme Desert Racing series event in Notrees, Texas www.texasoffroad.com , where they will compete in the Ultra 4 class.
Teammate Bill Bridge will meanwhile be preparing to navigate once again at the WRC MEXICO 2011, where he and Ponce will race in class A6 with the homologated Peugeot 206 XS. They also plan to try and race in IRC and the Norwegian Rallies if time and money permits. They will be representing the city of Laredo, Texas USA in 2011. www.visitlaredo.com
The team has also begun another challenge, and founded a new Philanthropy to help out the kids of Calderones, Puentecillas, and Cajones with ESL books.
“We have worked extremely hard, and organizing motorsports events in the past taught us the basic ropes and importance on safety, but competing at different events in the USA, Mexico, Venezuela and Norway has helped us learn new techniques that are priceless. I personally would like to thank Tore Hansen, Nordic Trial Champion; Finn Erick Loberg, Formula Offroad Champion; and Carlos and Alberto Roberti of Venezuela for allowing me to co-drive with them and teaching me new racing strategies. I think every competitor at times feels like the legend American stock car racer, Wendall Scott, or a Ricky Bobby, but in the end most of us are just that small town racer trying to finish that bright lights big city dream. I personally feel that our team is straight out of the 1979 movie “Breaking Away” with a touch of Bongo and a great backup plan!” stated Ponce, team owner.
The Laredo World Rally Team also announces its new sponsors who have made this all possible: Laredo CVB, OXXO, U Taisan, PRP Seats, FOA Shocks, RAMSEY Winches, Tom Woods Drive shafts, Casanova 4×4, Javier’s Gulf Coast Crawl Shop, Rusty’s Offroad, Northstar Motorsports, Redneck Ram, West Texas Offroad, Ameri-Freight Auto Transport, Moods of Norway, Latination TV, Quarter mile Graphics, TacoTote of Laredo, Allied Wheels, Pronto Muffler Shop, Triple J Express, Sway Away Shocks, PSC, FRS Energy, H.E.B. Supermarkets, Pizza Hut of Laredo, Wine Country Motorsports, Taco Palenque, Pinned TV, Rugged Radios, Despain Automotive, Ajeepear.com and Track-Any-Car.com
Racing done in memory of guitar legend Louie Alfredo Ponce.
Click here for more info about the Laredo World Rally Team www.worldrallyteam.com