POUGHKEEPSIE, NY February 1, 2006 – The Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona: a season’s worth of racing in one day. After 2400 miles of competing with a gathering of the best drivers in American motorsports, Rob Dyson, Chris Dyson, Oliver Gavin and Guy Smith secured a victory of persistence, finishing tenth in the Daytona Prototype class and fourteenth overall. Twice relegated to the back of the field with mechanical problems, the Thetford/Norcold quartet fought back, moving into their class top ten a half hour before the end of the race.
Their first time behind the wall for power steering repairs in the third hour of the race dropped them down to fifty-fourth. The mechanical gods rewarded their driving back to the top-twenty with a half-shaft failure seven hours later. “We had to go back to the garage twice,” said Chris Dyson. “The last stint cost us thirty laps, but we slogged our way back up the field again and the persistence of the Howard Motorsports/Crawford Race Cars team paid off with a steadfast finish in America’s most demanding endurance race.”
“I would have to say that in the nineteen times I have run this race, the quality of the field this year was among the best I have seen,” noted Rob Dyson. “Any one of twenty cars could have won. To win one of these, you have to run cleanly, run consistently and avoid major mechanical troubles. We had two of the three this year and would have been looking at a top five if we completed that triumvirate.”
“A twenty-four hour race throws up all kinds of challenges,” added Guy Smith. “The winner is the car with the least amount of problems. It was an eventful race, but a lot of fun, run in the typical Dyson spirit – never give up. This is the first time I have driven with Rob (Dyson) and he had the biggest smile on his face the whole time. He has won here before and you can see how special this race is for him.”
“It was a really great experience working with Rob, Chris, and Guy and the Crawford team,” observed Oliver Gavin. “They worked amazingly hard fixing problems every time they arose. Pooling all the experience we had between us, we had a good pre-race strategy, but that went straight through the window once the technical gremlins hit us. But we kept at it and the last few hours the car felt as good as it had been all weekend.”
Rob and Chris Dyson will be running five additional Grand Am Rolex Series races this season with Crawford Race Cars and Howard Motorsports. They will be racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 25), Virginia International Raceway (April 23), Watkins Glen (June 3), Daytona International Raceway (June 29), and Watkins Glen again on August 11.