The couple competed for the open slot earlier this month in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania in the Rally-America Championship.
"As soon as we finished sixth overall at the Oregon Trail Rally and realized that we had a very good chance to earn an invitation to the X Games we made the decision to go out to Susquehannock Trail in Pennsylvania," Nathan Conley said in a statement.
The team's primary problem: no car.
Their 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon suffered extensive damage at an earlier competition in Oregon. There was no time to repair the vehicle, let alone make any performance modifications to be ready for the next event.
Their solution was to buy another car.
"Buying a more powerful Open Class car wasn't originally part of the plan for us. But there was no way we'd be able to get our regular ready in time and with the roads in Pennsylvania being faster we knew we'd need more power so it just kind of worked out. Although, after driving the new car, I don't think it will be very easy going back to our old car once it is repaired," Conley said.
With their new car in tow, Nathan and Brandye headed East, along with Nathan's father John and brother Don (who would compete in rally cars of their own in different classes).
It was a hard-fought victory: on the first stage, Nathan and Brandye got a flat tire, losing time.
On stage two they were caught behind a slower car, which cost them almost a minute because they were blinded by dust.
On day two, lady luck began smiling, and the team steadily worked its way up the leader board with top 10 times and avoiding making mistakes that took out both Subaru Rally Team USA factory cars, as well as Rally America National Championship points leader Andrew Comrie-Picard.
It wasn't over for the Conleys - the new car suffered a broken control arm, severely compromising the handling of the vehicle and risking precious seconds.
However, when the dust settled and the scores were finalized, the Conleys finished 7th overall, securing their X Games invitation based on overall Rally-America Championship points.
"Susquehannock Trail wasn't a perfect rally but we're very happy with the result. Going to a new event with a new car is always tough. For the main part we were able to be quick and avoid problems and luckily when we ran into problems our main competitors had their own setbacks. As a driver there is a lot more this car can do and a lot more I can get out of this car compared to our old one. Right now as a team, we need to focus on securing the funding to get to the X Games and be competitive but I am confident that we will be able to put a good show on for the spectators and live national TV audience in August." said Conley.
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