One of the most famous rally cars of all time is the Ford Escort Mk2. Rear-wheel-drive, lightweight and fun as hell to drive, the Escort Mk2 is one of the favorites among historic rally enthusiasts.
While the most well-known one in the US would be Seamus Burke’s V6 build, purists might enjoy the Mk2 of John Hill more.
Hill and his Escort hail from Seattle WA, but can be found at many rallies across the US. We most recently caught up with him after the Ojibwe Forests Rally, where he pulled off a very respectable third place Open 2WD finish in the muddy event.
Despite this, Hill didn’t care much about the finish, but simply loved the experience.
“I’ve been racing for about five to six years now, and I’m here to have a good time,” he explained, “that’s the extent of it!
“I don’t need any accolades, I just want to have a good time sliding a car in the woods.”
Enjoying the ride, Hill said that rather than targeting victory, he simply aims to finish and enjoy every last bit of road the rally has to offer.
And despite multiple class podiums in his career, his choice of classic, mostly period-correct cars has been difficult at times.
“It’s hard to finish with this old car,” he joked.
Start rallying, get a car, give it a goJohn Hill
“[This Escort has] a BDG engine so it’s an historic spec engine. We’ve modernized the gearbox and suspension a little bit more, but it’s still basically a 40 year old car with some modern bits on it.”
The historic parts are often difficult to source, and can be finicky after a long and hard life. Rallying at 40 years old can’t be easy on any vehicle.
This wasn’t the case at Ojibwe though, as Hill’s Escort performed beautifully.
The buckets of rain may have tripped up many of the two-wheel-drive competitors, but Hill still managed to have a great time.
“It’s a good time! Some of the stages were a bit too slippy for me, but other times it was really fun.
“Some of those crests are pretty spectacular, there’s some pretty good crests for jumps!”
In motorsport it can be easy to get caught up in the drama, the competition, the points, and everything else, so it’s good to know that there’s still people out there with a child-like passion for simply sliding a car in the woods.
“Start rallying, get a car, give it a go,” Hill offered up as advice.
We’re not about to disagree.