Last Monday Chris Pereira (of the Canadian Sport Compact Series) invited me to locally renowned Subaru tuning shop Can Jam Motorsports to meet 2011 Rally of The Tall Pines winner “Crazy” Leo Urlichich.
After a quick stop off at home for a bite to eat and my camera gear I headed back out to Richmond Hill to meet up with Chris who introduced me to Leo.
Following a handshake and brief small talk Leo decided I had hung around long enough to meet Beast.
Beast is Leo’s current rally car (replacing his previous now street car known as Bastard) and believe me as a fully prepped, sequential geared, monster of a an STI Beast certainly lives up to his name.
Beast and Leo make up two thirds of the combination that conquered the Tall Pines course in Bancroft the previous weekend in a total time of 1:59:04.8.
The final piece to the winning puzzle was Leo’s co driver for the event Martin Brady whom I was informed is ‘proper big’ guy as they adjusted the harness to fit my much smaller frame.
Once we left the shop it was Beast who took over introducing me to Leo, the real Leo, the one people call ‘Crazy’.
As Leo expertly piloted Beast around a few neighboring back roads it became very quickly aware that Leo knows how to drive the heck out of a car. After a few spirited corners and straights of his local test and tune areas Leo gave me a little bit of a crash (we didn’t actually crash) course on rally driving, rally cars, and rally courses.
This is when I realized that if Leo is ‘crazy’ about anything it is rally driving.
Once back at the shop and Leo, myself, and a few others began chatting about all things automotive; Toronto’s stunt driving charge (and the automotive scene in general), Ferrari Testarossas (and other childhood poster cars), and of course his recent win, were all topics of discussion over bubble tea.
When talking with Leo it is impossible to not pick up on the passion behind his words he simply loves rally driving and is 100% dedicated to not only improving himself as a driver but also exposing the sport of rally driving to more automotive enthusiasts in the area such as myself.
To continue to improve his skills Leo plans to attend more state side events next year (including the North American Rally Cup) as well as events here in Canada because for Leo there is no off season or down time, if he is not competing he is out surveying the next course, working on Beast, or networking his way further into the rally community.
In the midst of doing all of this Leo also manages to somehow be very active on both his blog (CrazyLeo.Net) and facebook page (facebook.com/crazyleonet) promoting himself and local rally events as much as possible.
Leo’s current side project is a plan to put on a driving demo with ride-a-longs in a local quarry to introduce rally inside of the city in the hopes that this exposure will entice them to attend a true rally event outside of the city.
Ultimately Leo’s goal is to become the best rally driver he can be while bringing the Canadian sector of the sport along with him, and the fact that he was able to keep the Tall Pines trophy in Canada truly means a lot to Leo. The smile you see in the photos is genuine as he is rightfully proud of his accomplishments.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet a handful of professionals in their respective fields (Hockey, Football, BMX, Skateboarding etc) over the years but I can’t think of many who are as genuine and passionate as Leo.
He is simply one of those people lucky enough to live their dream.