RAmer: Oregon Trail preview

HILLSBORO, OREGON (April 6, 2005) Tighten the belts and hold on. Round two of the 2005 Rally America Championship, after its "warm up" season opener in January at the Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, MI, is about to go full throttle. Teams from across...

HILLSBORO, OREGON (April 6, 2005) Tighten the belts and hold on. Round two of the 2005 Rally America Championship, after its "warm up" season opener in January at the Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, MI, is about to go full throttle. Teams from across North America will convene in Hillsboro to contest the Oregon Trail Rally on April 22-24, where competitors will face the challenge of northwest Oregon forest roads.

With over 60 entries anticipated for the event, this is expected to be one of the most spectacular events organized by local organizers. "It's great to have the Rally Championship return to Oregon for the sixth straight year", commented event chairman, Ben Bradley. "The organizing team has worked hard over the past year to add some new spectator locations and new competition stages to this year's event. We feel confident that this will be an exciting event for spectators and competitors alike."

For the second year special spectator stages are planned for Friday afternoon at Portland International Raceway. "With great support from the management at PIR, we have expanded our activities this year to include five competitor stages in the heart of Portland", explained clerk of the course, Mike Nagle. "This includes a 4 mile super special stage, similar to those run at international rally events around the world, where two cars will race each other on a split course at the same time." Starting side-by-side at the track's drag start line, the competing pair will complete separate laps of two different loops around the complex. As each crew completes their first lap they switch over to the other's loop, and as they enter the front straight for a final time it's a dash to be the first across the finish line. The inclusion of the 7:00 pm start super special stage evening finale will be a first for the Oregon event and promises to be an exciting spectator attraction. Four shorter stages will kick off the rally action for spectators at PIR starting at 3:00 pm.

The event continued on Saturday with the will start of day two from Hillsboro stadium where a car display (Parc Expose) at 9:00 am will provide the public with an opportunity to see the cars and competitors up close and feel the excitement of rally competition. Saturday's special stages sees the event return to the Tillamook area and the gravel roads of the Tillamook State Forest around Trask Park. There will be two free forest spectator locations open to the public to view the competition on the day.

Sunday's competition stages, also free and open to the public, will again be hosted by the city of Vernonia in Columbia County, west of Hillsboro. "The people of Vernonia and Columbia County have been very supportive of our rally event for a number of years. We are delighted to be able to show our appreciation for their great hospitality through the positive economic impact our event has and our support of the local food bank and grade school", Nagle was happy to comment. Competitors will run 5 challenging special stages around the area, servicing in Vernonia before the event finishes back in Hillsboro.

Rally is one of the world's most challenging and popular motor sports. Unlike any other type of car racing, rally teams compete in any weather, on challenging forest, mountain or desert roads.

Unlike circuit racing, a Rally takes place on gravel roads, and the course is unknown to competitors until they face the roads at speed. Racing takes place only on "special stages," using demanding back roads closed by local authorities for the event. "Transits" connect the "special stage" sections together and are driven at normal highway speeds, with teams fully subject to all traffic laws.

Variable road conditions, changing weather and the race against the clock must all be taken into account by rally teams as they hurtle their finely tuned racing machines through day and night.

Rally vehicles are production-based cars and trucks from manufacturers around the world. They compete both for the overall victory and wins within a class structure that groups together vehicles with similar performance.

Each vehicle carries a driver and a co-driver/navigator. Using a detailed route book or stage notes and a sophisticated rally computer, the co-driver keeps the team on-course and advises the driver of any hazards ahead. This role is as critical as the driver's skill, since the team is traveling at full racing speeds over roads they have never before seen, in any type of weather.

-rally america-

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Series Other rally