Hot, Dry, and Challenging Conditions Await Gorman Ridge Rally Competitors. The eighteenth running of the Gorman Ridge Rally brings top Western States rally teams together in Lebec, California for round five of the United States Rally...
Hot, Dry, and Challenging Conditions Await Gorman Ridge Rally Competitors.
The eighteenth running of the Gorman Ridge Rally brings top Western States rally teams together in Lebec, California for round five of the United States Rally Championship. Twenty-five teams are slated to take the start on Saturday, August 16 including current USRC Pacific Division points leaders Brian Scott with co-driver John Dillon. Also entered is X Games silver medal winner Chrissie Beavis.
Scott and Dillon took their Subaru Sti to an early lead in the all-wheel category with an overall win at the Idaho Rally in July while Bruce Davis and co-driver Jimmy Brandt picked up the two-wheel drive lead in their Dodge Neon. The husband and wife team of Jimmy and Melissa Keeney are currently leading the Pacific All-Wheel Drive Production Cup in their Subaru WRX. Another husband and wife team, Kris and Christine Marciniak top the Western Two Wheel-Drive Production Cup in their Neon.
The current leaders will be facing plenty of competition on the rough mountain roads of the Gorman event. The reining two-wheel drive national champion, Bill Holmes and a new co-driver Sean Gallagher are debuting their new Ford F150 two-wheel drive pickup. The off-road racing champion and former Pro Rally national champion proved to be a formidable force at the Gorman event last year, taking the overall win after displacing a raft of lighter and more agile all-wheel drive competitors. Fresh off her silver medal performance at the X Games, Chrissie Beavis is jumping from the co-driver's seat to drive her VW Jetta where she has consistently proven herself among the fastest of the two-wheel drive teams.
On the all-wheel drive side, points leaders Scott and Dillon will have to contend with fellow Subaru pilots Jeff Regester and co-driver Duncan Smith. Regester and Smith are looking to vindicate themselves after a mechanical failure took them out of the Idaho Rally while they were challenging for the lead.
This year the rally also includes motorcycles in the exciting new RallyMoto group. "These are basically the same kind of bikes you see running the Dakar Rally. They are big dual-sport motorcycles designed for long distance cross country travel over challenging roads like those in Gorman", stated Ray Hocker the event chairman. He explains, "RallyMoto is attracting a group of new competitors to rally." Just like their four-wheeled counterparts, RallyMoto bikes must be fully street legal and licensed. All racing is confined to special sections of closed roads located inside the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area.
After the Gorman Ridge Rally, the United States Rally Championship heads to the final round of the Pacific events at the Prescott Rally (www.prescottrally.com) in Arizona before the final round of the Championship at the International Rally New York (www.rallynewyrok.com) in October.
Pacific Division teams are competing for coveted cash travel subsidies that will be awarded to top six teams in the Division. The total of $12,000 in subsidies will be distributed to Pacific Division teams to assist them with traveling to the final round of the United States Rally Championship in New York.
The United States Rally Championship is taking bold steps to make national competition more affordable and accessible to a larger number of rally teams. This is the second season of the new Championship structure that minimizes or, for many teams, eliminates the need for repeated cross-country travel during the Championship season by providing competition on each side of the country. The final round of the Championship at the end of the year counts both in the Atlantic Division and the Pacific Division and together with the results from all previous rounds decides the top spots in the Championship.