On Saturday May 2nd, the High Desert Trails Performance Rally kicked off the 41st annual California Rally Series Championship and the growing NASA Rally Sport Pacific Rally Cup. Twenty Nine teams took to the stages in the morning and the rally would test these teams for the next 10 hours! Fast and flowing roads with short sections of pavement, tight and twisty forest sections, and rapid elevation changes presented their challenge. Just a few hours from Los Angeles, this rally has grown to be one of the biggest in the Southwest.

Some late entries and early problems had the top spots changing constantly. Previous winners Bill Holmes & Sean Gallagher set a 2nd fastest time on Stage 1, lost their brakes on Stage 2, and were forced to retire the Ford Raptor. 2013 CRS Open Champion Tingwu (Rick) Song beat Holmes on Stage 1 and stayed in first position until damaging the rear control arm mount on SS4 on his Mitsubishi Evo. A big effort in service got Song back out for the next 4 stages only to have co-driver Yufeng Hao fall ill on SS8. Another late entry was international driver Hao Yuan with East Coast Co-Driver Ozgur Simsek in a Mitsubishi Evo. Setting top times early in the day, the Evo was struggling a bit with fuel, and then a flat and starting issues took them out on Stage 9. 2014 Pacific Rally Cup champions John Trucks & Chris Fine were in the mix until a big bump caused damage to their Subaru WRX STi wiring harness and they couldn’t continue after Stage 5.

One should never expect to land on the podium at their first event, but that’s exactly what Dave Forman & Brian Gladish did with their Subaru STi. Getting really lucky with an off on Stage 6 and sorting out some brake issues kept them “in it to win it” in 3rd as their live text reported. Last year’s overall winner Todd McAllister with experienced co-driver Piers O’Hanlon took a few stages to get warmed up together, but set a fastest time on Stage 4 and had a trouble free run all the way into 2nd place.

Josh Jacquot & Dave Coleman 1st Overall - Picture by Mathew Mendoza

Josh Jacquot & Dave Coleman 1st Overall – Picture by Mathew Mendoza

Coming back after a long rally hiatus, Josh Jacquot & Dave Coleman showed that they had what it would take to win in their Subaru Impreza, setting fastest on Stage 3 and staying in the hunt for the rest of the day. Wins on SS8 and SS9 solidified their outstanding effort and the only problem reported was the Co-Drivers head cold. Setting the fastest AWD time down the final Power Stage awarded them the overall win, and the prize from Streetwise Motorsports.

Another fast team that dropped out early was Brian Scott & Brent Ellzey in their gorgeous Datsun. A rear suspension part failed, they threaded some large trees on the second stage Sorrell Peak, and landed safely with minimal damage to the historic rally car. 2013 Power Stage winner Pete Pollard with Seri Traver were in the hotly contested 2WD field when a steering arm failed at speed and Pete was able to get the car safely to a stop without further damage on Stage 9.

Three teams battled all day for the top spot in 2WD. Bret Robinson and his new Co-Driver Scott Rhudy set top times on Stage 5-7 AND SS10, but losing time on Stage 4 and Stage 9 was what kept them in 3rd for the day in their Volkswagen Golf. Only seconds separated Chrissie Beavis & Matthew Johnson in 2nd in their VW Jetta who capitalized on their Stage 9 win.

Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen 2WD winners! Photo by Motorsports Memories

Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen 2WD winners! Photo by Motorsports Memories

Grabbing the top place in 2WD and setting the fastest time on the HDT Power Stage was a team who has racked up some serious experience over the last few years: Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen in their Mini Cooper are very experienced with a 2014 CRS Championship and many rally wins, but first timers to High Desert Trails! The team had no problem without reconnaissance, and took to the stages like an alumni. Grabbing the top time on SS2 and SS11, the Saarinen’s were fast all day to take the win AND the 2WD Power Stage Pirelli Tire prize from Streetwise Motorsports

The next event is Rally Idaho for both the Pacific Rally Cup and California Rally Series Championship on June 13th-14th. We would like to thank all the volunteers and crews for making this such a successful event. The High Desert Trails Performance Rally returns May 7th, 2016!

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High Desert Trails 2015 in the books!

Josh Jacquot & Dave Coleman
Josh Jacquot & Dave Coleman through the iconic water splash on their way to victory!
Picture by Bill Rogers Motorsport Memories

After a serious day of rally, your top three teams are:
#1 Josh Jacquot & Dave Colman (AWD Power Stage Winner!)
#2 Todd McAllister & Piers O’Hanlon
#3 Dave Forman & Brian Gladish

In 2WD the top three teams are:
#1 Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen (2WD Power Stage Winner!)
#2 Chrissie Beavis & Matthew Johnson
#3 Bret Robinson & Scott Rhudy

Setting a 15.42 – Josh Jacquot takes the AWD 2015 HDT Power Stage win! + $200 towards Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports

Setting a 15.25 and beating the AWD time set by Josh Jacquot – Markus Saarinen pulled out the 2WD 2015 HDT Power Stage win! + $200 towards Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports

We want to thank everyone for coming out and having a great day with us in the high desert! Mark your calendars for the first Saturday of May 2016!

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Rally HQ Update – Rooms available for Kings

springhillSpringHill Suites currently has 18 King Suite rooms left. Call them to reserve at (760) 446-1630 If you’re looking for Double Queen rooms, call the Hampton (directly across the street) at (760) 446-1968. Don’t forget to ask for the rally rate!

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Previous Champions and Past Winners Return to Challenge High Desert Trails

In the California High Desert there are a group of roads that take you on a journey of discovery. A typical fast desert road winds North and begins to climb into a valley surrounded by giant windmills. Further on, countless Joshua trees increase in number as you make a steady 1,400 foot climb out of the valley floor. Turning West you begin the ascent up a mountainside. Narrow switchbacks and tighter turns slow your progress as you climb more than 3,000 feet into the forest. The air is noticeably cooler and thinner as you pick your way through the woods. The trees now have large trunks, and you catch glimpses of the skyline through them. 7,000 feet above sea level, racing a rally car in the woods 2.5 hours from Los Angeles. The best rally roads in California are the setting for the 2015 High Desert Trails Performance Rally!

Bill Holmes and Sean GallagherThe top teams this year are a ‘who’s who’ of championship winners. Bill Holmes and Sean Gallagher have won this event several times in the past with their 2WD Ford Raptor, but that didn’t include miles of twisty forest stages over the top of Sorrell Peak. 2014 Pacific Rally Cup AWD Champions John Trucks and Chris Fine have seen these roads in their Subaru STi, and will be looking to launch their 2015 points race for the cup. Don’t expect them to coast during the power stage, these guys will be flat out for the win. The winners of last year’s event including taking home $200 of Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports – Todd McAllister and Trent Bateman will be setting a winning pace in their Subaru WRX STi. All three teams need to watch out for Duncan Smith – a driver that set top times at Prescott last season in his Subaru.

Pete PollardThe 2WD pack will no doubt have it’s work cut out trying to catch Bill Holmes. The big question is: Will they be able to make up enough on the twisty stages? An 11 mile stage with a 40MPH average is a lot of work in a big truck, and a team like Markus and Alicia Saarinen in their well prepped Mini Cooper could be the ones to do it. This will be their first time at HDT, but they are well seasoned Southwest rally competitors. Look to see Pete Pollard and Seri Traver in the mix as Pete was the 2013 HDT Power Stage winner in his Honda Civic.

The last stage of the rally kicks up the excitement by reversing the order and sends out the fastest teams last. No one knows for sure who’s won it until the last racer crosses the finish line on a gorgeous 15 mile downhill stage. 2WD and 4WD Power Stage Winners get $200 towards new Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports. Do you save your equipment and go for championship points? Do you push for the rally win? Or do you put it all on the line for the Power Stage?

High Desert Trails is round 1 the 5 event California Rally Series 2015 season! The event is also part of a 3 rally series for the Pacific Rally Cup. Included in the PRC this year is the Idaho Rally International sponsored by Larry H. Miller Subaru on June 13-14, and the Prescott Rally supported by Guidance Aviation and Lamb Nissan in Arizona October 2-3. All three events will qualify teams for the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship. Teams qualify by winning the power stage in 2WD or AWD, or getting on the 2WD or AWD podium (1st-3rd). This run-off, winner-take-all, finale event will be held in the West this year at the Prescott Rally.

It all starts Friday night at the SpringHill Suites in downtown Ridgecrest. The cars will be on display in Parc Expose` from 6:30PM to 7:30PM and there are spectator opportunities on Saturday afternoon. Sunday includes a rallycross at the fairgrounds. We’re looking forward to running an outstanding event – see you on the stages!

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High Desert Trails Performance Rally – Saturday May 2nd, 2015

hdt_logo_sq-webKicking off its 8th consecutive run, the High Desert Trails Rally has been a part of rally in Southern California since 1973. On dirt roads Southwest of Ridgecrest and North of the Jawbone Canyon Station, the rally takes competitors through fast and flowing valleys and tight and twisty forest sections in the beautiful high desert on county roads. Competitors will tackle over 100 miles of racing flat out.

The High Desert Trails Rally is a performance time trial event. Rally Racing is a motorsport where a driver and navigator (co-driver) race down closed dirt roads, one car at a time, as fast as they can. The cars race against the clock, and not head-to-head. The racing sections are called Special Stages and closed to all non-rally traffic. The vehicles stay on the road and do not go “off-road” into the desert. When not racing on the closed stages, the cars transit with normal traffic.

The cars are specially equipped production based models (Example: Volkswagen Golf, Dodge Neon, Subaru Impreza) and not buggies or tube chassis vehicles. They are all licensed, registered, and insured to drive on public roads. They have roll cages and safety features added along with heavy duty suspension and tires. We invite you to check them out on Friday night between 6:30PM – 7:30PM May 1st in Ridgecrest: Spectator info

The rally utilizes hundreds of volunteers to help with communications, timing, and controls. Working a rally is a rewarding challenge that’s a lot of fun! This is the best way to see the event up close and get to interact with the drivers and co-drivers. Plan to spend a day outside, and plan to drive your vehicle over smooth dirt roads. We like to provide our workers with goodies like T-Shirts, lunch, waters, and giveaways. Your help is always appreciated by the competitors. Sign up at – http://highdeserttrails.com/volunteers

Approximately thirty teams will take the challenge of the High Desert Trails this year. This event kicks off the 2015 California Rally Series Championship. Supporting rally events all over the Southwest, the CRS is celebrating its 41th season! More info – http://www.californiarallyseries.com

High Desert Trails is also proud to be sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport (NRS), an organization focused on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers nationwide. Providing tools to the racers, organizers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is one of the core missions of the organization. – http://nasarallysport.com

Join us for some fun on the roads of the high desert!

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2015 Supplemental Regulations v1 for Competitors

peedeeeffVersion 1 of the 2015 Supps have been posted!
Rally: HDT Supps 2015 v1.pdf
Rallycross: HDT RX Supps 2015 v1.pdf

Welcome Competitors!
Current Rally Entry List – Current Rallycross Entry List

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On Saturday May 3rd, the High Desert Trails Performance Rally kicked off the 2014 Pacific Rally Cup and the 40th annual California Rally Series Championship in a big way. The event offered over 120 stage miles of everything that Southern California has to offer, from fast and flowing desert valleys to tight and twisty tree-lined roads covering huge elevation changes. The rally has grown into one of the biggest in the Southwest, just a few hours from Los Angeles.

Todd McAllister & Trent Bateman - 1st Overall & AWD Power Stage Winners!

Todd McAllister & Trent Bateman – 1st Overall & AWD Power Stage Winners! Photo: Lauren Gross

Last year’s champs Jon Burke & Tom Morningstar set the pace early with a win on SS1, SS3 & 4, but it was not to be when the team lost a tire on SS5, their battery on Stage 8, and their transmission on Stage 11. This opened the door for newcomers Todd McAllister & Trent Bateman in a Subaru STi to take the Open AWD win, followed closely by John Trucks & Christopher Fine also in their Subaru STi. Third place went to an Eagle Talon driven by Hakan Okcuoglu & Sean McElwain. McAllister sweetened the win by also taking the Power Stage victory. He received $200 towards new Pirelli tires from Streetwise Motorsports, and for the AWD overall win, the Ralli Candi contingency prize of $200.

Tony Chavez & Raquel Salas - 1st in 2WD! Photo: Lauren Gross

Tony Chavez & Raquel Salas – 1st in 2WD!
Photo: Lauren Gross

Over in 2WD the story was all about the Volkswagen Golfs. Bret Robinson & Doug Robinson were setting fast times in the morning until an overheating coil took them out on the way to Stage 11. Tony Chavez & Raquel Salas grabbed the lead and held it to win 2WD overall and contingency money from Ralli Candi, but embodying the spirit of the Power Stage, Erik Christiansen & Amy Floyd went for it and set the fastest 2WD time down the 16 mile stage! Christiansen grabs the Pirelli tire prize from Streetwise Motorsports and 2nd in 2WD. Rounding out the 2WD podium in third are Eddie Fiorelli & Brent Ellzey.

Erik#872_01_sm2WD Power Stage Winners – Erik Christiansen & Amy Floyd attack the water splash!

Next up is Rally Idaho for both the Pacific Rally Cup and California Rally Series Championship on June 21st-22nd. We would like to thank all the volunteers and crews for making this such a successful event. The High Desert Trails Performance Rally returns May 2nd, 2015!

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In-Car from new Sorrell Peak Stage

Jon Burke and Tom Morningstar had a tough weekend trying to defend their 2013 win. Massive tire blow out, loose sparking battery, and finally a transmission gremlin forced them to retire. Before they did though, they show us how it’s done – setting the fastest time on SS6. Yes, this rally stage is a few hours from LA. See you guys in 2015!

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