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! 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
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.
2WD 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!
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!
After 127 stage miles, your top three teams are:
#1 Todd McAllister & Todd McAllister ($200 from RalliCandi)
#2 John Trucks & Christopher Fine
#3 Hakan Okcuoglu & Sean McElwain
In 2WD the top three teams are:
#1 Tony Chavez & Raquel Salas ($200 from RalliCandi)
#2 Erik Christiansen & Amy Floyd
#3 Eddie Fiorelli & Brent Ellzey
Setting a 13.89 and beating the Power Stage record held by Pete Pollard by only 3 hundredths of a minute – Todd McAllister takes the AWD 2014 HDT Power Stage win! + $200 towards Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports
Setting a 15.39 and just edging out Eddie Fiorelli by 2 hundredths of a minute, and beating the 2WD leader Tony Chavez – Erik Christiansen pulled out the 2WD 2014 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 weekend of May 2015!
In one week the mountains Southwest of Ridgecrest will come alive with the sounds of rally cars. Saturday, May 3rd – Teams will embark on a rally challenge that will test their skill, stamina, and determination. The amazing course this year takes competitors from an 1,800ft valley floor to a 7,000ft tree covered peak. Special Stages are made up from 35 unique miles of everything Southern California has to offer: fast and flowing open sections, tight and twisty tree lined routes, dramatic elevations changes, water splashes, and even a little tarmac.
Defending their 2013 win, Jon Burke and Tom Morningstar (pictured) are back for a consecutive title. The overall is going to be heavily challenged by 10 open class teams. Specifically: Hakan Okcuoglu is an experienced racer with lots of stage miles under his belt driving a battle tested Eagle Talon; and John Trucks a newcomer that showed a lot of speed at the Prescott Rally last year with his Subaru Impreza. Two of the open class competitors are international this year with Rui Huang driving a Mitsubishi Evo 10 and Hong Bin Duan piloting a Subaru Impreza.
Over in the 2WD category, four Volkswagen Golfs from the 1980’s prove that you don’t need turbos or extra drive-train to be a contender. Watch for these grassroots competitors to be on the podium at the end of the day – Not just the 2WD podium, the OVERALL podium! With 1/10th the budget – if you want to get into Stage Rally, the most sustainable and affordable method is an older 2WD car. Tony Chavez (pictured), Bret Robinson, Eddie Fiorelli and Erik Christiansen will put some of the more expensive hardware to shame.
Contingency prizes for the overall 2WD and overall 4WD will be on offer from Ralli Candi, a new shop open in Rancho Cucamonga. $200 await BOTH the top 2WD and top 4WD finisher at the High Desert Trails Performance Rally! The top three competitors from both groups qualify for the NASA National Rally Championship and everyone will be looking to get a big start on their California Rally Series points.
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 16 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?
It all starts Friday night at Jim Charlon Ford in downtown Ridgecrest. The cars will be on display 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!
Mexico? Argentina? Spain? How about Kern County California. Rally is close to you! The High Desert Trails Performance Rally is Saturday, May 3rd 2014. Thirteen stages, over 100 miles of competitive – flat out – sideways in the woods – rally racing. You can spectate at it, you can volunteer for it, or you can enter it!
The rally has run on roads Southwest of Ridgecrest, CA for 3 consecutive years now. The event is part of the California Rally Series. Real rally cars, anti-lag, glowing rotors, foot to the floor – a Real Rally you have to check out! Stick around on Sunday for a rallycross at the fairgrounds!
All over the country rallies utilize ham radio operators to keep our events safe and running smoothly. Spots along the entire course are all manned by folks with a radio and an FCC license. HDT utilizes over 60 amateur radio volunteers to keep track of our racers! This year we’ve got some help from a handful of local clubs and we’re excited to have them! We’ll have members from: Sierra Amateur Radio Club, Sequoia Amateur Radio Group, Antelope Valley Amateur Radio Club, Southern Sierra ARS, Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club, Kern County Central Valley Amateur Radio Club, South Orange Amateur Radio Association – Thank you from KI6IUC & KI6IUE!
Got your eye on the 2014 High Desert Trails Power Stage? Of course you have to finish over 110 stage miles first, and then keep it together for the final 16 miles stage. Where 2WD cars have been known to surprise AWD monsters and rivalries in every class are settled.
Besides the champagne and bragging rights, Streetwise is going to kick in $200 to replace the worn out tires you just shredded in your quest. Both 4WD and 2WD HDT Power Stage winners will receive a voucher for $200 off a set of 4 Pirelli Tires from Streetwise Motorsports.
First run in 1973, the High Desert Trails Rally has been a yearly event since 2008. 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. For this year’s event, more stages have been added, and the 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 2nd at Jim Charlon Ford, 269 South China Lake Boulevard. Spectator info here!
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 available here.
Thirty teams will take the challenge of the High Desert Trails this year. This event kicks off the 2014 California Rally Series Championship. Supporting rally events all over the Southwest, the CRS is celebrating its 40th season! More info – California Rally Series
Join us for some fun on the roads of the high desert!