40 years ago the High Desert Trails Rally took participants on a 12 hour long journey down to Mojave, all the way up to Lake Isabella, and back to Ridgecrest on dirt roads and trails. In the beautiful flowing desert scenery of the area, stage rallying grew in Southern California much like it did all over the world, first with Time Speed Distance (TSD) events and then endurance rallies covering hundreds of miles. Closed road “specials” were soon followed by performance stage rallies necessitating roll cages and safety equipment. Route following and map reading gave rise to pace notes, and by the 21st century computer generated stage notes, but the challenge of High Desert Trails remains the same: flat out racing in one of the toughest motorsports in the world.
Just as it was true in 1973: “Those looking to take up the challenge will need both a good driver and good navigator. You will need an accurate odometer and protective underpinning is strongly recommended.” Rallying on the gorgeous roads of Kern County, the 2013 High Desert Trails Rally will be held on Saturday May 4th. This coefficient 3 (65+ mile) one day event maximizes new competitor fun while remaining a great challenge for experienced teams. Keeping with this theme, we are a blind rally with no reconnaissance, the exact route and stages will not be disclosed to the competitors until the organizer provided stage notes hit co-drivers hands.
High Desert Trails was often an early test for championship events, or it was part of a National Championship schedule. This year we are excited to be a qualifying round for the new NASA Rally Sport National Championship and the first round in the NASA Rally Sport Pacific Cup! Podium spots in 2WD and 4WD will qualify competitors for the National Championship event to be held at this years Prescott Rally.
A first for USA rally in 2012, the High Desert Trails Power Stage drove the excitement all the way to the finish. This year the Power Stage returns as not only a great challenge that will be rewarded with champagne and bragging rights, but as a qualifier for the National Championship. Fastest 2WD and fastest 4WD competitor here will also instantly qualify for a spot to contest the title of National Champion!
The 40th Anniversary Celebration continues on Sunday at the Empire Fair Grounds, where it all began, with a rallycross event! Volunteers will be rewarded with a big discount for helping out the rally if they sign up to compete, and rally competitors are encouraged to attend for fans and friends!
For the fifth consecutive year, Streetwise Motorsports is pleased to support the High Desert Trails Rally. Streetwise offers rally car preparation rental, service, and parts including Bilstein Motorsports Struts. They have over twenty years of experience racing and knows what it takes to win rallies and championships!
HDT is round 1 of the California Rally Series Championship for 2013. As the premiere rally series in the southwest, and one of the biggest regional championships in the country, the California Rally Series provides an exciting, well run championship for competitors, plus support, equipment, and volunteers for the rally. High Desert Trails is proud to be sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport. NRS focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools to the racers, organizers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is one of the core missions of the organization.
Please join us in the beautiful high desert!