This weekend 21 teams will race on roads that were first scouted for competition like this 40 years ago. Just Southwest of Ridgecrest, California, the beautiful roads of Kern County stretch for miles up into the Sequoia National Forest. Competitors love the fast flowing stages and the challenge that this compact, regional event offers. May 4th, 2013 marks HDT’s 40th Anniversary and the very first west coast NASA Rally Sport National Rally Championship (NNRC) qualifying event, along with the first event of the California Rally Series (CRS) Championship for 2013.
Jon Burke has not had the best of luck at HDT, but this year he’s out to change that in a big way. Jon and his Co-driver Tom Morningstar are the top seeded team with their Subaru WRX. They have the experience and the drive to bring home the win, but it won’t be easy. Fighting for that top spot will be Vartan Samuelian and Laurence Babahekian in the equally capable Mitsubishi Evo. Scott Crouch (pictured) returns to HDT, this year with his daughter Elizabeth as Co-Driver, to try again after his engine problems in 2012 with the Subaru Impreza WRX. Don’t be surprised to see a Honda Civic driven by Pete Pollard and Marie Boyd also mixing times with the AWD turbo cars.
Other wildcards this year are two teams that haven’t been on the stages for some time, but should absolutely not be taken for granted. Coincidentally, both teams won their respective class in the 2006 California Rally Series Championship! Marvin Ronquillo and John Burke return to rallying in their Subaru Impreza WRX, along with Jeff Rados and Guido Hamacher who have chosen High Desert Trails for their return in their Ford Ranger.
Other teams to watch come from the new CRS Open Light class: Ray Piloto and Tyler Deal, Michael McCanna and David Moss will both campaign Subaru Imprezas for their first time at HDT. Michael Carnes are Reza Yazdani are back with their tried and tested Audi 4000CS in this new class.
The stages will be a little more technical this year and this just might give the edge to the 2WD teams. Tony Chavez and Raquel Salas will be pushing their VW Golf hard against some other familliar VW’s: Erik Christiansen and Amy Floyd will start their 4th HDT in their yellow Golf GTI, along with Bret and Doug Robinson, who are sure to push their speed factor in their freshly prepared Volkswagen. Speaking of freshly prepared: Chris and Victora Rosner have some new engine modifications to test on our stages. Look for a Pink Geo Metro to blur some photographs this weekend!
One of the reasons to push for a top time is the High Desert Trails Power Stage! This is an as fast as it goes, flat out, race for cash – on the 14 mile long final stage of HDT. This year drivers in both 2WD and 4WD are also eligible to instantly qualify for the NNRC final event if they win the Power Stage. Will drivers go for championship points in the CRS, taking it easy and cruising to the finish, or go flat out to win the High Desert Trails Power Stage?
Stages are set and the cars are ready to make history at the 2013 High Desert Trails!