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!