The longest running rally in the Southwest just hit another milestone – it will include SxS (side-by-side) UTVs in competition. A test of harnessing the expanding UTV market, two classes will be offered alongside the existing rally car/truck classes:
SxS Production (1000cc limit, modified)
SxS Turbo (1000cc limit, modified/turbocharged)
Why include SxS in a rally? “This area of competition is exploding,” said co-organizer Brian Hamblin. “These vehicles have a lot in common with our rally cars and it could be an exciting new challenge for these teams. Hungry Valley SVRA has been a fantastic partner to our event, and given that the park is a popular area for recreational SxS use, logistically it was a perfect fit.”
The decision on rules and classes was influenced by input from SxS veteran competitors and vendors of competition parts based out of Bakersfield, which is only 45 miles from the event. Their advice was “K.I.S.S.” – keep it simple – minimize the number of classes for the best success in the first year.
This is not the first time a rally event has included vehicles other than cars. “NASA Rally Sport was smart in exploring other opportunities with RallyMoto a few years ago, which allowed riders of dual sport bikes a competition environment they seldom found with other events.” Hamblin continued, “The Idaho Rally has been including SxS UTVs for the past several years. The competition has been strong and we’ve even seen some cross-pollination, with rally drivers coming back in subsequent years in UTVs, and SxS drivers coming back in rally cars.” The path had been laid and the audience is there.
SxS entries in the Gorman Ridge Rally are not part of a championship at the moment, but that may change. Hamblin, who is also the Director of the California Rally Series, noted “There is a lot of interest for next year. The Gorman organizing committee also runs the Frazier Mountain Rally and we’ve already had some discussions about including SxS UTVs in both events. Other events are keeping a close eye on what we’re doing, so 2017 may see a new type of competition.”
The Gorman Ridge Rally takes place in Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area on Saturday, August 20, 2016. The event was established in 1979 and is the longest consecutively-running rally in the Southwest.
The Event Supplemental Regulations and the SxS UTV Addendum have been published, links below.
#909 Derek Thomas @ 2016 Idaho Rally by Richard Smith
#166 Cain Smead @ 2016 Idaho Rally by Richard Smith
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About stage, performance rally:
Stage rallying, or rally racing, is often defined as “real cars, on real roads, going real fast.” It is a form of auto racing that takes place on closed public or private roads in modified production or specially built road-legal vehicles. A co-driver, or navigator, has a set of incremental instructions he or she reads to the driver. Teams follow a point-to-point format of stages that make up the rally, leaving the start of each stage at regular intervals. Victory is claimed, using a combination of skill and speed, to the team who finished with the lowest overall time. Competitors are divided into classes based on factors such as power train and engine size. However, it is more than just the team and their cars—it is a family, a community of many dedicated people work together. Rally involves competitors, service crews and volunteer workers.
About NASA Rally Sport: http://www.nasarallysport.com
NASA Rally Sport is a sanctioning body dedicated solely to stage rallying in the United States that provides a customer-driven organization offering safe, fair competition. It provides affordable events for competitors, volunteers, organizers and sponsors. Its goal is to keep fees as low as possible; in turn, cost is kept down for organizers and competitors alike. Its focus is on the sportsman-level competitor working with each organizer to help them put on great events for the grassroots racers that are the backbone of this sport.
About the California Rally Series: http://californiarallyseries.com/
The CRS is the performance rally championship in the southwestern United States. The Series incorporates events from various sanctioning bodies in order to create a meaningful regional championship for its members. The Series celebrates more than 40 continuous years of performance rally, making it the longest running rally series in the United States. To learn more about the California Rally Series visit www.californiarallyseries.com and follow @crspress on twitter.