Rally America returns to Portland with the annual Oregon Trail Rally.
Rally Racing has become increasingly popular in the United States with drivers like Ken Block and David Higgins in the past few years and makes an annual appearance in Oregon.
“The sport of rally has a long history in the Northwest,” according the Lance Smith, owner of Vermont SportsCar, “These are considered some of the best roads in America to rally on.”
Rally racing is considered to be one of the more technical forms of automotive racing.
Drivers must rely on pace notes from their co-drivers who sit in the passenger seat directing them through the course while racing against the clock.
“Rally is a sport where it is not like a race,” says Smith, “It is people driving around a corner only once and not the same corner a thousand times. So there’s a lot of unexpected occurrences during a rally. It’s really the best average for the driver. He is trying to get every corner the best he can, the most precise he can.”
Drivers rely on trust, instinct, skill, the cars and their mechanics to safely cross the finish of each stage in rally racing.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” says Seth Alarie, technician for the Subaru Rally Team, “I’ve always been a Subaru fan - that seems to be where they shine. But you have [cars] sliding around on asphalt, hard launches, acceleration, corners, top speed, dirt, jumps, all kinds of weather… It’s every form of racing rolled into one.”
The Oregon Trail Rally continues throughout the weekend south of The Dalles and Hood River. For more information see oregontrailrally.com/spectators.