Rally America released an announcement yesterday stating that due to the drought much of the country has experienced this summer, spectator access to the Olympus Rally, final round in the Rally America National Championship, will be limited to the Super Special. No spectators will be permitted on the stages, and many of the afternoon stages have been cancelled or rescheduled. This is a very late change to the schedule, and certainly not one welcomed by fans and I can’t imagine that event and series officials are pleased about it either. I understand the concerns of the land owners, and the fire risk is certainly very serious, but I will say that I’m disappointed in how late this change came about. It’s not as if the dry conditions snuck up on the land owners just this week. If this decision needs to be made, then it should have been made long ago before travel plans were made and hotel rooms booked. Here’s the official press release from Rally America.
LACK OF RAIN AFFECTS OLYMPUS RALLY SCHEDULE AND FAN ACCESS
Threat of forest fire limits access to roads used for rally to cooler periods of the day.
Williston, VT (September 14, 2012) — With the Olympus Rally set for September 22-23rd a lack of rain over the last few weeks in the Olympia, WA area has forced Olympus Rally organizers to alter the event due to an increased forest fire threat issued by landowners. To protect against forest fires landowners are requiring that no recreational activities take place during the hottest part of the day.
As a result, event organizers are happy to report that the 23rd running of the Olympus Rally will continue despite an increased fire danger level. Unfortunately, the agreement also closes the land to public use and as a result, organizers have had to cancel on-stage spectator viewing locations for both Saturday and Sunday.
Fans can still attend the Super Special that will take place at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, WA on Saturday evening at 6:40pm. A Super Special Stage allows fans to watch the racing action from start to finish from a single viewing location. It’s a great opportunity to watch the competition and meet the drivers in the service area. The Ridge Motorsports Park is a new road course facility located at 1060 Eells Hill Rd, Shelton, WA – the fee for access to The Ridge Motorsports Park on Saturday will be just $10 per car load.
In addition, the Olympus Rally event schedule has been changed to support the land closure. The most visible change will be the cancellation of both the Olympia Capitol grounds Parc Expose on Saturday morning as well as The Ridge Motorsports Park Parc Expose on Sunday morning – both activities have been cancelled to allow the rally to start earlier. A complete schedule will be available soon on www.rally-america.com.
The Olympus Rally is the sixth and final event of the Rally America National Championship and is slated to attract 78 rally teams to the Olympia, WA – the largest field of teams ever entered in a Rally America event. This year’s Olympus Rally will feature some of the top rally teams in all of North America including Subaru Rally Team (which recently won the Rally America National Championship), Monster World Rally Team with Gymkhana legend Ken Block and the Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team with 2010 Rally America National Champion Antoine Le’Estage.
The Olympus Rally organizers appreciate the understanding from rally fans and sponsors and hope spectators will respect the landowner’s wishes.
One Thought to “Rally – Risk of Forest Fire Shut Fans Out of Olympus Rally”
So very unfortunate. I’m sure they delayed in hopes of some rain, but they could have prepared better. It is an extremely rare event in the Pacific NW when we actually hope for rain. What frustrates me the most is that I’m sure they could have worked with a local fire department to make sure water and extinguishers were available to marshalls at each spectator stage and tell people nothing burning allowed…which means no smoking, no barbecues etc. Sure it might not be quite as fun as having the big tail-gate type cook-out party in between stages. But if I’m hungry, I can pack a fricken sandwich.
It could have been easy…just make sure you have a few extra marshalls at the spectator areas along with tools to put out any potential fires. I’m still planning on going up there, but might go later in the day and catch that super-special which will be the only racing to actually see anyway. Still super bummed though. 🙁
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