First of all, I must admit that I’m not the best at following the local/regional rally competitors here in the Pacific Northwest. That will change this year though with the new Cascadia International Rally Championship having their first event at the Oregon Trail Rally. As Dave Henderson of Suspect Motorsports told us in our interview a few weeks ago in podcast Episode 226 , the Cascadia IRC is a new “Championship within Championships” designed for regional teams in the Pacific Northwest to compete beyond just single events. This means some teams will be focusing beyond the “one and done”, and instead start thinking about managing their pace over the course of several events to achieve the Cascadia crown.
The challenge with a regional championship of this type is combining the rules of multiple championships. The Cascadia IRC includes the Oregon Trail event sanctioned by Rally America, Olympus and the Idaho Rally which are NASA Rally Sport events, as well as the two western rounds of the Canadian Rally Championship. It took some work to even out the classifications, but in the end they came up with the following classes:
Open 4wd: Consists of any turbo 4wd vehicle and vehicles with engines larger than 2.65 liters
Lite 4wd: Consists of normally aspirated 4wd cars with engines under 2.65 liters
Open 2wd: Consists of any turbo 2wd cars and those with engines larger than 2.25 liters
Lite 2wd: Consists of normally aspirated 2wd cars with engines under 2.25 liters
Technically this means a full WRC spec car would still fit into the Open 4wd category and would could dominate the CIRC. In reality though, most of the top regional cars are closest to what Rally America calls Super Production.
So who’s going to win? Here’s where I have to sadly admit my lack of knowledge. What I do know is that David Sterckx who is also entered into the CIRC is an easy pick as he’s also a contender for the Super Production win as well. Dave Henderson is also a good candidate to make the CIRC Open 4wd podium as well as the national podium. Mike Goodwin is another top contender as he finished 3rd in Super Production at Oregon Trail last year behind Henderson. Mike had a very close battle last year with Evan Cline that came down to the wire with Goodwin coming out on top. Also don’t count out professional Mountain Bike racer Carl Decker who has also consistently been at the sharp end. Decker isn’t showing as entered in the CIRC, but is usually a good regional racer for Oregon Trail. I’m quite interested to see how the battle goes between Dylan Hooker and Phil Meyers who are both in 1988 Mazda GTXs. Phil was doing well last year until his rear differential broke at the end of the Clausen stage. Dylan on the other hand was driving the ADV car and wasn’t competing. We always appreciate Dylan’s work in helping organize the rally, but also like seeing him behind the wheel driving in anger! I suspect it is going to be a heck of a battle in the Open 4wd class with ten CIRC entrants being shown and all of them capable of making the podium.
There are 9 entries the in Light 4wd class (aka Open Light in Rally America speak) for the regional rally, but only Michael Dorski, Kristen Tabor, and Daniel Rockrohr are entered in the CIRC at the time of this writing. Historically Kristen Tabor has finished very well on OTR’s stages, but I’ve been hearing rumor to watch Daniel Rockrohr. I’ll dig into more details of this Light 4wd competition when I head out to PIR tonight.
Open 2wd (Group 5 in Rally America) only has 5 entries, of which 3 are looking for points in the CIRC. This one will mostly be a battle between Bryan Watson’s Turbo Rabbit and Dustin Embry’s RWD Corolla. The Rabbit has the speed advantage, so long as they can keep it on the road. Also entered in the CIRC Open 2wd is Judd and Kathy Hardy’s “Fickle Bitch” Volvo 242. It might not be the fastest car of the bunch, but their livery is down right awesome! Also one to watch in the regional entries, but not entered in the CIRC is David Hintz in his monster BMW M3. He’ll steal the show by the sound of that beautiful motor alone if he doesn’t take the regional Rally America win.
Finally in Light 2WD (Group 2 in Rally America), I must admit that I honestly don’t know who to pick for regional. There are 12 regional entries of which 3 are setup for CIRC points. My personal favorites are Garth Ankeny in the 1969 Saab 96 and Jason Lightner (who isn’t in the CIRC) in his 1976 Porsche 912. If nothing else, for nostalgia’s sake.
I’ll try and get more of the scoop on these regional competitors over the weekend. Until then, follow me on Twitter @oregonwings and Openpaddock on Facebook.