It was AMAAAAZING! For the newbs…
What is Rally?
Performance Rallying is one of the world’s most challenging and popular motor sports. Unlike any other type of car racing, rally teams must face a “track” which is unknown to them, and which consists of rugged unpaved roads across terrain ranging from deserts to mountains, including sand, gravel, mud, or snow.
At the start of a Performance Rally, the co-driver (navigator) is handed route instructions with exact mileages and simple course following directions.
For a day and a night, or several days, the team’s task is to drive as fast as possible on every “racing” section with only the “transit” sections in between to repair their vehicles or relax a moment. Racing full speed on unknown dirt roads requires courage, teamwork, an incredibly tough vehicle, and a sideways-through-the-corners driving style that is thrilling to watch.
Rally cars, all street licensed and registered, are usually compact sport sedans, with the fastest being turbo-charged for extra power and all wheel drive for traction. At the national level there are five classes; two for production -based cars and trucks, and three for highly modified vehicles.
From local rally-sprints to four-day international events, rallies share the same attraction: Real cars on real roads, but driven at speeds which are difficult to believe!
How was it you ask?
This national rally event happens every year in Salem, MO. I heard about it in years past but never was able to make it. I am glad I did this year. The event is free if you are a spectator, and you are handed guides that tell you how to get to each “Spectator Area” and approximately what time the cars will be arriving.
We got there Friday evening with another couple and decided to stay in Friday night. We hit the local bar called “The Roadhouse” because the hotel told us it was the ONLY place you could get a beer with your food. Somehow I doubt that being that in order to live in Salem you would have to get drunk as often as possible to keep yourself entertained.
Anyhow… The place turned out to be pretty darn good. The steak was awesome and probably local beef, and a live band turned out doing covers and was pretty good as well. I was pleasantly surprised.
Saturday morning we shower up and hit the lobby and most of the drivers are there taking in the free breakfast. It was pretty cool to chit chat with some national drivers. We take off to the car show and check out the cars that will be competing.
You have drivers like Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra, Tanner Faust, and national teams like Subaru Team, Monster Team, NOS Team, Exedy Clutches, DC Shoes, Rockstar and even teams from Poland and other places in Europe.
From there we head out to the first spectator point. I have google maps up and we end up on some really remote back roads. A bit lost we try to backtrack and head in the correct direction according to our GPS. We are headed down some gnarly looking back roads and all of a sudden in my rear view I see rally cars hauling butt towards me! I nearly soil my pants and pull to the side quickly and let them pass. We find out that we are on the roads that is the route the rally cars are taking. We end up meeting the officials at the end of the road and they tell use to leave because we shouldnt be here. LOL
We turn around and eventually make it to the next spectator point where I get some good video and Jes got some good photos.. Jes is going to work some photoshop on them to get rid of some blur because it was so cold we were shaking, and submit a few to a contest for the best spectator photos. Photos were taken with my nikon d50 with the standard oe lens.
Whole photo album here:
Next year we may try to go down and camp because they allow camping and it seems like that would be a lot better of an avenue as far as being out near the spectator points and we can have a bon fire and etc.
If anyone is interested for next year let me know! Even if you arent a big rally fan, or car fan, its still pretty sweet to see this event. Plus its free.