After a successful return to action last July, rally is back once again in the state of Colorado, as the Rally America National Championship returns to the Centennial State this weekend. Rally Colorado serves as the fifth of nine events in the 2018 season, taking over the town of Rangely for two full days of race action on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21.
Rally America last hit the stages in May with the second annual Southern Ohio Forest Rally, won by the Fetela Rally Team as Piotr Fetela and Dominik Jozwiak took their second victory in a row. O.D.D. Racing’s Cameron Steely and Preston Osborn would take second overall, winning the Super Production class, while defending Rally Colorado winners Dave and Mike Brown placed third and maintained the overall points lead.
However, the biggest story coming into the event is the addition of UTVs to a Rally America event for the first time. Rhys Millen and Stephan Verdier, world-renowned drifting and stunt racers and former Global Rallycross teammates, have each entered the event in the new class in Polaris vehicles, teaming up with co-drivers JR Hartley and Hudson Hall, respectively. A pair of Can-Am vehicles will also be represented in the new class, as Rory Gardiner/Steven Harrell and Tadd Rigsby will also enter the event.
Colorado is one of the most popular states for Rally America competitors, as Steely/Osborn and Brown/Brown are among those who call Colorado home. The event has also attracted a number of locally based competitors, including former Rally America National Champion Scott Crouch’s return to the stages with Flatirons Subaru, just a month after setting a personal best at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Crouch will team with Lea Croteau in a deep Super Production field.
A number of last year’s strongest competitors will be returning to action this year. Steve Bis and Scott McCarty, who posted the fastest times on two stages last year and placed third overall, join the Open Light class this weekend. Adam Short and Danny Norkus, who topped the National Limited Open class last year after winning Stage 11, move up to Super Production in 2018. And James Koch and Abby French, also stage winners in 2017, will provide competition for Fetela/Jozwiak in the Open class.
The entirety of last year’s Rally Colorado logbook remains intact for 2018, with six stages on each day for a total of 12 overall. All but two of the stages in the event will top 10 miles in length; the outlier is CR 100 E/W‚ which serves as Stages 7 and 10, at only 4.01 miles. Six different crews won stages last year, with Stage 6 having been called off.
Rally Colorado will kick off at 11:00AM local time on Friday with the first car out for day one of the national event and the regional Prospectors Run Rally. Competitors will also start at 11:00AM local time for Saturday’s day two of the national event and the regional Blazin Saddles Rally. Stay tuned to the Rally America website and social media channels for live updates throughout the event.