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We’re coming up on a huge weekend in action motorsports, with not only two of America’s most compelling off-road truck series returning to competition, but also one of its major rally series. Check out everything you need to know about the latest major off-road event to take place in Minnesota this year:
What’s going on this weekend in rally?
The American Rally Association schedule rolls on with this weekend’s Muscatell Ojibwe Forests Rally, the fifth of seven rounds on the 2018 ARA schedule. A former TSD rally (all about hitting checkpoints at precise times), the event was established in 1980 and made the switch to a full-on stage rally (best time wins) in 1986. With the second half of the season upon us, we’re reaching crunch time for the sport’s top competitors as they chase the second ARA championship.
What do we know about the stages at Ojibwe?
15 stages make up the Ojibwe Forests Rally route, kicking off on Friday and ending on Saturday with the Fairgrounds Super Special stage in Detroit Lakes. There are a number of spectator stages on the route, including the Red Bull jump on SS4 and SS7, and six of the eight stages on Saturday. For more information, the spectator guide can be downloaded here.
How about the biggest names on the entry list?
Five-time Ojibwe winner (including last year’s rally) and defending series champion Travis Pastrana, coming off of his ARA season debut at last month’s New England Forest Rally, will partner with Robbie Durant to join points leaders David Higgins/Craig Drew at Subaru Rally Team USA. Higgins’ 67 points have him 16 ahead of Jeff Seehorn for this year’s driver’s championship.
But perhaps the most interesting driver to join them in the Open 4WD class is longtime World Rally Championship driver Bryan Bouffier, who will pair with Florian Barral to drive for the GreenApu team. The #198 Mitsubishi Mirage they’ll be driving won last year’s Rally America National Championship with driver Art Gruszka.
Which other classes have deep competitor rosters?
The Limited 4WD class may be the most compelling in ARA, as Seehorn/Karen Jankowski lead the class and sit second in overall series points and Sam Albert/Michelle Miller are third. Travis Nease, fourth in driver points, will welcome Melissa Sherowski to the co-driver’s seat, while Nick Roberts will make his return to racing alongside Scott Putnam in the familiar CPD Racing Subaru.
Open 2WD might give them quite a fight in terms of talent, though, as class leaders Erik Potts/Claudia Barbera-Pullen are joined by fan favorites Seamus Burke/Martin Brady, Keanna Erickson-Chang/Rhianon Gelsomino, and Honda’s factory outfit with Colin Robinson/Ricardo Gonzalez.
Where does the ARA season go from here?
The second annual ARA championship finishes with two more rounds: September 15-16’s Idaho Rally, based in Boise, and October 6-7’s Tour de Forest in Washington.