Thursday, August 25, 2016

California’s Tough Gorman Ridge Rally

As the oldest consecutively running rally in California, the Gorman Ridge Rally is also the toughest rally in the United States. All sixteen stages are run on a single day in Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area around the small town of Lebec, in grasslands north of Los Angeles city limits. Stages are run on narrow roads of shifting sand and packed… sand, with high berms, twisting turns, loose rocks, and unexpected washes. The last four stages with the famous jump are run on the “Cliffs of Gorman” as the sun sets. The final two stages are in complete darkness save for the stars above, and nerve-wracking even for the most seasoned driver and co-driver.


For the first time this year, SxS UTVs were allowed to enter in two classes – SxS Production (1000cc limit, modified), and SxS Turbo (1000cc limit, modified/turbocharged). The teams consist of a driver and co-driver, just like the rally cars and trucks. Originally three teams entered, but ultimately only one made it to the rally. Still, not bad for the first year. Because the UTVs aren’t road-legal, the team had to take alternate trail routes to transit from stage to stage and stage to service.


With 28 total entries, there was a a deep enough field for some hearty competition between the experienced teams, and a healthy batch of newer teams and first-timers. The race of attrition started early with four teams out of competition after the firth stage of the Condor Stages, including Toyota’s RAV4 team of Ryan Millen Christina Fate. The Cliffs of Gorman stages dashed the hopes of four more teams, including Stephen Benson and Nicolas Renold. They had a great position starting third, but suffered from three strikes: on the fourth and fifth stages had a fuse issue and then an off, respectively. They got back on track timing-wise, but then ultimately suffered complete electrical failure on Stage 14 and were towed off by the sweep.



The UTV Team Cain Smead and Michael Henderson, competing in a Yamaha YXZ 1000R, finished the rally with a time of 1:20.72 – fourth overall. When all stages were completed, the class winners pulled in front of the Holiday Inn in Lebec. After the champagne spray and all of the awards, everyone who was still awake headed out to the dirt lot across the street for for the afterparty. Overall winners:

1. Kris Psara/Andres Bautista 1:15.78

2. Jason Copt/Cameron Megan 1:16.31

3. John Coyne/Douglas Nagy 1:18.36

Complete overall results (from and gallery:

Driver /
Car Total
1 41   Kris Psara / subaru sti 1:15.78 1   AWD
  Andres Bautista 0.53
2 142   Jason Copt / Subaru Impreza WRX 1:16.31 2   AWD
  Cameron Meng 2.05
3 76   John Coyne / Subaru Impreza 1:18.36 3   AWD
  Douglas Nagy 2.36
4 166   Cain Smead / Yamaha YXZ1000R 1:20.72 1   Pro Prod
  Michael Henderson 1.05
5 474   Cem Akdeniz / Subaru Impreza 1:21.77 4   AWD
  Sean McElwain 0.94
6 102   Kurt Smith / Subaru Impreza 1:22.71 5   AWD
  Steven Snyder 0.80
7 31   Michel Hoche-Mong / Volkswagen Golf GT 1:23.51 1   2WD
  Marie Boyd 0.51
8 769   Andrew Cowan / Volkswagon Jetta 1:24.02 2   2WD
  Ryan Dunham 0.92
9 247   Michael Seidman / Subaru Impreza 2.5 1:24.94 6   AWD
  Thomas Luhrs 0.03
10 768   Eric Poth / Subaru WRX 1:24.97 7   AWD
  Brent Blakely 0.29
11 15   Chuck Wilson / Subaru WRX STI 1:25.26 8   AWD
  Rick Wilson 0.86
12 256   Javier Olivares / Ford Escort 1:26.12 3   2WD
  Brock Heinz 1.11
13 606   Matt Shinnors / Toyota Corrolla 1:27.23 4   2WD
  Catherine Levis 1.13
14 88   Jesse Babbitz / Subaru WRX 1:28.36 9   AWD
  John Dillon 1.92
15 808   Richard Burden / Volkswagen Golf 1:30.28 5   2WD
  Christopher Fine 3.38
16 519   Christian Arboleda / Mitsubishi EVO X 1:33.66 10   AWD
  Jonathan Correa 3.14
17 405   Susanne Waite / Subaru WRX STI 1:36.80 11   AWD
  Trent Bateman 8.17
18 272   Ethan Williams / Ford Focus 1:44.97 6   2WD
  Gleb Serbin 6.28
19 313   Kurt Northrop / Subaru Impreza 1:51.25 12   AWD
  Will Smith 14.18
20 258   Brian Tullio / BMW 318i 2:05.43 7   2WD
  Nicholas Roder 34.04
21 302   Daniel Gonzalez / Volkswagen Golf GT 2:39.47 8   2WD
  Stella Espinoza
11   Bret Robinson / Volkswagen Golf DNF   2WD
  Christine Marciniak
312   Stephen Benson / Subaru Impreza RB2 DNF   AWD
  Nicolas Renold
773   Markus Saarinen / Ford Focus DNF   2WD
  Alicia Saarinen
99   Ryan Millen / Toyota RAV4 SE DNF   2WD
  Christina Fate
301   Tony Chavez / Volkswagen Golf GT DNF   2WD
  Raquel Salas
695   Larry Gross / Toyota Corolla DNF   2WD
  Lance Gross
792   Alejandro Perusina / Subaru Impreza RS DNF   AWD
  Synnove Wise
P8200003 A8200013 P8200016 P8200039 P8200044 A8200025 A8200029 A8200044 A8200033 P8200068 P8200234 P8200085 P8200101 A8200053 P8200210 P8200247 P8200260 P8200265-cropped P8200382 P8200474 P8200565 A8200107 A8200109 P8200616 P8200625 P8200632 P8200664 P8200820 P8200762 P8200785 P8200852 A8210160 A8210168 A8210161 A8210172 A8210165

from The Garage
from Tumblr

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