The Catskill Mountain region of New York State has everything that auto rally competitors are seeking: challenging country roads, hotel and restaurant accommodations, and beautiful scenery to serve as a backdrop for the sport. And on September 6-8, the teams and cars of the U.S. Rally Championship will be there to enjoy the area’s roads and hospitality in International Rally New York.
The rally will be based in Ellenville for the first time this year, and the village will also host the official start on Canal Street on the evening of Thursday, September 6. “It couldn’t be a more picturesque spot with the mountains in the background,” says Village Manager Elliott Auebach. “We’re excited to be hosting the start in the village. We see this as a boon to the economic development in our downtown area and a boon to tourism. We look forward to this being an annual event.”
On the morning of Friday the 7th, competitors will begin driving the Catskill roads. The day will feature special stages (races against the clock) on smooth, paved roads near Ellenville, Wawarsing and Monticello, all of which are new to this event. Event chairman Ivan Orisek describes these as “mostly tight, with occasional fast sections.” (Note: Special stages are closed to non-rally traffic while in use by competitors. On the roads linking these sections, called transit zones, rally drivers must obey all traffic regulations.)
For those who want to watch, the rally organizers will set up spectator points on Friday afternoon in Wawarsing, and on Friday evening at the Concord Resort and Golf Club in Monticello. (Consult the event web site, www.rallynewyork.com, for directions, times and prices.) Viewing at the Concord Resort should be a highlight of the rally, as the resort owners and rally organizing team will set up what they describe as “a spectacular amphitheater-like spectator area, where you can sit on the side of the hill and watch rally cars passing over a long section of the special stage in both directions.” Fans will also be able to watch the teams service their cars nearby. (Note: For safety, fans will not be allowed to watch the rally outside of designated spectator points.)
On Saturday the 8th, rally competitors will tour the roads of Ulster and Sullivan Counties. The special stages will be on dirt and gravel roads near Narrowsburg and Wawarsing. The Narrowsburg sections, are generally winding, one-lane roads, many of which have been re-graded in time for this event. Those in Wawarsing are winding, smooth-surfaced roads, and are being used in the rally for the first time.
A spectator point will be set up on Saturday on the grounds of the Ten Mile River Reservation in Narrowsburg, and once again the service park will be nearby.
The ceremonial finish will be back in scenic Ellenville on Saturday evening.
If you are a car fan, a sports fan, or a Catskill fan, this will be an event to attend.
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