The Rim of the World rally, which has run annually in the Antelope Valley since 1976, will skip the 2008 schedule, according to the event’s organizing committee.

Citing a combination of the loss of its title sponsor, the rising price of fuel, and the recent regional wild fires, rally chairman Ray Hocker and his committee decided it would be best to use the year to regroup, ensuring the rally’s strong organization for the future.

“When Subaru of America’s regional office lost their budget to sponsor local events, we lost our ability to use the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds as our headquarters, and the recent fires took away some of the forest roads we were hoping to use for the ’08 event. Add the rising cost of fuel reducing the number of competitors that can afford to tow their cars to the West Coast, and we did not think we could run an event that meets our high standards,” said Hocker, a Ridgecrest resident who has been involved with the event since its inception.

Hocker said the organizing committee will spend the year finding a new event sponsor and new venues for the competitors, and hope to run the rally again in the future. As a stakeholder in the United States Rally Championship series, Hocker will also spend his time helping to strengthen the entire USRC national schedule.

John Lindsey, chief divisional director for the National Auto Sports Association (NASA), sanctioning body for Rim of the World, share’s Hocker’s long-term vision for Rim.

“While I am very sorry to hear that Rim won’t be on the calendar for 2008, I’m sure that the event and the Rim team will make a triumphant return soon to continue the legacy of an event that has been a cornerstone of the sport in the United States for thirty year,” said Lindsey.

In the Rim of the World Rally, the cars race one-at-a-time against the clock on closed desert roads – each time trial is called a stage – in the Antelope Valley region, with the cars recording the lowest total elapsed time at the end of the event being the winners in each class. The co-driver, who sits in the passenger seat, has stage notes which guide the team through the course turn-by-turn, and has a rally computer to aid him or her by keeping track of mileage intervals and elapsed time. The driver will go as fast as he or she can – no speed limits – with coaching from the co-driver describing the road configuration ahead.

The drivers meet their crew at service areas every couple of stages for service on the cars, and drivers must obey all local traffic regulations when their cars are not actually driving on the closed stage road. Unlike traditional racetrack driving, where repetition on the same course can lead to the “best line” or “best setup” for each corner, rally drivers must react to blind conditions at racetrack speed.

Many of the teams who race at Rim will continue to compete at The Gorman Ridge Rally, which will be held on August 15 – 17, 2008 in Gorman, Calif., just 40 minutes north of the Los Angeles area. The organizers will use the Hungry Valley Off-Road-Vehicle Park and are working on obtaining permission for a couple of other stages in the area. The Gorman Ridge Rally will count as a 100% event toward the USRC championship, which will announce its national schedule shortly.

News updates on the status of future Rim of the World events will be posted on www.rimoftheworldrally.com.

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