Auto rally competitors and fans are now on the way (or will soon be on the way) to the Catskill Mountains of New York State for Rally New York USA, on April 16-17. When they arrive, they will find a revised route, a strong field of entries, and some question marks in the weather forecast.

Revised Course

Rally New York USA is unique among national-level rallies in North America because the route is entirely on paved roads. Most nationals on this continent are primarily on dirt and gravel roads, although paved courses are popular for national events in Ireland and southern Europe. RNYUSA is also one of the few North American rallies which allows “two-pass reconnaissance” (that is, competitors are allowed to drive the route before the rally at legal speeds, and are allowed to drive each road twice to prepare and check route notes).

This year’s route has many sections which the drivers have enjoyed before in the areas around Thompson, Monticello and Walton, New York. Two special stages (speed tests) are new, however, and will be run for the first time on Saturday:

John Meredith – This stage is named for the former Supervisor of the Town of Walton, who died prematurely after a short illness last Fall. Meredith is being remembered for his belief that Rally New York events were beneficial for the local community. The John Meredith special stage includes roads north of Walton which have been seen previously, but run in the opposite direction (which, as any rally driver will tell you, makes them almost completely new). This stage will feature a spectator area.

Mountain Drive – This section, south of Walton, features roads used previously, but with the direction reversed. Event chairman Ivan Orisek promises that this stage will have a little bit of everything – hills, tight turns, and fast sections. Mountain Drive will be open to viewing only by local residents and their guests.

The rally begins at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello at 3 p.m. Friday, following a display of the competing cars, and ends at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Walton at 7-8 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the start and finish are free. The route includes the popular runs through the Concord Resort and Golf Club on Friday evening and in the Walton area on Saturday, both of which charge a small entry fee. See the event web site,, for spectator maps, directions, and schedules. Spectators are asked to park only in the designated areas.

Strong Field

Fans who attend this year’s edition will find a strong field, including U.S. Rally Championship (USRC) winners, previous Rally New York winners, and some promising newcomers. Some of the noteworthy entries are (in alphabetical order by driver’s name):

Hampton Bridwell/Josh Katinger (Ford Focus SVT) – frequent class winners in the national series, and runners-up in the 2WD section of the U.S. Rally Championship in 2008.

Dan Brosnan/Shane McCann (Open Manta 400) – reigning USRC two-wheel-drive (2WD) national champions and defending Rally New York USA 2WD winners; have traded their successful Nissan for the potentially faster Opel.

Justin Carven/Aaron Crescenti (Volkswagen Rabbit diesel) – novel for running the car on vegetable oil, but don’t sell them short. Carven drove the car to fifth overall and second two-wheel-drive on the recent New York Winter Rally.

Erika Detota/Jason Smith (Subaru Impreza) – novice team who placed eighth in New York Winter Rally 2010 in their first rally.

Celsus “Charlie” Donnelly/(co-driver to be announced) (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) – Donnelly won this event in 2007, and is looking for a repeat.

Matt Gottlieb/Austin Gager (Subaru Impreza WRX) – a young team who won the 4WD Production Cup in the regional New York Rally Championship last year; looking for their break-out national finish.

Wojtek “Al” Kulpa/Adam Pelc (Volkswagen Golf GTI) – two Polish rally veterans now living in the New York City metro area, who won the 2WD category of last Fall’s International Rally New York.

Thomas Lawless/Kristin Przybysz (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – Irishman Lawless is a former USRC champ in the four-wheel-drive (4WD) category, who is coming here after winning the recent New York Winter Rally. He has also won both Rally New York USA and International Rally New York. Przybysz (pronounced PRI-bish) is a veteran co-driver from the U.S. who most often rallies with her husband Maciej.

Enda McCormack/Tommy Doyle (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – Runners-up in New York Winter Rally 2010, hoping to do even better this time.

Timothy Osterman/Joseph Sinkenvich (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) – placed fourth in New York Winter Rally 2010, their first-ever rally.

Michael Reilly/Josh Benthien (Ford Focus ZX3) – winners of the USRC 2-wheel-drive Production Cup in 2009.


Weather forecasters are predicting highs in the low 50s on Friday and Saturday, with a low of 40 degrees on Friday night. The chance of rain is 70% on Friday, but 40% on Saturday. This means some uncertainty as to the types of tires to mount and what conditions to expect on the roads. But that, as they say, is rallying.



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