Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, the Mt. Hood Rally based in Hood River, Oregon will be buzzing with over 30 Rally teams on October 22nd vying for honors in the Pacific Northwest Rally Championship and the 2012 Rally America Northwest Region Championship. The Mt. Hood Rally is packed with Pacific Northwest rally team fan favorites and the entrance of one notable international competitor.

Two-time Belgian Rally Champion, David Sterckx from Los Angeles, CA along with co-driver Karen Jankowski from San Diego, CA are busy preparing for a full 2012 Rally America National Championship. As part of their preparation, the Sterckx Rally Sport Team have competed in two North American events so far and recently added the Mt. Hood Rally for their third. Driving an Open Class Mitsubishi EVO 6 transported from Europe the team has experienced clutch problems but figures to increase their reliability at Mt. Hood and become the favorites to win the event overall.

However, Sterckx will face fierce Pacific Northwest competition as many teams are already familiar with the Mt. Hood Rally roads and treacherous conditions.

Last year’s Mt. Hood Rally top two finishers, Byron Garth and Carl Decker, hail from Bend, OR and were separated by only 4 seconds at the end of the rally.. Garth took the overall win, but it was not an easy feat. Decker, along with co-driver Adam Craig, also from Bend, OR, are experienced competitors who have won both regional Rallies at the 2011 Oregon Trail Rally in May. Decker has also competed at the top levels of the sport being a competitor at X Games 16 in Los Angeles in 2010. Garth looks to repeat his success this year with a new experienced co-driver, Jason Grahn from Seattle, WA.

Mark Fox from Salem, OR will also be a team to watch out for. Driving a highly prepared 2007 Subaru WRX Impreza STI, Fox is the 2009 Rally America Jeff Moyle Rookie of the Year and has always set a blistering pace. He placed 11th overall at the Oregon Trail Rally this past May and will figure to be an instant podium challenger at this event as well.

In the Two-Wheel Drive Class a good battle is expected between George Doganis from Lakeside, CA and Seattle, WA favorite, Adam Crane. Both are known to squeeze the most out of their 2WD machines. Doganis and co-driver, Thomas Smith, are the 2010 and 2011 Southwest Regional Rally America Group 2 Champions and are currently leading the Group 2 Class in the Bilstein Southwest Rally Cup Series.

Many more perennial local driver favorites will be attending the Mt. Hood Rally to close out the year. Please visit rally-america.com/events/2011/MTHOOD/entries/ to see the complete list of teams.

Rally America will return to sanctioning the Mt. Hood Rally which will have over 50 miles of competition stage roads. Mt. Hood has a storied performance rally past and known for being a clubman event in one of the most picturesque regions of the Northwest. Teams can expect extremely damp conditions influenced by a looming Mt. Hood and the wide Columbia River. The technical gravel roads are known to be fast, smooth and flowing, and when combined with plenty of elevation changes will be a challenging and thrilling ride for many of the teams.

Please visit www.mthoodrally.com if you would like to volunteer for the event. Event organizers are always looking for road marshals and control volunteers to help with the operation of the event.

Photo: Aaron Kathman/WorldRallySport



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