If you rally in the Northwest, you’re likely to know the name Cody Crane. Whether you’re a competitor, or a spectator more than likely, you’re a fan of his crazy green Honda CRX and his insane driving style. Meeting Cody Crane, you’d never guess he’s the one who peddles that rally car so hard when you come across a soft-spoken shy guy who doesn’t say much but he lets his driving do the talking. Oregon Trail 2012 was not supposed to have Mr. Crane racing. The CRX was still on jack stands heavily damaged from the 2011 Global Rally Cross Event in Snoqualmie, Washington. A fateful post of a half-way joke on Facebook led to an outpour of support of local friends and rally enthusiasts to get him to PIR for Friday at the very least. It was so inspiring with a little less than a week to the event Cody worked day and night to patch the Honda up for the Oregon Trail Rally with Matt Weaver, usually a driver, lending a hand as co-driver for Friday’s event as well as throwing in a set of new rubber on the CRX.

With days left until the event, people began to question why Cody was only racing Friday if Oregon Trail was essentially his home event, and specifically the Fir Mountain Stage was one that Cody often dominated in his class with impressive overall times. Another uproar of support was stirring, and fans and competitors felt the need to get Cody there.

Friday’s event was not only a chance to get a little frustration of a year without racing and two years without stage rally out the system, but a frantic scramble to raise the money for the rest of the event. With complications in times and the need to just race Cody was unaware he even won 1st place in the regional Group 2 on Day 1, with little to no problems with the car. By the end of the night, with a dozen hand shakes and a million thank you’s, competitors made it aware that they wanted Cody in and they were not going to stop until they made it happen. With a borrowed trailer and little sleep Cody arrived in The Dalles for Day 2 at 1:40 am and tried to get a little sleep for the long unprepared rally to come. Help from the Dirty Drifters Rebecca Ruston as his co-driver allowed Cody to continue on.

Day 2 of the Oregon Trail Rally proved difficult for many teams including Cody, who suffered two punctures and a cracked transmission case on Stage 6, the infamous Ketchum stage. The stage was riddled with sharp boulders protruding out of the ground, which made their mark on the Honda. Competitor Brian Gottlieb couldn’t even assist Cody out of the soft dirt on the side of the road, four miles from the flying finish.

After hours of attempting with assistance from the sweep crew Cody limped the Honda back to the service area calling it a day for the CRX.

As most people who are aware of the events that went on for the 2010 Oregon Trail Rally, Day 2 was a familiar site and deja vu for the team with another overnight transmission miracle from The Dalles local Leo Smith, who yet again saved Cody by patching the transmission case and getting him back in the game for Day 3.

Day 3 started off strong until a weak shift linkage created yet another transmission problem for the team with off-and-on 3rd and 4th gears leaving Cody to scramble and run the stages without the optimal gears he needed to put up the usual times Cody thrived to get. After the only service of the day Cody came to the realization to go for it and hope the transmission would stick and keep the car together for the rest of the day. Indeed he did, leading himself to another regional 1st for Group 2 and an 8th place overall for the regional as well.

The award ceremony burst into applause as Cody accepted his 1st place plaque, as well as recovered his lost bumper from the water splash (now tagged with a few sweep stickers for a wonderful memory). The strength of the rally community is stronger than ever and reminds Cody as well as many other people how powerful and tight-knit the community of grassroots racers is in the Pacific Northwest, as well as nationwide. The contributions and support Cody has received does not go unrecognized and a simple thank you could never cover the true amazement and gratefulness Cody has for everyone who helped him continue his passion where the pavement ends.

Photo by Matthew Young

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