Rally Utah brings spectators up close and personal
George Plsek, of Del Mar, California, a well-known national performance rally competitor, was the first to suggest
the Cedar City area roads would be perfect for a stage rally. (TurnDriveSide.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.)
Rally enthusiasts will have the opportunity for the first time ever to see a performance rally race event held in Utah.
Rally Utah is coming next week, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8, to Cedar City. The event is the part of the Bilstein Southwest RallyCup Series presented by Scrubblade Wipers. The series includes four of the nine events that form the 2015 Organizers HP Rally Group Invitational Championship. Headquarters will be at the El Rey Inn & Suites in Cedar City.
Fans can view the race in designated areas on the course and can also meet the drivers and watch the mechanics work on the production-based cars in the dedicated service area and enjoy the finish line ceremonies, conveniently located on the campus of the Southern Utah University.
“Rally Utah offers exciting competition and family fun activities for all kinds of fans. We want them to get the most out of the Rally experience by engaging with the drivers and crews and to be safe throughout race weekend,” said race organizer Denise McMahon. “We have Spectator Guides and volunteers to show race fans where to park for the best views.”
Over two days of stage-style performance rally racing, a driver and navigator maneuver the competition vehicles through the public desert and mountain terrain roads around Cedar City. For safety purposes, the roads are closed to all traffic during the event.
In the United States, performance rally teams have a driver and co-driver (or navigator) for each car. The competitors race in segments (or stages) on controlled public roads, trying to get from the beginning to the end of the stage as fast as they can (time trial). Unlike other forms of motorsports, there is no practice allowed, and teams are only allowed two passes to review the course at the public speed limit before the event. This is called a Recce (rĕk′ē) or reconnaissance ride. In competition, the navigator then barks out the route instructions while the drive proceeds, sometimes at speeds exceeding 80 miles-per-hour, through forest, desert, and mountains. The cars, all street-legal to allow driving on public roads between racing stages, are compact and sub-compact cars or trucks with varying amounts of performance modifications depending on the class they are running in. The sight of these vehicles, running at speed through the woods to beat the clock, makes exciting spectating for the fans who come out to watch.
McMahon encourages fans coming to the on-stage spectator areas to arrive at least an hour early to get in designated safe viewing areas before the roads are closed down.
Early risers can spend both days checking out the teams and their cars at the Service Area located in the west parking lot of Eccles Coliseum on the SUU campus. This ‘parc expose’ begins at 7 a.m. with the first car off at 8 a.m. The cars return to the Service Area about noon on Friday and 12:45 on Saturday for any necessary repairs and or fine-tuning. Food and drink will be for sale, provided by SUU Food Services each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The cars will also be on display in the parking lot behind Centro Pizza on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., at 50 West University Blvd. Event shirts, posters and other event memorabilia will be on sale.
At the completion of the rally, a spectacular Winners’ Circle Ceremony will be in the west parking lot of Eccles Coliseum on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
The rally cars will battle in stage-based competition on a closed courses Friday on Greens Lake Road (up Cedar Mountain), Kannara Mountain, Dixie National Forest (west of town off Hwy 56 and ending near New Harmony), and Iron Mines and on Saturday at Three Peaks and Iron Mine Courses. Not all stages will have public viewing areas.
An event schedule, maps and directions to the spectator areas, entry list and other rally information are available at the Southern Utah University Service Area, at El Rey Motel & Suites on Main Street or Cedar City Brian Head Tourism building or download from the event website at www.rally-utah.com.
The conception of the event was triggered by long-time U.S. national-level rally competitor George Plsek, who suggested the roads around Cedar City would be a great place to have a top-tier event, and he approached a promoter there.
The promoters contacted the husband-wife rally organizers Denise and Pat McMahon, owners of the Southwest Rally Group LLC, and well known in the rally program in the Southwest region. The McMahon’s decided to add another event onto their program and the Rally Utah event was created. The McMahons, from Anaheim, California, head up the organizing committee for Rally Utah, working closely with a local committee in Cedar City consisting of Danny Stewart, Bryan Dangerfield, Cameron Christensen and Byron Linford.
Many sponsors have supported the event and the Rally Utah/Southwest Rally Group Committee would like to thank the venue hosts in Cedar City including the Cedar City Economic Development/Events Department, Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau, Southern Utah University, Southwest Applied Technology College and 80 volunteers from the Ham Radio Clubs to citizens willing to help make this premier event successful.
Other sponsors and supporters include: Cedar City Corporation, Cedar City Economic Development, Cedar City Brian Head Tourism, Cedar City Utah Events, Southern Utah University, Southwest Applied Technology College, TCB Performance LLC, Heritage Paper, LeadNav Systems, El Rey Inn and Suites, Stratford Court, Super 8 Motel, Streetwise Parts LLC, Laeng-Works Services, Brent Lee Motorsports, O.D.D. Racing, SCD Designs, and the Rainbow Canyon/Dixie/Nellis/YARC Amateur Radio Clubs.
Follow the weekend’s events on Rally Utah’s various social media platforms. Fans, spectators and volunteers who would like to share their Rally Utah-related event experiences, please use the following hashtag: #RallyUtah. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RallyUtah and follow us on Twitter @Rally_Utah. During the rally, scores and standings will be available at: www.rallydata.com (click on Rally tab at the top, saying Rally Utah or on event website at www.rally-utah.com.