At the time I learned about rallying I was supporting up to 42 road racing weekends a year as a corner worker and author of a monthly column for California Sports Car, an SCCA regional magazine.
I discovered rally when I was asked to help Andy Schupack gather news for the Rim of the World Rally. I got involved in rally when Chris Bradshaw, one of my corner worker friends, decided to rent a car from Dave Turner for East of Indio '95 and asked me to codrive for him.
This long winded story is to suggest another option to the poll: I discovered rallying because of my other SCCA (PCA/NASA/etc) activities.
I have to admit that before spending hours with the Playstation during a miserable tour of duty in Washington DC I had no idea that it was legal to have so much fun in the US. My video game experience resulted in the purchase of a WRX years later when they became available in the US. Through my participation in SCCA autocross (I'd never heard of it until I filled out the free membership card in the owners manual jacket) I met another Subaru enthusiast who worked with me to organize the first RallyCross events in my state. In the same year he bought a prepared car and asked me to co-drive for him. It's a small irony that our first and second events are NASA rather than SCCA.
There should definately be another answer option: "Drifted into it from other motersport activity." Like gimmick rallyes, TSD rallyes, Monte Carlo Rallyes, AutoCross, Hillclimbs, Road Racing, etc.
In my case I was already doing the first three, at a time that some Monte Carlo events shared a series with some High Desert Series performance events.
P.S. Personally I think most of the young newcomers are discovering it through video games.
I was workign at menards when Niday came to get some stuff and I talked to him about rallying (he brought the big red van and trailer) and he and Burmeister (on the protege forums) said my friends and I should go to OFPR 02. We went and were hooked.
I'd been an avid reader of R&T, C/D, etc since I was 12 (age 38 now). Although I would avoid articles on other motorsports, the few rally pieces about Ari, Marku, Roger, Walter & Michelle, etc always got my attention.
How cool to race on REAL & twisty roads with street-licensed 131's, Escorts, Datsuns, Mazdas, Saabs & Audis!!!
I had opportunity to go to college in Denmark ('87) where I'd be glued to the UK's Sky Channel in my apt at night, watching euro rally broadcasts. }> }>
It wasn't until '95 Wild West (lived in Aberdeen then) that I got involved here working & spectating after giving Ray Damitio a call to find out more about local rallies.
I still love this sport, and STILL get bored to tears watching F1, CART, NASCAR, etc. I work with many college-age kids in our current business, and love to indoctrinate the young 'uns by loaning out rally videos (who could resist this sport after watching Colin & Nicky use boulders to make roadside repairs}> :9 )
You know "Watch this car run over these spectators".
Before cable, that was *it* for rally in the US.
I had kind of heard about it from other people, saw in the local paper that a rally was coming to town and was looking for volunteers.
I knew from model aviation that volunteers make the world go around, and that this group was offering free pizza at the working training. That sealed the deal.
Worked the COG, narrowly avoided being bitten by a rattler working the time control, and have been burrowing in deeper ever since.
I also ride mountain bike trials. Rally is practically main stream compared to trials riding. The sport has a similar division between people who want it to grow and other's who want it to say esoteric.
I searched out rally. I'm not sure where I first heard of rally, it probably came with the '63 SAAB my dad bought for my mom in the late 60's.
When I was a kid in school I would go to the library and look for any book I could that would have anything related to rally, old life magazines-all kinds of things.
I think the interest started because any car that was worth anything in my opinion had rally history, rallying made sense to me as a product part of development. Not to mention a brother 10 years older-we'd take the old SAAB out to the logging roads and well you know-I must have been 6-7 yrs old! Another brother had a worked over '65 AH Sprite! Older brothers should be illegal!!!
Besides any kid growing up playing with toy cars will make the toys over steer, jump & roll and keep driving-just like in real life!:+
>I'd been an avid reader of R&T, C/D, etc since I was 12 (age
>38 now). Although I would avoid articles on other
>motorsports, the few rally pieces about Ari, Marku, Roger,
>Walter & Michelle, etc always got my attention.
My story is similar (including the ages...), although I was interested in F1 (because of some guy named Villeneuve...), Le Mans (because one of the three TV stations we could get showed highlights of the 1981 race), and NASCAR (you'll laugh... because of the Dukes of Hazzard episode with Cale Yarborough and because of the Daytona race with the in-car in Cale's car). Then I read 'The Long Drive' and some magazine articles on rally (just at the start of the GpB era...) and I was interested. I didn't actually get involved in rally until 1994 when a friend dragged me to a rally an hour from my house. I was busy trying to race windsurfers before that (emphasis on the trying...;-)).
Can't say when I first heard about rally for certain as I also have older brothers. I raced slot cars as a kid and so did Len Picton who wrote a rally newsletter, also, Walt Kammer was a pioneer in running them (HIS) and he lives here, I even worked on rally cars at the Fiat dealership I worked at, not 'cause I wanted to but because it was a job.
But, when I was deciding which path to take to become a famous pro driver, I considered rally, but (in '76) saw the most famous US rally driver at Lime Rock running an Escort like my team was. He wasn't getting anywhere in rally and he was the best, so I went road-racing, my goal was to impress Colin into signing me to F1.
The jerk died and my master plan, foiled.
20 years of road-racing followed, finally a bad crash, drives evaporated during the recovery (if you aren't seen, you aren't considered alive) and I needed to self-fund a car. At PRI, Dennis Dean, suggested pro rally and introduced me to his little helper, KS. Dennis swore finding a co-driver is easy (I was skeptical) and I ran a couple rallyXs to check it out. Went to Ivor's to see if my back could take it, it could. Bought a car like Pat's, Kendall fixed me up with Shindle and I attended my first rally ever by sitting on the starting line in TN.
I was watching Wide World of Sports in about '81 or '82. I was watching because they were covering Larry Roseler win the Baja 1000 (which I had also competed earlier in the year, DNF'd), and it had a little puff piece on Michelle's in her Audi. I was totally stunned. I had no idea that people did this silly stuff in the dirt with cars too. From that day I kept up with it as best I could with Buffum/Millen, and I always said when I got too old to race bikes I would get into rally. Well, I'm 36 now sooo...
...or so I thought. I was in my late teens in the late 80's and living in Estacada, Oregon. I had a 76 Datsun B210 fastback, and before I knew there was such a sport, I came up with the cool idea of racing 4 cylinder cars through the woods on dirt forest roads. I had it all planned out. It would be limited to 4-cylinder cars, mostly imports. I was worried about what the Forest Service might think of that, so forgot about the whole thing. I was an organizer at heart even then.
Then around 1989, I met my (now) brother-in-law, Keith Roper, who was really excited about a type of racing where you drive as fast as you can through the woods. He described dodging trees at 90 miles an hour on dirt roads. I wondered how they knew what I was planning.
I got hooked on rally when my dad took me out to see the Rally of the Voyageurs, back when it used to be run out of the North Bay, ON area. It took a while to get back into it, but I have been volunteering at the Rally of the Tall Pines the last few years.
I can still remember standing in the bush at a yump, hearing Frank & Dan Sprongl go by with the Audi right on the rev limiter. The other vivid memory that I have of that day was another car way back in the pack (someone has told me that it may have been the Erickson's). They were driving a 5.0L Mercury Capri and I think had tore the exhaust system off it, earlier in the rally. I don't believe that I ever saw that car straight on the road.:7
My first vivid motorsports memory was the year that Cale Yarbrough, Donnie and Bobbie Allison all got in a punch-up on the back stretch at Daytona. :7 If I remember right Cale and Bobby got together and wrecked on the last lap and Donnie stopped to help out his younger brother.
My story involves two things (mini-novel following)...
First, my first P.O.S. car had a reasonably peppy motor, and that's when I learned driving could be fun. So from that point on, I decided I would always own sports cars, and I would find places to play legally (after a particularily nasty incident with the state patrol). So after getting a real job, ditcing the POS, and buying myself a '91 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, the rest is history... track days, autocross etc.
So I was rapidly learning to love motorsports. And then I went on a business trip to Europe. My work finished early, and one of my co-workers there (in our Paris office) was going to a place called "San Remo" for a few days, and knew I liked cars so thought I should come with. I did, and WOW. Spectating live at a WRC event is AMAZING. The fans are insane! I got about 3 rows back on the entrance to one of those amazing uphill hairpins, and just watching those guys fly at you... wow. So I knew tarmac rally was for me!
After a year of research or so, and finding out that my only options for tarmac rally in the US is basically Solo 1, I decided that gravel wouldn't be that bad, and started talking to my buddies looking for a co-driver. With not enough interest, I bought a shifter cart and ran that for a season, and when Ken stepped up and expressed some interest, I bought the VW and here we are!