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don't cut
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I wanna have some fun. Name your top five favorite North American rally stages, and tell us why. I'll go first:



5. Magic Mountain - RIM of the World. Crazy bumpy pavement cut out of the side of the mountain. I think my comment after that stage was somewhere along the lines of, "If I lived out here I'd run that road every day until I missed a curved, went off, and died a happy man!" If hearing "downhill 1 left caution exposure" from your codriver doesn't make your balls shrink, you need help.

4. Ollie Coleman Road - 100 Acre Wood. This is a typical 100AW "Big Road" kind of stage. Wide, smooth, and flowing, but punctuated with cattle guards, low water bridges, and jumps. Wicked fast but never straight, 17 miles felt like only 10, prompting me to ask the codriver he was sure we were at the finish.

3. Any daylight stage - Headwaters Club Rally. Headwaters is the ultimate club rally, being solely about low cost, forest hooliganism, and a good time. The MN roads are the best in the series, with the perfect mix of tight and technical to fast and flowing. These are stages where without notes a good road reader can really shine. The turns are all linked, and if you've got the stones it becomes one graceful slide from start to finish.

2. Hungary 5 - SnoDrift Pro Rally. I love snow, and this stage has a good mix of corners. But what really makes it great is the fans. The fun starts about halfway through with a tricky downhill left that always draws a huge crowd, but then continues as you race race down through a progressively faster set of 5's and 6's. All along the road is homeowners and their families, cooking out, having a party. Banners line the road as you whip by sideways at 90mph on ice. This is how rally in America should be.

1. Hermann Nestoria - LSPR. This is the quintissential rally stage. If you wanna show somebody rally in one stage, this is the one, as it has a little of everything. Fast and open, tight and slow, smooth, rough, water, jumps, everthing. This stage seperates the men from the boys as there is no "right tire" or no "perfect setup", at some point you're gonna have to suck it up and drive. The rapid changes make it almost impossible to develop a rythem, which makes your relationship with your codriver all that more important. The complete aspect of the this stage makes it my number one overall.

Honorable Mention. Brockway Mtn. - LSPR. I can't desribe Brockway, you just have to run it. For you left coasters it's half of Magic Mtn, but with lotsa jumps. It would have made the top five had they not lopped the jump off the end.

Dennis Martin
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The long stage from Cherokee Trails. In fact, all the stages down there are my favourites. All corners, no let up, great flow, blind stuff where the codriver makes a big difference. And when they run late and you gotta do it in the dark, wow!!!!

Oh yeah! When you go off you are only doing maybe 50mph (feels like 90 though).
 

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Well hell, if we're gonna go down this road, I'll dust one off that you'll have to go ask an "old-timer" about.

Old Ojibwe Forests in the Chippewa National Forest

Whipholt - Up and down, twisty as all get out, but with a perfect surface and the most wonderful flow you've ever seen. Rod Millen once said it was the most fun he'd ever had on a stage road. There are hundreds of miles of top notch roads in the Chippewa NF that I've had the pleasure of driving that were once stages for OFPR, and I can attest to the wonders of the ones that haven't been destroyed by widening and straightening.

Brad
 

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Five faves, in no particular order:

Lac Gagnon, Defi Ste. Agathe, Quebec: Tight, technical, twisty, and then wide wide open with a downhill hairpin just to keep things, umm, interesting. Recce nirvana over dozens of blind crests. You see fresh tracks in the dirt lead up to a crest, then afterwards for many feet, no tracks...then you see where the guys ahead of you almost went off. Then you belatedly realize you are airborne and heading in the same-same direction. Big dirty fun.

Middle Dam/Magalloway, Maine Forest: Summer or winter, this is a fast, flowing stage that's a total blast until it bites you. Many deceptive crests where you THINK you can see where the road goes. Big rocks to dodge in the racing line, lots more to hit just off it. Major carnage here every year. If the notes on Middle Dam say "No Cut," then don't.

Lower Old Hastings, Tall Pines, Ontario. Numbers tell just part of the story here: 14.4 km, 25 jumps. Did I mention that it's half-dark, snowing and there's NO padding in the ditches? This stage is not for the faint of stomach. Some jumps land next to huge piles of logs, so please please don't screw up. Pegs the fun meter well past 11.

Camp Brule, Baie des Chaleurs, Quebec: It's night. Raining. The HID light pod fell off the stage before. Feeble stock headlights are barely enough to show there's a massive jump right at the end of the stage--literally a flying finish. Crazy driver launches skyward at 80 mph anyway, landing between 2000 screaming spectators protected by giant concrete blocks. If you don't finish Camp Brule with a huge grin and a nervous giggle, you might be brain-dead.

Mathias Weiden East, International Rally NY: Impossibly tight tarmac squiggles where you see you're gonna go airborne but can't see where the landing zone is. Then onto gravel and a scary narrow bridge. Out of nowhere a sudden, "marbly" R3. No grip. Grip. GAAAck! HUGE pine trees freakin' everywhere! (Ask Matt Iorio about this bit) Then more tarmac and endless sweepers with all the shift lights lit in top gear. Hay bales inside the turns to discourage cutting, but the Irish Evos have smashed 'em all to hell so you can cut all you want. A bit of the Emerald Isle just 90 min north of the Big Apple.


Dave G
www.lastditchracing.net

"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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Don't remember many stage names, but...

Brockway

Pikes Peak

Cherokee trails...not sure of stage name, but endless 3R into 3L into 3R, etc. where you can "cliffhook" the edge on every other turn.

Magalloway? The one with the spectator area at the finish or the one with the killer downhill jump on the right hander. Maine forest.

STPR...the one that's more downhill than uphill...gravity is my friend when HP isn't.

Honorable mentions...Herman/the one at Rim that Dennis mentioned (without fog)/many from Oregon...don't know the names/just about all of Cherokee/Camp 8...jumps in the snow with a downhill left 3 coming up...better not lose your place over those crests and the off camber ice is always fun.


What a hard question. The thing I like best about rallying is the variety...makes it hard to catgorize, and I haven't been to a rally in the US yet that didn't have some very fun stages.
 

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Each and every stage at WildWest.

Perkinsville

DelSur

Second day second stage of Maine, the one with nice wide sweepers under trees.

Cheers
M.Samli
 

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Well I'm very new to this so I only have two so far that really stick out. (I can't wait for my personal list to grow)

1 - Brockway Mtn. I was so nervous coming into this stage. The lingering memory of "the jump" should make it a top 5. Could only be better with "Stairway to heaven" playing in the helmet.

2 - Ojibwe '05 next to last stage I think. Listed in route book as one of the Rallymasters favorite roads. Never straight, flowed sooo well. I think I was looking out the side glass more than the windshield to see the next corner.

Bryan
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Best-

America's Best - Sunriser (It has that name for a reason)


Worst-

Spyder Lake Long - Olympus ( I hate that stage)


press on,
 

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Faster Mabricator
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In no particular order:

Camp Brule- Baie des Chaluers

Batteram- Rally Charlevoix

Hippodrome/Plains of Abraham/Technoparc- Rally Quebec in city stages

Princeton Cutoff- Pacific Forest Rally

Continental Divide- Oregon Trail

Pikes Peak- The Hillclimb

Cherokee Trails- Every stage is a winner

Wildest transit:
Charlevoix ferryboat ride
 

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Brooklyn Tavern - Long sweeping banked turns, Keep your foot in it and just let the car get way sideways because the car will be pointed the rigth way by the end of the turn.

Princeton Cutoff and Himler Lake in Merrit (not 100% sure of the names) one is very tight cut out of a rock face with turn after turn after turn, the other has a little of everything.

A few of the stages at Wild West (Stillwater) and what ever we used as the first stage at Dryad this year. Very loose gravel on a hard clay bed, lots of time going sideways. Several nice linked turns that I get right.

Crane Creek. I think it is 4000 feet of down hill in 7 miles with no straights more than one tenth of a mile. Lots of L3 into R3 into L2 into L3 into R3 into L3 into R2... This is the stage I became a real rally driver setting 2nd overall stage times both times I have run it in my Golf. This stage is about commitment and confidance.
 

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RE: The best North American stages ever!

Concorde Pond, Maine. Couple of bridges, broken tarmac and a !! jump into R5 with big trees on the outside. When Buffem puts a “!!” in the route book it’s got to be good. Magalloway is also a blast.

Princeton Cutoff, Pacific Forest. Lots of technical corners, crests and exposure, even more fun when run downhill. Really separates the men from the boys. Merritt has lots of really good roads, Helmer is also a classic flowing stage, just seems to make sense.

Pikes Peak. ‘Nuff said.

Pico L and R, Doo-****. Possibly my favorite stages, Brooklyn gets all the coverage but these are classic tight, technical, slimy forest stages with enough gotchas to make life interesting.

Robb town stage, Big Horn. Unique little stage through town cutting corners across peoples front yards, trying to get done before the train cuts the town in two. Not so much the stage but the way the town embraces the rally.

First View/Whitty Tom, Prescott. Some of the first stages I ran in the US, just awesome through the cutting. Best memory from that rally in 01 was coming into the town of Crown King at night for service after running two of the roughest stages I’ve ever seen. Rally cars and crew everywhere, very unique.

Continental Divide, Oregon Trail 02. You can pretty much pick any Oregon stage and it’s good. This one was 4 or 5 miles uphill, couple of miles along the ridge top and 4 or 5 miles back down, so much exposure. This one sticks in my mind for the long downhill and carrying way too much speed into a hairpin right with spectators everywhere and finding the brakes were going.

Really want to see the Cherokee roads, maybe next year.

Dave
 

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Hmmm...though to limit it to just 5, but I'll try...(oh, and I'm partial to long stages :))

Top 5:

Perkinsville - Wide, smooth, flowing, fast. You see 110+mph frequently up on the plateau and just book it, and then it'll slow down a little bit for some technical sections...but the road is still like 4 lanes wide through the 3's and 4's, so it's just huge powerslides in and out standing on the throttle. Brilliant.

Del Sur (Rim) - It wasn't too great this year, but when it's in tip-top shape, full length, and run during the day, it is the biggest adrenaline rush of a stage I've run. Fast sideways air over waterbars at the top looking over the huge exposures = the ultimate.

Parmacheene (Maine) - Too bad they didn't have it this year...but just 24 miles of great and flowing roads with a couple character changes here and there to keep you on your toes. The stage keeps you smiling the whole time.

Indian Creek (Cherokee) - The most rhytmnic stage in the US. 17 miles long with a section of complete co-driver tongue twisters. It starts out kinda fast, then gets extremely tight, technical, and busy...then gets wider and technical at the end. I've never been so engrossed in a stage.

Lower Old Hastings (Tall Pines) - Friggin 25 jumps or something ridiculous like that. My back hurt after this one. It was my first stage ever at Tall Pines in 2004, and it made me really want to come back for more!

Honorable Mentions: The Old Black River (Sno*Drift), Nahwatzle (Wild West), Asaph (STPR), Magic Mtn (Rim), Middle Dam OUT/Magalloway West (Maine)

Bottom 5:
Mayo Lake (Tall Pines) - I could feel rocks hitting my feet

700 Club (100AW) - Like 17 double cautions or something like that. The whole stage felt like a nightmare.

Powerline (Rim/Gorman, except for the big jump!) - Absolutely no flow in the twisty section

The Ranch (Sno*Drift) - Crazy confusing junctions...luckily we stayed on with all of them. Lots of tight, narrow, bumpy, rough twistiness in ice.

Burma (LSPR) - Sorta fun...but feels like one big, greasy mess, haha.

Thanks,
Alex
 

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RE: The best North American stages ever!

I haven't seen nearly as many as some here but Cherokee is at the top of my list. I would want to rent a rally car to do those stages if I didn't have mine!

I have to throw Rally TN (the tarmac version!) into the mix. I think you would be hard pressed to find better tarmac stages than those in the US. I could drive the Treeline stage for hours and not get bored....fortunately there were plenty of other excellent stages in that rally! I really hope this rally is better subscribed next year, that event was a blast....

I see a trend here: TN = Good Stages

-C
 

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RE: The best North American stages ever!

5. Gratiot Lake (with the rough section at the end)
4. That spectator one with the bonfires at Sno*Drift
3. Liebre Mountain (up top with the oaks)
2. Parmacheenee Long
1. Continental Divide

Least favorite:
3. Wilsons Mill (too fast)
2. Brockway (too scary)
1. Pikes Peak (waaaaaaay toooooo dull!)

(Cool thread idea, Dennis!)

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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RE: The best North American stages ever!

Over five years I've been to a lot of them, not all by any means.
Hard to pick the 5 "best" but in thinking, I found something...

If a stage is a "turn-around", that means that;
because "we all hate them", the organizer feels it is good enough to do anyway.
it usually is more "pure" and less improved.
gives us time to blab that we wouldn't normally get.

examples include:
Del Sur at RIM
Russell Brook at RNY that crosses a stream and runs in a narrow notch then opens into a fast hilly deal.
Black Bear - everything there is, in one road.
Cavendish - almost ditto
Deer Hill at Big Horn that was unique in that the surface is deep, round rock that is taken mostly flat out with no control, more like ice.
Beaver at Rocky.
That road at Black River with the "jumps" that are more like ditches.
and a true favorite, Swift Rapids - 10k taken all in 2nd, something like 150 turns, pretty busy work.

My fav locations are:
CT - the "cliff-hooking" and the narrow run by the creek.
Baie - 2 mile straights and sideways jumps, a stage of jumps, etc.
Defi - long, dangerous, bad sightlines and crazy terrain.

Tarmac Express was a blast as was Swift Rapids - RIP

unique:
The spectator stage at Big Horn was thru a stillborn subdivision.
Crowned gravel and dirt with concrete curbing, no houses.
That afore-mentioned big gravel run at Big Horn.
RNY, tarmac stages... "jump at mailbox".

just for starters...
rz

edit: got my cut and pastes out of order.
 

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>Bottom 5:

snip...
>The Ranch (Sno*Drift) - Crazy confusing junctions...luckily we
>stayed on with all of them. Lots of tight, narrow, bumpy,
>rough twistiness in ice.

I actually like the Ranch (and Burma for that matter). You have to work hard on that stage, but if you have good suspension and drive smart, you can make up a LOT of time on much faster cars in there. The trick is knowing where to pass. If you are going to catch someone, you have to do it in a certain window or else you will be pushing them for a while before the next passing opportunity arises.
 

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Interesting that there are a few stages (Brockway is a prime example) that drivers typically love and codrivers typically despise.
 

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My favorite part of Magic Mtn is the R5 @ Y at about 4.1 maybe 4.5, where it goes to gravel. Your tires are all hot and greasy and all of a sudden you're on dirt, and it's rough and there are proper exposure on one side and big cliffs on the upside.

That section always makes me think, "Ok, now we've started the rally!"

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
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RE: The best North American stages ever!

If we are adding a worse 5.

Reno 03, every stage. Rocks, rocks and silt beds, towing across the Modroc desert with 6 inches of fresh powder snow on the road was pretty cool, but when a 14 hour tow brings more smiles than the rally itself... Also loved the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet, Carey Wright got his money’s worth with 6 lobsters.

Narwatzal, Wild West. I know this appears on a couple of favorite lists, while I love long stages, I hate long straights. If we could totally get rid of the fast stuff on the SE part of the stage it would be a good stage, Crane Creek and the stages around the Reload are just wonderful and blow Narwatzal out of the water for me.

Any Mickey mouse spectator stage, especially the cow pasture stage at Ojibwe in 02. OK, I understand why we have these stages but that does not mean I have to like them.

Smith Creek, Doo-****. Long fast straight, keep your foot in, stay out of the marbles and then hit the brakes after the 4th crest when heading east to set up for the fast right. It just does not flow, this stage scares me.

Wilson Mills, Maine. Way too fast, Lovell averaged 84MPH in 02. Slowed down a little but stages like this really have no place in rally.

Dave
 
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