The Oregon Trail Rally: Part 2
As if one whole day of getting dusted every minute by rally cars wasn’t enough, they decided rallies should go all weekend…hey I wasn’t complaining! This stuff is fun as hell.
After a short, cold night in the car, Alex and I got some coffee and hit the morning Parc Expose in beautiful downtown Dufur. I didn’t see much excitement in the Dalles the day before, but it seemed like Dufur was all about having the rally teams in town.
Even though they were supposed to be showing the cars off for the spectators, some teams had last minute repairs to do.
Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard were just a few turns into Fir Mountain South II on Saturday when their car died. Two DNF’s in a row will make it very hard for them to beat Higgins and Drew in the championship.
Luckily at each stage the ADV, 000, 00, and 0 cars head out first to check the course before the competition cars come out, or the photographers would never be able to set up a shot for the first team.
And as usual the first team was Higgins and Drew, preceded by a helicopter that didn’t want to get in the frame… too bad.
Edward McNelly and Ole Holter finished third in 2WD in their Fiesta.
Summit has a pretty gnarly off camber turn from gravel onto pavement, and later on back onto gravel. There was more and more gravel sprayed onto the pavement as the stage went on. The last cars had probably an extra 50 feet of gravel compared to the first cars.
Adam Yeoman was rookie of the year in 2011, and since L’Estage and Richard were out, he and co-driver Jordan Schulze managed to sneak into 3rd place by the end of Saturday. With big gaps on both sides, they decided to play it safe and not try to go for second.
ACP pushed the xD to 5th place overall and second in SP.
Each stage ends with a flying finish, where the car triggers the timing system to stop, and a few hundred yards later they stop the car and get their times from the marshal.
Back at Starveout, the water truck sprayed water on the corner where the spectators were hanging out, so they wouldn’t get covered in dust. Mud is worse, but it doesn’t fly nearly as far.
Mud makes for pretty cool photos too. I kept getting these awesome Facebook profile photos for Alex. I hope he uses one of them.
There was a pretty big crowd at Starveout both days. They had canopies, chairs, coolers with food and beer, and they don’t even charge you to get in! Why would anyone NOT want to go watch rally for free?
The fans reminded me a lot of mountain bike racing fans…cowbells, flags, and all.
Occasionaly cars got stalled out in the mud or slid too close to the gate. There were a lot of tense moments.
Finally the last stage ended and everyone gathered again in the field by the creek in Dufur for the podium. Yeoman and Schulze maintained third position, Crazy Leo and Williamson finished second, and the win was once again taken by Higgins and Drew.
This was Higgins’s fourth win at the Oregon Trail Rally. Orders and Feaver won 2WD, follwed by ACP and Jeremy Wimpey in 2nd and McNelly/Holter in third. In Super Production, David Sterckx and Karen Jankowski took home the win, with Dave Henderson and Terrence McDowell finishing second and Chris and Lori O’Driscoll finishing third.
I gathered that Higgins was a big fan of Adam Yauch, aka MCA. I want to believe he’s pouring out his champagne for MCA, who died of cancer on Friday.
As soon as the podium finished, we hit the road. It’s a long 11 hours back to the Bay Area from Dufur, and we both had stuff to do in the morning. I also had to wash my hat.
I can’t wait for the Olympus Rally in September! My mom lives in Washington, recently bought an Impreza, and her birthday is during the rally. Wouldn’t it be a cool present to bring her along??
Photos by Bohan and Alex Wong