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Thursday, December 14, 2017
Article written by Mike Strawbridge

Road Rally, Stage Rally, Rally Cross - What Is It All About?

So what is a Rally?

My love of rallying began at school at Tennessee Tech. About once a month, the Golden Eagle Sports Car Club would have a navigational road rally. In these events we would follow a set of route instructions and arrive at secret checkpoint locations along the route. You either had to arrive at the correct time or get the answers to questions along the way - sometimes both.

Being engineering majors and sports car nuts, my roommate and I took well to this game. We instantly began looking at ways to improve our skills. We wrote crude calculator programs to figure our time and worked to improve the accuracy of our odometers. Since most of the events were at night, we built lots of lighting gadgets to see both inside the car and out.

Later our efforts evolved into the CompuRally computer software that both measures and calculates TSD rally information. We ran the SCCA national circuit and got a couple of first place trophies before moving on to other interests. I still like to run a regional rally with the Georgia Sports car club or TLSCC in middle Tennessee. My local region never showed much interest in TSD rally although we did have some fun events.

They did however support Rally Racing and Rally Cross. Rallycross is where you race in a field on a miniature road course marked by pylons or barrels. This sport has been lots of fun in my Jeep. It reminds me of the days when my grandfather would send me out to the field to get a part off a dozer and I would slalom the pickup through the junk tractors.

Then there is Rally racing. This is where you run a gravel road through the forest as fast as you can. The sport is normally dominated by Subaru's and Mitsubishi's but I have had a lot of low budget fun racing a Jeep Cherokee. I have raced with both SCCA and NASA on Stage rally races and I have been working as an official with Rally America. Rally Racing is definitely the ultimate way to get an adrenaline boost in the woods.
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