• ARA Staff

State of the ARA Championships – September 2018

Speedway, Indiana (September 25, 2018)

The final event of the ARA championship season is coming up, so let's take a look at how the national and regional ARA championships have developed heading into it. Here's the current state of all ARA championships before the season finale, Tour de Forest.

The big news, David Higgins and Craig Drew of Subaru Rally Team USA secured the overall championship last week at Idaho Rally. We've also seen great driving and close competition throughout the running order this year, and excitement is brewing for teams to lay it on the line at Tour de Forest.

As of this week, six of seven events in the national championship have run with the season finale set for October 6-7. The three events of the East Regional Division have all been raced and the eastern winners decided. In the West Division, all championships are still up in the air, making Tour de Forest the deciding round in every class.

Before we get to the secured championships, a reminder of how championship points are tallied in the American Rally Association. The ARA national championship is split into two halves, events east of Rocky Mountains, and those to the west. The East division encompasses three rallies: STPR, NEFR, and Muscatell Ojibwe Forests Rally. While the West division comprises four weekends: Oregon Trail Rally, Olympus Rally, Idaho Rally International, and Tour de Forest.

In the national championship, three events from each region are scored, meaning that competitors can exclude, or drop, one of the four events in the West from their championship standings. In order to attain eligibility for a national championship, competitors must also participate in at least one event from each division. This requirement removes several drivers from contention, such as Patrik Sandell, Travis Pastrana, and Brian Penza, all of whom have only driven in one region this season.

After six rally weekends, most fights in the national championship have seen winners declared. Below are the 2018 winners that have mathematically secured championships:


Driver: David Higgins

Co-Driver: Craig Drew

Open 4wd

Driver: David Higgins

Co-Driver: Craig Drew

Limited 4wd

Driver: Jeff Seehorn

Co-Driver: Karen Jankowski

Naturally Aspirated 4wd

Driver: Blake Lind

Co-Driver: Tricia Lind

Limited 2wd

Driver: Jordan Guitar

In the overall championship, David Higgins and Craig Drew put on strong performances throughout the season, taking wins in 4 out of 6 rallies run thus far. The championship title is their first with ARA and their seventh together in North America for Subaru Rally Team USA. Idaho Rally also decided the L4wd class, when Jeff Seehorn and Karen Jankowski took their fifth class win of the season. The fast privateers have made it two for two to become the first back-to-back championship winners in ARA history. For NA4wd, Blake Lind and Tricia Lind fought hard in the class to win their first ARA national championship. Jordan Guitar, primary driver for the Honda HPD Maxxis Rally Team, put on a clinic in each of his drives to win the L2wd championship; often running at a pace quicker than some O2wd class podium finishers.

The Open 2wd class is the only championship left undecided heading into Tour de Forest. This one will go to the wire as Erik Potts and Claudia Barbera-Pullen fight back against the hard charging Seamus Burke and Martin Brady. Be sure to follow Tour de Forest to keep up with this competition.

For the regional championships, points from all events in a division are up for grabs, but scoring is tallied a bit differently than it is nationally. There are no requirements on the number of attended events and none are dropped. Instead, each national event this season is broken into two regional rallies and competitor's best performance on either of these days is counted for points from the weekend.

With all events run, the East Championship winners have been decided:

Open 4wd

Driver: Brian McNamara

Co-Driver: Mustafa Samli

Limited 4wd

Driver: Emmanuel Cecchet

Co-Driver: Mike Willard

Naturally Aspirated 4wd

Driver: TJ Pullen

Co-Driver: Erin Kelly

Open 2wd

Driver: Erik Potts

Co-Driver: Claudia Barbera-Pullen

Limited 2wd

Driver: Jordan Guitar

Co-Driver: Lori Clute

Heading into Tour de Forest, all regional classes in the West Championship are still up for grabs, though some fights are closer than others. We will announce the champions after they're decided at Tour.

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