Ojibwe Critical in Championship Chase
Walker, Minn. ~ When you drive the stage roads laid out at this year’s Ojibwe Forests Rally, you catch the glimpse of subtle changes to the world around us. Deep in the Northwoods of Minnesota, amongst the still present mosquito’s and green canopy, you start to see the changing of the season’s as falls color swap begins to peak through the stranglehold of warmer weather and summer memories.
With round three of the American Rally Association’s National Championship hitting its abbreviated midpoint, a similar subtle change to the United States rally landscape may also be upon us. Barry McKenna has opened up the Covid-shortened season with a pair of wins, first in the freezing conditions offered up at Sno*Drift, then a platonic shift in temperature extremes, with a night rally in deep humidity and fog of the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Those wins gave him what looks like a healthy points lead heading into Ojibwe, but he knows there will be major challenges starting Friday afternoon
McKenna will first need to hold off a hungry pair of Subaru’s. Five-time Ojibwe winner Travis Pastrana will look to quickly forget Southern Ohio’s heat, and try to claw back into the points chase after not attending Sno*Drift and being unable to finish at SOFR.
Pastrana will also have to stave off competition from within his own Blue and Yellow stable. Brandon Semenuk threw the kitchen sink at the SOFR stages last month, picking up speed with every passing stage on his way to finish third overall. It’s a sure bet that veteran co-driver John Hall will push Semenuk on stages that offer up stretches of flat-out speed mixed around switchback turns that will twist the steering will in video-game fashion.
The return of Piotr Fetela to the mix will also dust up the overall picture. Fetela skipped SOFR but finished second to McKenna at Sno*Drift. He sits second overall in points, tied with Ken Block, who will not be competing in Minnesota.
Jeff Seehorn comes in renewed after heating issues in Ohio and will be looking for his first podium of the year. Seamus Burke and Martin Brady will be sixth of the line in the popular and fast 1977 Ford Escort. Ryan Booth is fresh of his win at Rally Colorado and seems to be picking up the pace in the Ford Fiesta R5, is looking for his first overall ARA podium.
In all, 48 cars are scheduled t0o start on Friday, including 25 national and 23 regional teams. There are several great battles in all classes, including ten cars in the East Regional NA4WD and another ten cars in the O2WD class. In total, Ojibwe will offer 137 stage miles, and quite possibly, a small glimpse into what the future holds.
How to follow Ojibwe, which is a spectator free event due to COVID-19 restrictions in the state:
Get the ARA App and follow live tracking and a one-stop spot for the ARA’s social media posts.
Follow the American Rally Association on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The ARA will be live from service areas with Tiffany Stone.
Check out the Ojibwe Forests Rally website for live hits on Twitch from portions of each stage.
Subscribe to the ARA YouTube page for daily recaps and Wednesday’s ARA Show Premiere.
Check out the Ojibwe Forests Rally page on the ARA website.