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Regional racing in 2024 starts today with Wild West in Washington


Photo courtesy: Mike Shaw

Wild West 2024

 

Raymond, Wash. ~ The first event of the ARA Western Regional Championship kicks off with the Wild West regional!

 

Most would identify Willapa Bay for it’s Oysters, but for long time competitors it’s stages like Brooklyn and Smith Creek that draw them to this rural coastal community.

 

Although currently named Wild West, back in the 1990s these classic roads were part of the Doo Wops rally and some of these roads were even used when the WRC made it’s American stop in the late 1980s. Doo Wops was a popular regional event, and in its hay day,  was organized by Ray Damitio who just happened to also be the owner of the Brooklyn Tavern that was just up the road from the stage that bears the same name. You can imagine where all the after parties were held.

 

This year’s Wild West Classic features 6 stages covering 40 competitive stage miles. The first loop features an up-and-back through the famed Smith Creek and Brooklyn stages. These roads feature a combination of fast and flowing sections and steep climbs onto a ridgeline with massive exposures on the sides. Reversing the same roads presents unique challenges with different lines having been already cut into the road surface that aren’t optimal for the opposite direction.  The best way to describe the final stages of the day is, camber in all the right ways. Palix consists of regular twists and turns, crests and dips with a nice helping of corner banking that should allow the cars to dance through at high speeds.

 

The biggest challenge of the weekend might not be the roads, but the weather. A healthy dowsing of rain during recce and more wet weather in the forecast could make for some slippery stages. Even with the hard rock base some spots felt greasy and slippery even at recce speed. Add to that the possibility of lowered visibility as rain laden clouds descend over the ridgelines. Drivers will definitely have to be on their A game for this one.

 

Leading the way of the 32 entries will be Sam Albert and co-driver Krista Skucas in their Open 4WD Ferrari engined Subaru closely followed by last year’s ARA Limited 4WD champions Javier Olivaris and KJ Miller in their Ford Fiesta Rally3. A good mix of regional 4WD competitors including 43 Institute Flat Out 43EVER award winners Andy Miller and Shaun Tracey in their H6 engined Subaru Impreza. Local favorite Derik Nelson and co-driver Michael Hordijk lead a healthy dose of Open 2WD category in their turbo charged Subaru BRZ. Their pace is such that they’ll be keeping the top 4WD cars honest, and maybe even challenge for overall victory if anyone has an issue.

 

We’re off to Parc Expose. Stay tuned for more from the Wild West Classic.


~ Mike Shaw


For more information on the American Rally Association and the 2024 Championship, go to www.americanrallyassociation.org.


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