American Rally Association Sets Eight Round National Championship in 2024
American Rally Association Sets Eight Round National Championship in 2024,
Welcoming Tennessee to the Calendar.
SPEEDWAY, IND. ~ Fresh off the conclusion of the 2023 championship finale in Upper Michigan, the American Rally Association is setting its sights on the 2024 national title chase.
With the much-anticipated return of Travis Pastrana next season, the series will continue to reach across the United States landscape, featuring some of the most competitive roads in the more than 50-year history of North American rallies. With traditional stops in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Washington, and Oregon, the ARA will travel to Tennessee for a first-time national rally.
The recent decision by organizers of the New England Forest Rally to pull away from its national event status left an opportunity for a new rally to fill the void. Organizers of the Bristol Forest Rally have been building towards national championship status the past two seasons and will now move to September and rebrand as the Overmountain Rally Tennessee.
“The Bristol organizing group has quickly built a rally with exceptional growth opportunities for the future,” said Preston Osborn, ARA Series Director. “They have an exceptional base of roads that may be the most technical in the ARA. Competitors will be challenged, and if the past two years are any indication, they will also encounter a high level of hospitality and local support.”
There will be plenty of rallying happening before Tennessee. The ARA will open its 2024 championship with the only true-winter rally in the United States: Sno*Drift February 9-10. The central Michigan event offers ever-changing conditions ranging from lake effect snow to sheets of ice, which ups the ante thanks to tire regulations that disallow studded tires.
The ARA will speed into Missouri for two days of competition on March 15-16. The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood has historically showcased one of the deepest and fastest fields on the ARA’s annual calendar. The 115 miles of gravel-packed stage roads will center around the Salem and Potosi communities and wind through parts of the Mark Twain National Forest.
The ARA’s western swing will begin with the annual stop in Shelton, Wash., for the Olympus Rally on April 20-21. The Olympus stages are incredibly diverse, with road surfaces that are predominantly gravel but can vary from hard-packed to loose and potholed. Mix in elevation changes of more than 2,000 feet, and it is a true test for man and machine.
Teams stay west for round four, as the series heads a few hours south for the Oregon Trail Rally (OTR) May 17-19. OTR returns to Portland International Raceway (PIR) on Friday, May 17, before heading east along the Columbia River Gorge for two days of rally competition in Goldendale, Wash., and Dufur, Ore. If you like tarmac stages this event is for you as it features Maryhill Loop Road, PIR and the return of a favorite in 2024. Then it transitions to tight technical and to wide-open farmland roads.
The Southern Ohio Forest Rally has become one of the most popular stops on the ARA schedule for both competitors and rally fans. The three-day rally will run June 6-8 and include an energizing Super Special stage and Parc expose on the opening night in downtown Chillicothe. From there, competitors will encounter elevation changes, hairpin turns, and deep, dark tree cover over 123 stage miles.
Round six of the ARA National Championship heads to the land of 10,000 lakes on August 23-34 for the Ojibwe Forests Rally. Located in northeast Minnesota, Ojibwe is a fast rally, with competitors spending much of their time in higher gear. Several times during the event, the racing surface transitions from wide, hard-packed dirt to ATV access roads barely wider than a car.
Tennessee will play host to round seven on September 14-15. With stops in Johnson City and The Bristol Motor Speedway, the Overmountain Rally will offer competitors a true stage rally challenge. The Cherokee National Forest based stages are twisty, gnarly, and relentless, and will offer stark contrast to the sandy and fast stages of the previous round.
The season finale will again head into the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on October 11-12. The Lake Superior Performance Rally offers a final test of endurance and performance, taking place in the picturesque fall foliage of Northern Michigan, with competitors fighting through always-changing weather conditions in their final title tilt.
“We feel there is a great balance with the national schedule next season,” said Osborn. “Weather, styles of roads, water, jump, rocks, there are very few roads with the same structure, and that should make for some excellent competition in 2024.”
An ARA Super Regional rally accompanies all ARA National events. The complete ARA Regional Championship schedule will be released in the coming weeks.
About ARA: The American Rally Association is the premier stage rally association in the United States. Owned and operated by the United States Auto Club, the ARA is the sanctioning body for the eight-round ARA National Championship, regional events, and championships throughout the United States. To learn more about the ARA and its partners, go to www.AmericanRallyAssociation.com.