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Rally in the 100 Acre Wood weekend is here!

Photo: Rupert Berrington

The '24 100 Acre Wood Rally near the Ozark Mountains in Missouri starts today!

The event has 125 competition miles and 236 transit miles, which if you are counting is more than 100 Acres! The event is headquartered in Salem Missouri with today's parc expose in Potosi, MO and multiple free spectator areas set up by the organizers.

58 teams are set to take on the forest roads, with defending champions Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams top of the entry list in their 2024 Subaru. Last year there was a back and forth battle with Barry McKenna in their 2019 Ford Fiesta finishing second in the end by only 6.8 seconds. The closest finish in the recent history of the event. Both teams are here to duke it out again.

Big excitement for this year is the return of former Rally Champion Travis Pastrana

reuniting with his co driver Rhianon Gelsomino. Pastrana took 2023 off to race in other series

including the Daytona 500 but he is back now to compete for the rest of the season in the ARA

Championship. Rhianon teamed with Lia Block last year to finish 2nd at 100 Acre Wood in 2WD and won the National 2WD Championship. Lia was only 17 when she won the championship and now has moved on to the F1 Academy, where she competed in her first two races this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

There will be plenty of action down through the ranks from teams racing for class wins or

to just finish, to gain experience or race some classic old cars. Some interesting classic cars include 1976 and 1977 Ford Escorts, a 1974 Ford Capri and a 1977 Dodge Colt.

The team of Jacob Despain and his co driver Michael Despain, despite working and living in Colorado, feel 100 Acre Wood is their home Rally because Jake was born and raised in nearby Rolla, MO. This will be his 4th100AW. They are listed this year as NA4WD driving the same car they ran in 2023 but have upgraded the bracing on the rear subframe and repaired damage from the Prescott Rally in Arizona. SubieDoctor in Denver sponsors his car which helped pay for a new wrap. Jake “I really love how fast and flowing the roads are. It is so much fun being flat out

for a long time and being high speed through corners using all the road.” Jake and Mike will be

competing in car # 537 in their ”home” rally.

Salina Melotti from West Virginia, who refers to herself as Icarus Neely O’Hara on

Facebook and on the window of the BMW Rally car driven by Keenan Phillips, is coming to 100

Acre Wood for the second time this year, but now as a co-driver, “ I switched to co-driving because Keenan offered me a gracious opportunity taking a big chance on me. I accepted the offer because my goals are always to try new and challenging things. Learn more and go big! I look forward to seeing all of the people whom I’ve now become good friends with. A year ago, being behind the camera, I knew a lot of people but I don’t think they knew me. I just tried to stay out of everyone’s way. Our goal is definitely to finish. Although, it would be nice to be on podium again!." She will be in BMW #609 O2WD.

Road conditions this year are unusually dry, and the roads are very smooth. Severe weather yesterday forced the early closure of scrutineering, and the rain and wind continued on and off all night. However, not enough fell to bring back the classic low water bridge splashes. Event crews are out early this morning looking for downed trees from the storm.

Parc Expose starts at 11:30 with the first car off the line at 13:00. Tune in to the ARA website for live scores and updates!

More information on entries, schedules and spectator locations can be found on the 100

Acre Wood website

~ Rupert Berrington & ARA Staff

For more information on the American Rally Association and the 2024 Championship, go to



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