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  • Writer's pictureARA Staff

Slick Responses from a Field of Two-Wheel-Drive Mavericks



Atlanta, Mich. ~ The American Rally Association opens up its 2023 Green APU National Rally Championship season his weekend with one of the most unique rallies in the sport: Sno*Drift.

“More than any other rally it's just you versus the rally. It’s like the road actively wants you to DNF,” said 2022 ARA East Regional Limited 2WD champion Chris Nonack.

Nonack returns to Sno*Drift a year after finishing second in regional L2WD. Like most of the 2022 field, he remembers that event as a slippery, chaotic challenge. Competitors were met with heavy rains before freezing temperatures turned the roads into a thick sheet of ice. While not as drastic, competitors arrived in Atlanta this week under similar conditions. A lack of snow in the region this winter, plus an abnormally warm day on Wednesday were wreaking havoc on the gravel-packed back roads of Montmorency County.

“It is going to be very interesting,” said East Regional Open 2WD Scott James. “We did not get to test on (Wednesday), so I'm hoping there's going to be a little bit of traction on the shoulders so we can at least get through some of the tough stages.”

To challenge Sno*Drift is a task for even the largest teams on the circuit. To show up for the first rally of the year in a two-wheel drive vehicle may border on insanity.

“Well, first off, I think anyone would tell you that it's nuts,” said National Open 2WD competitor Nick Allen. “The grip is so minimal that the braking of a four-wheel drive versus two-wheel drive doesn't matter, but two-wheel drive, it's tough to even get up the hills.”


Along with the icy inclines and devilish declines, the obvious lack of snow in the area will be an additional challenge this weekend. Usually packed with lake-effect induced snowbanks, this year’s course is currently void of the feature, one that many teams use as an aid to get around corners.

“That's going to make it very interesting because we did bounce off a couple of snowbanks the last time when we were here two years ago,” said James. “We got pretty high-sided and got stuck, but we were able to get out and finish the rally.”

The lack of snow, and with it snowbanks, may change with six inches of new snow expected to fall on Thursday. That could also help solve the traction issue heading into the weekend, but the challenge of driving, and finishing the rally.

“It’s definitely like winter driving with summer ditches,” said Allen. “It will add to the complexity of the rally with five inches of snow during recce. I can't wait, that sounds good to me.”

For defending East Regional Limited 2WD champion Nonack, Sno*Drift holds enough adversities beyond the weather. It is the only true winter rally in the United States, made more difficult by the inability to run studded-tires.

“Where normally it's your pace versus you. But this is just, ‘make it through to the end’.”

It is a philosophy agreed upon by all competitors at Sno*Drift. Allen wholeheartedly agrees and is focusing on the rally one note at a time:

“It's really about keeping it clean and tidy and maintaining momentum and thinking about what's up ahead. One mistake could cost you the whole rally.”


The 2023 Green APU National Rally Championship will feature eight national rounds, starting in February and finishing in October at the Lake Superior Performance Rally. The ARA also offers up three regional championships across 21 events. To learn more about the ARA, go to https://www.americanrallyassociation.org.

All eight rounds of the Green APU National Rally Championship will be broadcast on the on both the ARA’s YouTube channel, and on the ARA LIVE page on the ARA website (www.americanrallyassociation.org).

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