When asked at the conclusion of the Oregon Trail Rally to sum up the past three days in one word, Subaru Motorsport USA driver David Higgins simply said: “Relief.”
Over the weekend, Higgins continued his dominance of the long, winding trails that have become hallmark to event, picking up his tenth overall win in the past 11 tries in Oregon. Despite trailing teammate Travis Pastrana and Robbie Durant following two Super Special stages on Friday night, Higgins and co-driver Craig Drews dialed up the pressure on Saturday to take over the lead, and then executed a near-flawless eight-stages on Sunday to turn a 16.1-second lead into a final 59.4-second victory. The level of professional driving was so precise that it led Pastrana to take the microphone after the podium and recognize Higgins as “one of the greatest drivers of all time.” For Higgins, his first win in 2019 was a long-time coming.
“I feel really relieved,” said Higgins. “It was a tough few rallies going back to midway last year, even though we won the championship last year. Not winning (100 Acre Wood) was a bit of a wake-up call that we got to get back to business. We fought really, really hard to get this win and to make it my tenth, and ten out of 11 is amazing.”
For Pastrana and Durant, a strong start on Friday night gave them confidence going into the weekend. Being their first rally of the year, there was the expected mistakes on Saturday and Sunday, but in the end, they had to tip their hat to overall winner.
“David Higgins is absolutely a beast,” said Pastrana. “Even in that last stage he had a 45-second lead and all he has to do is walk it in, and all he does is goes and breaks the stage record.”
Filling up the podium was the hard-charging tandem of Barry McKenna and Leon Jordan. The Irishmen were pushing the limits over the weekend after an accident ripped the right-front wheel assembly off on Friday night. They moved up from 23rdon Saturday to start in fourth on Sunday behind fellow McKenna Motorsports driver Brandon Semenuk and John Hall. It took three stages for McKenna to get past Semenuk, and a 10-second penalty on stage 12 for the Canadian would solidify McKenna’s third overall.
Local favorite Jeff Seehorn was once again pushing the overall leaders from the L4WD. He was running as high as fourth, but a weight penalty moved him from the class lead to third, allowing Adam Short and Danny Norkus to win the class and Michael Dickinson and Daniel Piker to finish second.
Blake and Tricia Lind had another great rally, finishing eleventh overall and winning the NA4WD class. Erik Potts and Claudia Barbara ran a spectacular rally to win the O2WD title and finished 13th overall.
In the Oregon Trail Regional Rally, Seth Vanhee and Bryan Bishop finished with the top overall time and first in L4WD, 35-seconds ahead of Corey Salsbery and Matt Mcclure.
For more information on stage times and finishing order, go to the Rally Scoring page on the ARA website.
Round five of the American Rally Association, presented by AMSOIL national schedule will be the long, mountain stages of the Idaho Rally June 22-23. More than 136 competition miles will be held around the Boise, Idaho City and Placerville, Ida. areas.