Monday, April 30, 2012

Oregon Trail Rally nets second largest entry in event history

Top National and West Coast Teams Enter Round 3 of the Rally America National Championship 

The Oregon Trail Rally, the third round of the 2012 Rally America National Championship, will start 63 teams on May 4-6 in Portland, Ore.

Mark Fox/Karen Jankowski at last year's OTR.
Photo credit/Matt Galantuomini
It's the second highest Oregon Trail entry list in the event's history matching the 63 entries set in 2010. Oregon Trail's largest field was 76 teams in 2007.

Rally America has already seen record entries at the first two rounds of the National Championship and the trend continues heading into Oregon. The weekend begins at Portland International Raceway on Friday and then continues onto the farm roads near Mt. Hood the rest of the rally. There will be plenty of action and competition on the fast, gravel-pitted roads of the Oregon Trail Rally.

Subaru Rally Team USA's David Higgins and Rockstar Energy Drink's Antoine L'Estage are battling for National Championship supremacy, but U.S. mountain bike champ and occasional rally driver, Carl Decker from Bend, Ore., is fast enough to potentially reach the podium. Decker last raced in 2010 at Oregon Trail netting a sixth-overall spot and managed to garner enough points to later compete at X Games 16 in Super Rally.

Oregon Trail will feature a large Super Production Class this year with nine teams. There is a first place tie in the SP Class between Travis Hanson and Lauchlin O'Sullivan, but only O'Sullivan will compete at Oregon. Hanson will rejoin the National Championship hunt at the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, Penn. on June 1-2. O'Sullivan's task won't be easy as he faces his usual national SP competitors, and faces more West Coast SP teams, such as Hood River's Dave Henderson and Aurora's Mike Goodwin.

The Two-Wheel Drive Class will be packed with 26 teams consisting of national and regional drivers competing on the same turf. Chris Duplessis in his 2011 Ford Fiesta R2 has dominated this year, but he faces an Australian two-driver team, Summit Innovation's Will Orders and Ross Allan. Orders and Allen are bringing their 400hp Nissan Silvias and could seriously challenge Duplessis.

Live online video streaming coverage of rally action and exclusive driver interviews will be available at Online coverage is scheduled to begin Friday at 6 p.m. PDT.