"No Dust, No Glory" at Indiana Rallycross
What happens when you mix a grass roots rallycross series together with a mission statement of “Promote rallycross and bring new kinds and exciting events to the state” and the tag line “MAKE LIFE EPIC”? This!
Indiana Rallycross recently completed their first full season of races as an independent series. Rallycross in Indiana you say? Yes, and not only is this their first complete season, it has also proved to be one of the largest turnouts of racers in the region. With over 50 drivers at nearly every event this year and 84 individual drivers for the season you can count on a very “EPIC” season next year. It seems that the saying “Build it and they will come” proves true!
Indiana Rallycross began in 2012 by a group of friends that collectively had the same objective, “All we wanted to do is race,” says Danny Phillips of IRC. So they joined in SCCA rallycross sanctioned events. Racing with the SCCA barely lasted a full season though, because the group wanted more. More speed. More dirt. More turns. More room.
They got in contact with Badlands Off Road Park and few conversations later, IRC was born. The group then incorporated as a non-profit and claimed the land the madness would very soon occupy. Course lengths of 2.25 miles are typical. Held in a field that includes numerous stretches of awesome high speed sections which allow drivers to often top out in third gear, along with long sweeping turns to test a drivers skill of off-road drifting.
Course dynamics don't stop there, the terrain has slight grades throughout, as well as a huge 40 foot elevation change to a lower course section known for very tight hairpin turns leading back up the 40 foot climb through a tight section of trees. This section requires strong concentration and control as the slightest wrong move on the winding narrow trail could result in meeting a tree.
Camaraderie within the IRC competitors and staff is one of the greatest perks of spending a full day of racing together. Throughout the season drivers have gotten to know one another very well, helping each other out when needed. A family they have become…in fact, one of the competitors proposed to his girlfriend WHILE racing on the course this past weekend! This was cleverly setup with 4 friends holding signs progressively along the course, with the words “Will you marry me?” coming up to the finish line. The e-brake was pulled as they slid across the finish, the driver opened up his door, knelt down in the doorway, and held the ring up to his shocked girlfriend still sitting in the navigator/passenger seat with her helmet on while asking the question one more time. She said “Yes”. The driver can be seen below shouting with excitement!
One of the great things about IRC is that you only need 3 things to race: a car, a helmet, and 50 bucks. Some of the spectators who came to the first race of the season were racing by the second.
Cars are divided up into 3 classes, allowing each competitor to compete fairly against each other. All classes are well represented and vehicles range from an old Volvo station wagon to fully-built Rally America competitors.
One competitor showed up in a completely stock Audi Allroad Quattro at the start of the season. It now sports stickers, modified exhaust and powertrain, and of course the obligatory rally racing front lights (even if they are just stickers!)
The course challenges drivers of all levels. It is a great place to learn the foundations of rallycross as well as hone your skills inbetween Rally America races. Each IRC event features a slightly different course in order to keep the game fresh.
Being in Indiana, weather can be a huge factor as well. A couple of the events have included rain, which won’t stop the racing!