Indiana Rallycross at Badlands 2014 : “It’s an ATV… It’s a Dirt Bike… Is that a Subaru?”
This year Indiana Rallycross (IRC) is out-doing themselves race after race. Unlike last years race held on a remote piece of land, that conflicted with the highly spectated Badlands UMC event, IRC was front and center along with all the other big Ultimate Motorsports Championship (UMC) events at Badlands Off Road Park. IRC even had an all-new piece of property to race on - the Badlands’ dedicated Motocross track.
Long before showing up to the event, I was aware that IRC was utilizing this front-and-center land at Badlands. I thought “ What a great way to gain exposure. They will level the well-used track, construct a tight course with a high technicality factor and it will be a blast!“ Throughout the weeks leading up to the event, IRC staff put out disclaimers that this course will be unlike anything seen before within the rallycross circuit.
Warnings were issued to competitors advising drivers not fully skilled with the handling of their vehicles to sit this one out, as the winding tree-lined section and other hazardous obstacles on course would be more challenging than normal. One of the great things about IRC, and what makes it so much fun, is that they're not affiliated with any regulated series or circuits. Being their own entity, the staff has the freedom to work within their own rules, and create new ones, as the grassroot series builds up it’s presence.
With the race weekend beginning, I eagerly anticipated checking out the track. As I walk up to the course I see it’s still a….”track”? Much to my surprise, the only thing changed was widened paths and lessened angle on a couple jumps. Jumps?Yes! My hopes and wishes had been granted, I've been begging for jumps to be added to the course for about a year. After talking with the IRC staff for a bit, it was time to get a quick first-hand perspective of the new track. Hopping into a sweet Ford Focus ST, which is less than a year old, Danny took me on one heck of a ride! His control and handling of a stock car without much ground clearance thoroughly impressed me, as did the track.
Finally, the racing I've been waiting for so long for is almost underway... Just one quick parade lap and IRC starts off with “C” (stock) class.
Seeing everyday vehicles hit the dirt makes for the most amusing part of the weekend, you'd never expect to see these cars on an off-road course like this.
After 3 runs around the course it's time for “B” and “A” classes to get their turn - and the track really heats up. These cars are built with extended travel suspension, high horsepower and sticky winter tires. Unlike a conventional Rallycross course, this layout will put the cars to a test unlike they have ever seen.
Before the racing started, the drivers all get a parade lap to feel out the course and get familiar with the pitches and grade of the surface after the class “C” racers break it in. As the racers began to tackle the course one by one, in come the clouds. Yet this isn't your typical rain shower. The clouds quickly turned into a serious storm that made for a great background! Lightning lit up the skies until the storm caught up with our area, putting the racing to bed. After just an hour of rain, the course was flooded with feet of water in spots.
The the fastest time of the day comes in by “B” class driver Wojciech Burek with a blazing run of just 118.18 seconds in his Subaru Impreza - beating out Greg Bugai by only .6 seconds! For the next meet, Indiana Rallycross has another first in store - a stage rallycross race on August 2nd. Do not miss it!
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