Third annual Rally Colorado a ‘smashing’ success

Photos By O.D.D. Racing and Team Manager Preston Osborn

RANGELY | A total of 23 cars started the race on July 26, but only 16 cars finished the last stage the next day. It appeared race day enthusiasm got the better of several racers. There were several cars that ran off the road within the first three miles of the first stage of the race. There were a few crashes and a number of breakdowns, but all the cars that competed in the 12-segment race were at the top of their form.

One notable accident resulted in the car actually getting “lost” in a gulch due to a sudden flash flood. The driver of car number 313 went off of a corner and down the steep wall of a gulch, rolling the car several times. The driver and co-driver were uninjured and were able to make their way out of the wrecked car and back up to the road to wait for assistance. Before the race officials could arrive, a wall of muddy water came down the gulch, engulfed the car and swept it several hundred yards downstream. The car was so covered with mud and debris it could not be located until the following morning.

The story of “Earl,” the rally car, from the CU Sport Car Club Facebook Page:
“Let me tell you the story of Earl.
On this day July 26, 2019, he died.
He lived through 40 rallies, multiple surgeries and Cam Steely driving him. He went out the way he lived, fast and crazy.
Earl went off the rally stage in a pretty relaxed fashion. The skies were blue and the temp was high. 
Then, the skies opened and the desert turned into a river with no name. In 20 minutes dry dirt turned into 20 feet of water and took Earl away. We gave chase and attempted to recover him for multiple miles but the current was too strong.
Earl was gone.
The next day, rescue and recovery was underway. After four hours, and multiple car parts uncovered, hope was thin. Then the unbelievable happened, Earl was found!
The team (Ed, Cody, Ian, Rod, Ben) was determined to bring him home. Seven hours later, Thanks to Ford diesel power and team head Rod driving through an active tributary with more weather on the way.
Earl came home.”
BRETT DEARMAN photo

The race itself was set up on three different sections of rural county roads in the Rangely area.  Each of the three road segments (or “stages”) of the race were run twice each day of the event.

The roads were isolated from public traffic by an extremely well-coordinated effort on the part the race organizers in cooperation with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office. Communications were instrumental in the coordination effort which was provided by a group associated with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management known as AuxComm (Auxiliary Communications). 

Each segment of the race had local EMTs at the start, midway point and finish. Even the Flight For Life medical transport helicopter was on site, parked in a central location in the event of a serious injury. Heat exhaustion is as much of a concern as accidents. Most of the cars have air scoops on their roofs to help move air through the cabins of the cars because the racers run their heaters to help keep the engine cooler.

In an interview, volunteer Scott McCarty said, “The racers love the roads at the Rangely event. They’re a blast to drive.” McCarty would have been racing at the Rally Colorado this year, but his car wasn’t ready. “I couldn’t race this year, so I decided to volunteer to help out instead.  It’s been very educational to be on this side of the whole event. Volunteer workers at these rallies are so critical to their success.  I never realized how much work it takes to put on of these (rallies) together,” he said.

The rally concluded at the CNCC campus with pizza and an awards ceremony.  The final scores for the Rally Colorado can be found at the following link: https:/tiny.cc/4vfiaz

By Brett Dearman | brett@ht1885.com

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