SCCA Rally Sprint Team O’Neil 05.08.15
These days it seems like every thing is getting a reboot. Movies from the 80s are hot for remakes and reboots, every other week there is a trailer for some remake of a beloved movie from your childhood. What does this have to do with racing? There is something very special happening in the world of Rally and it came from an unlikely place. An old form of rally competition has been given a much needed reboot and it didn’t come from some new start up sanctioning body or gigantic energy drink company either.
In the mid-2000s the SCCA abandoned Performance rally, only keeping it’s rally-x and TSD programs in place. After some tragic accidents, performance rally was just too risky for event insurance and not worth anything to the current SCCA management at the time. A series with a 50 year history within the SCCA was shuttered. In the mean time, others have stepped up to fill the void with mixed results. Rally’s popularity is beginning to grow again and there is a huge gap between rally-xing a street car on a Saturday and spending three days at a National rally event in a fully prepped rally car. Kudos to those who have made that jump, but it has not been an easy one over the last 10 years.
New leadership at the SCCA decided to bring Rally Sprint out of retirement and give it a much needed reboot. It’s simple take rally prepped cars and let them loose on a compact and abbreviated rally style event. No multiple days of hotels and meals or huge tow bills. Make the entry price affordable and on paper you have a winning combination. This level of racing can be for regular stage rally participants looking for car shake down and practice or for those not yet ready for stage rally but wanting to go faster than Rally-x.
The New England Region of the SCCA has one of, if not the strongest Rally-x programs in the United States. There is just something about the region that lends itself to rally, it also helps that New England is home to several successful American rally drivers and that one of them, Tim O’Neil, runs the premier rally school in the United States. Team O’Neil rally school provided the perfect area for the first SCCA Rally sprint in 12 years and features miles of perfect, custom built stage roads. These gravel roads are built for heavy use and free from the car breaking granite stones that can pepper regular dirt roads in New England. The venue was only half of the equation, NER is home to some of the most experienced rally organizers and volunteers in the country. All of these factors came together and made the event a fantastic success. Further proving that Rally Sprint has a place in American motorsports. .