J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
3/20/23 8:38 a.m.

Deep in the woods of eastern Kentucky, the seeds for rally racing have been planted by two promoters, Matt Earl and Bernie Obry. After starting two NASA Rally Sport events in the Bluegrass State last year, they’re looking to expand on their success in a state not only seemingly built for the sport, but quite welcoming to rally racing, too.

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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/20/23 9:42 a.m.

I was thinking about the last time I visited the small Kentucky town I was born in with both my parents—surprisingly fun-to-drive roads out that way–both paved and unpaved.

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/20/23 12:44 p.m.

They're growing something special in that part of the world. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/21/23 3:38 p.m.
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

They're growing something special in that part of the world. 

Very much. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/21/23 8:36 p.m.

I know those dudes :)

Though..."“A lot of people don’t realize how accessible it is,” says Matt of competing in a rally. “The [rally] car has to be tagged, titled and insured, because they travel on public roads for transiting, from one stage to the next. As long as you have the proper safety gear [including roll cage], the car is safe and passes a logbook inspection, you can go rallying with little to nothing. Any vehicle can be a rally vehicle.”

I mean, it's accessible, but it's not "cheap racing" by any means...this ain't the Gambler lol. Cage, seats, harnesses, fire system, helmet, intercom, ~$1k per rally entry fee (on average), several days off work, several days lodging, towing, lots of gas. We've done rally for about 7 years now and try to do it as low-budget as possible, but on average each rally still costs $2500 or so (and that's not split with a 4-person team like chumpcar or something - most codrivers don't pay much or any of the costs). None of that counts rally tires, breaking stuff, the car itself, etc. 

Rally is definitely accessible in a general/vehicle sense though, especially if you can build your own cage and do your own work - some schmuck like me can run in the same events as Pastrana and Block (RIP) and those guys, you don't need a $100k car to compete in the top rally events in the US, you can do it in pretty much any car, as Matt notes....from a WRX to a Cherokee to a 38-year old BMW. So that's cool. 

Looking forward to our first rally down that way (Bristol Forests Rally in Tennessee in early May) and hope to eventually get to the Kentucky events if they ever host them outside NASA.

side note: West Va. also passed similar laws encouraging this kind of stuff, so there's plenty of talk of Rally West Virginia coming back as well. More mid-atlantic rallies is what I'm all about!

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/25/23 11:08 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Building a rally car is pretty cheap. Campaigning one is extraordinarily expensive. Travel, lodging, towing, entry cost and we haven't even talked about vehicle maintenance and the frequent body and transmission/differential maintenance. Even with a cage, hans, halo seats, computer, intercom and fire suppression and remote reservoir coilovers, it's the operation cost of rally that's absolutely insane. 


That's why what's going on in Eastern Tennessee, western SC, Western NC, Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and South East Ohio so potentially great. I'd really like to see it spread to south western VA and South Western Georgia. If it were to, then the Pennsylvania Hill climb association would serve as a bridge of stage competition between the Appalachian rally trail and the New England rally trail. The amount of available seat time for people with logbook cars would be impossible to keep up with. 

84FSP UberDork
3/26/23 8:43 a.m.

So...  The next event is 4/28-4/29.  It is a short 3hr drive from Cincinnati.  This sounds like fun.


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