Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rallycross Season Wrap-Up

The 2017 Rallycross Season for the Nebraska Region SCCA was a bit of a rollercoaster.  Battling weather, site conditions, and break-downs, the NRSCCA managed to have record-setting turnout, excellent course design, and even bring home some hardware from the National Championship.  All kinds of extremes highlight a busy season of racing in the dirt here in the Heartland, yet the overall feeling from this season coming to a close is how much we've managed to accomplish with our program.

In February, things got off to a muddy start.  The day before our very first event of the season , snow and ice covered the site.  It looked to be a slippery snowy setting for the coming event the next day.  However, a quick change in temperature turned that layer of ice into several inches of mud for a slip-n-slide Rallycross through a soupy course.  We ended up calling off the event mid-way through the day as competition was pretty impossible to carry out in those conditions.  To add insult to injury, the following month's event was also cancelled due to poor site conditions.  I wondered if we'd ever get to have a race!

Things turned around just in time.  In April we hosted a Super Weekend with a Rallycross School and Twilight Rally on Saturday and a full day of competition the following Sunday.  It was a great opportunity to get some well-needed seat time in and energize our faithful racers that had been waiting for two months to compete.  The entire event was a rousing success and looked to set things back on pace until the following event in May fell victim to yet another cancellation.  Bad timing with weather had made the site unusable for competition yet again.  Midway through our 8-race season, we had only managed to compete once.

The turning point for our season seemed hit right at the start of the second half of the season.  Our Rallycross event in July also coincided with the Boxers @ Baxter event, bringing Subaru Rally Team USA's Display Trailer Program to our patch of dirt in Greenwood, NE.  Despite record-breaking heat, fans and drivers got to check out Chris Atkinson's GRC Supercar and the rest of the display brought to us as the racing unfolded.  Food and Giveaways were provided by Baxter Subaru.  It was a great way to escape the heat and enjoy the event together.

Each event after that point went by pretty seamlessly.  Great course design, no weather delays or issues, and record-breaking attendance continued right into the final event in November.  The Nebraska Region SCCA also had a great showing at the DirtFish Rallycross National Championships held in the fall, including a class win by Doug in the Rally Bug.  It was a fantastic finish to a season that was off to a rough start back in February.  With the following the NRSCCA Rallycross program has recently been enjoying, it's a good sign of continued growth to carry us into the next season.

The only concern lingering after this whirlwind season is the condition of the site at I-80 Speedway.  With a reduced area to use, it was difficult to fully utilize the space.  Rough rutted sections, road construction debris, and poor timing with weather early in the season made this the only constant concern through the season.  Site renovations will be needed for the NRSCCA to continue utilizing the site.  There are plans to grade and seed the site that will hopefully allow us to utilize more areas so we're not constantly running over the same paths and inhibiting grass to grow back and hold the site together.  I know that with the momentum of the 2017 season propelling us forward, it will be important to address the site at I-80 Speedway for continued use.

Overall, and especially considering the poor luck with weather early in the season, the 2017 NRSCCA Rallycross Season has been a rollercoaster worth riding.  This would not have been possible without all the support from competitors, workers, and even spectators who came out to watch the action unfold at each event.  A big "thank you" to all those who helped us put together a fantastic season of racing!

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