The fifth Oregon Trail Rally started at Portland International Raceway under a surprisingly brutal sun for the season and locale. Media all over the 115-degree track fought off heat exhaustion as they chased racing legends and would-bes from stage to stage. The Oregon Trail Rally is noted by many as the most technical rally in North America. Portland itself sees roughly, 144 days of sunshine per year. Between wet roads, cliffs, and the way Oregon forest roads are crowned, one can understand why the rally has such an unforgiving reputation. There isn't a lot of room for error. And things get even more interesting when everyone expects rain and Oregon throws heat and dry roads. Numerous racers ended up bringing the wrong tires to the Oregon woods with them. Because the Oregon Trail Rally counted for three separate race series there was good attendance. Sadly, more than half the teams on the stages the weekend of May 16th through 18th failed to finish.
While the rally, we had an opportunity to talk a little bit about desert racing with 2007 X-Games Gold Medalist, Tanner Foust. He provided an interesting perspective on rally racing as a guy who's sat in a Baja Challenge car for the 1000 and has ideas on racing Pro2 class in CORR sometime soon. Tanner's advice for anyone with desert racing roots who'd like to hop in a rally car might be a tall order though. "The best piece of advice I can offer a desert racer is to get a co-driver who doesn't like to drink beer before he gets in the car!" laughed Tanner when polled for his counsel.