94 NOVEMBER 2019 scca.com
Since its inception in 1995, the United States RoadRally Challenge (USRRC) has
typically run some combination of Course,
Tour, and GTA events over the three days of
competition. Recent years have seen alterations
of the event from the typical norm, including
one year dubbed by some as “USRRC lite,”
but the future of RoadRally’s premier event
may be in doubt, as the event simply isn’t
going to happen in 2019. That said, there’s
certainly light at the end of the tunnel.
First, however, lets look at the history
of the event. In 2009, Land O’Lakes
Region hosted “The Challenge” for the
second time – its nickname coming due to
the fact that the unabridged multi-word
moniker doesn’t roll off the tongue.
The introduction, written by 1995
RoadRally Board Chair Debbi Segall,
explained the inaugural United States
RoadRally Challenge, which Land O’Lakes
Region had also hosted. Segall noted that
an annual championship had been proposed
multiple times, but in November 1992, RRB
member Russ Brown proposed replacing
the existing RoadRally championship
series with a three-day Tour event.
The proposed event would be invitation
only, with those invited being “prior National
Champions, Grand Masters, and all those
finishing in the top 20-percent of their
class in qualifying Divisional events, with
additional entrant nominations coming from
Divisional stewards, Rally Board, and REs.”
A revised plan reinstated the Course and
Tour series along with National Rallies but
kept most of the invitation and qualification
requirements. The long-range plan was
to phase out individual championships.
After resubmission to the membership
and additional efforts at the 1994 Boston
SCCA National Convention, a final, workable
plan was agreed upon. Land O’Lakes Region
was selected as the host for the first USRRC
with two National Tour rallies and an easy
National Course rally at the three-day event.
Fifteen-years later, Land O’Lakes Region
again staged the USRRC with 29 teams,
and John Emmons, Lois van Vleet, and Mike
Thompson again served as rallymasters;
Emmons did double duty as chair.
In 2012, Detroit Region began the
substitution of a GTA (Game, Tour, Adventure)
rally for one of the two Tour events. Twenty-five teams competed in that three-day event.
The host Region of the following year’s
USRRC was always supposed to be announced
at the previous year’s event. That, however, was
becoming more difficult to accomplish, as fewer
Regions were able to commit the resources
necessary for hosting the complex event.
The 2014 USRRC was organized as part
of the Coker Tire Challenge in Chattanooga,
Tenn., that September. SCCA ran its USRRC
as part of the two-and-one-half day Coker
time-speed event as its own National Tour.
For the 21st USRRC held in 2015, with
no Regions offering to host the event, Cal
Club Region and RRB member Jeanne
English proposed and the RoadRally
Board accepted a plan to use Cal Club’s
Friday Regional event combined with a
Course and GTA event as the USRRC.
The USRRC format continued to change
as New England Region hosted a Tour
rally on Saturday followed by a Sunday
Course rally. Fifty teams competed in what
was the last Covered Bridge Tour rally,
with 28 in the Sunday Course event.
Alaska Region and chair Cheryl Babbe
hosted a three-day USRRC in 2017, and
St. Louis, hosting the Region’s fourth
USRRC, held a National Course and Tour
rally between a half-day Division nighttime
Tour and a morning GTA event in 2018.
Indeed, the scale of the USRRC makes
finding a host Region a challenge, and
for 2019, the USRRC will go dark. But
there is hope, as RRB and Detroit Region
member Mike Bennett has indicated
that his Region is interested in hosting
the USRRC for 2020. So, stay tuned as
more information is made available.
A CHALLENGING ROAD
While 2019 will be an off year for
the USRRC, 2020 should see a
return of the series with a trip to the
Detroit area (LEFT and BELOW).
While the USRRC will skip this year, plans are already in the works for 2020 | WORDS & IMAGES Rick Beattie