County gets its own Cog Rally

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— With a passion for speed and the road, Mark Cox and Jim Gill pulled their efforts together and found time to coordinate the first ever Colorado Cog Rally 2001 Saturday.

"Jim and I compete in the national pro circuit of professional driving," rally master Cox said. "We thought about it before, but it wasn't until now that we thought we had time to make it work."

The performance rally will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Routt County Courthouse and end at the Riverbend Roadhouse for a celebration.

Various roads in Hayden will be closed for the event; however, performance rally officials said those have yet to be disclosed.

A performance rally is a sports car race on sections of rural roads that have been closed for the event. The various cars present for the race have been modified to accommodate high speeds and safety standards.

"The sports cars have been prepped for off-road rally use," Cox said.

The driving is sectioned into two parts: transit (getting from one segment of race to another) and stage (the marshaled race where cars go as fast as they can), Cox said.

"We have people coming from as far away as New Mexico, Minnesota, Utah," Cox said of the drivers who are amateur and professionals.

Drivers are required to be licensed nationally by the Sports Car Club of America and be equipped with regulations for safety including a roll cage, fire suits, fire extinguishers and helmets.

Drivers have the opportunity to win trophies and money while also receiving points toward the regional and national competitions.

Cox said Colorado saw a performance rally 15 years ago in Colorado Springs but has not seen one since.

But history may be changing in Colorado for performance rally racers.

Cox said he hopes to have a bigger and better performance rally in Routt County for the next three to four years.

"We have every intention of a national-level, professional event to be televised," he said.

Support by the community has been granted, and Cox said he hopes this event will boost the local economy.

"It's a neat sport. In Europe, races draw a bigger crowd than soccer games," Cox said. "It's the fastest-growing motor sport in the U.S. even worldwide."

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