Sunday, September 18, 2005
Spectators filled the stands at Dry Creek Park on Sunday to watch rally cars maneuver jumps and tight corners during the Colorado Cog Rally.
Seasoned fans and curious residents took in the action during the SuperSpecial stage, designed to give spectators a condensed view of what happens the other 100 miles of the race, event chairman Jim Gill said.
Rat and Nikki Knoebel of Steamboat Springs enjoyed the full view of the 1-mile stage, though an earlier stage at Sage Creek south of Hayden proved to be a bit more exciting.
"It was pretty good. We saw a crash," Rat Knoebel said.
The crash involved driver Travis Pastrana -- an extreme motorcycle rider turned rally car driver -- and co-driver Christian Edstrom. The team's Subaru WRX reportedly rolled three to six times, Gill said.
Pastrana and Edstrom were not seriously injured, but their car was "absolute toast," Gill said.
The Colorado Cog is the seventh of eight races in the Rally America National Championship Series.
The wide-open stages on county roads, and the mud/clay road combination that dries "like concrete," make the Colorado Cog one of the faster events in the series, said J.B. Niday, managing director for Rally America.
Each series event presents different driving conditions. Drivers tackled snow in the first race of the season, the Sno*Drift in Michigan, and deep sand in the sixth race of the series in Minnesota.
"In the sand, you can get away with making a mistake," said co-driver Jeff Burmeister, noting that attrition, or crash rates, tends to be higher at events in Colorado and California, where conditions make it harder to balance speed and control.
"There's one line, and if you get out of that coming through a corner, you're going to be fixing parts," he said.
Good attendance at the SuperSpecial event and other stages suggests the sport is gaining a foothold in the U.S. Enthusiasts say rallying is among the most popular motor sports in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.
Rally America, which took over the U.S. series last fall from the Sports Car Club of America, hopes to attract more interest by promoting rallying more as an extreme sport than as a motor sport, Niday said.
To do that, the organization has moved televised coverage of the series from the SPEED channel to the Outdoor Life Network.
Tiffany Weber and Dan Hoffman, who came from Denver to watch the Colorado Cog, said the change should help spread the sport to a wider audience.
"The NASCAR fans won't come out and watch, but BMX fans will," Tiffany Weber said.
Until they finally made it to an event, the two rally enthusiasts relied mostly on SPEED channel coverage, though they usually had to wait until 2 a.m. to see it.
"Put it on during the day, I don't care what channel it's on," Hoffman said.
The series will be televised on OLN at 3 p.m. Saturdays, starting Oct. 8. The Colorado Cog will be televised Nov. 19.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail email@example.com