FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laughlin, NV November 9, 2007
As the two major track-based American sports car racing series - the Rolex Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series – are done for the season, North American motorsports buffs have turned their attention to the Nevada resort of Laughlin for the Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival, to be held this weekend, November 8, 11, 2007.
National championship at stake
As the final round of the United States Rally Championship, the Laughlin International Rally will decide the year-end overall championship, with the top two point-getters to be challenged by nationally-ranked rallyists trying to steal their glory.
Seamus Burke, the Irish-born rallyist now living in Powder Springs, Georgia, along with co-driver Eddie Fries, from Yonkers, NY, hold a 25-point lead in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, having won three rallies so far this season. Burke clinched the championship in 2006 with a second-place finish in Laughlin. The only driver capable of overcoming Burke's lead is fellow Irishman Celcus Donnelly, now living in Bronx, NY, along wit5h co-driver Noel Gallagher, from Ireland. Donnelly/Gallagher have entered a Mitsubishi Lancer 8.
Not in the running for the points championship, but certainly capable of winning the rally and upsetting chances for either of the top two team mentioned above, include the defending Laughlin Rally champions Todd Moberly/Raymond Moberly, from Colorado Springs, Colo., in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI; Roger Loeffers/Colin Deere, from Phelan, Calif. - currently in fourth in the standings – in a Subaru Impreza WRX; Michael O'Leary/John O'Leary, from Floral Park, NY - another East Coast "Irish Connection" team, in a Mitsubishi Evolution 4; Wyeth Gubelmann/Natalie Richard in a Subaru WRX; Lisa Klassen/Matt Gauger, from Alta Loma, Calif.; George Plsek/Jeff Burmeister, from Solano Beach, Calif., in a Mitsubishi Lancer; and Carl Jardevall/Amy Trowbridge, Halfmoon Bay, Wash.
Chrissie Beavis, from San Diego, Calif., who was Burke's championship-winning co-driver, will take her place behind the wheel with family friend Terry Stonecipher in a VW Jetta.
How performance rally works
In the Laughlin International Rally, the cars race one-at-a-time against the clock on closed desert roads - each time trial is called a stage – in the Grand Canyon/Colorado River region, with the cars recording the lowest total elapsed time at the end of the event being the winners in each class. The co-driver, who sits in the passenger seat, has stage notes which guide the team through the course turn-by-turn, and has a rally computer to aid him or her by keeping track of mileage intervals and elapsed time. The driver will go as fast as he or she can "no speed limits" with coaching from the co-driver describing the road configuration ahead.
The drivers meet their crew at service areas every couple of stages for service on the cars, and drivers must obey all local traffic regulations when their cars are not actually driving on the closed stage road. Unlike traditional racetrack driving, where repetition on the same course can lead to the "œbest line" or "best setup" for each corner, rally drivers must react to blind conditions at racetrack speed.
This event is sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and presented by the National Auto Sports Association (NASA). Parts of the event count for points in the Western States Rally Championship (WSRC) and the California Rally Series (CRS) as well. The event is organized by the American Rally Sport Group, Inc. The rally will cover 500 miles including 120 racing stage miles and 12 stages.
The Laughlin International Rally brings together top teams from America's Atlantic and Pacific Divisions in the final three-day contest to determine the newest winners of both the 4WD and 2WD classes in the United States Rally Championships. While western rally teams may have advantage with familiarity of the course, the eastern teams are known for speed and perseverance under pressure. With three days of intense back-road competition stages, there is no clear prediction for the winners. The Laughlin International Rally is an FIA-listed rally through the United States Auto Club, in cooperation with the National Auto Sport Association and NASA Rallysport.
With multiple sports car competitions over pavement and dirt courses, every car enthusiast and aficionado in the western states will head for Laughlin for fun, excitement, casinos, and cars, cars, cars during the Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival, Nov. 8-11, 2008.
Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival's Opening Ceremonies and Salute to America's Veterans will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 in the MotorZone, one mile from Casino drive on Bruce Woodbury Drive. This marks the official start an exciting weekend line-up of diverse motor sport activities and driving courses with national championships on the line.
The MotorZone brings a collection of dirt-course events. Expanded with more course areas for 2007 is the two-day Laughlin Rallycross. The Regional Championship teams compete on Saturday and Sunday, but competition is open to licensed, insured drivers wanting to enter and give the winding dirt courses a try. The MotorZone area also includes special MotoCross courses, for top motorcycle riders, presented by Desert Recreation Yamaha.
Exciting Pro-Am Drifting competition finals will be held Friday through Sunday. This popular new extreme sport, held on America's only custom-designed drift course, is located along the Colorado River, with a view of the many Laughlin Casinos. The 2006 event debuted with full drifting action as the amateurs challenged the experts in the challenge for top finishing positions after two days of elimination rounds.
The ever-popular GPS Adventure Rally, a mystery driving tour geared for owners of AWD, 4WD or SUV vehicles, returns for its ninth year in Laughlin. During this family-oriented driving and travel adventure, teams of up to four drive through winding back roads and country side, with stops at old mining towns, pioneer ranches and historical sites. Team entry or additional information is available online at www.RallyUSA.com
The tenth limited edition $5 casino chip featuring the 2006 rally team winners is now in the production phase. The tradition began in 1998 with the image of a right-hand drive Ford Cosworth on the first commemorative chip. It followed, with a photo of the winning team featured thereafter.
The $5 chips are only available to the public following the completion of leg 1 of the competition. Highly prized by US Rally competitors, chips numbered 1-200 are reserved and presented only to the event competitors in the International Rally each year.
American Rally Sport Group, Inc. (ARSG), of Laughlin, Nevanda, was formed by Roger Allison, Lynnette Allison and Ray Hocker for the purpose of commercially organizing and promoting a major international rally in the United States and North America. The American Rally Sport Group created and developed the concept for this three-day FIA-listed Laughlin International Rally, an event with world-wide recognition that maintains its international flair.
This three-day event opened in 1998 as the Ramada Express International Rally USA with full blizzard and snow conditions blasting the competitors and earning its the nickname "America's Longest, Toughest Rally." The event now operates in conjunction with the Laughlin Tourism Commission, Las Vegas Events, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Located 90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin offers visitors a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This city by the river has grown to include nine resorts with affordable first-class accommodations, 24-hour casino gaming, gourmet dining and outlet shopping. Laughlin, a unique resort destination that welcomes nearly 5 million visitors annually, has also become one of the leading special event destinations in the Southwest. From world-class bull rodeo action to daring desert racing to an amateur long-drive golf competition, Laughlin has plenty to offer the adventurous spectator.
Visit www.RallyUSA.com or VisitLaughlin.com for tickets and additional information.