FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lebec, California (August 10, 2014)
Lebec, Calif (August 10, 2014) â€” Itâ€™s been a very long time since the little Datsun 510 was the dominant rally car on the stages of the Gorman Ridge Rally. The two-wheel-drive, 120 horsepower 510, along with itâ€™s big brother the 240Z, were among the most popular rally vehicles of the day. Most are now retired, living with collectors and in museums. These rally steeds of the past have been replaced with all-wheel-drive Subarus and Fords producing three to four times the horsepower. Without a doubt the face of the sport has undergone many changes through the years and through it all, the Gorman Ridge Rally has lived up to its motto of being â€œthe place where new rally legends are bornâ€.
This year, the rally celebrates its 25th consecutive running by honoring all the competitors and volunteers that have contributed to its heritage. Since 1990 over 500 competitors have taken part in the rally and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have manned the checkpoints and controls, working along side countless amateur radio operators, EMTâ€™s, and scoring teams to ensure smooth and safe operations. Their collective effort has made the rally the benchmark used by administration at the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area in Lebec, California, where the event runs. â€œWe are really happy with the relationship weâ€™ve built through the many years with the staff and administration at Hungry Valley. Without a doubt we owe this success to the great people associated with this rally,â€ stated Ray Hocker, one of the event organizers.
Rallyists will compete for points in the California Rally Series (CRS) Rally Championship, the oldest rally championship in North America, as well as trying to qualify for the final winner-take-all event in the NASA Rally Sport National Rally Championship, where they will go head to head with all the other top qualifying teams from across the country. In both championships, classes exist for both two-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles. further defined by either mild-mannered, production-based, stock vehicles, or fully developed, high-performance vehicles. All participating vehicles are held to strict safety and construction requirements.
This yearâ€™s event also will mark a changing of the guard for the rally management. Ray and Donna Hocker, who have organized the event for the last 23 years, are retiring after the event this year. Both have a long history in the sport. Ray started racing while he was still in high school and competed in the very first season of the Sports Car Club of Americaâ€™s ProRally Championship. Along with being a founding member of the California Rally Series, he also founded the Rim of the World Rally and co-founded the Laughlin International. During his 40-year rally career, he finished in the top three of the national rally championships several times and is a former CRS Champion. Donna competed as a rally co-driver and in 1992, became one of the organizers of the Gorman Ridge Rally. In 1997, Ray joined Donna to become co-organizers of the Gorman Ridge Rally. In 2010, Brian and Stacey Hamblin joined to organizing team as co-organizers.
Donna and Ray are quick to point out that their retirement does not mean the event is ending. â€œA special announcement will be made during the awards ceremony after the rally to introduce the new organizing team that is taking over. We are all very excited about the enthusiasm and talent this group is bringing to the sport,â€ stated Donna Hocker. â€œWeâ€™re not going away from the sport entirely,â€ Ray added. â€œWe are looking forward to volunteering and helping to develop new organizers and events.â€ The couple also look forward to having more free time to spend with their five-year-old daughter and other service opportunities in their local community.
While co-organizers Brian and Stacey Hamblin will continue to volunteer and offer assistance to the new organizing team to ensure a smooth transition, they also plan to step down at the conclusion of 2014. With an interest in rally spanning 15 years, one of the highlights of Brian's career was the 2006 Gorman Ridge Rally, where he debuted as a novice competitor. After splitting the last 8 years between competing and organizing, Brian and Stacey are looking forward to spending more time with their young family.
To help celebrate the 25th anniversary, the Hockers and Hamblins invite all past and present members of the rally community to join them at the rally, headquartered at the Holiday Inn Express in Lebec on August 23, and for the legendary after-rally party with refreshments provided by CRS staple "El Blendero" and by craft brewery Firestone Walker. A special edition rally T-shirt will commemorate its long history by listing the names of competitors who have run the event over the course of its history.
Further information about the Gorman Ridge Rally is available on the Web at www.gormanridgerally.com. The event is sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport and organized by Creative Edge Events, Inc.
Media Contact: Ray Hocker firstname.lastname@example.org