Rally Racing Returns to Kananaskis County
A Look Into the Lesser-Known Auto Sport
The Kananaskis countryside was met with sounds of thunder Sunday afternoon. The echoing sound cannot be explained by any wicked weather conditions, but rather the snarl from a heavily modified 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution Rally car.
Eleven teams pit their speed, navigation and engineering against each other for the 2016 Kananaskis Rally as part of the 4th round of the Western Canadian Rally Championship.
After flood damage in 2013, the race was temporarily moved to Radium, B.C. After three years of roadwork, the race was able to reclaim its intended home near Sibbald Creek Trail, about a 45-minute drive from the edge of Calgary.
At the end of the day, it was driver Boris Djordjevic and navigator John Hall that placed first in the event with a total time of 43:55.40, which was a blazing two minutes and eight seconds faster than the runner up team.
“The biggest deal is notes and the seat time,” explained Djordjevic, commenting on his team’s rally success.
“Rally notes are a science that takes a lot of time and practice to understand and apply.”
For those lesser known to rally racing the forum is as such: Each car has a driver and a navigator. The navigator feeds track information from their rally note to the driver, who in turn maneuvers the vehicle. In order to maximize their time, drivers have to steer into turns long before seeing winds in the road. They do this based solely on directions the navigator gives them. This relationship and trust allows rally cars to take turns well over 100 km/hour.
“I have rallied 10 rallies this year and done one test day, which inspires confidence and rhythm.”
A characteristic of rally racing is a racing route that takes the cars through varied terrain. Paved roads are a rarity. The Kananaskis rally, for example took the drivers through steep gravel inclines, razor sharp turns, mudded straights and in all weather conditions.
“Rally is probably the most difficult motor sport there is,” said Djordjevic.
Djordjevic went on to compare rally racing to golf. Many things need to go right in order to do well. More than an individual, an entire team needs to be in sync.
“It is very mentally and physically demanding. I have been rally racing for about 20 years, go karting for about 10 years and road racing for about five to six, so I figured I like rally the most.”
The 2016 Kananaskis Rally was held over one day, which is a considerable change as pervious iterations of the unique mountain race were hosted over the entirety of a weekend. This, however, did not deter racing fans.
“I genuinely loved freezing my [but] off in the backwoods waiting for the sound of an engine, signaling the drivers rounding the coroner,” said Lucas Lyons, a motorsport enthusiast and attendee at the Kananaskis Rally.
The fans of rallying, according to Lyons, are fiercely dedicated. They would have to be, as the races require spectators to drive to remote race locations and traverse the rally tracks by foot.
“There are lots of auto sports that just can't be enjoyed in southern Alberta due to lack of facilities.
“I'm thankful that this event, and events like it, are thriving because it does not need a dedicated track.”
For more information about future races, one can visit the official website at http://cscc.ab.ca/kananaskis/