Today Rally West Virginia formally announced its new date for the 2012 season. The race will be returning to Snowshoe Mountain for two days of racing at the end of July. Friday July 27th and Saturday July 28th will witness the roar of race engines and the excitement of this unique form of racing return to Pocahontas and Randolph counties. Last year’s overall winner, Danny O’Brien, is already excited about the event. ‘I’ll definitely be there,’ said O’Brien, ‘Rally West Virginia is one of the best gravel events I’ve ever done.’ In 2011 it was a two day battle between O’Brien and Charles Sherrill that made the long stages a test of wills as the drivers traded times back and forth.
To heat up the competition, Charles Sherrill has said that he’s returning for a shot at the top spot. ‘I think I had his number,’ said Sherrill in regards to last year’s race with O’Brien. ‘but the dust kept us from making up the time on day two. I hope that Mike Reilly brings his Ford Escort back out, I’d like another crack at him too!’
Photo: Steve Kurey
Scheduling is difficult in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia with many tourism-based events. Previously, the event was held in mid-August, but with the planned growth of the event, the date change became necessary. The location, with the service park based at the Snowshoe Mountain ski resort, has the most spectacular vistas of any servicing location in the country. The peak of the mountain, which at 4,848 feet is nearly a mile high, is breathtaking. In its 35 years of operation, Snowshoe Mountain has seen many motorsports events and Rally West Virginia is proud to continue this tradition.
‘I really have to thank the Snowshoe Mountain Resort,’ said organizer John Shirley. ‘Their continued support and assistance in helping the event come together has made all the difference.’
‘Rally West Virginia had been in hibernation for a couple years,’ said Anders Green of NASA Rally Sport. ‘I was really happy to see it make a strong return last year, and the behind the scenes work that’s already happening for this year is going to make it a great event. Of all rallies in the US, Rally West Virginia is in the best location to draw loads of racers. I’m going to sign up myself!’
For this season, Rally West Virginia will be the third stop of the Atlantic Rally Cup series. The Atlantic Rally Cup is an international tour that stretches from South Carolina in the United States up the eastern seaboard to Quebec, Canada. Sand, gravel, and snow provide a wide variety of challenges for the drivers who must prove their mettle under any weather conditions.
The event will be sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body for the US. NASA Rally Sport focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools to the racers, organizers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is one of the core missions of the organization.