Unlike the previously announced US Rally Association (no, um, association), the newly formed American Rally Association is a real thing that is actually happening, and has just announced that they will be taking over the sanction of four well established events from Rally America next year.
ARA has been established as a non-profit organization, rather than a business entity like Rally America. They are placing a strong emphasis on being member-driven, with representatives from each event on the calendar as well as seasoned rally veterans on the Board of Directors. This addresses some major criticisms about the way Rally America has run their events in the past.
Heading up the ARA is none other than rally legend Tim O’Neil, proprietor of Team O’Neil Rally School as well as a rally champion himself multiple times over, and lends ARA a great deal of credibility.
The inaugural 2017 ARA National Championship series currently consists of these events:
- Olympus Rally in Shelton, Washington in May
- Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, PA in June
- New England Forest Rally in Newry, Maine in July
- Ojibwe Forests Rally in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in August
Additional events are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, with a full event schedule announced later this Fall.
Between NASA Rally Sport’s invasion of Canada and now this announcement, the North American rally scene is undergoing a major upheaval at the moment, with next year’s championships looking quite different than they have in a long time. Personally, I think the future looks bright.