By Shari Harris, Co-Managing Editor
The Missouri Ozark Rally came to Licking Saturday, and the team of Ryan Rethy and James Dallman in car #890 won first place in 4WD cars and had the best time overall, finishing six stages in 45:25.9.
Six of seven cars entered in the rally race made it to town Friday evening for a pre-check of safety equipment, including seats, harnesses, cages, fire safety equipment and more. The Licking Rural Fire Department allowed racers to use a bay of the fire station to complete their checks. Next door in the Fox Community Room, volunteers registered and learned their assignments. Including committee members, seventy-two volunteers were planned to be involved in the event. Though the field of racers was small, the training experience for the volunteers was invaluable to prepare them for future events.
The rally cars met at the Town & Country Supermarket parking lot Saturday morning to prepare for the race. Spectators had an opportunity to see the cars and meet the drivers. Each car has a driver and a co-driver during the race, and both fielded spectator questions about their cars and rally racing.
Drivers left to transit to the first leg of the race beginning a little after 11 a.m. The first Start point was on McCloy Road, with racers traveling to Paddy Creek Road, turning right and continuing almost to the campground to the Stop point. Then they transited to the second stage, on Turley Road near Plato. The third and four stages were a repeat of the first two, so those watching at the spectator point at the junction of McCloy and Paddy Creek roads saw racers pass by twice before drivers returned to Licking for a service stop.
One car had to leave the race early when a co-driver became ill from the heat. A second car had mechanical issues at the first start point and returned to the pits early. After replacing tires and completing other repairs, the second half of the race began, with a planned repeat of the first four stages. Five cars returned to the course, but only three finished the first two stages, with the #726 car again having mechanical issues in the first, and with #929 car also going out in that leg of the race, just after passing the spectator point, when it had apparent transmission problems. The final two stages were scrubbed due to the lateness of the day, as organizers promised landowners the roads would be reopened by a certain time.
The #154 car, with driver Travis Clark and co-driver Tisha Clark, finished second in 4WD cars, with the second fastest finish of the day. Their total time was 49:38.0. Kelsey Stephens and William Ho, in car #823, had the third fastest time, with 55:06.4. They finished first in the 2WD category. Prior to their mechanical issues, after four stages, the #929 car, with Nathan Coulter and Bryce Proseus, was on track to finish second.
Drivers, co-drivers and volunteers gathered at Cedar Street Marketplace for an award celebration Saturday evening.
Many positive comments were heard about Saturday’s race, by spectators, drivers, volunteers and organizers. Organizers indicated if the race went well, future events may be planned, so if you missed this year’s rally, watch for the next one and plan to see what rally racing is all about.
Photos by Shari Harris
Photos by Rick Duncan
Photos by Matt Jones and Troy Collins
Photos by Shari Harris