The SCCA’s National Championship season is in full swing, and that includes the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 RallyCross National Championship at the National Balloon Classic venue in Indianola, Iowa. Haven’t thought about joining in on the RallyCross experience? Well, here are some reasons why you should.
The Fun: Driving a RallyCross car at speed is just, well, a blast! Where else can you drive around in your car and legally tear up the grass?
The Cars: There’s an incredible variety of cars at the event. Both new and old, stock and modified, and the variations are always a neat surprise. There’s a lot of creativity to gaze upon and unique methods drivers utilized to become more competitive.
The Accessibility: Unlike some racing where you run a national series across the country, accumulate points and work your way towards a title, the RallyCross National Championship requires no qualification rounds, no elimination rounds and no practices. You show up and drive the best you know how. The fastest at the end walks away with a title.
The Venue: The National Balloon Classic site contains 18 acres of rolling grassland that produces an outstanding playground for driving enthusiasts. The land is relatively smooth with lush green coverage over a firm clay-and-silt mix. Last year the site offered up three variations of traction with a wet slick surface on Saturday morning, dry and fast on Saturday afternoon, and a wet but drying surface on Sunday morning. The site drains quickly and degrades little, making for low maintenance and few course corrections throughout the day. Add in a helping of elevation change and you get a very special experience.
The Layouts: Three National level courses, generated by three course designers from around the country, are used at the RallyCross National Championship. Each designer comes from a different background and their specific course exposes the uniqueness of different regions. The variations can be subtle or big. Either way, it brings a new element to almost every competitor at Nationals and is a hidden gem some folks might miss.
The Weather: The weather at RallyCross Nationals is always unpredictable, and that is an interesting part of the sport. The weather can make a colossal difference in how a car performs. Most of the time you get a change in weather during the event which leads to surface variations that require the driver to adapt. The change in weather pushes each competitor to reach outside their comfort zone, offering a growth opportunity for driver skills.
The People: The folks involved in RallyCross are simply fantastic. From organizers to competitors and spectators, everyone is there to have fun, compete and help each other along. Most everyone is approachable and excited to talk about RallyCross. There are always nuggets of information to be gained as everyone has a little different approach on how to go fast, what to do with a car and the way they approach the sport.
The City: Indianola is a small city in the middle of Iowa that offers a small-town feel with all the essentials needed for a race weekend. Located in the heart of dirt track racing and only 30 miles from the iconic Knoxville Raceway, the locals are familiar with cars on dirt and excited to have the RallyCross community in town. There are only a few places to stay in Indianola, so book your reservations early. Or think about getting a room in Des Moines, which is only 20 miles away.
Photo: An SCCA RallyCross racer traverses a course.
Credit: Perry Bennett