Words and Photos by James Heine
Oklahoma Region’s Jim Duea and Milwaukee Region’s Jim Crittenden are both veteran RoadRallyists with loads of experience in the sport, as both competitors and organizers, but neither in their long years of SCCA® competition has won a United States RoadRally Challenge® (USRRC) title. Over the Oct. 19-22, 2023, weekend, as a RoadRally team, they changed that by claiming the Equipped Class title at the 2023 USRRC, winning Equipped in all three of the event’s RoadRallies.
“We had a good weekend – we did very well,” Duea admitted on Sunday afternoon about the multi-day contest that featured three intense National RoadRallies – the 50th Anniversary Little Appalachian National Course Rally, Friday, Oct. 20; Up the Creek National Course Rally, Saturday, Oct. 21; and the Jersey Devil National Touring Rally, Sunday, Oct. 22.
Friday’s Little Appalachian featured the rambling Amish/Mennonite countryside of historic Lancaster County, PA, and environs, while Up the Creek and the Jersey Devil zipped across the state line and highlighted the rural roads of southern New Jersey.
How good was Duea and Crittenden’s weekend? On Friday’s Little Appalachian, for example, the team ran clean – they bought no traps – and accumulated only 8.1 seconds in penalty points for the rally’s 19 scored legs.
Following Duea and Crittenden in the USRRC’s Equipped standings were Jessica Toney and Steve Gaddy.
In Limited, Jeanne English and Karl Broberg collected their second USRRC title as a team, with Edward and Douglas Sain finishing second. English and Broberg won the two Course contests and Edward and Douglas Sain the Touring RoadRally.
In Class G (GPS), Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza backed up their 2022 USRRC class title with another win. They also hold two Limited Class USRRC titles.
In Stock, rookies – first time rallyists, actually – Brian Stanton and Casey Impagliazzo claimed top honors. The duo are relatively new SCCA members with an interest also in Solo (Brian) and RallyCross (Casey), as well as RoadRally.
“I had a blast,” Brian said of the USRRC. “The locations were amazing. The organization was very good. There were no big delays. Definitely, I’d love to do another one.”
“I loved it, Casey added. “For us, it was a lot of information to take in at once, a lot to absorb, but with two jobs and two kids, we don’t have a lot of time. So, we really didn’t start reading the [event] materials until we were on the way here.”
Not the best way to approach the USRRC, perhaps, but definite proof that it can be done.
“It helps that I’m a good test-taker,” Casey laughed.
Hosted by Philadelphia and South Jersey Regions, with help from the Northeast Division, and organized by a triumvirate of Area 1 Director Peter Schneider and rallymasters Clyde Heckler and Jim Wakemen Sr., the 2023 USRRC sported dual headquarters, beginning with Exton, PA, for Thursday and Friday and then Vineland, NJ, for Saturday and Sunday. Heckler helmed Friday’s 50th Little Appalachian and Wakemen Up the Creek and Jersey Devil.
In addition to the standard RoadRally classes – Equipped, Limited, GPS, and Stock, the USRRC as organized by Schneider, Heckler, and Wakemen also featured a Regional “USRRC Lite” class.
“The weekend exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways,” Wakemen said. “Our goal was to hold the USRRC for the regular National teams and to get other people involved also. We did that, and it was successful.”
Sunday afternoon, after the awards presentation, RoadRally Board member Jessica Toney announced that the 2024 USRRC has been awarded to Cal Club Region. Longtime Cal Club organizer Jeanne English added that the event will be Veterans Day weekend and headquartered in Palmdale, CA.
More information about SCCA RoadRally, the USRRC, and upcoming events can be found here.