READY FOR RELAUNCH IN SEPTEMBER
TWO-DAY EVENT PART OF ARA’S WEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Prescott, Ariz. ~ For the better part of the past four decades, rally teams, volunteers, and fans have found their way to central Arizona, specifically the picturesque city of Prescott. With its elevation reaching 5,200 feet, visitors find themselves surrounded by ponderosa pine forests, giant granite boulders, and endless mountain trails filled with adventure.
But the small mountain town has long been one of the United State’s most challenging homes for stage rally racing. First introduced in 1985, the Prescott Rally reached national championship status with both the SCCA and Rally America and has long been part of the California Rally Series.
The 2023 Prescott Rally marks the 31st running of the event and is officially the first year under the American Rally Association. After three years of cancellations due to organizers or the pandemic, Prescott will be part of the ARA’s West Regional Championship. The event will cover nearly 115 competition miles and feature some of the most scenic rally roads in the country. Once competitors leave downtown Prescott, they will encounter elevation changes from 6,000 to 7,000 feet over classic stages such as First View and Witty Tom. The high-speed runs will take competitors through the picturesque southwest desert skyline filled with the iconic red-rock landscape.
The Prescott Rally was last run in 2017, with Ryan Millen and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino taking the overall win in a Toyota Rav4. The course is fast, with sweeping turns and unpredictable surfaces. Its mix of sand and gravel gives way to exposed sections of bedrock, making for a punishing racing environment.
“It’s a really sandy course, and it’s pretty hard on cars,” Millen said following the 2017 event. “There weren’t a lot of mechanical failures in the field, but there were plenty of rolls, cars flying off the road, and so on.”
Doug Nagy, the ARA’s Technical Director, has competed at Prescott several times over the past decades and is looking forward to its return after a five-year hiatus:
“The roads are always a great mix of challenging and fun. Prescott is one of my favorite rallies, not just because of the roads. The weather and people of Arizona are always great at this event, so much so that I am looking at coming back as a competitor at Prescott.”
While the roads and the competition stack up, Prescott’s return has also been spurred on by a new, energetic leadership group in 2023, led by new event Chair Riley Trout. As a competitor, Trout has rallied at several Western events over the past few seasons, including the 2017 Prescott Rally. Trout has prioritized modernizing the two-day event while holding on to the traditions and challenges Prescott has offered since 1985.
The 2023 Prescott Rally will take place September 29-30. In late July, ARA and Prescott’s organizers announced that the two-day event would be split into two separate regional rallies, and the accumulation of points for each day would go towards the ARA West Regional Championship standings. (This change was made after recent cancellations to Rally Nevada and the Oregon Trail Regional.)
Information on the Prescott Rally, including spectating opportunities, will be available in August. For more information on the American Rally Association and the Green APU National Rally Championship, go to americanrallyassociation.org.