Coffman Racing Wins the 2017 Oregon Trail Rally
The Oregon Trail Rally takes place near Portland, Oregon, and consists of
three days of rally action. After winning the Seed 9 Rally at the end of
2016, and our strong finish at Formula D Long Beach Three weeks prior, the
team was eager to compete in the first stage rally of 2017. Friday, the
event began at Portland International Raceway and consisted of four stages
designed to challenge the drivers and captivate the spectators. Joining us
for this event was Niall Burns, a highly experienced rally co-driver from
Ireland, who would be co-driving with Matt for the weekend.
Friday night was off to a rough start, as one of teams had an accident in the beginning stage, delaying the event while safety personnel cleared the track. Thankfully, the driver and co-driver escaped with minor injuries. The Coffman Racing STI began having trouble with its anti-lag system at the beginning of the third stage, but Matt was able to press ahead and finish the race strong on Friday evening. The team pressed on late into the night and remedied the mechanical issues.
Saturday the team arose bright and early as the race moved from Portland International Raceway to Dufur, near The Dalles, Oregon. One of the unique things about American Rally Association rally cars is being able to drive the race cars on city streets from the hotel to Parc Exposé and the start of the rally stage. It creates a very humble atmosphere, quite different from your average motorsport experience. The rally swept through the rolling hills around Dufur and included both water crossings and jumps that kept spectators captivated. Matt and Niall worked together to keep the car consistent and fast, and managed to continue to advance on the lead cars throughout the day. The team finished the day first in class and fourth overall. The car got a well deserved car wash at the local spray and wash, and the team was able to get some well needed rest for the next day.
Sunday was the final day of the Oregon Trail Rally and took place an hour north of Saturday’s stages, just across the border in Washington. Sunday’s race included some very high speed gravel sections along with some technical tarmac sections. As the time gaps between competitors narrowed, Matt and Niall continued their efforts to remain in the front of the pack. They were able to make up some time in the technical Maryhill tarmac section, before the rain fell for the final stages. Their efforts were rewarded as they finished the event first in class and fourth overall for the Oregon Trail Rally.