Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder PowerDork
10/2/12 7:09 a.m.

This whole car magazine gig doesn’t really disguise the fact that we’re just like every other car geek we know. We love screwing around with cars, and sometimes this gets us deep into uncharted areas—places a little off our usual path. A project car can start off in one direction, with certain finite limits, and then go all hog-wild cattywampus off the diving board before we even know it.
Our Subaru Impreza started out its magazine career as an $800 wreck bought at an insurance auction, and evolved quickly (and dirtily) into a fun RallyCross machine. That process alone would have supplied us with enough fun and cool editorial, but then we got a little carried away with the idea of competing in a real stage rally.
While most enthusiasts love watching rally on TV, the sad truth is that very few actually participate. There just aren’t a ton of events in North America, so some travel and extra logistical considerations usually come into play when getting involved. It’s not like autocross or club racing where tons of events are held across the U.S. and Canada on any given weekend. Running some stage rally events would mean that we’d be up for a little more commitment, as once the car was ready we’d probably have to truck it several hundred miles just to run an event.
As our car was coming together, we needed to find an event to run. We had signed up for the Cherokee Trails rally in Tennessee, but this was canceled due to low turnout—like we said, the actual participation numbers can be on the low side. This curse was also a blessing, as we now had a few extra weeks to install some additional equipment before the next scheduled event, the Rally New York USA. This event was scheduled for early April and used the paved roads in and around Monticello, N.Y. No, it wasn’t the X Games, but it would be a good starter event for us.
Stage rally events can be held on a wide variety of surfaces, including gravel, dirt, snow or pavement, and this one promised mostly paved roads with some gravel thrown in. Thanks to the event’s early-April date, some snow would also be a possibility.

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