Watching the Tanner Fousts and Ken Blocks of the world fight their machines to the death in X Games' RallyCar, or seeing the unnamed, fearless wheelmen of those YouTube rally montages survive insane crashes and/or unbelievable full-throttle saves, it's easy to think of rally as a prohibitively gnarly and expensive form of motorsport. But as the SCCA's Rallycross National Challenge proves, that's not necessarily the case.
After stadium rally (like X Games and the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship) and stage rally (like the WRC, Rally America, etc.), there's a third type of competitive rally racing that's more feasible for most: rallycross, sanctioned most notably by the SCCA in their Rallycross National Challenge series. Think of rallycross as an autocross raced entirely in the dirt, and you have the right idea. Classes for FWD, RWD and AWD competing vehicles in "Stock," "Prepared" and "Modified" levels of trim mean everything from rental cars (like the 2015 Mazda3 John Black drove to second place in the Stock FWD class this weekend) to full-blown, rally-specific builds (like Santiago Caballero's Modified AWD-winning 1999 Subaru Impreza) are eligible to compete in these regional events, with winners in each class qualifying to compete at the annual Rallycross National Championship.
In fact, all you really need to bring to a rallycross event to have one of the best-possible times on four wheels is a car (really, any car), a tent, a grill, some supplies, a modest entry fare, and a good attitude. As we experienced while shooting the SCCA's Southern Pacific Division National Challenge at California's Glen Helen Raceway on a recent weekend, rally people are some coolest, most welcoming in all of motorsport. Of course, having a built ride adds to the experience. As much fun as attacking a dirt racecourse at full throttle in a rental Mazda3 or Ford Fiesta of the Stock FWD class seemed, we would've loved to do it in any of the caged/tuned WRXs and EVOs of Modified AWD!
Click through the gallery for some of our favorite shots from Glen Helen, and head over to www.scca.com for full results and to learn how to get involved.