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2011 Global Rallycross Championship - Birth Of A Motorsport

Irwindale, CA

Luke Munnell
Jul 28, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

Last year’s X Games 16 birthed a genuine motorsports first: the Super Rally. Stadium-style rally competition but with wheel-to-wheel a twist, Super Rally closed out the weekend with four-car tandem battles fought by Gold-hungry professional wheelmen and crossover extreme athletes. What emerged could only be described as a hybrid of rally, road racing, gymkhana, and demolition derby where each destroyed their 600-whp AWD sport compacts (and their competitors’) in their quest. With stands filled largely with overflow X Game fans bent on squeezing out the last little drop of excitement from their weekend ticket purchases, no one expected how utterly awesome it would become. By the end, everyone was on their feet, screaming the mispronounced names of drivers they’d met and fallen in love with all in about four minutes. It was a smash (pun intended) hit. Think of the Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) as a continuation of that energy.

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Staged in a dirt-filled Toyota Motor Speedway at Irwindale, CA, the inaugural full season of the GRC kicked off with its first of three events preceding invite-only X Games competition to be staged back at the L.A. Coliseum in July. Three additional events are rumored to follow X Games competition, each one at various locations throughout the U.S. The cool thing about these stand-alone events: They’re open to AWD, FWD, and RWD competitors in Limited and Super class trims. Sure, watching Jimmy Keeney flip his STI end-over-end-over-end-over-end, Joseph Burke flip his EVO IX onto a K-rail, Matthew Johnson two-wheel around his competition, and seasoned rally vet Marcus Gronholm ultimately Charlie Sheen (win) top honors in Super AWD at Irwindale was awesome, but we were every bit as glad to witness unknown locals prove their worth in grassroots rally prepped Civics and Miatas, through a course their street-going brethren would otherwise need to be towed out of.

Very little publicity led up to this first-ever series event. Attendance was low, competition smaller than expected, and organization not as fluid as it could have been—all to be expected of any debut series. But with each event set to air on ESPN within about a month after race day, should the edited broadcasts be met with rampant success (especially with rally fanatical European fans), who knows—maybe we’ll see the Southern California–based GRC expand to validate that first word in its name.

Visit for hundreds of additional shots of the carnage, including the sequence of Keeney’s epic flip/roll annihilation, and for event details.

2011 Schedule
Global RallyCross Championship

Event 1: The Revolution
March 25-26
Toyota Speedway, Irwindale, CA

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Event 2: Twin Peaks
April 15-16
Old Mill Adventure Park, Snoqualmie, WA

Event 3: Last Chance
June 17-18
Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs, CO

X Games Super Rally
July 31
L.A. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

By Luke Munnell
304 Articles



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