Friday, June 8, 2012

Global RallyCross: To Jump or Not to Jump, That is the Question

Jimmy Kenney found out the hard way how difficult it is to master the dirt jump at round one of the 2011 GRC. Photo Neil McDaid
Dallas, Texas: Round number two of the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship had the teams heading southwest from Charlotte to the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, for what is billed as the Hoon Kaboom, a last chance qualifer for the 2012 XGAMES. Round number two will be held at the famed Texas Motor Speedway.

Texas will see the return of the 70-foot gap jump which was, by far, the most exciting element of the American version of European RallyCross during the 2011 GRC season. In its current format for 2012, the GRC is utilizing established race tracks and scheduling events in conjunction with major NASCAR and Indy car races.  Despite not having a gravel section, which was scorned by many in the European RallyCross community, round one of the GRC in Charlotte was a roaring, ripping success.  GRC was able to retain many of the fans that attended the History 300 Nationwide race where Travis Pastrana also competed. They stayed around and were thrilled to bits with the insane nonstop action of RallyCross. But using the tracks on race weekend is already posing some major challenges for organizers in that they would not have time to put down gravel and put in place the dirt jump either before or after the main attraction races.

Heading into round two,  issues remain for Texas where RallyCross is scheduled before the Indy car race.  Will they use the gap jump or not?  During the 2011 season GRC constructed a massive dirt jump at all of their events.  For 2012 they have built a large metal ramp jump. The metal jumps pose several issues, most concerning is that if it rains how dangerous and slippery will it be? Could it be used at all in the rain? Setting it up on an angled, banked oval track may also make for some hairy landings, not to mention a direct hit on the face of the jump could be catastrophic. But at the end of day this is the key attraction to the American version of RallyCross and, without question, the most anticipated element for the fans. We are confident that GRC organizers will work out the kinks.

Drivers are tackling the massive metal structure today for the first time and it’s already taken its toll on Travis Pastrana on his first pass, Travis is fine but his Dodge needs some TLC. Stay tuned as GRC decides whether to jump or not to jump.