Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5
Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5. Click image to enlarge

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Rally Dixie 2012

Article and photos by Michael Schlee

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Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada

Eighty sports cars, muscle cars, and other unique rides will be driving 2,100 km through some of the most scenic roads in the southern United States this week. Over the course of three days, we will be searching for secret checkpoints at incredible sites all while having fun and supporting a good cause. This is Rally North America’s Rally Dixie 2012.

Established in the winter of 2009, Rally North America Charities is a not-for-profit organization aimed at bringing automotive enthusiasts from all over the United States and Canada together for the purpose of automotive rallying and camaraderie. Now in its third official year, Rally North America likes to find a new route every year for its teams to travel on. The emphasis is always on scenic locations, beautiful roads, and interesting towns.

Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5
Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5. Click image to enlarge

Rally Dixie 2012 will feature 80 teams of two or more people, three racing venues (including two laps around the famed Talladega Superspeedway), 29 stops at historical or scenic destinations, and of course, one great end-of-rally party on the beach of the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort in Fort Walton Beach. Think of it as a daily scavenger hunt and cruise in your car, punctuated by nightly parties.

Each rally organized by Rally North America (RNA) carries a common idea, driving for a cause. RNA believes that by combining the love of the automotive lifestyle and a worthy charity organization, it is possible to do something “good” while embracing our passion for all things automotive.

This year, the charity we are driving for is the “Accelerated Cure Project” for Multiple Sclerosis. Their mission is to accelerate the cure for Multiple Sclerosis by facilitating research that determines the causes and mechanisms of MS. They provide a uniquely valuable bio-bank that drives new advances in MS, tools to promote scientific collaboration, and leadership aimed at addressing the most critical challenges facing people with MS. What this means is that all research is shared amongst the various labs partnered with the Accelerated Cure Project.

Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5
Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5
Rally Dixie 2012 Team Canada Mazda MX-5. Click image to enlarge

Rally North America participants are required to provide a professional and respectful representation of our community to all. Our participants are required to follow the rules of the road and are expected to be courteous to the drivers with whom they are sharing the road at all times.

As an original member of Rally North America and a bona fide rally addict, I will be back for my third straight rally, and fifth with the original group of people. This year, I decided that since we will be running through the scenic back roads of Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, what better car to drive than a roadster? Thankfully, Mazda Canada stepped up to the plate and has graciously offered me the use of a 2012 MX-5 GT. As the recent owner of a 1990 MX-5 Miata, I found this to be a great fit and look forward to 5,000 km in this hardtop convertible. I cannot wait to sticker bomb the little roadster and cruise down south, y’all. Returning as my co-driver for his third straight year will be my father, Rob.

During the rally I will be sending out live updates on various twitter accounts (mikeschlee, autos_ca, autoTRADER_ca) and facebook pages (Auto Trader Canada, Autos.ca). Post-rally, look for an extensive review on the MX-5, a rally wrap-up feature, and an article on the cars of Rally Dixie 2012.

Sponsorship of an RNA event only requires a direct donation to The Accelerated Cure Project in the name of the sponsor and RNA. RNA would like to thank and recognize CJ Pony Parts, Carlisle Events, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Brannon Auto Parts & Service Center Inc., Dermal Addictions Inc. Tattoo & Piercings, Southern Delaware Realty, Penn Tech Deployments Inc., and Hagerty Collector Car Insurance for their generosity and support of our 2012 Rally.

Dates and Locations
June 18, 2012
Mandatory Drivers Meeting: 7:00 PM Cambria Suites, 13500 Tegler Drive, Noblesville, Indiana

June 19, 2012
Rally Starting Line: Downtown Noblesville, Indiana 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Day 1 Finish Line: Bowling Green, Kentucky 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM

June 20, 2011
Day 2 Starting Line: The National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Kentucky 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Day 2 Finish Line: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Plant, Gadsden, Alabama 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

June 21, 2011
Day 3 Starting Line: City Square, Gadsden, Alabama 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Day 3 Finish Line: Fort Walton Beach Ramada, Fort Walton, Florida 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

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