Rally Appalachia 2010 Subaru WRX Rally Appalachia 2010 Subaru WRX. Click image to enlarge

Article and photos by Mike Schlee

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Rally Appalachia 2011

Two years ago, a group of strangers who had previously only known each other through an internet forum, met in New York City. They were invited there to participate in the opening festivities of a high priced road rally, however none of them had an extra $20,000 lying around to cover the entry fee.

Not being content to just spend a day in New York before heading home, the group hatched an idea to create their own small road trip down to Ocean City, Maryland. After a successful fun-filled cruise, two of the participants began to ponder how hard it would be to create their own multi-day road rally. This is how Rally North America came to be.

In 2010, Rally North America held its first official road rally, the ‘CJ Pony Parts 2010 Route 66 Rally’. It was planned on a tight deadline and many lessons were learned from the experience. This year the ‘CJ Pony Parts 2011 Rally Appalachia’ will be bigger, better and of course, all for charity. Rally Appalachia 2010 Subaru WRX Rally Appalachia 2010 Subaru WRX Rally Appalachia 2010 Subaru WRX. Click image to enlarge

That is what differentiates Rally North America Rally from other high end road rallies; it is all for a good cause. Every team who enters must make a charitable donation as part of their entry fee. Even the rallies sponsors like CarDomain, Streetfire and Hagerty are on board with the charity. All sponsorship money donated for the rally goes straight to charity; Rally North America sees none of it. Currently over $10,000 has been raised.

To allow the average car enthusiast a chance to enter the rally, the entry fee is kept very low; think US$150 instead of tens of thousands. Instead of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins, this field will be filled with Mustangs, GTOs, STIs, Corvettes, etc. There will be a few oddballs in there too, like a Bentley, Cobra replica, Porsche 944 and Ram SRT-10. Speeding is strictly forbidden as this is a navigational checkpoint rally that puts the emphasis on fun and camaraderie.

Having been to the past two events, there was no way I would miss the opportunity to return this year. Driving a 2010 Subaru WRX with my Dad as my navigator, our ‘Team Canada’ will be back on the road. As mentioned before, this year’s rally is through the Appalachian Mountains. It runs July 19th to the 21st and begins in Winchester, Virginia ending three days later in Charleston, South Carolina. Roughly 35 checkpoints and events will be scattered in between including visits to three racetracks with the highlight being a few laps around NASCAR’s famous Darlington Raceway. A large portion of the route will take place on the Blue Ridge Parkway which many say is one of the most picturesque roads in America.

Check for live updates during the rally July 19th to 21st on Facebook page and on Twitter, by following @autos_ca and @mikeschlee. As well, daily summaries and photos will appear on As of this writing, a few teams have made last minute drop-outs and space may still be available. See you there?

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