Racing enthusiasts gear up for Rallycross *New Venue: Waterways Boat Launch

By Lindsay Ducharme

Tired of the cold and snow? Local racing enthusiasts are making the best of the weather by introducing a new event to Fort McMurray, the first annual Waterways Boat Launch Rallycross. The event will take place on at Waterways Boat Launch on February 8th.

While Rallycross events may be new to the region, many residents of Wood Buffalo have been participating in similar events in Edmonton. One such local Rallycross lover, Roger Sieber, decided it was time for Fort McMurray to host it’s own event. Upon clearing the initial hurdles of municipal consent and securing insurance, Sieber said the community has embraced the event.

“I have been doing rally events in Edmonton for awhile, but it’s a long drive, so I thought I might as well see if I can get something going here and it’s looking pretty promising so far,” he explained.

“There has been a lot of interest for a lot of different vehicles to participate, cars, UTV’s, side by sides, so it should be fun. I’m anticipating about 20-25 participants, but if more show up, great, we have insurance for up to 40 people.”

The Waterways Boat Launch Rallycross will feature a cleared, snow packed track outlined by pylons on at the Waterways Boat Launch. Sieber explained that what makes the Rallycross unique, and more exciting, is that participants will do a minimum of four runs through the course, their top four times will then be combined to achieve their score.

“Autocross runs on pavement, this Rallycross runs on snow so it will be more slippery and sliding and I think it’s more exciting to watch for spectators because cars will go sideways. The four stages make up your score whereas in Autocross your best lap determines yours points, so here you need to stay focused all day because all your times add up, if you mess up one lap it could really affect your final time.”

While the weather may not seem conducive for spectators, Sieber said those willing to brave the elements will not be disappointed, as the entire track will be easily visible.

Those interested in participating in the Rallycross are asked to arrive to the Waterways Boat Launch at 9:30 a.m. for registration; driver’s meeting and course walk through. No vans, trucks, jeeps or SUV’s will be allowed to participate due to the high probability of roll over. All cars involved must be equipped with snow tires; studded snow tires are also permitted as long as they are street legal, no spikes are allowed. UTV’s will also be permitted, however the driver must be wearing a helmet and have a four or five point harness and metal doors for protection.

Although the Rallycross has yet to complete it’s first event, Sieber has high hopes for future events in the region. “This is definitely just a start and I hope these events are more common and easier to organize once the first one is out of the way. We would like to see both summer and winter events in the region each year.”

For more information on the first annual Waterways Boat Launch Rallycross like them on Facebook.