Less than a month ago, there were loads of people who were stoked about the RallyCross event at the X Games here in Los Angeles. The entry list was a who’s who of high-precision, highly sideways drivers: Two-time WRC drivers’ champion Marcus Grönholm. Former Formula Drift champs Tanner Foust, Rhys Millen and Samuel Hübinette. X Games legends in other disciplines Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra, Brian Deegan and Bucky Lasek. YouTube A-Lister Ken Block. And a host of experienced rally and RallyCross shoes from around the world.
Then in mid-June came the bombshell to end all bombshells: The winner of the last eight WRC crowns, Sebastien Loeb, would be spending one of his off weekends in L.A., contesting his first X Games in a factory-backed RallyCross-spec Citroen DS3. Oh yes, “epic” would have fallen far, far short of being a strong enough word to describe this contest that was going to go down on the streets and parking lots in front of Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The second Rally Car event in this year’s X-Games was RallyCross Racing. Unlike Saturday’s event where drivers compete head to head against one another, RallyCross features 4-car heats. Metal Mulisha’s Brian Deegan added X-Games Gold medal to his collection after winning this year’s final heat. But the real story was Travis Pastrana’s determination.
Travis Pastrana is no stranger to X-Games – over the years he has won numerous Gold medals in both Moto X events as well as Rally Racing in 2008. In what was dubbed Pastranathon, Travis was to compete not only on numerous X-Games events this weekend, but also make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Saturday night. But in attempting to land a 720 on his Moto X bike during the Best Trick competition Thursday night, Travis broke his foot and ankle.
Many of us know Irwindale Speedway as the “House of Drift”. But this weekend – Irwindale held the first round of the new Global RallyCross Championship. And as many of us who were present witnessed – Irwindale quickly became the “House of Gronholm”.
This new series features two classes of cars – 2WD and AWD – competing in a 3-lap closed circuit race made up of both dirt and asphalt sections. In each race, drivers must take an alternate path known as the “joker” during one of their laps. This weekend’s “joker” route featured a 70’ gap jump crossing over the track underneath. You can probably guess that this was the highlight of the course for most spectators. As you can see in our photo gallery – there were quite a few rough landings!