Sidled up next to our friend Dylan last Sunday at Flatbranch, I learned about his weekend activities. He had gone to Salem to visit friends and to take a hike when his local guide suggested they go to the woods to watch a car race. He's not particularly into car racing, but to his surprise, this European-style rally was a big deal. Spectators lined the narrow gravel roads to watch as national and international drivers and their lone map-reading passenger took to the winding roads outside of Salem.
The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood occurred last weekend in not only Salem, but outside of Potosi and Sullivan in what is described as among the most scenic rallies of the National Rally America circuit. From their website, I learned that the races covered "over 120 racing miles that will test rally teams from all across the country (and several foreign countries) on a variety of gravel road surfaces." The event happened March 17-18 and began with a rally car show and opening ceremony. Rally teams competed throughout each day, passing multiple spectator points, and returned to Salem Saturday night. My friend watched from the woods while rally cars with driver and guide names plastered on the side whizzed by. I don't know how much local participation there is for this race, but he mentioned a tricked-out Ford Focus on the circuit that really surprised him with its speed and agility.
Before the race, at the opening ceremonies, spectators were allowed to see the cars and mingle with the drivers, and to take photos with them and their cars. Considering the state of some of our gravel roads in the Ozarks, I would also think that this is probably one of the more harrowing rallies on the national circuit. I drive a 2001 Honda Civic and sometimes have a hard time traversing the roads to wineries, long and winding paths with boulders and potholes. I'm convinced one day I'll lose my oil pan on my way to a winery or going down a Forest Service road in my car. With the amount of preparation and the national status of this Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, I feel confident road crews made this raceway a smooth route. It sure will be nice for all the Dent Co. morel hunters.