HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL
RallyCross at the X Games
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Sep 12, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story and pictures by John Grafman Travis Pastrana (the first racer to every win a gold at X Games in rally car racing in 2006), Ken Block, Rhys Millen, Brian Deegan are all but household names across America, and all of these guys are demi-gods in motorsports. The level of control this group of legendary racers exhibits while Rallycross racing across both dirt and paved roads is extraordinary. One other item that they have in common, none of these world-class contenders are able to score a podium spot in Sunday’s Ford RallyCross SuperCar Final. Irwindale Event Center is the epicenter for “balls to the wall” action. The accommodating Irwindale Speedway is home to numerous races, and more traditional types of motorsports.The X Games is something well outside the norm, but seems to fit in perfectly in the land of quarry pits. RallyCross embraces qualities that we don’t see in road racing. It isn’t unusual to witness rooster tails of dirt flying in wake of the cars digging into the soft dirt track. Occasionally, those on hand see the racers sink into the dirt track depressions, rapidly being swallowed in quicksand-like conditions. And, as with all autosports, crashes are inevitable. Parts pop off the cars, and barriers get pushed about like empty boxes. As if this isn’t enough, there’s a joker lap that forces drivers over 55-foot dirt-to-dirt jump. Well, it’s not NASCAR!
The flying parts, sand and barriers are entertaining, but there is far more to RallyCross racing. This is like a decathalon on wheels. The drivers have to be the best on various surfaces, maintain speed, deal with jumps and bumps, drift, and negotiate all comers. On top of it all, hopefully these RallyCross professionals can put on a good show. This is the crème de la crème of auto racing, combined with a healthy dose of P.T. Barnum. The competition begins with four eliminations rounds where the top two racers advance from the six-lap heats into the final. All of those that don’t advance have a second chance in a Last Chance Qualifying heat. The best ten drivers find themselves locked into a ten-lap battle to the bitter end. A remarkably close four seconds separate gold medal winning Toomas Heikkinen of Finland and our local favorite, Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust. Sverre Isachsen of Norway managed to trail by only ten seconds off the winning pace set by Toomas. At this point rally car racing is still more popular in Europe than it is in the USA. But, for one Sunday in August 2013 all eyes in the sport are on Los Angeles.
RallyCross Final Results 1. Toomas Heikkinen, 6:15.573 (FIN) 2. Tanner Foust, 6:19.678 (USA) 3. Sverre Isachsen, 6:25.002 (NOR) RallyCross Lites Final Gold: Joni Wiman, 6:50.078 (FIN) Silver: Mitchell DeJong, 6:54.968 (USA) Bronze: Sebastian Eriksson, 6:57.618 (SWE) HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL - X Games Overview HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL - The Vertical Ramp at the X Games HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL - Moto X Best Whips at the X Games HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL - Men’s street skating at the X Games HEARTS LIKE A WHEEL - BMX at the X Games
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