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Sonora Rally Goes Back to the Future

Autumn is just around the corner. Days become shorter, the sun shines a bit softer, and the rally season is soon coming to an end, making way for a fresh, impending World Championship. But not before an intimate local race, typically opening the year, can make its mark on the community. October 17th – 22nd, teams from all over will find themselves South of the Border to face a few adversaries on the clock: Mexico and themselves…

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The Sonora Rally is proud to have again this year Method Race Wheels as the Presenting Sponsor and Yokohama Tire as the Official Tire Sponsor. But perhaps a bit more exciting is the introduction of another major player. US powersports brand, POLARIS INC has come onboard as an important partner of the organization. As the new Official Bivouac Sponsor, they’ve joined a formidable cadre of industry powerhouses, including Method and Yokohama, to bring Canadians, Americans and Mexicans alike an incredible competition right outside their backdoor. And as many other famous motorsports events have also proven, the multifaceted trials, terrain, cultures and cuisines here attract people from around the globe. Providing premiere products for performance, pleasure and utilitarian needs, Polaris’ side-by-side lineup is the perfect platform for contenders either striving for the top step or solely attempting a strong finish.

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Fresh faces and budding relationships just add substance to the already evolving logistics. Significant changes have occurred in the present itinerary to diversify itself from the previous Covid-affected year, which should give attendees a taste of nostalgia. At last! The rally is finally going back to its roots. Starting with a great send off from Parque La Ruina at everyone’s favorite Mexican state capitol, Hermosillo. The familiar vistas and textured topography of “Seri Land” – the local native reservation – will take the tournament through many treasured locations on what might feel like those same stages of the past. But in fact, these routes will offer participants new obstacles, new WayPoints and new memories to take home with them.

Whether it’s by Bike, Quad or UTV, this year is going to be one for the books, especially with the inclusion of the Malle Moto (or “trunk”) category. The moto-only group stands out for its demand on the riders. Completely self-sufficient save for (very) few services, pilots are allotted only the tools, parts, equipment and any necessary personal items that fit in their single issued box. In most cases, this doesn’t include the single spare set of wheels and tires, headlight, tent or travel bag which the administration will transport for them as well. But it’s still quite minimal. They must be the athlete, the mechanic and the coach, all at once. Any apparent assistance could lead to disqualification, so this is not for the faint of heart. And as new regulations for the Road to Dakar competition will no longer accept current or former Factory Pros in any applicable sport, the diverse list of amateurs has grown immensely in the Bikes sector. With some even choosing to bring only a trunk. Ballsy.

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Finishing the Dakar in 2020, Kyle McCoy was eager to dive into the saga of such an infamous race. And what he found was startling. Now realizing that no American, in 43 years, had ever finished, let alone won, the Malle Moto class, he set out to create an all-star team of grassroots riders to break some long-overdue records. And so, the American Rally Originals (“ARO”) were born. Their goal is no small feat. Evidently, the US barely has a presence the grueling “Original by Motul” class, yet these five men – McCoy, Paul Neff, David Pearson, Jim Pearson and Morrison “Mo” Hart – each intend to reach the proverbial checkered flag, in arguably the most difficult division of Dakar.

“It’s like choosing to run the Iditarod rather than taking a dog sled.” – David Pearson, Team Manager.

Knowing that the Sonora Rally is the only event of its kind in North America which truly offers the proper training ground to prep for the international rally raid circuit, this is their last stop in a big push to the finish line in Saudi Arabia. And they’re sharing that experience with similarly unhinged entrants. Those brave souls who want to take a difficult challenge and make it brutal now have the opportunity to compete just as the pioneers of the sport did in the 70s and 80s. This class is an ode to the “good ol’ days” when Malle was the only way. It’s a firsthand take on a historic race for a fraction of the price without sacrificing any of the grit, the authenticity or the incredible bivouac food.

Registration for Sonora Rally 2022 is still open, but space is very limited. More than ever it’s an opportunity to test your limits, have an adventure and reach for your rally dreams. To learn more or to register, visit: https://sonorarally.com/ Or, check them out on Instagram @sonorarally & @aventura.eventos. If you’d like to contribute to the American Rally Originals race efforts, visit their GoFundMe page to donate and learn about the team.

Ernesto Araiza

Being born right in the heart of Off-Road Racing, Ernesto always had a dream to be an Off-Road Racer. After finish college he ditched his engineer career to chase the dream of action photographer. It didn't took long to get spotted by MadMedia where he still works. In less than 5 years after 'going pro' he reached some of the most important peaks in his life working for several international brands and events like the Rally Dakar. After 30 years of dreaming, he still have one goal in mind, to keep his face full of dust.