Sonora Rally Is Looking to Its Past to Build a Stronger Future
Summer is heating up the Sonoran Desert while organizers keep cool and consider the future of the race. Winding our way towards the 10th anniversary of North America’s premiere rally raid, figureheads of the event reconsider which path is best to take in 2024. Hosting the elite FIM and FIA teams as the third round of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) this year was certainly an honor for the Sonora Rally, as well as an excellent opportunity for Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans alike to finally have a firsthand look at this sport. But after much discussion, the ultimate decision on direction was to bring the competition back to its roots as an incubator for local talent and a purveyor of rally dreams to a variety of resident grassroots racers.
“We created the Sonora Rally nine years ago to grow and foster the North American rally raid community. Since, we have watched them expand and some even attain the highest successes in the sport internationally – all-stars like Ricky [Brabec], Skyler [Howes], Casey [Currie], and Mason [Klein], all who have used this event as a serious training ground for the Dakar Rally and beyond. Creating this significant style of practice for North America has always been the goal of the Sonora Rally organization, which is why we have decided to return the format to its original form and not participate in W2RC [World Rally-Raid Championship] in 2024.
We are beyond proud to have been the first-ever North American W2RC event and forever grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Amaury Sports Organisation [ASO] and the W2RC. We look forward to a future where we collaborate again, but for now, we will return to our roots of giving enthusiasts a thorough and substantial training ground to those with bigger dreams, along with an excellent adventure for all.” – Darren Skilton, Sonora Rally Race Director
The organization is also excited to announce dates for their cherished Sonora Rally School in San Luis Rio Colorado. Kicking off December 8th, 2023, the two-day class will combine an indoor setting with practice in the field, going over etiquette, planning, setting expectations, learning or reviewing roadbooks and applying all that in the wilderness just across the Arizona border in Northern Sonora. For only $650, each student will leave with a brand-new – if not sharper – understanding of navigation endurance racing. And perhaps the rally will welcome a few fresh faces in the bivouac to celebrate their 10th birthday. To learn more about the rally course or to sign up, reach out to email@example.com with inquiries.
Sonora Rally last April was one to remember. Motorsports superstars like Nassar Al-Attiyah, Sebastian Loeb, Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and more joined hometown celebrities Ricky Brabec, Skyler Howes, Austin AJ Jones, Seth Quintero, among others, on their turf for one huge engine-powered experience! And even though the organizers would gladly work with the Amaury Sport Organisation and the W2RC again, co-founder and Race Director, Darren Skilton, felt that it would be optimal for their close community of competitors to have a breather. To give them a little more space to spread their rally wings and shine in an unfiltered light, no longer eclipsed by the Goliath factory teams. For now.
It’s perfectly reasonable for everyone to play on the same field in the same game, but it’ll take time, consideration, and planning to run it at the high-quality level Skilton and the rest of his team are used to. Will we see another round of the World Championship in Sonora again? Who knows? But what we can count on is another epic event to come presented at the same caliber we’ve learned to expect from Sonora Rally over the last nine years. Not only because of the loyal fans and the dedicated entrants, but because of the consistent hard work of the volunteers and the generous support of partners like Visit Sonora, Motul and Polaris Mexico. The organization wants to thank all of those who’ve made this rally thrive.