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Stage Rally returns to Cherokee National Forest

For the first time in nearly two decades, rally cars are preparing to race on Tennessee gravel roads in the Cherokee National Forest. The all-new Bristol Forests Rally is the first event on Cherokee National Forest gravel since the Cherokee Trails International Rally based in Chattanooga, TN in 2005 – That event won by Tom Lawless and Jason Gillespie in a Mitsubishi Evolution VIII.

The Bristol Forest Rally is all new, using none of the stages that were part of the old Cherokee Trails International Rally, and is based in a new town, Bristol, TN. The new rally is the brainchild of local East Tennessean and rally dan, Dave Matheson.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to bring rally back to the fantastic Cherokee forest roads, and how excited I am to bring it to a town like Bristol, TN. This event will be something really special. Not often do you have rally stages of this quality that are surrounded by so much natural beauty within a 20-minute drive from a major motorsports venue like Bristol Motor Speedway. There’s so much potential here. We’re just scratching the surface of what can be done with this year’s small event”

The 2021 Bristol Forest Rally will consist of three special stages looped three times (with one stage also being run in reverse in the dark) for a total of 69 competitive miles over one day or racing. The rally will be based out of Bristol Motor Speedway with a closed service park on the speedway campus.

“Upper East Tennessee is unique geographically because we are within a 9-hour drive from almost anywhere on the coast. The central location and proximity to the intestate is something that I hope attracts competitors from all over the eastern US to compete here, and hopefully some international competitors as well!”

The 2021 Bristol Forest Rally will take place on Saturday May 15th. Fans can keep up with the action by checking stage times at during the rally. You can also keep up with the event at and on Instagram. More information on the rally is available at