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This weekend marks the 2019 100 Acre Wood Rally. The performance rally, held in Dent, Crawford and Washington counties, is the opening round of the ARA National Championship of 2019.

The event is free and everyone is invited to attend as a spectator. The rally begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and ends on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

The spectator information and lists of events can be downloaded online at https://www.100aw.org/spec_guide/2019_100aw_spectator_guide.pdf.

The American Rally Association National Championship Series is the premier stage rally championship in the United States. Seven historic events from coast to coast challenge the best competitors in the country to high speeds, technical corners and long distance jumps. From open plains and high deserts to lake country and deep woods, the rally action visits some of the most gorgeous regions around.

Teams from Subaru Rally Team USA, Team O'Neil Motorsports, Honda Performance Development, and DirtFish Motorsports compete alongside the fastest privateers around to be the best and win their classes in the ARA National Championship Series. 

The media coordinator for the event, Brad Plant, said that the 100 Acre Wood Rally began in 1977 in Dent County. In 1979 the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood won the “Rally of the Year” award, sending some of the organizers to the famous R.A.C. Rally in Great Britain (now Rally Wales).

In 1983 the last running of version 1.0 occurred. The committee consisted mainly of young parents and family pressures took away the time needed.

“In 2002, following a 19-year hiatus, the kids started leaving the nest and an intrepid group of the old committee ventured down to Chattanooga, Tennessee and worked their first performance rally in over 19 years ... it was like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget,” said Plant.

In 2004, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood was rekindled and back on the National SCCA PRO Rally calendar as a full national competition.

Plant said that in 2005, the Rally America bought the series from SCCA and Rally in the 100 Acre Wood grew to be a crown jewel of that series with such driving royalty as David Higgins and Travis Pastrana, driving their Vermont Sports Car factory-backed Subaru STi’s, and Ken Block honing in his monster World Rally Cup tuned Ford Fiestas.  The crowds began to grow.

Now in 2019, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is new to the National Calendar of the American Rally Association, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States Auto Club (USAC), the nation’s largest independent racing sanctioning body. With it comes new prestige, more factory-backed entries and more opportunity for rally growth in our neighborhood.

Many spectators at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood are second and now third-generation rally fans. Some who were just kids during the original phase now have positions managing today’s competition. 

And the communities of Salem, Potosi and Steelville have adopted the rally as their annual event, welcoming hundreds of racers and volunteers as well as thousands of eager rally spectators to the Ozark foothills.

Plant said that the rally is a total distance of 400 miles, with 16 stages and 125-mile stage distances.

“Roads vary from well-groomed roads to tight and twisty turns with a lot of vertical travel,” said Plant.

The race officially starts on Friday at 1:45 p.m. The event will be at the Huzzah Valley Resort on Friday and Dent County Commons on Saturday. A total of 81 cars will participate in the event.

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at mmcfarland@dailyjournalonline.com.

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