In 1987 at the ripe age of 17, I volunteered to marshal for the 1987 Olympus Rally - A World Rally Championship race. I managed a 90 degree corner off of a 120MPH+ straight away....Keeping people off of the outside of a corner is regrettably difficult at times.
Needless to say it was a great stage and some of the most amazing racing I have ever witnessed. The Lancia's ruled and the battles were intense.
Fast forward to 2011, where I painfully get to say that I am nearly 41, and rather than marshaling a corner in a stage, I have a press pass to contribute in a different manner. It's not a WRC race, but the racing is intense, and unfortunately, still a very dangerous affair.
The race, held near Ocean Shores in Washington State, crossed tragedy as 31-year-old driver Matthew Marker of Elk Rapids, MI did not survive injuries incurred during a bad crash. Christopher Gordon, the co-driver, survived without serious injury.
Due to this tragic event, the national championship event was canceled beyond stage 6 (results stood with the times after that stage), with the winner being Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew of the United Kingdom.
In addition to the tragedy on the track, a spectator nearly died of alcohol poisoning on Saturday, with numerous emergency crews arriving to the scene.
Sunday brought more great racing, though the national championship contenders were not out on the track. My wife and I found our way to the beginning part of the stage to set up for photo/video, where my monopod head broke and left me hand holding a 300 2.8l, which was not a lot of fun. The racing was fast and furious and left an enthusiast and his wife thoroughly entertained, dirty, and with photo/video memories to last a lifetime. We did get one extra gift along the way....or should I say my wife. A deer tick found it's way to her shoulder and had a meal without permission.
Looking forward to the 2012 Olympus Rally!
More photos in the gallery.