Photos: WESTx1000, Rally Zone, DPPI, FOTOP
Ready to Tackle the Terrain
Record Number of Competitors Survive Scrutineering & Gear Up for a Historic Sonora Rally
Sonora Rally is a grand spectacle of elite rally-raid athletes and passionate privateers. April 22nd, the event opened its gates for Scrutineering and Registration of 115 first class competitors who will take on the 9th edition of this cherished rally in the official third round of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). Taking place in Hermosillo, the capital city of the state of Sonora, known for its scenic arid terrain, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, this is the first time that elite rally-raid teams of this caliber have come to North America to race in such a sport. And little do they know, they will be mingling with Nationals with a distinction of their own. North America is the breeding ground for such stars as Ricky Brabec, Skyler Howes, AJ Jones, Casey Currie and rising stars like Seth Quintero, Mason Klein and Mitch Guthrie Jr. – to name a few. And that’s not to mention our Malle Moto soldiers in the field.
“This is my favorite race of the year, whether it’s a [W2RC] round or not. When I competed in my first rally, this is where I had my start in the sport, and I promised myself that I would make it back every year regardless of what’s happening because this is one of my favorite events. That’s the one thing about becoming a World Rally round, I’m really hoping that the heart and the style of the rally can stay true. My favorite part is how close everyone is. You come into the bivouac, and you would normally have local catering – a grandma cooking the tortillas – which is really cool to see because we have so much of the local culture involved. At a lot of rallies, we might go to some random bivouac in the middle of the desert, but here, we have so many of the locals down on the beach, riding through some of the ranches and just traveling through the small towns… It’s one of my favorite rallies because of that. Every event, you can see so much of the country, but in Sonora, you’re able to see the people and traditions in these areas. Understandably, now, at this size, you need to go to different bivouacs than usual, but I’m still really excited to be able to share this with the rest of the world because it has a special place in my heart.” – Skyler Howes #10, Husqvarna Factory Racing
In scorching 38-degree Celsius heat, competitors lined up to file their names with the organization. Despite the tough conditions, they remained undeterred and excited to take on the Sonora Rally, be it the first time or the ninth. While they will be on the lookout for snakes, scorpions, and jumping cacti – adding an extra element of danger – to the race, it’s the giant awe-inspiring saguaro cacti that will truly draw their eyes away from the roadbook.
The excitement is building as pilots prepare to tackle the challenge of riding or driving through the desert and the infamous dunes of this region. Which was likely a small factor in attracting some of the top factory riders, including Sebastien Loeb, Nassir Al Attiyah, and many more. For the first time, the competition will provide an opportunity to showcase the talent of North America to fans all over the globe. Local fan favorites like Sara Price, Daniel Gonzalez, Matthew Glade, Mike Johnson, Matthew Ransom, and Patrick Reyes will also compete, making the 2023 Sonora Rally a grand spectacle with plenty of battles to keep us on the edge of our seats.
“I hope to have a good race. It will be a very long rally. Not easy, difficult, maybe we’ll see a lot of trees. But I think we will enjoy the landscape. And we will do our best to win the round.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah #201, Toyota Gazoo Racing
The Sonora Rally promises to be an unforgettable experience for all involved. The Prologue kicks off on Sunday, April 23rd, at Autodromo Cerro Colorado after a ceremonial start in Parque La Ruina. From there, competitors will race through the desert and infamous dunes of this region, providing an opportunity to showcase their skills and compete against the best in the world. The Sonora Rally is more than just a race; it is a celebration of competitors from every corner of the earth, coming together to compete in one of the toughest sports on the planet. The event is organized with the support of local government and sponsors, which demonstrates the commitment to promoting tourism in the region. The Sonora Rally is an event not to be missed and will leave a lasting impression on all those involved.
Stay tuned next week for more updates on the race as well.