Cog rally races going national |

Cog rally races going national

— Routt County could host one of nine national cog rally races next year.

That means faster and better cars, more excitement for viewers and more tourist dollars for the area, said Jim Gill, chairman for the race.

After a successful club level event this year, the Sports Car Club of America has put the Steamboat Springs area on its list of national events for 2004, Gill said.

“For our sport, it’s a big deal,” Gill said.

The High Country Rally Group, which sponsors the Routt County race, has held races in the area since 2001. At this year’s race in September, 28 cars came to race at speeds of up to 120 mph on bumpy backcountry roads. That was double the number that competed at last year’s race.

Officials from the national organization who came to observe the race said they were happy with what they saw and offered the county a chance to hold a pro rally, Gill said.

Having a professional level race would mean a minimum entry of 60 competitors, about half of which would be factory-sponsored or well-funded cars.

Subaru would bring two teams, and Mitsubishi likely would sponsor a team, he said. Subaru budgets about $250,000 for each event.

That level of racing would bring more people to town for longer periods of time, resulting in more tourist dollars for the county, Gill said.

The race would be broadcast on television on the Speed channel and could attract national and international media coverage.

The three sponsors of the race want the professional competitions to become events and so are willing to spend money to help bring people to watch, he said.

For instance, sponsors funded an extreme motorcycle stuntsman to give a performance at one race, enticing thousands of people to come watch, he said.

The national race could take place Sept. 24 and 25, and though it would be bigger, Gill said he didn’t expect that more roads would be needed. But it might be important to secure more durable roads to use in the case of heavy rains, he said.

Officials from Routt County, the city of Steamboat, the town of Hayden and others need to discuss the logistics of having a bigger race, said Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak. She also recommended that Gill talk with officials from the county’s planning department to see if there are any additional steps the race sponsors need to take.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail

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