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McCreary Gravel Rally returns in the spring
McCreary County’s second annual McCreary Gravel Rally is rapidly approaching as event organizers Bernie Obry and Matt Earl have already spent several days in the county preparing for April’s NASA Rally Sport Gravel Road Rally. Staging the same gravel roads as in last year’s premiere event, the most significant change for this year’s competition will be relocation of the rally’s base of operations from the McCreary County Park to Stearns.
After last year’s successful event, the McCreary Gravel Rally received favorable buzz in the rally world since the 2022 participants couldn’t resist letting others know about McCreary County’s beautiful roads and small-town hospitatility.
“The McCreary Gravel Rally already has a following, and we anticipate the registration turn-out to double this year,” Obry said. “We expect this rally to continue growing in size.”
The McCreary Rally, which occurs on the last weekend of April, takes place this year on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29.
As is tradition, the McCreary Gravel Rally will kick off with a parc expose on Friday evening in the Stearns Depot Parking Lot. This year’s parc expose will feature a local car show and a special show area designated for the rally cars. Rally car drivers and navigators will be present to answer questions and chat. Music and food vendors are also expected to attend.
Rally stages will begin early Saturday morning (April 29) on gravel roads in the Bell Farm and Little Rock Creek (Hayes Creek/Pine Knot) portions of the county. These stage roads are isolated and will not be accessible during the stage events.
Additionally, this year’s organizers hope to host a Spectator Super Special Shakedown at a practice area that is easily accessible and spectator friendly so spectators have a better opportunity to see the cars in action. More details about the Shakedown are expected soon.
The McCreary Gravel Rally is a stage road rally composed of twelve timed races (or stages) conducted on isolated gravel roads that are closed to the public during the rally car races. In a stage rally, each rally car team begins (from standstill) approximately one minute after the next. Passing of rally cars during the stages is rare, and the competitive outcome depends primarily on the skill of the drivers and quality of teamwork between individual drivers and their co-drivers (navigators).
Participants will race a total of 92.35 miles in McCreary County to determine the winner. The winner is the entrant with the lowest cumulative finish time after all twelve stages (races) are completed. Entrants must follow all driving laws and regulations as they travel to and from various stages conducted in various parts of the county.
Safety is deemed as the top priority of these events. Vehicles competing in the races are modified and have safety equipment. The sanctioning body for the McCreary Gravel Rally is NASA Rally Sport, which is one of two sanctioning bodies for the sport in the United States. In addition to racers having their own insurance, the sanctioning body provides special insurance covering the county and community.
This year’s McCreary Gravel Rally partners are NASA Rally Sport, McCreary County, Backroads of Appalachia, Fairbridge Inn, Haltech, and Atlantic Rally Cup.
For more information, visit the McCreary Gravel Rally 2023 website.