NASA Rally Sport's annual Rally Tennessee will kick off summer during Memorial Day weekend just an hour west of Nashville. This Linden, Tennessee based event will have cars and motorcycles racing over a closed course of super twisty roads on Saturday and Sunday.
The rally is unique in its terrain which takes advantage of the winding along Tennessee's mountain ridges. Although rally racing roads come in many flavors, the predominant format in North America is gravel roads. Rally Tennessee is a ‘«ōtarmac‘«£ rally and provides a special challenge to the racers. Competitors must use specialized tires and re-tune their suspension dramatically to hold the course. Even their driving styles must change completely to accommodate the very different grip condition of Perry County's roads.
Ben Stratton of MAX BMW sent the pictures and text out below to their mailing list. Looks like Rally Tennessee will be fun. Not sure why pics are in Black and White. (following pictures and text from MAX BMW)
The gentleman at Fred's Super Dollar Store and Pharmacy couldn't have been more polite. He appeared to have arrived at that point in life where the measure of age holds no authority, where the best approach is to treat today as today, tomorrow as tomorrow and to simply accept, for better or for worse, all of the days that had come before. Our conversation lasted only a few minutes, but it was surprisingly real. Keith told me how he's been enjoying a quiet life in Perry County, Tennessee for more than 20 years, and how that at the end of his work day at Fred's, he loves nothing more than to go home and relax on his porch. Keith told me he feels fortunate because he has a job. One in four of his neighbors doesn't.
Our visit was cut short by a phone call, but before picking up, Keith thanked me for visiting Linden and shook my hand. I went back to the garage to finish mounting video cameras on the bikes and tried hard to imagine the view from his porch.
Encounters like this one can really reveal the character of an area. The location for Rally Tennessee, like most rallies, is highly dependent on finding a place where more than one hundred miles of public road can be closed for one or two days without significantly disrupting the residents. This usually means that rallies are held in sparsely populated areas, or places with extremely willing residents. Perry County, TN offers both.
For instance, yesterday morning, we spent some time inspecting the roads that we will be running during our stages today. We hardly met a car or truck coming the other way. In fact, the roads here are so quiet that we had to make two emergency stops on the stages:
the first, to allow a resident sow meandering down a lane to dash off into the woods
and the second, a litter of puppies, nuzzled into their mom and nursing in the middle of the warm blacktop. I have a feeling that they'll be safer today- the action and noise should be enough to keep good mothers and their children at bay.
On second thought, I take that back. Despite their mothers strongest objections, children can't seem to resist motorcycles.
There's no doubt that we'll see more than a few small smiling faces as we negotiate the transits today. We'll give them a thumbs up, maybe a wheelie, and definitely something to tell their friends at school on Tuesday. We're also bound to meet a few other interesting characters.
Like Keith, each of these people will be woven into our fabric of memory. It's all part of the rally experience and one that we hope you'll appreciate. At least until the action begins!