THE FIFTH X GAMES RALLY WASN'T JUST ONE EVENT, BUT TWO – RALLY CAR RACING AND SUPERRALLY. ALONG WITH CHANGES OF VENUE FROM LAST YEAR TO THE LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM, EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT THE 70-FOOT JUMP CHANGED – INCLUDING THE COURSE LAYOUTS (SEVERAL TIMES)!
The teams invited to X Games 16 Rally spent only two days at the race site, with practice on Friday, July 30, and practice, qualifying, and bracket and heat races on Saturday, July 31. Drivers invited to the two rally events had little time to prepare.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Photos: Lars Gange | rally.subaru.com
Drive Performance staff members were on site prior to practice, which was scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. Arriving early, we sought Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) and explored the Coliseum.
The Coliseum is huge. Whereas The Home Depot Center, where the X Games Rally event took place the last four years, has a seating capacity of 27,000, the Coliseum's capacity is more than 92,500. That 60,000-plus difference is immense. I had never been in the Coliseum before, and it is impressive for both its size and its history.
We climbed to the top row of seats, and it was a CLIMB. Opened in 1923, the Coliseum has been the site of two Olympiads, two Super Bowl games, a World Series, plus much more. (See www.lacoliseumlive.com for an overview.) The size of the stadium is the most impressive.
When we arrived, graders, loaders, and scooters were arranging some of the dozens of truckloads of dirt that had been hauled onto the stadium floor. It also covered the east end of the stadium oval – up to the columns.
The big air structure stood on the floor at the western end. Skateboarders and BMX bikers competed here during X Games, and Moto X already had competed on different configurations of dirt within the stadium.
Perspective and distance play tricks with your judgment. From the seats in the Coliseum, the space between the pillars didn't seem wide enough to allow a car to pass through. They proved more than ample later on, depending on the drivers' speeds and handling on the courses.
That's right – courses – plural. For X Games 16, rally incorporated separate events: Rally Car Racing and SuperRally. The former would be the bracket racing with which X Games crowds have become familiar over the last couple of years, and the latter would involve four-car heat races – something new for rally in the United States.