Cherokee Trails

Photo by Charles Long


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Cherokee Trails is a must run event for me.  There is no towing involved, no hotels, just drive the Jeep to the start and go racing.  And with the rally named after our race car, how can we miss it.

This year, CT was an FIA, USAC, NASA affair.  We elected to run only the regional event on Saturday and skip the Friday night event.  This gave us all day Friday to make the long drive to Chattanooga for Tech and registration, take a pass at the shakedown stage to get a feel for the course notes and time for my co driver to have a date on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, we all met at the Riverside restaurant near Parksville lake where service was located.  This is the place where we often relax after a day of water skiing.   Scott, Scott and Janice set us up a nice pit location near to fellow Tennesseans, Randy Bailey and Darrel Pugh.   Randy's day started off hectic as they realized they had lost the race tires off the carrier somewhere between Soddy and Benton.  Scott and Janice went to help look for lost tires while Josh and I got the final start list and found our place in line.

The first stage was the same as the shakedown stage so we hit it with vigor.  This was probably my best run of the day but we will never know as the stage was blocked for a few of the early cars when Shamus Burke's car blocked the stage similar to what happen to him at Sno*Drift.   The stage was dropped from scoring.

Stage two was the old Sawmill road with several fun jumps.  The stage was extended to pass in front of the spectator area.  The Jeep proved its durability on the big bumps near the end of the stage.

Stage three was down the back side of Chilhowee on Clear Creek road.  This is a fun and fast stage down the mountain.  We got some good air on the jumps, but no repeats of last years levitating cell phone incident.

From there we went to run the longest endurance test of the day - Indian Creek.  This is a 17 mile stage that starts off fast by the spectator area, then gets tight and technical for several miles before it opens to a wide sweeping section at the finish.   The most exciting moment of the day came on the steep downhill section of this stage where after a bouncy landing after a jump, my forearm became lodged between the door and the steering wheel.  To make matters worse we were pointed off the cliff.  I had to quickly bring my other arm into position to force the steering wheel to the right.  At least one photographer got a good scare was we slid very near him.  The twisty section of Indian Creek was littered with car parts of all types. A tribute to how rough the dips were.  The Jeep handled them fine.  Near the end of the stage we caught up with the Subaru that had started  2 minutes in front of us.  That was pretty exciting as we crossed the finish line inches off his bumper.

In the end we were second in our class and 15th overall.  Randy and Stewart had a flat on the last stage dropping them to 3rd in class and 16th overall.


See  for official results.

Click here to get a short video clip of stage7 shot by Scott McAllister.


Scott Strawbridge taking care of the RallyJeep at service

Scott Dobler taking care of RallyJeep at service.

  He also took good care of Crew Chief Janice during the day.


Josh and Jennifer relax at lunch

Charles and Brian are very proud of their new Evo and Little Debbie Cakes.


Lisa Klassen came all the way form California to race her red Toyota.

See more of her at

Burke's rental car after the roll.

  He was driving this rental after smashing his car at Sno*Drift.

Chilling at service.


Content by Mike Strawbridge




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content: (c) Mike Strawbridge