North America’s only Dakar-style Rally Raid – the Yokohama Sonora Rally – is set to begin on Tuesday from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, with four days of navigating dunes, trails and primitive roads until the rally ends outside Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Writer and rallying novice Melissa Eickhoff, Team Yokohama Parkour and freerunning athlete Sydney Olson and their team check in from Day 3:
At the end of Day 2, most of the Yokohama Sonora Rally entrants were secretly (or not so secretly) breathing a sigh of relief and putting two hard days of dunes behind them, ready for desert terrain that might feel a bit more familiar. Day 3 delivered tight twisty trails and washes, thick vegetation, and beach runs at high speeds and with tricky navigation.
The bikes race heated up today. No. 13 Skyler Howes and No. 2 Scott Bright played cat and mouse most of the day, ending with Bright just 6m43s behind Howes.
“Today there were a lot of turns, a lot of vegetation and many of the turns were really faint. I’m really pushing myself to be a good navigator and not rely on being a good follower,” related Howes (pictured above). “I led out on both stages and I did really good on the first stage and made a few mistakes on the second but still finished strong. Tomorrow, I need to keep pace with Scott and finish out clean, and that should put me where I want to be – an overall win, and the ‘Road to Dakar’ challenge win, which is the most important part.”
In the car category, Kellon Walch pushed hard and ended the day second behind Todd Jergensen (pictured above). Jergensen goes into the final day with an 1m30s lead.
On the purely adventurous side of the race, Sydney and I had another epic day. We hopped on the race course at the start of the second stage and made our way through 71 miles of the same fun stuff the racers encountered. The 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara has not disappointed us. It’s handled everything with ease. And we definitely felt the benefit of the OC Motorsports-installed AEV shocks and the performance of the Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 tires.
For me, the way the tires handled the transition of terrain types has been fun. Being a tire person, the Sonora Rally has put the tire to the test in the kind of environment I like to play in outside of work hours. We’ve gone from highway to dunes, through deep washes, down fast dirt roads, rough whooped out trails, on beaches, silt beds and who knows what else tomorrow. And Sydney is still smiling and isn’t swearing at me, so you know the ride has been fun.