As the fourth edition of Sonora Rally comes to a close, the organization is already deep into plans for next year and are excited to announce that the 2019 Yokohama Sonora Rally will take place March 17th – March 22nd, 2019.
Take a look back at the 2018 Yokohama Sonora Rally
Each year Sonora Rally Co-founder Darren Skilton tries to improve and expand the rally. This year was a milestone year as the rally reached the municipality of Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, and took on a new level of professionalism with the partnership of Yokohama Tire. “It’s been exciting for us to watch the Sonora Rally grow into a world-class race,” said Fardad Niknam, Yokohama Tire Sr. director of consumer product planning and product marketing . “We’re proud to be part of its growth and will continue to support the North American off-road community in their Rally Raid/Dakar dreams. Based on the 2018 rally – which was incredible – the potential is unlimited and we look forward to another successful and even bigger year with them in 2019. The support from the Sonora Rally organization has been fantastic and it’s a perfect event for Yokohama Tire to partner with.”
“We received excellent feed back from the racers about the course this year,” says Rally Director Darren Skilton. “The 2018 course was carefully detailed and laid out to engage racers in true Dakar type stages in an expanded five day format. Starting with two full days of epic dune racing followed by high speed roads with tricky navigation and finally beautiful deserted beaches. Our beach bivouac experiences seemed to be a big hit as well, with locally sourced, chef driven dinners and breakfasts. We also added a special cultural element this year, finishing the rally in the Seri Indian village of Punta Chueca. The racers seemed to really enjoyed the exchange as they supported the artisans of the village, purchasing baskets, wood carvings and jewelry. Its important that we offer our competitors not just a mentally challenging rally but a true adventure, so we will continue to support the local communities and offer unique cultural exchanges as we grow.”
New to the organization team is Rally Operations Director Rodo Fernandez, who took over the challenge of producing this years road books. “Being from Mexico, and with family roots in Sonora, it is a double pride; being part of the organization team of Sonora Rally and to also have the opportunity to show the competitors, and the world, the wonderful scenery offered by the route of this fourth edition of Sonora Rally” says Fernandez.
With a record number of entries in both the Rally as well as the “Road to Dakar” challenge, the competition this year was fierce. Todd and Kyle Jergensen took home the Overall and 4 wheel vehicle win, while Kellon Walch took home the first place UTV trophy. Skyler Howes took the Moto win along with the “Road to Dakar” prize, a paid entry into 2019 Dakar Rally. Dakar veteran Scott Bright was second and first time rally competitor, George Lamont was third.
Since its inception, the rally has attracted competitors from all over the world including Mexico, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong and Japan. Well known US competitors such as Quinn Cody, Ricky Brabec, Mark Samuels, Kellon Walch, Casey Currie, Scott Bright and Mexico’s Ivan Ramierez have been great supporters of the rally, helping it to become the premier navigation rally in North America. Being chosen as a “Road to Dakar” challenge each year has also helped put the rally on a world wide stage and the organization is looking forward to continuing the relationship they have with ASO and the prestigious Dakar Rally.
Plans for the 2019 Yokohama Sonora Rally include new cities, undiscovered terrain and of course more dunes. The organization will also be introducing the Sonora Rally Overland Adventure, a GPS guided route that will let entrants experience the tracks and bivouacs of the Sonora Rally, while learning navigation in a non competitive format. The organization will also be launching a new, bi-lingual website in upcoming months.
Sonora Rally organizers would like to thank our partners Yokohama Tire, Method Race Wheels, Multi-Tool, Rally Comp, the municipalities of San Luis Rio Colorado, Puerto Peñasco, Caborca, Pitiquito and Hermosillo, Pernod Ricard Mexico, Horno320, AloeLife and ActionWipes. And a very special thank you to Bernie Bolanos, Daniel Gonzalez, Club RPM, Desierticos Off-Road Club, 4×4 San Luis 406, Cheyennes, Kino Magico and all of the friends and crew who volunteer their time and resources to help make this rally a success. Without them it can not be done.
The Yokohama Sonora Rally is a five day off-road, navigation rally, that takes place in Sonora, Mexico. Co- created by Dakar veteran and two-time Dakar class winner Darren Skilton and Dakar veteran Scott Whitney, the Sonora Rally is patterned after the grandaddy of all off-road races, the Dakar. Spectacular scenery, uncharted territory, the massive dunes of the Sonora Desert and world-class road books have made Sonora Rally the most premier rally raid in all of North America and the bivouac experience, priding itself on local, chef driven food and cultural immersion has made it a true rally adventure. www.SonoraRally.com