The History of the
NEDIV PRO Rally Series
Where have we been, where do we go from here?

In the Beginning

Performance rallyists comprise a small, close-knit group of enthusiasts who labor mightily for little reward save their own satisfaction. From this hearty breed have come many-time National Champions, a bevy of legendary performances and near-misses and some nose-to-nose clashes with courses which zigged while the driver zagged. All are normal outgrowths of the nature and beginnings of the sport, which was anything but normal.

In 1957 nearly no one had heard of a performance rally in the United States. SCCA conducted a National Rally Championship but it was exclusively for time-speed-distance, route following events, a "gentleman's" social gathering on sunny Sunday afternoons. But the Press On Regardless, which had been run beginning in the early '50's, was another country heard from. Detroit Region of SCCA kept this initial U.S. Performance rally alive and in 1958, for the first time SCCA's involvement became more than superficial. The 1958 POR was run with full SCCA sanction and used the TSD's National Rally Regulations wherever applicable.

National Rally status for the POR continued until 1960, a black sheep among the flock of TSD's, but through the 1961-64 seasons reverted to simply "being there" with no recognizable status at all in the SCCA rally hierarchy. In 1965 the POR was once again adopted into the National Championship ranks but never truly accepted. In fact, in 1967 Rally Director Harry M. Handley was dispatched to drop POR forever from Club ledgers but came back with a change of heart--he was impressed with the small contingent of heavily involved people who kept the POR alive through torrents of official neglect. Handley recommended its survival and by 1969 POR was the flagship of a number of performance rallies in the Michigan area.

By 1970 POR had become SCCA's first FIA listed rally but remained the only performance rally in National listings. In 1972 two or three prototype events were conducted and response was good. In late 1972 it was decided to draft a set of rules for performance rallying in this country and Wayne Zitkus, a nationally-ranked co-driver, put together the initial rule book which went into effect in 1973.

The 1973 season saw eight performance rallies conducted under National auspices and the rest, as they say, is history. The sport has gained followers and enthusiasts by leaps and bounds and some will insist it is the "coming" thing in auto racing in the United States.

The rallyists come from every segment of the population. Among them are car dealers, import export merchants, policemen, engineers, accountants, lawyers, a neurosurgeon and a dentist. Perhaps nowhere in motor racing is the spectrum as broad.

Enter NEPRS (Northeast Performance Rally Series)

By late 1975 it had become evident that, as the POR FIA event had led to the creation of the National PRO Rally Series, the time had come to begin the next developmental step--the encouragement of Divisional level series of performance rallies. Commencing in 1976 NEPRS filled that need in SCCA's Northeast Division, being designed by the Administrator (Harry M. Handley) in such a way that it could be a complete self-contained entity while at the same time providing a stepping-stone and encouragement for those who might desire to move up into National PRO Rally competition, either as organizers or competitors.

In the first 3 years of existence NEPRS consisted mostly of "Fast TSD" endurance events with a couple of mixed (TSD/Stage) events. In 1978 STPR also was a part of the series, and in 1979 the Happiness Is Sunrise was included. Series participation grew to rival the National series at some events like the NQP, with major national sponsors and prize money. The entry lists from those early years read like a "who's who" in PRO Rally in the Norhteast.

The formation of purely stage events met with greater success in several other Divisions, but they were isolated occurances and NEPRS was still the only SCCA Divisional series of performance rallies by 1979.

In 1980 the series name was changed to "NEPRO" (Northeast PRO Rally Series) as a means to further identify with the National PRO Rally Series and continued until the end of the 1984 season.

The 1981 season saw a change of administrators from Harry Handley (1976-1980) to Gary Webb (1981-1984) a longtime series competitor and organizer.

The series continued with the "mixed event" format until the 1985 season when the SCCA Divisional PRO Rally Board ruled that events must be of an all stage format.

Since 1985 the NEDIV PRO Rally Series has had some great and some not so great years, but the future is bright and now it's up to you -- the competitors, organizers and workers of the Northeast Division -- to continue in the tradition of leadership that the series has shown in the past.