Press Release

March 23, 2000
Contact: Kendall Russell, Organizer

Cherokee Trails ClubRally Stage Descriptions

Cleveland, TN -- Cherokee Trails, a new Coefficient 2 Club Rally, is being held in the Cherokee National Forest in Cleveland Tennessee on March 25, 2000. The Rally is composed of six stages for a total of 54 stage miles. Below you will find a summary of the individual stages used in this event. These summaries are courtesy of Jim Hurley and John Shirley members of the organizing committee for this event.

Stage 1 (Clear Creek) is 7.45 miles long. This stage starts out down along the mountain ridge with a slight downhill grade with pockets of loose gravel. After the acute right, the road becomes very tight and twisty downhill. It continues this way down into the valley with exposed rocks, blind crests and culverts with off camber areas. If it rains, the road becomes very slippery, adding to the technical aspect of the stage. The drivers will have to take their time and work into a smooth rhythm because the route book contains only the most critical instructions.

Stage 2 (Lost Creek) is 10.08 miles long. What can we say about this stage, but it is a rally driver dream road. The surface is hard pack dirt with multiple pockets of pea gravel. The surface will become very slippery and muddy with rain. The competitors will travel up and over a mountain ridge then drop into a deep valley. This stage is very tight and twisty with patches of gravel.

Stage 3 (McFarland) is 8.21 miles long. This stage starts out very fast while the competitors work their way through areas of tight twisty corners. As they work their way down into the bottom of the valley they will travel along a dangerous exposure on the left side looking down onto Wolf Creek. The road will narrow after the left side exposure with deep pockets of gravel and dips. Towards the top, the road gets tight and twisty with hard packed dirt and pea gravel. From the end of this stage the competitors will transit to the Ocoee Whitewater Center for a Service/Lunch break and a well-deserved rest.

During the lunch break the competitors can relax and watch several of the local scheduled events happening around them. The Ocoee Whitewater Center was the location of the 1996 Summer Olympics for competitive whitewater rafting. The Ocoee Center is hosting a Fly Fishing Seminar and March 25th is the first day of the whitewater rafting/kayak season.

Stage 4 (McFarland II) is 7.94 miles long. This stage starts out tight and twisty with pockets of pea gravel. The stage then goes into a downhill section with dips near tightening curves. The road then narrows along the edge of a river then continues up the mountain (tight and twisty). Six miles into the stage the road opens and is very fast with a heavy gravel surface. Speeds at this point could be well in excess of 80 miles per hour before the end of the stage.

Stage 5 (Lost Creek) is 10.06 miles long. This is our favorite stage on the return trip toward the west side of the forest. Hard pack surface with tight and twisty corners. After the campground in the valley, the competitors will climb up the other side of the mountain while encountering tight and twisty corners.

Stage 6 (Benton Mountain) is 9.30 miles long. This stage is very rough at the top of the mountain. This stage will break the rally car if they are not careful! The stage starts out fast and twisty. As the competitors go up the mountain, 2 miles in, the road has exposed rocks on the surface. Then more deep dips and exposed rocks are next. When they turn at the top, the road becomes very, very rough downhill with more exposed rocks and dips. The co-drivers will probably loose his or her place trying to read the route book. Toward the end they will hit a fast uphill section with loose gravel.

The competitors will then transit from Benton Mountain (over 2000 feet in elevation) down off the Mountain while enjoying spectacular views of South East Tennessee. After Checking into MTC at the Ocoee Whitewater Center the competitors and workers will return to the Holiday Inn Cleveland TN to enjoy a Banquet dinner and awards presentation. They might even get to enjoy a little local moonshine (HA HA). Don't ya'll wish you were here? Kickin' Dirt Southern Style!

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