By Bill Wood
In this case, the elephant was Comrie-Picard instead of the usual suspects such as X Games icon Travis Pastrana, Internet video icon Ken Block or iconic drifting and television host Tanner Foust. In flashes of brilliance, ACP is every bit their equal in the woods. In fact, Block, ACP and Foust are within two points of one another in the series points standings halfway through the season. Pastrana, with his win last weekend in Maine, has jumped to a sizeable lead in the championship.
It should be noted that ACP’s appearance Sunday kept the headline on rallying and not Pastrana’s jumps or Block’s romps on the Web or Tanner’s tire dust wafting into the stands. Now, to the public at large, ACP is a turn or two away from closing on his own form of iconia.
Of all the things they’ve done, none have stepped to the mound at Dodger Stadium, the mound where Koufax and Drysdale worked; the mound where Kirk Gibson stared down history to do some flying of his own in the 1988 World Series, and the mound where Orel Hershiser had one of the greatest seasons ever, throwing 59 consecutive scoreless innings (also in 1988). None of America’s rally idols have stepped to that
mound and threw a strike to home plate.
Some hyperbole, to be sure, but it was fun watching that elephant fly to the plate in the home that Mannywood returned to the headlines a year ago.
The point is this: American rallying has grown to such a point that more than one or two competitors can challenge for the championship. It’s grown to a point where young kids will stand in line on a 100 degree day and ask for an autograph from a driver they recognize who was sitting in front of a car they might have used in a video game. And it’s grown to a point where even a major television network can ask it to take part in a promotional campaign in front of people who came to see a baseball game.
“Well I be done seen ‘bout ev’rything/When I see a elephant fly.”
There were days when rally enthusiasts would brag about getting event results in the tiny gray agate type in the back of the local newspaper. Now much of the agate is gone from newspapers that are disappearing, and yet rallying can still grow because new media has made inroads with the new demographic that’s just discovering rally as a motor sport. While the rest of us grow old and fall off the back of the grandstands, rally can grow because the changing media playing field has equalized access to the sports fan.
I kept hearing those crows on Sunday. You can see this particular elephant fly in this video on You Tube