2024 Sonora Rally set for October, Dakar tickets up for grabs

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Credit: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

The Sonora Rally might not be on the World Rally-Raid Championship anymore, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be involved with the championship in some form. Like it was prior to its one-year inclusion on the schedule, the rally will remain a Road to Dakar leg in which the top motorcycle and side-by-side finishers with no prior Dakar Rally experience can earn free registration to the 2025 or 2026 edition.

While the Sonora Rally traditionally takes place in the spring, it will be moved to 21–25 October for 2024 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary.

“This year marks a special race for us,” begins an announcement from rally officials. “It’s been a decade since we first set off in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, so to commemorate, we’re ‘going back to basics.’ It’s going to be a classic competition with several surprises in store to celebrate our ‘birthday’.”

Created in 2014 by Darren Skilton and Scott Whitney, the rally is designed to provide rally raid-style racing in North America, which the Mexican state of Sonora satisfies with its ergs similar to those in other major desert rallies. It was already part of the Road to Dakar before being included in the W2RC in 2023, becoming the series’ first race in the Americas. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Daniel Sanders respectively won the FIA and FIM overalls while Sara Price (SSV) and Francisco Álvarez (bike) topped the race’s Road to Dakar. The 2023 race was held in partnership with NORRA’s Mexican 1000 in neighbouring Baja California, which took place a week later and also features a rally-style format.

The rally did not return to the W2RC in 2024 as Skilton, who serves as race director, hopes to support local competitors though he did not rule out rekindling the partnership. The October date is a week after the W2RC’s season-ending Rallye du Maroc.

Sonora is one of six 2024 Road to Dakar events alongside the other four W2RC rounds—the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Desafío Ruta 40, and Rallye du Maroc—and the South African Rally-Raid Championship’s Waterberg Rally Raid. Under the Amaury Sport Organisation’s new points system, Sonora will award twelve points to RtD riders who complete the race; while there is no minimum to be accepted for the Dakar Rally, riders boost their chances at qualifying the more they accumulate.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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