Travis Pastrana is known for being one of the nicest people in motorsport. Always going out of his way to give people a show, sticking around to meet fans as long as possible, and showing some of the greatest sportsmanship racing has ever seen, it’s almost impossible to find someone who has beef with Pastrana.
Pastrana’s best side shone brightly at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota after his rally-ending off on SS10.
Despite the absolute heartbreak of crashing out of the rally lead, and seeing all hopes of a championship slip away in a single moment, Pastrana still kept the focus off of himself, and after realizing the car wasn’t going to move, started running back to the stage start.
Dave Carapetyan told DirtFish what it was like seeing his Black Rifle teammate running towards him just a few minutes after he took off.
“Yeah, I mean, Travis is the only person I know who can like barely walk a six-inch step as it is,” he joked, “but when he crashed, four corners into that stage, he came literally running back.”
Travis wasn’t going to the start to get picked up by the Subaru Motorsports USA team and be carted away from sight; Pastrana ran back to warn his competitors, explain what happened, where his car was, and where to take caution to avoid crashing themselves.
In Pastrana’s own words, “We were [off on] the third corner in on a stage. So it was about 200 yards in, and our car was halfway in the road.”
He explained that even with a warning on RallySafe, a co-driver or driver waving the OK sign, and an orange triangle in the road, it can still be hard for a team coming up on a crash or an off to know what has happened, what threat is still present, and what the best thing to do to avoid further issues is.
“Every driver wants to do well, so I just wanted to make sure I got [back to the start]. Ken had taken off before I got a chance to do that, but I wanted to get up to at least Brandon [Semenuk] and some of the other guys, you know, Texas Dave, just to let them know, ‘hey, the car’s not off the road.’
“I know those guys want to go fast, but I don’t want to end someone else’s rally as well.”
There's no end to his sportsmanship and honestly, he probably saved a lot of us from sliding right into his car.Dave Carapetyan on Travis Pastrana
But he didn’t just stop at his Subaru and BRCC teammates, Travis stuck around and as every car rolled in for the stage start, he warned every single driver to the very last one about the danger his car in the road presented. From the top of the field, all the way back to the newest drivers.
Texas Dave continued, “He could have just been like, you know, huff and puff and off to the side and pissed off about crashing.
“And that is the moment when you are at your worst as a driver, is right after you have an off. But that’s what Travis is. Travis came back.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about it, because the dude is just like, there’s no end to his sportsmanship and honestly, he probably saved a lot of us from sliding right into his car.”
That’s not just a hypothetical save either. When that same stage was run for a second time, Texas Dave’s main class rival Klim Fedoff had a nasty roll in the same exact spot as Pastrana’s off, and this time Dave was the first to arrive on the scene.
“[Fedoff] knew that he had a lot of work to do going into that last stage, and he only made it three or four corners in,” Texas Dave said.
“We were being completely transparent with Klim every stage like, ‘hey, this is what we’re doing. This is what you should do if you want to beat us,’ and he was doing it.”
But unfortunately for Fedoff, he too had his chances of a win taken by that slick turn just a few seconds into the stage.
“And then we slid wide on the same corner, nudged him, basically like tapped his car while he was sitting rolled in the car and then we pulled off to the side, hopped out, and ran back over.”
Thankfully, much in the same spirit of Travis helping his competitors, Texas Dave and John Hall had seen the SOS from Fedoff on RallySafe, and made sure to stop and help.
“They were stuck in the car,” Texas Dave said, “so we peeled the windscreen back, bear-hugged and extricated those dudes from the car. They’re all good.
“We were literally peeling the windscreen back with our bare hands and like, scooping, these dudes out.”
But for Texas Dave, the visibility of sportsmanship from Ojibwe, while notable, is far from an exception or rarity in the rally scene.
“Everybody who’s in this sport knows what this world is all about. But this has been an incredibly challenging weekend for everyone and there’s a lot more stories than these to show the magic of what rally is why we’re all here.”