A monumental comeback from David Higgins led to victory over Subaru team-mate Travis Pastrana in last year’s DirtFish Oregon Trail Rally.
After skipping Sno*Drift, Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew began the year with back-to-back podiums at the 100 Acre Wood and Olympus rallies. That’s a decent return by anyone’s standards, but the dominant duo were robbed of victory at 100AW thanks to an electric issue erasing their crushing performance. Oliver Solberg had also beaten them at Olympus, so the Higgins/Drew combination arrived at Oregon Trail having gone four ARA National rounds without a win.
Travis Pastrana and Robbie Durant, the last crew to beat Higgins and Drew to the US national title in 2017, were returning after a lengthy layoff. The Nitro Circus ringleader and his British co-driver sat out much of the 2018 ARA season, while in 2019 they missed the first two rallies Subaru took part in as they shared the car with Solberg.
Higgins v Pastrana. Subaru v Subaru. It was just like old times in the service park, and the battle on the stages brought back plenty of US rallying nostalgia too, and not just because of the Impreza’s blue paint.
Right from the off, the pair were on it. Just a tenth of a second separated both on the first stage on Friday, Higgins the one with the advantage. By the second stage though, the lead was much clearer, as Pastrana pulled away while Higgins had to contend with a puncture after hitting a rock.
Never one to back down from a fight, Higgins brought the heat on Saturday, sweeping all seven stages to not only retake the rally lead for the first time since the opening stage, but take it by more than 16 seconds.
As with the first day, the final day had a cruel twist of fate, another incident robbing onlookers of a nail-biting fight between the two blue cars. Pastrana spun early on, and with that Higgins and Drew had a clear run to the end. Pastrana and Durant maintained second place, albeit almost a minute back.
The win was Higgins’ 10th on the event, a record that no other driver comes close to. Pastrana has the second most wins at Oregon Trail with three.
While it was never in doubt that Higgins would end up in the midst of a title charge yet again, his win at the 2019 DirtFish Oregon Trail Rally kickstarted his campaign. After losing a near-certain win with an off on the final stage in Idaho, he bounced back with two more wins in 2019 to lock up his 10th US national rally crown.