It was bright and sunny but unseasonably cold at the dawn of the 2015 Seed 9 Rally; cold enough to avoid rattlesnakes and desert tortoises. Held annually the weekend after SEMA in Jean, Nevada – thirty or so miles southwest of Nevada – the off-road stage rally was founded in 2003. This year’s entry list was pared down a bit from last year’s entries that included names such as David Sterckx and George Plsek, but the event didn’t suffer for it. The point of this rally isn’t the names, it’s… rally. For the pure love of it.
However, one entry that stood out after covering Formula D this year was 21-year-old Matt Coffman, currently ranking 30th in the Formula Drift 2015 Pro Championship standings. After focusing heavily on drifting for a few years, he got back in a Subaru STI (Super Pro) rally car for Seed 9 with co-driver Blake Lind, who he had only met days before at SEMA.
Based at the Gold Strike Casino in Jean – a crossroads on Route 15 to California with two gas stations as neighbors – the rally boasts twisting, rocky roads through the scenic desert near Red Rock National Canyon, no artificial light, and no transit between stages. The day stages are out-and-back with the Miner’s Dash power stage on the fourth stage. This year marked the return of the Double or Nothing / Nothing or Double night stages that couldn’t be run last year due to bad conditions.
While an annual meeting of Elvis impersonators carries on inside, the rally meetings and service take place in a separated lot by the casino entrance. Because of the forbidding, rural location, there aren’t really any spectator areas set up, but this year two adventurous rally fans from Boston braved the elements to watch from a windy hill.
This year’s rally was fortunately not one of attrition; of the twelve entries, ten finished. Coffman/Lind won overall with a time of 35:25.1, with John Coyne/Doug Nagy about a minute behind (36:33.2) in second, and Brent Lee/John Dillon third overall (45:25.6). Complete results and full gallery below.