5th-Gens Dominate the Sturgis Camaro Rally: 2015

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photos by: Parker Fuller

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Ford has the Mustang and Dodge has the Challenger, but us Chevy freaks have the Camaro. Haters can poke and prod about there never being a 2003-2009 model, their weight disadvantage (over the Mustang, anyway) and their lack of visibility. But we know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we’ll continue to support those 5th-gen owners for as long as we’re around.

After largely out-selling both the Mustang and the Challenger since its inception for the 2010 model year, the Camaro hasn’t been this popular since the late-’70s. Chalk it up to being on a seven model-year hiatus, a trio of Transformers appearances on the big screen or the simple fact that these offer 90% of the styling from a ’69, with all of the modern conveniences, and their success becomes obvious.

Naturally, that success had something of a trickle-down effect on the earlier models and we’re seeing owners of 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-gens pulls theirs out of garages, fields and out of the classifieds, to build their dream car. New Camaro-specific events have sprouted up all over the country in recent years, and there’s no slowing the Camaro Train down anytime soon. Throw in the fact that the 6th-gens will be hitting the street very soon as of this writing, and it becomes clear why they’re so popular.

One of these new events include the Sturgis Camaro Rally – which kicked off for the first time about seven years ago. Featuring over 300 Camaros of all vintages, Camaro owners and enthusiasts from all over the country – some driving their cars as far as 2,500 miles round-trip – make the event that features a three day car show, autocross event, drag racing and a banquet dinner. Our friend, Jordan Priestly – owner and founder of JDP Motorsports – sponsored the autocross challenge, running Frankey, his heavily-modified 2012 Camaro SS in the event. It’s an event he’s looking forward to participating in next year, he tells us.

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The outward appearance of Justin’s 2011 Synergy Green Camaro SS may look relatively stock, but checking under the hood you’ll find a different story. The 6-speed LS3 Camaro is packing a pair of Precision 6255 turbochargers, an MGW shifter, and an Aeromotive fuel system. The turbos stem from a Granatelli Motorsports kit, backed by an MBRP exhaust and a Mantic clutch.

Other Sturgis participants, such as Kody Sanslow, is one of the event’s long-haulers. Making the 2200-mile round-trip trek, this was Kody’s third year attending, saying, “[Sturgis] is a well-organized event and the scenery is unbelievable. My favorite part [of the event] are the canyon drives – I think my Camaro might even like them more than I do,” he laughs. Dane Hargrave, an event participant and a 2010 Camaro SS owner added, “the feeling is mutual.”

The owner of a 2011 Synergy Green SS, Justin Hendrickson, also threw his hat into the ring by saying, “Each year the pilgrimage to The Sturgis Camaro Rally is a fun one. This was our third year at the rally; we had heard about it 4 years earlier, but didn’t want to take a mostly stock car there thinking it was more of a show.  Well, it’s not – it’s a complete event!  Whether you have a completely stock Camaro or a highly-modified machine; this is the place to be each year.  We love doing the autocross and we were hoping to have more work done to the car to be competitive in 2015, but time and sponsors haven’t panned out.  Check out the rally if you get the chance, it’s a great place to meet many new Camaro crazies and create new friendships.” Based on those assertions, it looks like we might just have to bring out a Camaro to next year’s event. See you then!

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