by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Swoboda

No matter what type of racing you care about the most, motorsport has always been a family affair. Rally is no exception, as the Colorado MotorSport father-son duo of Craig and Zach Lumsden can attest to; after Zach made the switch from motocross as a teenager, he and his father have taken on the Rally America National Championship. Today, get to know Zach as he prepares for Rally Colorado, his home event, next month:

What made you want to start rallying?

I previously came from a background in racing motocross, so racing has always been a part of me. I raced motocross for roughly nine years. What made me really want to start rally though was my last accident from racing.

At the time, I was 17 and a junior in high school. While I was training for a big amateur motocross race I’ve always wanted to do I ended up breaking my left foot and dislocating my right shoulder. Somehow when I crashed, I lost over a third of my oxygen, causing me to become unresponsive. I ended up getting emitted into the ICU two days later. As I started coming responsive again, I looked at my dad and told him “I don’t want to do this anymore.” 21 broken bones later and the week-long trip in ICU made me realize I can’t afford to live like this anymore.

I told my dad I wanted to do something we can do together and something fast but safer. I gave the idea that we should try rally. Eventually after I got out of the hospital and after my surgery on my foot we started looking for a car to race and test the waters to see if we both really liked it.

When was your first event and how did you do?

The first “event” I did was an SCCA rallycross in Grand Junction, Colorado. I raced it with a broken foot which was pretty cool. I can’t say I really remember how I did other than hitting a bunch of cones and trying to look cool in the corners.

The first REAL event I did was Desert Storm in Blythe, California. Let’s just say that event could’ve gone a lot better than we wished for. I will never forget that race. Both my dad and I took home a DNF and two broken cars for that weekend. What made it so memorable though was that it was our very first race ever and I got to tow my dad across the finish line so we could both finish the day together.

When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?

I have to say that probably my first memorable results were neither a win or a podium but a DNF. Again, from me and my dad’s first race together at Desert Storm. I remember it was a long night, I had a snapped strut and two flat tires and I was cruising along the stage because I didn’t want to make the car any worse than what it was and my dad was in front of me (the only time that’ll ever happen).

I came up to a dip in the road with a bunch of sharp rocks and say that he must’ve hit it too hard because I saw his makeshift skid plate sitting there followed by a trail of oil. So, I continue to follow the trail of oil looking for him and saw that he made it to the end of the stage. While I was on transit back to MTC I saw him on the side of the road. I got my tow rope and slowly but surely dragged him back to MTC, which was at the hotel 10 miles out across the Arizona/California border. Although we were the last ones there with sweep following behind us, the fact that we both got to complete our first set of stages together made it memorable.

Who is your usual co-driver, and when did you two start rallying together?

My usual co-driver is Tin Nguyen. Our first race together was Prescott Rally.

What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I’d have to say probably Rally in the 100 Acre Wood although I’ve never finished there.

Do you have any pre-event routines?

Yes, I do. Aside from the normal of going over the cars and making sure they’re all good, my biggest routine is clipping my toenails and fingernails. I even did that before every motocross race. Yeah, that sounds really strange, but every time I broke a bone I didn’t previously cut them so then I became superstitious and that became my thing. Also, I try to play as much Dirt Rally as possible to freshen up my listening while driving skills, haha.

Which other drivers in your class do you respect the most?

I don’t really have anyone that I respect the most. I respect them all, I don’t really have a favorite.