Last Ditch Racing at the New England Forest Rally
Wednesday night and the short tow(3 hours) to our home rally is done and we’ve enjoyed a nice dinner with friends at the local brew pub. I imagine that rallying is like a lot of other sports whose championships cover large geographic areas. We see our rally friends in the context of rallies, but often in the most remote areas of the country. I’m not sure we’d recognize each other if we passed in a shopping mall! War stories are told, and updates are given about things happening in other aspects of our lives. Although we’re here for 4 days, there’s surprisingly little time to socialize.
Preparation for this event has taken the Last Ditch Racing crew the better part of 6 weeks. A volunteer crew of anywhere from 5-7 talented guys neglect other aspects of their lives to spend time in the shop at Triple Caution Farm in Bangor, Maine, prepping our Subaru STi, or T-4 as we call her. Every bolt is torqued, brake calipers rebuilt, systems optimized and suspect parts replaced. I told my teenage boys the other night that I felt like I haven’t seen them much over the past two weeks. Between work and rally prep, the honest truth is that I really haven’t.
Recce is tomorrow. We have organizer supplied notes that are prepared using the JEMBA system. We’ll have one pass recce of all stages tomorrow to modify the notes to our liking. Not quite like creating your own notes over two passes like most FIA/WRC events, but the JEMBA notes are quite consistent, and we’re used to running them. Recce will take most of the day tomorrow, and while most people think we’re just driving around in a car(which we are), it’s mentally tiring for us. I’m concentrating on the road and the notes that co-driver Dave Getchell is reading and then he’s trying to keep up with my modifications. A good nights’ sleep tonight along with good hydration and nutrition are paramount to keep mentally sharp through the day. A good feeling at the end of recce can certainly carry over to the start of the event on Friday, providing crews with a sense of confidence to start strong.
Crew will start to arrive tomorrow night, and fuel will be picked up from the vendor. Tires located and mounted. Car will go through technical inspection-likely while we’re still on recce. An autograph session tomorrow night will be a great opportunity to meet fans of the team new and old. Always great to get kids into the car and see their smiles.
Of course our rally celebrity friends will be here as well. Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, Dave Mirra, Tanner Foust, Antoine L’estage are all on hand. We’re also happy to see ex-Subaru WRC driver Chris Atkinson on hand at the event. I’m unsure if he was just in the neighborhood and popped round, or if it was a planned trip. He was at the local Team O’Neil Rally School driving Ken Block’s Mark II Escort rally car a few days ago. Videos are on youtube.com!
We’ll be sending updates via twitter as the recce day progresses. Please DM any questions you might have and we’ll try and get them answered! 🙂
Follow the team at: