Before I post the actual content of the blog from John on to the site, I want to tell him and all the folks over at Last Ditch Racing how awesome it was that we were able to chronicle their trip through the New Englan Forest Rally. This is the home event for LDR and I am very happy that they were able to send us updates between autograph sessions, recce, and the event. I want to personally thank John and the team for a great blog and hope that we can do this again in the near future. Now, for your viewing pleasure:
Yesterday’s event was extremely frustrating in that we ran two super specials, one at the Sunday River complex and one at the Mexico Rec area. Both went well, but the two longer stages we were slated to run had to be scrubbed as the ambulance/medical never made it to the stage. We all transited back to Mexico to run the famous Concord Pond stage. At just about 6 miles long, it’s one of the drivers’ favorite stages in the US. We had issues with a front axle that slowed us down. We were about 30 seconds slower than our 2008 time. 🙁 Caught up with Ken Block after the stage and he beat the stage record(which he set in 2008) by 8 seconds! Lots of quick times on the night, and local Chris Duplessis in his 2WD VW Golf set a time quicker than many AWD cars.
Today was a day full of adventures. As we ran the regional portion of the event, we focused on our competitors in that portion of the event. The regional event runs all the same stages as the National event, but each day is counted as a separate rally.
The crew fixed our wonky axle last night and we seemed to be on track this morning, until the car started to blow some smoke out the back. Each service we found oil on the skidplate, and the crew identified it as coming from the oil drain hose for the turbo and the catch can breather. Our best guess was that we had an internal issue with something causing excessive pressure in the crankcase. Unable to fix it and unwilling to concede the event, we continued to fill the smoking Subaru with oil and press on, pushing as hard as we could. Under full throttle, smoke would billow out the back(great for keeping the Maine insects at bay! ;-)) and fill the cockpit, making us cough. Each time we rolled into a time control, we were literally smoking!
Going into the last stage of the day, there were a couple of teams within a few seconds of us. Wyatt Knox and co-driver Carrie Wilburn in a Mazda Speed 3 were setting good times and our sick Subaru was just about on par, power wise. We filled the crankcase with some more oil and talked nicely to the Subaru, asking her to allow us to abuse her for yet another stage. The synergy between driver, co-driver and car materialized, and we took the last podium position by 4 seconds, as well as the Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship. Co-Driver Dave Getchell looks to be the winner of the overall Eastern Regional Co-Driver Championship.
Travis Pastrana won the event, followed by teammate Ken Block and the Canadian team of Antoine L’estage and Nathalie Richard in 3rd place. Good friend Dave Mirra and co-driver Derek Ringer DNF’d due to turbo failure. Tough break for them as they were going quickly on Friday night.
Co-Driver Dave Getchell and I haven’t had such a great time in a rally for a few years and it’s all thanks to the hard work of our crew and our fellow competitors. We’re hoping to have some new pictures, videos and blogs up soon.