Last Ditch Racing Press Release:
September 14, 2010
Bangor, Maine USA
Maine’s Last Ditch Racing, consisting of Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell, overcame significant adversity to crack the top 10 at the Rallye Defi in St. Agathe, Quebec Canada this past weekend. Finishing 10th of 36 starters was not as easy a task as they had initially hoped.
The fourth round of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship, the event is held in the Laurentian Mountains near scenic Mont Tremblant. Cassidy last competed in Canada at the 2008 Rallye Defi with guest Co-Driver Jennifer Daley. “We had a very difficult event in 2008 and suffered a DNF due to max lateness after having a tank full of contaminated fuel,” said Cassidy.
Cassidy and Getchell headed North without their usual complement of crew. “The new laws requires we have passports to travel to Canada, and our current crew are all new since 2008, so were without the proper documentation to join us.” Given how active the team is in social networking, offers of help in service came in by cell and internet. “Harry Boucher volunteered to help us and we would have been quite a bit more stressed without his calm presence in the service park-our hats/helmets are off to him!”
Day one saw the crew tackle the new Montcalm stage, run twice. A new, technical stage, Montcalm proved to set the tone for the event for many crews. “While not setting a blistering pace on Montcalm, we were still in the thick of things and feeling out the car and the recent changes we’d made to it.” said Cassidy. On the second run through the Lac Brunet stage, the team sheared the teeth off first gear in the transmission. “I launched a bit too aggressively on the pavement and the tranny just couldn’t take it,” said Cassidy. Limping back to service without first gear, the crew drained all the large metal chunks out of the transmission, filled it with fresh fluid and pressed on.
“It’s the third time we’ve lost a gear in our 11 years in the sport, so it didn’t throw us too much. We don’t carry a spare transmission on the truck, so just had to roll with it. Dave and I discussed it and decided if we had all the other gears, we’d soldier on as best we could. Unfortunately most of the stage starts are uphill at Defi, so it made for a somewhat slower weekend than we expected.”
Day two arrived with Getchell and Cassidy acting as their own service crew and getting the car to the service park in Montpelier, an hour or so away from St. Agathe. After reversing the car off the trailer, Cassidy was unable to get the transmission into any gear. Realizing the tenuous nature of their drivetrain, they were about to concede defeat and withdraw from the event, but friend Iain Fraser of Planet Motorsport used a bit of Scottish persuasion to get the transmission unstuck. Game on! Cassidy/Getchell headed to the stages to have a go.
“The stages at Defi were very short this year, and Dave and I knew we’d be loosing time off the line of every stage without first gear. We’d try our best to make up that loss on stage, but also knew it would be near impossible.” As if the challenges weren’t already enough, stage 2 on Saturday saw the battery in the intercom die, leaving Getchell to yell at Cassidy for most of the stage. Managing two top 10 stage times during the day and driving quick and tidy, the team fulfilled their goal of finishing in the top 10. “Starting each stage in second gear was painful. Dave was counting the seconds before we’d finally hit a speed where we’d get boost-once we did, it was like someone lit a rocket. On a 4-5km stage, 8-10 seconds is a huge deficit.”
Cassidy and Getchell were impressed with the depth and talent of the competition in Canada. “Everyone’s getting faster. The quality of the cars and crews is the best we’ve seen in some time.” Last Ditch Racing is working to put together a challenge for the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship if they can arrange sufficient support. The team is hoping to attend the Rallye Perce-Neige in Maniwaki to kick off their 2011 season.
Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2010 Partners for their continued support:
VP Racing fuels, http://www.vpracingfuels.com
DTECH Motorsport, http://www.dtechmotorsport.com
Triple Caution, LLC, http://www.triplecaution.us
Luke Dobie Designs, http://www.lukedobiedesigns.com/
Special thanks to Harry Boucher and Iain Fraser for their support on event at Rallye Defi!
For more information on Rallye Defi, please visit: http://www.rallyedefi.com/
For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit: http://www.lastditchracing.com
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