FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2003
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Last Ditch Racing
Bangor, Maine, USA -- The Bangor Maine based Last Ditch Racing ProRally team had an eventful debut of their new 1998 Subaru WRX rally car.
The team started Friday's stages in 52 position, and ended the day in 27th position. The team completed the ProRally in 29th position and 15th in class. They completed the ClubRally in 17th position, 12th in class.
Saturday saw driver/co-driver John Cassidy and Dave Getchell run wide on a corner 4/10s of a mile from the finish of Special Stage 5-Magalloway.
Said Cassidy, "I got a little too wide on a turn near the end of the stage and the right rear of the car entered the ditch hard, breaking our Revolution rally wheel off the hub on some rocks. I thought the whole rear suspension was gone, but we drove it out-that's what we do on our team, drive it until it won't go."
Cassidy and Getchell put a new wheel on the car and limped back to the 11 minute service stop without brakes. "We radioed the team that we had significant damage. We knew we couldn't repair it completely in the allotted 11 minutes," said Cassidy. The service crew pulled the wheel and found that the brake disc had shattered, and the brake pads were gone. The trailing arm was cracked halfway through and a lateral link was quite badly bent.
The team were able to compress the piston in the brake caliper using a brake pad and an aluminum tent stake so that the crew would have at least three brakes for the remainder of the rally.
"We were seven minutes late to the next control, which resulted in a penalty of just over a minute, but we had to take the time in order to ensure the brakes would work. We drove the next two stages at 6/10s because we were worried that the trailing arm might completely break," said Cassidy. The team stopped to pull one team out of the ditch on one of the two stages, loosing more time. "We like to help other teams, and it turns out the team we pulled out finished ahead of us!"
The Last Ditch Racing team welded the trailing arm at the mid-day service and secured the right rear brake more effectively, giving Cassidy and Getchell more confidence to push.
At the afternoon 11 minute fuel stop, the team was once again challenged. Hearing a clunking from the rear, Getchell felt the rear strut tops might be loose. When the crew jacked the rear of the car to inspect the brake repair and the struts, the wheels nearly fell out of the wheel wells. "The struts had completely ripped out of the top mounts in the rear and we had no spares," said Cassidy. "As the struts are very long travel and are under tension, I decided we should push them back in the top mount and continue." True to form, the team ran the final two stages quickly, actually closing the gap on the competitors ahead of them.
Said Cassidy of the event, "Rallying is about overcoming adversity, and the crew really stepped up this weekend to help us get across the final stage finish. Our team has always had an attitude of driving the car until it's not possible to drive it further. They know I don't really slow down unless I'm forced to! The new car is quite quick, and with some repairs, we'll be ready to go out and spank it again!"
Cassidy and Getchell want to especially thank crew members Duncan Matlack and Matt Robinson for their quick thinking and resourcefulness. Many thanks to the rest of the crew-George Hartz, Joyce Rifkin, Margaret Michaels and Eric Wages for their hard work.
Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their sponsors: www.mainehost.com, www.phantomgrip.com, www.primmracing.com and mrtperformance.com.au/
For more information on the Maine Forest Rally, please visit www.maineforestrally.com