Press Release

July 15, 2003
Contact: Eric Burmeister
Burmeister Rallysport
Phone: 313-792-2397

MAZDASPEED Rally Team: The loss of two brothers.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- "We lost two of our brothers today." Rally organizer, John Forespring's words echoed off the walls of the silent, tear-filled banquet room after the first day of competition at the Oregon Trail Rally. Fresh off a victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Subaru team of Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman were fatally injured moments after starting the first stage at the Hillsboro, Oregon event last Saturday. The pair have raced together for years around the world and earned the British and Irish Rally Championship in 1986 with Ford. In more recent years, Mark won the 2001 SCCA ProRally Overall Championship and just reunited with his friend Roger for 2003 on the Subaru Rally Team USA.

After speaking with Subaru team boss David Campion, it was decided by the SCCA and the rally organizers that the event should continue. The feeling was that Mark and Roger would rather have gone out as a part of something, as opposed to something that never was. As eventual overall winner David Higgins accepted his award at a subdued ceremony on Sunday, he said "There were no winners this weekend." The MAZDASPEED Rally Team continued with a deep sense of remorse and had an eventful rally. They were in second place for the Group 2 Class at the end of Saturday with a small cushion of time back to third. On Sunday, mechanical issues cropped up and put them down a minute on the last leg. Making up time on the final stage, the car spun and fell into a ravine at the road's edge. After an hour's time, they received a tug and were able to continue, finishing and providing some damage control on the points situation. The finish tightens up the points race in Group 2, but Burmeister retains his lead over long time friend, Chris Whiteman.

Thoughts from Eric Burmeister:
"We have lost a true ambassador to the sport in Mark Lovell. He was the kind of guy who remembered everyone's name and initiated the conversation with you, even if you were a club competitor or weekend hobbyist. He made you feel like a peer, even though his record was that of a champion at the top level of the sport. I believe he was concerned with the fact that he knew he was a "visitor" of sorts, being from the UK, so he did whatever he could to be a part of American rallying and a real American competitor."

"I did not know Roger so well, but it is my understanding that they are quite a family, the Subaru group, and my heart goes out to them."

Thoughts from Cindy Krolikowski:
"I am deeply saddened by the deaths of Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman. My sincere sympathy goes to the families and friends that are left behind."

Godspeed Brothers. Rallying will not be the same without you.

The SCCA ProRally series is a "stage" or "performance" rally series that stretches across the nation. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America and televised on SPEED CHANNEL, this form of motorsport is one of the fastest growing racing series in the United States. Competitors race flat out against the clock for hundreds of miles on a course of back roads closed to public usage. A co-driver or navigator describes the road in tremendous detail to the driver via an intercom system in the helmets.

For information on the SCCA ProRally series, check:

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