FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2003
Contact: Jeff Burmeister
Web site: Tatomotorsports.com
Santa Clarita, California -- What would have been considered an excellent result for both of the TatoMotorsports cars entered in the Oregon Trails Rally was simply overlooked when Subaru of America teammates Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman sustained fatal injuries during the event.
Mark Lovell and Roger Freemanís car struck a tree on special stage one of the Oregon event. Emergency medical personnel pronounced both Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman dead at the scene. The two have been rallying together for more then twenty years and were contesting their third event together during the 2003 season. His wife, Julia, and their two children Oliver and Thomas survive the 2001 SCCA Drivers Champion, Mark Lovell. His wife, Alison, and their two children Becky and John survive Roger Freeman.
TatoMotorsports Rally Team entered a two car, mixed class, lineup for the 2003 Oregon Trails Rally. Mark Nelson and Charles Bradley would be contesting their first event with the TatoMotorsports Team in the new Group N Lancer Evolution VI. While regular teammate George Plsek Jr. and Jeff Burmeister contested the event in the Open Class Lancer Evolution VI.
Mark Nelson and Charles Bradley turned in a simply brilliant drive throughout the weekend as they piloted their way to a first place finish in the Group N classification, and a fourth place overall result. This result marks the Group N carís first start and finish in a North American Rally event. Prior to contesting in the United States, the Group N car saw service in the World Rally Championships in Portugal, and Catalonia. Assisting the Group N car during the Oregon Rally was the service crew of TAD Motorsports of Chicago Illinois.
Mark Nelson shared his thoughts with us regarding the tragic incident. "Given the tragic loss of our friends and fellow competitors Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman, it's very difficult to celebrate the teams' success this weekend in Oregon."
Mark continues, "The TatoMotorsports Team did an outstanding job with preparing and servicing the car. I owe a big thanks to these guys for all their help as well as to TAD for their support with service. The only glitch all weekend was a shift knob that came loose; the car performed absolutely flawlessly and proved that the EVO VI is still more than capable of beating the latest and greatest Group N cars. We can only imagine how much quicker the car would be with more development and testing!"
Starting seventeenth on the road at the start of the event, the duo of Plsek and Burmeister had a hard time finding their rhythm during day one. But they were able to fight back on day two and finished strong with a fifth in Open class, seventh overall result.
"After the incident, we just wanted to finish up day one safely and without any drama. Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman will always be considered good friends and we will remember them always." George Plsek Jr. reflecting on day oneís incident.
He continues, "we are very happy with Mark Nelsonís result after having only a very limited test session with a new car. To have two cars finish in the top 10 is a great accomplishment considering our slow start on Saturday and being well down the restart list for Leg two."
TatoMotorsports would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends, and the fans of Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman. The sport has lost two good friends. You both will be greatly missed by all of us.
The TatoMotorsports Teams results for Oregon Trails Rally: