FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2001
Contact: Andrew Havas,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- Driving the newly refurbished Orange Electric Mazda RX7, Andrew Havas of North Carolina teamed up with Paradox Racing Group co-driver, Melanie Kelly of Halifax, Nova Scotia to contest the 2001 Maine Forest Rally. This year’s rally drew a record number of over 120 National and Regional teams to Rumford, Maine, July 27th-28th to compete in one of the rockiest, roughest and most grueling events on the SCCA ProRally calendar. Team Havspeed set out with high hopes for a great competition with a strong field represented in Group 5 including Brian Hourt and Drew Richie in an Acura Integra GSR, the West Coast’s 2WD aces Carl Jardevall and Amity Trowbridge in a Volvo 740 Turbo and current class leaders Tad Ohtake and Martin Dapot in a Ford Escort Z2X.
Friday greeted the Rally teams with clear, cool weather. A 'Parc Expose' held in downtown Rumford gave the fans the opportunity to meet competitors, collect autographs, and even sign the hood of the Havspeed Mazda! The cars then paraded off to the 1/2 mile spectator stage, where an estimated 2500 people gathered to witness the excitement of ProRally cars at full speed! The next two stages would test most teams to their limits. The roughest of the rally, these stages claimed many entries. Suspension damage, punctures, broken wheels and accidents were commonplace. Havas and Kelly were almost side-lined on SS (special-stage) 2 when their rotary engine stalled and refused to start at the count-down on the line. Just in the nick of time, one of the two rotors fired up. They struggled through much of the 5 mile stage until the second rotor finally came to life, but ignition problems blitzed the odometer and they broke a wheel in the last mile. In spite of the lost time on SS2, their 16th place run on SS3 resulted in a tie for the Group 5 lead, and 17th overall at the close of Friday’s stages.
Saturday was again perfect weather, as the crews headed out for SS4. Havas and Kelly were buoyed by the hard work of the crew Friday night to overcome engine and odometer problems, and went on to set overall stage times as high as 10th, leading the 2 wheel-drive Group 5 contingent into SS6. Events overtook the team's effort, however, when 12 miles into the 14 mile stage their run was cut short by a series of incidents. One of the cars ahead on the stage suffered two flat tires. The Jardevall/Trowbridge Volvo, starting directly in front of Team Havspeed, caught the slow-running car and were held up in the dust. Havas and Kelly soon came up on Jardevall at a downhill leading to a right, and with zero visibility in the Volvo’s dust, left the road to become high centered on a brush pile. Thanks are due to the Speedvision videographer who pulled the team’s car out. Well beyond maximum lateness, Team Havspeed retired after running SS7 at the back of the field.
Despite the outcome, Team Havspeed had a great run. "It is a good feeling to be on par with the best of the two-wheel drive teams the ProRally championship has to offer and we are grateful to all the organizers and volunteers at the Maine event that ensured such an excellent Rally" said Havas, the Team Havspeed driver.
The next event for the Orange Electric Mazda and Team Havspeed will be the Ojibwe Forests Rally, August 17th-18th, the 7th event in the SCCA Prorally calender.
Watch for upcoming coverage of Team Havspeed's efforts on Speedvision and in Sport Compact Car Magazine. Be sure to visit www.havspeed.com for the latest event news and pictures.