RAmer: Widget Rally Team Maine Forest summary

Mechanical Failure Strikes While Leading in Maine Team Was Winning in Group 5 When Suspension Bolts Failed Bethel, ME. Chris Havas (Team MetalMarks, Richmond, VT) and John Dillon (Widget Rally Team, Thousand Oaks, CA) joined forces ...

       Mechanical Failure Strikes While Leading in Maine

Team Was Winning in Group 5 When Suspension Bolts Failed

Bethel, ME. Chris Havas (Team MetalMarks, Richmond, VT) and John Dillon (Widget Rally Team, Thousand Oaks, CA) joined forces to tackle the Maine Forest Rally July 30-31, racing a VW Golf in the Group 5 class. Dave Kean, Chris's usual codriver, couldn't attend the event, so Dillon was asked to step in by Cat McKeen, the MetalMarks team manager. Havas and Dillon ran the practice stage to get a feel for the car and each other on Thursday before starting the race on Friday. The pair warmed up quickly and proved by far to be the fastest of the 2WD cars. Unfortunately, while poised on the verge of a top-ten finish a suspension bolt failed on stage 6, leaving the team stranded on the roadside.

"Chris hasn't raced for a year, so I was particularly impressed by how quickly he got up to speed," reported the codriver. "He demonstrated his skill in every corner, with every launch over a jump, in each rocky apex. It was a joy to race with him."

The crew really demonstrated their talent on Friday night when, halfway through a ten-minute service break, they discovered a broken hub. "Those guys really hustled to replace the whole upright and get us out of there," reported McKeen. "We had a bunch of spectators watching the action. They applauded when the car came off the jack stands and took off for the next control!"

On the final stage before the suspension let go, the car's Coralba odometer recorded a top speed of 102 MPH, not bad for a two-wheel-drive car surrounded by 4WD and AWD Subarus and Mitsubishis. Crew chief Gary Charbonneau, who watched some of the in-car video from the stages, commented "I never realized just how much wheel spin Chris was getting. With only two driven wheels, it's really hard to get the power to the ground." Other crew members included Bob Legiere, who specializes in turbo engine modification, and Greg Nosiglia, who delivered exceptional meat from the team's sponsor Smokehouse Sausage in Boston. Greg used his culinary skills as a former sous chef to prepare deluxe meals for the team, including steak and eggs, spicy sausages, quiche lorraine, and even chorizo. It was the first rally ever for the team's newest crew member, Jackie Dubois, who enjoyed herself thoroughly.

"Naturally I'm disappointed with our result," said Havas, who earned the class win in two prior Maine rallies. "It looked like we could break into the top ten if we could just get it to the finish line. At least I got to enjoy the thrill of six of the nine stages." He wryly noted "At least we're in good company--there was a lot of attrition this year, with only half the cars finishing the rally."

-wrt-

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