Champagne Reward for Team in Pennsylvania Widget Partners with Havspeed for 2nd Place on the Podium Wellsboro, PA. Andrew Havas (Hopewell Junction, NY) of Team Havspeed brought out his classic Mazda RX7 and, with Widget Rally Team's John Dillon...
Champagne Reward for Team in Pennsylvania
Widget Partners with Havspeed for 2nd Place on the Podium
Wellsboro, PA. Andrew Havas (Hopewell Junction, NY) of Team Havspeed brought out his classic Mazda RX7 and, with Widget Rally Team's John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA) navigating, finished second overall in Two-Wheel Drive (2WD) at the Susquehannock Trail Professional Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, PA on 3 June 2006. It was an immensely successful first time partnership that came about because Dillon's usual driver Brian Scott and Havas' regular co-driver Amy Fiestel were unable to attend.
"Competing at STPR was the result of an unusual sequence of events," reported Dillon. "Brian couldn't make it to the Olympus Rally a few weeks ago, so Andrew and I planned to run in a borrowed Galant. Sadly, we were forced to withdraw when a last-minute mechanical issue arose with the car, so we decided to run Pennsylvania instead. I wanted to give our sponsors exposure at a national-caliber rally, and it really paid off for us with a great result in the end."
As it turns out, STPR 2006 enjoyed the strongest field of competitors in North America since the height of manufacturer's involvement seen in 2001-2003, which makes Havas/Dillon's finish even more significant.
"To finish second overall in two-wheel-drive with a car nearly 30 years old behind a factory team is nothing to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, beating them on two of the stages feels like a victory to me!" said Havas, who was battling a bad case of the flu as well as his competition. "With two stage wins and two records, we showed we can bring the fight to them. It's a shame we lost the differential and had our engine go sour for the last stages. Truthfully, we are lucky to have made it to the finish!"
In spite of their problems, Havas and Dillon built up enough of a cushion to finish in front of multi-time 2WD Canadian National Champion Jon Nichols, who was 3rd overall in 2WD. Jon has been a benchmark in North America for years because of his outright speed.
Havas is known for his crowd-pleasing sideways driving style and bright orange rally car. For this rally he gave out "hammerhead" noise makers to the spectators, who dutifully cheered and rattled each time the team went past. The car is covered with signatures from race fans. "It's become a tradition of the 'Orange Team'" said the driver. "People really love to be able to sign the car, especially the kids, and when they see us on course, they are really with us in spirit!!"
"It was a lot of fun racing with Andrew this weekend," said his codriver. "It's cramped, hot, and noisy, but man, what a ride! He's a talented driver. Even with the flu, a damaged rear axle, and substantial loss in engine performance towards the end, we still managed to twice set record-breaking times in class. I can only guess how great he'd be behind the wheel of a more modern rally car."
Havas is hoping to secure funding to contest the Maine Forest Rally with Amy Fiestel in an Open Class car July 21-23rd; Dillon will resume his normal codriving duties with Brian Scott a week earlier at the Treeline Rally.