Mt Washington Climb to the Clouds 2014

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2014 marks the first hill climb at Mt Washington since 2011. The Climb to the Clouds event has been held sporadically over the last 110 years only adding to the mystique of the event. It makes it like a solar eclipse of motorsports.

Nicknamed the Climb to the Clouds because the race course, the Mt Washington Auto road; it is often shrouded in heavy cloud cover. Mt Washington is known to have some of the worst weather in the world. It is an unforgiving place that punishes those who are not prepared. So it was a shock and pleasent surprise to racers and spectators a like, that during the three day event. The weather on Mt Washington remained some of the nicest seen in years. Clear skies, little wind and warm temps were a welcome addition to a place that can be unforgiving to human life.

As a result, records were broken. David Higgins and Craig Drew in their Vermont Sports Car Subaru WRX STi rally car broke Higgins’ current overall record set in 2011 by almost 3 seconds in the rally class. 6:09.09

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William Pietrow and Ryan Symancek set a new 2wd Rally class record just a minute shy of the 2wd cars at 7:09.95. Petrow put on a show for the hill climb spectators, drifting his 240sx up the mountain side.

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It wasn’t all rally cars, Paul Tinguad set the fastest open class time and new record 6:22.70. In a tube frame Audi 5 cylinder turbo powered hill climb special, known as the “Super Chicken”.

Bill Washburn set a new H1 class record 6:55.89 in the “240 Maxi” a highly evolved Nissan 240sx.

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Mt Washington is unique, it is the highest point in the north east, at 6,289 ft. The highest wind speed ever recorded on earth was on Mt Washington, 231 mph. It is roughly half as tall as Pikes Peak, but no less dangerous. The weather can change from nice to deadly in a matter of minutes. However, this event is worth it for those willing to risk it, spectators and racers a like. Just remember, come prepared.

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STPR’ 14

Conditions at STPR can vary wildly from year to year. From torrential downpours, swarming bugs, to intense dust. This the dust was the story. The smooth graded dirty roads of central Pennsylvania are great for driving rally cars at speed. However car after car with little wind or moisture the dust would hang for minutes at a time. Putting visibility at almost zero. Many teams would press on regardless and a few unlucky teams ended their rally in the trees. Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt.

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Continental Sports Car Challenge at Lime Rock Park

Continental Sports Car Challenge at Lime Rock Park, Ct.

Gloomy weather conditions turned out some great on track conditions. Since the merger of the two major road racing sanctioning bodies in the US. Lime Rock Park lost the premier race of the season and instead gained the Continental Sports car challenge. The series did not disappoint. Fans were treated to four races. A street tuner class race, a Grand Sport race and two Porsche cup races.

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The  #84 BMW 328i of James Clay and Jason Briedis chases the #50 Porsche Cayman of John Weisberg and Cody Ellsworth through esses.

 

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Angel Benitez, Jr achieves lift off over the “hill” at Lime Rock Park.

 

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The #97 of Michael Marsal and Tome Kimber-Smith chases down the #77

Empire State Performance Rally 2014

APRIA-2572Rock Hill New York, April 26th, 27th

 

Empire State Performance Rally returned for 2014 to Rock Hill NY. Continuing as the only all tarmac rally in the United states. The curving fast flowing roads surrounding the small town of Rock Hill played host to the event.  It also included Special Stages of one lap each at the ultra posh Monticello Motor Club. Think the Bushwood of Race tracks. For 2014 due to the higher grip levels and speed attainable on tarmac. The organizers implemented more chicanes in an effort to slow the cars down on the closed public road sections. This is done for two reasons; number one safety and number two it reduces the competitive advantage of the awd cars over the traction handicapped 2wd cars.

Car entries this year ranged as always from open class turbocharged machines to less powerful  fwd and rwd machines.

 

The rally wasn’t without problems for some competitors. While there were no major “offs”, mechanical issues forced many teams to retire from two day competition and race under super rally rules. This allows teams to re-start the second day with a time penalty. This can help teams still have a chance at single day points and valuable experience on the stages.

 

Car #70 the Mitsubishi EVO 8 of Gary Donoghue and Kieran Mc Elhinney lead the field early on in the event, but DNF’ed at the end of the Day 1 stages. This opened up the lead to the brother and sister team of Nick Mathew and Kelly Mathew piloting the #993 Subaru WRX STi. The Mathews had never competed on pure tarmac before. This obviously wasn’t an issue as there where only two stages out of 13 completed that they didn’t win or place 2nd on.

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The second place overall car was #33 the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X of Micheal O’Leary and Marcel Ciascai. The team made a clean drive to secure second place.

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Winning stages helps but rallying is about consistency and finishing. Car #10 the turbocharged 2wd Ford Focus Zx3 of Erik Potts and Joachim Sandgaard stayed consistent and fast. Finishing 3rd overall and first in 2wd.

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Matt Brandenburg and co-driver Elliott Sherwood managed to show that an E36 M3 even running high performance street tires should not be underestimated. Brandenburg and Sherwood were able to post the fastest times of SS10 and SS11 held on the Monticello Motor Club road course.

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The Porsche of Jack and Helga Lewis looked as good as it sounded.

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Tarmac allows some unconventional rally cars to run like this E46 M3 of Peter Guagenti and Matthew Rhoads.

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Fully gallery can be found here

Here is the final results;

Pos  No Driver                    Navigator                 Vehicle                    Class   Time     
1 933 Nick Mathew               Kelly Mathew              Subaru WRX STi             AWD     1:07:37
2  33 Micheal O’Leary           Marcel Ciascai            Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X    AWD     1:10:54
3  10 Erik Potts                Joachim Sandgaard         Ford Focus ZX3             2WD     1:11:58
4 920 Donal Crooke              Bruce Leonard             Subaru Impreza WRX Sti     AWD     1:12:27
5   2 Kevin Allen               Elizabeth Cordara         Subaru Impreza             AWD     1:13:09
6  38 Alex Kuklov               Christopher Rosato        Subaru Impreza RS          AWD     1:14:31
6 922 Peter Guagenti            Matthew Rhoads            BMW M3                     2WD     1:14:31
8  34 Dmitriy Martynov          Daniel Salive             Subaru Impreza             2WD     1:14:32
9  11 Michael Reilly            Joshua Benthien           Ford Focus                 2WD     1:14:40
10   1 Erika Detota              Mary B. Warren            Subaru Impreza             2WD     1:14:41
11  28 Jack Lewis                Helga Lewis               Porsche 911                2WD     1:16:12
12  80 Larry Duane               Brian Heneghan            Ford Escort Mk II          2WD     1:19:11
13  41 Scott Beliveau            James Beliveau            Volkswagen Golf            2WD     1:19:15
14 932 Daniel Petrillo           Christopher Strew         Subaru Impreza WRX STi     AWD     1:19:50
15  14 Jim Kelly                 Dean Thuline              Ford Escort GT             2WD     1:19:52
16   4 Simon Wright              Kieran Wright             Subaru Impreza             AWD     1:19:53
17 910 Scott Spears              Steven Harrell            Dodge Neon                 2WD     1:24:40
DNF 907 Lajos Jonas               Villa Cseh                BMW 325                    2WD
DNF  18 Mark Hille                Thomas Gundersen          Merkur Xr4ti               2WD
DNF  48 Matt Brandenburg          Elliott Sherwood          BMW E36 M3                 2WD
DNF  35 Alvin Fong                William Machin            Mitsubishi Evo 9           AWD
DNF  26 Steve Jackson             Pascal Belperron          BMW 318is                  2WD
DNF  74 William Petrow            Jeremy Neyhart            Nissan 240sx               2WD
DNF  21 J. Tyler Rohrer           Dane Hylen                Volkswagen Rabbit GTI      2WD
DNF  70 Gary Donoghue             Kieran Mc Elhinney        Mitsubishi Evo 8           AWD
DNF  75 Martin Egan               Jarrah Lankas             Subaru Impreza STi         AWD
DNS   8 Gary DeMasi               Stephen B. Kurey          Ford Ranger GD50           2WD
DNS  23 Justin Carven             Timothy Meunier           Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel   2WD
DNS  82 Michael Madden            Keith Mc Hugh             Mitsubishi Eclipse         AWD

Classes:
AWD = All Wheel Drive
2WD = Two Wheel Drive

NASA Rally Sport Day 1 Results

Pos  No Driver                    Navigator                 Vehicle                    Class   Time     
1 933 Nick Mathew               Kelly Mathew              Subaru WRX STi             OAH     37:04
2  33 Micheal O’Leary           Marcel Ciascai            Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X    OAH     39:16
3 920 Donal Crooke              Bruce Leonard             Subaru Impreza WRX Sti     OAH     39:30
4  10 Erik Potts                Joachim Sandgaard         Ford Focus ZX3             O2H     39:35
5   2 Kevin Allen               Elizabeth Cordara         Subaru Impreza             OAL     40:25
6  26 Steve Jackson             Pascal Belperron          BMW 318is                  O2L     40:52
7  35 Alvin Fong                William Machin            Mitsubishi Evo 9           OAH     40:55
8  38 Alex Kuklov               Christopher Rosato        Subaru Impreza RS          OAL     41:09
9   1 Erika Detota              Mary B. Warren            Subaru Impreza             O2H     41:11
10  34 Dmitriy Martynov          Daniel Salive             Subaru Impreza             O2H     41:12
11 922 Peter Guagenti            Matthew Rhoads            BMW M3                     O2H     41:27
12  11 Michael Reilly            Joshua Benthien           Ford Focus                 O2H     42:11
13  28 Jack Lewis                Helga Lewis               Porsche 911                O2L     42:26
14  14 Jim Kelly                 Dean Thuline              Ford Escort GT             O2L     42:56
15  80 Larry Duane               Brian Heneghan            Ford Escort Mk II          O2L     43:04
16  18 Mark Hille                Thomas Gundersen          Merkur Xr4ti               O2H     43:27
17  41 Scott Beliveau            James Beliveau            Volkswagen Golf            O2L     43:46
18   4 Simon Wright              Kieran Wright             Subaru Impreza             OAL     43:53
19 932 Daniel Petrillo           Christopher Strew         Subaru Impreza WRX STi     OAH     44:59
20 910 Scott Spears              Steven Harrell            Dodge Neon                 O2L     48:13
DNF  70 Gary Donoghue             Kieran Mc Elhinney        Mitsubishi Evo 8           OAH
DNF  48 Matt Brandenburg          Elliott Sherwood          BMW E36 M3                 O2H
DNF 907 Lajos Jonas               Villa Cseh                BMW 325                    O2L
DNF  74 William Petrow            Jeremy Neyhart            Nissan 240sx               O2H
DNF  75 Martin Egan               Jarrah Lankas             Subaru Impreza STi         OAH
DNF  21 J. Tyler Rohrer           Dane Hylen                Volkswagen Rabbit GTI      O2H
DNS   8 Gary DeMasi               Stephen B. Kurey          Ford Ranger GD50           O2H
DNS  23 Justin Carven             Timothy Meunier           Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel   O2H
DNS  82 Michael Madden            Keith Mc Hugh             Mitsubishi Eclipse         OAH

Classes:
SH = Stock Heavy
O2L = Open 2WD Light
SM = Stock Medium
SL = Stock Light
OAH = Open AWD Heavy
OAL = Open AWD Light
O2H = Open 2WD Heavy

NASA Rally Sport Day 2 Results

Pos  No Driver                    Navigator                 Vehicle                    Class   Time     
1 933 Nick Mathew               Kelly Mathew              Subaru WRX STi             OAH     30:33
2  33 Micheal O’Leary           Marcel Ciascai            Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X    OAH     31:38
3  10 Erik Potts                Joachim Sandgaard         Ford Focus ZX3             O2H     32:23
4  11 Michael Reilly            Joshua Benthien           Ford Focus                 O2H     32:29
5   2 Kevin Allen               Elizabeth Cordara         Subaru Impreza             OAL     32:44
6 920 Donal Crooke              Bruce Leonard             Subaru Impreza WRX Sti     OAH     32:57
7 922 Peter Guagenti            Matthew Rhoads            BMW M3                     O2H     33:04
8  34 Dmitriy Martynov          Daniel Salive             Subaru Impreza             O2H     33:20
9  38 Alex Kuklov               Christopher Rosato        Subaru Impreza RS          OAL     33:22
10   1 Erika Detota              Mary B. Warren            Subaru Impreza             O2H     33:30
11  28 Jack Lewis                Helga Lewis               Porsche 911                O2L     33:46
12 932 Daniel Petrillo           Christopher Strew         Subaru Impreza WRX STi     OAH     34:51
13   8 Gary DeMasi               Stephen B. Kurey          Ford Ranger GD50           O2H     35:01
14  41 Scott Beliveau            James Beliveau            Volkswagen Golf            O2L     35:29
15   4 Simon Wright              Kieran Wright             Subaru Impreza             OAL     36:00
16  80 Larry Duane               Brian Heneghan            Ford Escort Mk II          O2L     36:07
17 910 Scott Spears              Steven Harrell            Dodge Neon                 O2L     36:27
18 907 Lajos Jonas               Villa Cseh                BMW 325                    O2L     36:29
19  14 Jim Kelly                 Dean Thuline              Ford Escort GT             O2L     36:56
20  21 J. Tyler Rohrer           Dane Hylen                Volkswagen Rabbit GTI      O2H     38:34
DNF  48 Matt Brandenburg          Elliott Sherwood          BMW E36 M3                 O2H
DNF  18 Mark Hille                Thomas Gundersen          Merkur Xr4ti               O2H
DNF  35 Alvin Fong                William Machin            Mitsubishi Evo 9           OAH
DNF  26 Steve Jackson             Pascal Belperron          BMW 318is                  O2L
DNF  74 William Petrow            Jeremy Neyhart            Nissan 240sx               O2H
DNS  23 Justin Carven             Timothy Meunier           Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel   O2H
DNS  70 Gary Donoghue             Kieran Mc Elhinney        Mitsubishi Evo 8           OAH
DNS  75 Martin Egan               Jarrah Lankas             Subaru Impreza STi         OAH
DNS  82 Michael Madden            Keith Mc Hugh             Mitsubishi Eclipse         OAH

Classes:
SM = Stock Medium
SH = Stock Heavy
O2L = Open 2WD Light
O2H = Open 2WD Heavy
OAL = Open AWD Light
OAH = Open AWD Heavy
SL = Stock Light

Rush; an Enthusiast’s Review

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by Andrew Pascarella

Formula 1 has always been a dangerous venture for those involved, including film makers. Producing a film with wide reaching appeal about a subject like Formula 1 is a risky move. Director Ron Howard is the latest film maker to attempt what some deemed impossible. Howard’s resume of films is a large one and it includes Apollo 13, a film that managed to capture an authentic look at NASA in the 1970s. Howard’s work on that film and attention to detail made him the perfect fit for Rush the Formula 1 Drama based on the 1976 season. Apollo 13 was based on the true story of the botched moon landing mission that turned into one of history’s greatest stories of teamwork and survival. Like Apollo 13, Rush is also based on a true story and like Apollo 13 in order to ensure mass appeal, some liberties were taken with the story. Howard also had the imagination and knowledge to pull off the visual effects needed for of Apollo 13. This weighed heavy in Howard’s favor as it was apparent from the beginning that Rush would need to be convincing in order for it to work thematically. Howard did not fall into the crux of heavy computer generated effects for the film Rush. For example during the filming of Apollo 13, to create zero gravity. NASA’s vomit comet was used. The vomit comet as it is affectionately known is an airplane that makes sharp dives to give the passengers zero gravity. Howard knows you can’t cheat the real thing, so to accurately portray the true story of Nikki Lauda and James Hunt’s battle for the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship. Howard used as many real props as possible. The actual cars were brought out from collections and driven on the track and at speed. Bell recreated the vintage helmets for the drivers. Extras were clothed appropriately. A film like Rush is made or broken in the details. The settings, the costumes, the makeup and the cars all make it feel real.

A film with the scope and scale like Rush to capture Formula 1 accurately hasn’t been made since John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix. Probably the most accurate Film on Formula 1 in recent memory was Asif Kapadia’s Senna documentary. However where Grand Prix used Formula 1 as a backdrop for a story with fictional Drivers and events within the Formula 1 season. The Senna documentary was very different, made entirely of vintage film footage of Senna and edited together with voice overs describing his life and times. This gave Senna a raw feeling of reality. Rush, the other hand much like Grand Prix before it, has a polished and Hollywood glossed over touch. In Rush, the events are close to reality, although some have been condensed or omitted for time and clarity. Most notable is the tension between Hunt and Lauda has been increased for dramatic purposes. This puts Rush as a spiritual descendant to Grand Prix because of it being a feature film. It’s a well known fact to Formula 1 fans that while Hunt and Lauda were on track rivals, they had a strong off track friendship and respect for each other. It must be stressed however, where Senna was a documentary on Ayrton Senna’s life and racing in Formula 1. Rush is not a documentary and Formula 1 fans who go into the film expecting 100% accuracy will be disappointed. Remember this film’s intent is to entertain the masses.

Rush is visually stunning and so much detail is present in every shot that it’s as if you were looking at a window into 1970’s Formula 1. Rush is a film that will reward eagle eyed automotive fans. Wherever possible the vintage race cars from the 1976 were used to enhance the authenticity for close ups. Everybody knows how miserable it is to watch a period movie with a car enthusiast and the cars are incorrect. Computer generated effects appear at a minimum and where they do, are blended well with real footage. Cars move and react in specific way on track and when it’s faked poorly it shows. Howard’s use of as much real footage as possible really sells this film on the big screen. It’s hard not to compare Rush to Grand Prix because there aren’t many racing films that have or ever will come close to the quality of Frankenheimer’s film. From the very beginning of Rush I was constantly reminded of an homage to Grand Prix, everything from camera angles, to the sounds. The sounds of Rush are as powerful as the cars being filmed. An important thing to a fan of motorsports is that the sound is accurate. The sound of racing is a powerful experience. This makes the sound mix important to completing the illusion. Much care was taken with the sound effects and the only difference between the film and real life is that racing is much louder in reality. Also of note is the soundtrack was composed by Hans Zimmerman. It’s a powerful score that adds to the intensity of certain scenes. Like all great soundtracks it blends organically with the film and you’d miss it only if it wasn’t there. Chris Hemsworth plays a convincing James Hunt, an Englishmen who was arrogant, wild and unpredictable off the track. Hunt raced for the adventure and danger. Often working beyond his limits. Daniel Brühl plays Nikki Lauda and is as convincing as ever. It’s apparent from watching the film that since Nikki Lauda is still alive the story has been told from his viewpoint as a retrospective on the 1976 season. To call Lauda candid is almost an understatement. He is portrayed as a man who was brutally honest about everything in Formula 1. A nice bit of comic relief during the film is when Lauda at Ferrari testing. He calls the Ferrari a piece of shit to the bemusement of the Ferrari Mechanics. Rush is a contrast of personalities. Hunt is arrogant and boisterous, we learn he does this to hide his fears. Deep down he is a troubled man, searching for the next thrill, addict of danger. Hunt often pukes before a race. His early team owner remarks that it’s a good sign for Hunt. Hunt drinks too much, smokes to much, parties to much. Hunt’s early Hesketh team motto is “Sex, the Breakfast of Champions”. Hunt ever the playboy in an era when the sex was safe and the cars deadly. Hunt was willing to take huge risks on the track. According to Hunt, this was all part of the job. In stark contrast Lauda was a precise man. Willing to take the time for car set up, early to bed, early to rise. Physically fit and disciplined yet still arrogant. He was not looking for friends among drivers. This is made very clear in the movie especially during the German Grand Prix on August 1st 1976. The race which was held at the Nurburgring which is notorious for foul weather. Lauda requested a drivers meeting to cancel the race due to the conditions that he deemed were unsafe. Of course most of the racing drivers and their egos want none of this. They claim it’s Lauda’s usual mind games and as he’s leading the points a way to guarantee his championship by eliminating a race from the calendar for others to gain points at. The decision is put up to a vote and the Grand Prix is run anyway. In what Lauda claims was a lapse in judgment. He took a risk, an unnecessary one and paid the price. We’re shown in the film how the Ferrari he was driving had a mechanical failure sending him off the track and into an armco barrier. The fuel tank ruptured and engulfed him in flames. The portrayal of the accident is intense and thrilling. Rush is brutal and unapologetic about this pivotal moment in Lauda’s career. While lying in Hospital, bandaged and badly burned, barely breathing a priest gives him his last rights. His treatment and recovery is not for the faint of heart. There was a sense of squeamishness inside the movie theater as the rest of the audience including me shifted in our seats uncomfortably. We see just how driven Lauda is to winning and what a stubborn and arrogant bastard he is. He watches on television the next two Grand Prix races from his hospital bed, resolved to return the drivers seat. Which he does in dramatic fashion. All the while in Lauda’s absences Hunt closes the points gap by winning the two races.

Rush is a film that will stir some emotions and hopefully some curiosity about the actual events. It’s been dramatized but not in an insulting way to the people who lived through this era of motorsports. This is a film made for motorsports fans as well as the general public. Surely Rush will become a cult hit among fans. It would be well worth it to check it out on the big screen before waiting for it to come out for streaming or rental.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 31

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By Andrew Pascarella
The gorgeous Lime Rock Park of Northwest Connecticut plays host to the best Historic event in the Northeast. Nestled among low picturesque hills and lush green foliage Lime Rock is well known for its no grandstand policy. General admission spectators are treated to an open spectator area. Simply pick a spot and plop down a blanket and some chairs; picnicking and families are encouraged. Additionally, the sight lines are fantastic at Lime Rock, at only 1.5 miles long the track can be easily walked around its inside edge. Fans are not greeted with giant Armco barriers and a high chain link fence but instead, chest high cattle fences that look as old as the park. These fences offer an almost uninhibited view of the on track action.

What’s great about any Lime Rock event is that it lasts all weekend. Lime Rock doesn’t allow racing on Sundays so the track is converted into a large show field. But the best part about seeing the Historic Festival at Lime Rock, is the vintage racing. It’s one thing to see high quality classics on display in a stationary medium, but when they are exhibited on the track being raced in anger this elevates the senses to a whole different level.

This year had a special treat in store for the fans. Trans-am cars from the late 60’s and early 70’s have been touring the United States visiting vintage races as a group for the last few summers. This year they made it to Lime Rock Park. This brought together the largest field of vintage Trans-Am cars on the east coast since the original race series. The sound of these machines is just incredible. The small block v8s rattle your chest cavity with their fury. The Trans-Am’s give a feeling that is drastically different than that of a 911, Alfa, or MG; but that doesn’t mean those cars aren’t a treat either. High strung four cylinders and raspy air cooled flat sixes are also heard echoing around Lime Rock during their run groups. All in all it is a fantastic event to attend if given the chance, allowing one to truly appreciate the heritage surrounding automotive culture. Automotive history is certainly alive and well preserved at Lime Rock Park.

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Lime Rock Historics 2013

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Lime Rock Historics 2013, a set on Flickr.

Full gallery

New England Forest Rally 2012

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by Andrew Pascarella

An engine howls in the distance, anti-lag cracks and pops like gunfire. “Car!” is yelled as though you’re a kid playing a street hockey game. A race car rips in to view clawing at the loose gravel. Four wheels spinning, scrambling for grip, as the car screams past it whips up a frenzy of dirt and rocks. Then it’s gone, again the engine howls in the distance, a minute goes by and the scene is repeated, again, and again. The cars and drivers gradually slowing as they move down the start order. This is the New England Forest Rally (NEFR). Friday’s stages were unique this year, cool and damp weather stifled much of the typical dusty dry conditions. These conditions made it easier on competitors and spectators alike.

NEFR is a rally of attrition, large granite rocks hide just below the road surface, ready to destroy anything that hits them. 150 stage miles greeted this year’s
competitors combining new stages from last year and old stages from years past. An incredibly close battle broke out between Hoonigan Racing’s duo of Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino and Subaru Rally Team’s David Higgins and Craig Drew. Team Hoonigan managed to hold Subaru USA by a 6.5 second lead, which is an astoundingly close time for a rally. Both teams were pushing hard all weekend. Amazingly both teams made through the rally in one piece and the Subaru/Ford battle continues to the next round.

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Higgins and Drew on the hunt

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The Men from down under, Orders and Feaver. We seen a few foreign teams show up in the Rally America series to challenge for the Championship lately.

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L’Stage and Richard had to resort to their old Tiburon. This car has seen a lot of action over the years and in a rare mechanical issue they had to retire from Day two.

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Piatkowski, putting on a strong showing winning both regional rallies.

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Reeves,Smyth showing just how fast a Fiesta R2 can be.

NEFR 2013

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NEFR 2013, a set on Flickr.

Gallery from the New England Forest Rally 2013

American LeMans Series at Lime Rock Park Ct

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by Andrew Pascarella
The American LeMans Series (ALMS) is a unique series among motorsports in the United States; it carries on the tradition of great sports car racing from Europe and brings it to American race tracks. Fans are treated to the fantastic sights and sounds of some of the greatest iconic racing engines ever built. Rarely can you experience such a variation in machines being raced in anger. From the high strung Italian V8’s screaming out of the Ferrari 458’s, to the thundering V8’s akin more to a NASCAR belting out their song from under the Corvettes. After that you are treated to the unique tell tale rumble of a Viper V10, the howl of a Porsche 911’s flat 6, and right down to the hum and turbo woosh of a 4-cylinder prototype. The assault on the eardrums is a major part of the experience of ALMS. As a fan hearing those engines it is fantastic. Pure, unadulterated, aural pleasure for a motorsports enthusiast.

Summers in New England can be short and torrid, much like the Northeast Grand Prix held at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park. While not having the length that some more famous endurance races have (clocking in at just 3 hours in length), the 1.5 mile road course leads to a high number of laps and heavy lap traffic. This distance also makes Lime Rock Park the shortest track in the American LeMans Series. Navigating this “Bullring” of a road course track can be much harder than it seems. The tropical heat that settled over Lime Rock Park for race weekend also added to the challenge. With temps officially in the the high 80’s, but soaring into the high 90’s in the sun with humidity at 70%, it was a scorcher of a day. Track temps were well into the triple digits. The high heat affected many teams most notably the Delta Wing car, driven by Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge which had to retire due to overheating problems late into the race.

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No. 16 P1 Car of Dyson Racing

The first hour of the Northeast Grand Prix saw a battle between the NO. 6 P1 car driven by Lucas Luhr and the No. 16 P1 driven by Chris Dyson with multiple lead changes. During Dyson’s pit stop and driver change Guy Smith had trouble tightening his safety belts. This put the No. 16 a lap and half back that the team never made up. Luhr turned the No. 6 car over to Klaus Graf with 45 minutes remaining. At the end of the Race they had sealed the deal with 6 laps on the No. 16 Dyson Racing car.

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The always strange Delta Wing

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Team Corvette was there to treat every body to the aural pleasure of an American V8

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But they we’re no match for the BMW of Dirk Müller and John Edwards in the GT class. They placed first in GT. The BMW’s V8 sounds fantastic and is nothing to sneeze at either.

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Patrick Dempsey and Team had a rough showing after their fourth in class at Le Mans. Mechanical problems plagued the car and kept them off the pace.

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Dodge and SRT are back with the Vipers after their return to Le Mans.

Full photo set here

Full results here