Last Ditch Racing is making final preparations for their fourteenth appearance at the New England Forest Rally, round five of the Rally America National Championship. Driver John Cassidy and Co-driver Jennifer Daly are no strangers to the event, having secured the Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship at the event in 2011.
Based in Bethel, Maine, the event has a reputation as being technically challenging and rough. While this year’s event promises some smoother stages than past events, the team is ready for anything. Stage length this year is, on average, shorter than in the past. “You can never underestimate the New England Forest Rally. It’s traditionally very rough, and past experience on these roads is important to help stay out of trouble. Because some of the stages are new and short this year, there will be less time to develop and maintain a lead, so we’ll have to be on it from the start,” said John Cassidy.
The team placed 11th two weeks ago at a difficult Rally Baie des Chaleurs in New Richmond, Quebec. “Baie was an extremely rough and technically challenging event, both due to the monsoon-like downpour and extensive damage to the car,” said driver John Cassidy. The event saw the team lose their turbo, clutch, axle, strut and fuel tank.
The Last Ditch Racing crew has been busy over the past week re-prepping the car with parts arriving from all over the US. The team has also been working closely with Dave Heerdegen of D-Tech Motorsport in Tauranga, New Zealand to solve some drivability problems with the cars engine management system. “We had some issues with intermittent power delivery from the car at Baie, which made it difficult for us to settle into a rhythm in the car. Because the problem was intermittent, it was even more frustrating. Jennifer adjusted the pace of her notes to the car’s behavior and we pressed on with what we had. We believe we’ve isolated the issue and corrected it and hope to be able to push without reservation at our home event.”
2012 sees Last Ditch Racing running an abbreviated season. “2012 has been a rebuilding season for us. We’ve been in the sport for a long time, and have chosen to enter events that we enjoy and are the most challenging. The car is in the best shape she’s been and we’re really having a good time without the pressure of chasing a championship.” The team is hoping to attract support to attend more national level events this season.
For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit: http://www.rally-america.com/events/2012/NEFR/
For more information about spectating the New England Forest Rally, please visit: http://www.rally-america.com/VenueFiles/2012_NEFR_NEFR%202012%20Spec%20Guide_Web.pdf
Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2012 partners for their support:
Photos by Peter MacDonald, Copyright 2012. www.pertermac.ca