Rally New York USA Flagged Off

Competitors in Rally New York USA took the starting flag this evening on Main Street, Napanoch, New York. Seamus Burke (2006-7 United States Rally Champion driver in the all-wheel-drive category) and co-driver Ole Holter led the field to the flag. Celsus Donnelly (defending winner in this event) and Barry Smith had the second starting spot. Both are competing in Mitsubishi Lancers.

Tomorrow morning competitors will begin two days of special stages (speed tests) which will add up to approximately 100 miles, and a total of 386 miles of motoring — all of it on the minor roads of the Catskill Mountains. All of this will be on pavement, which is unusual for a rally in North America.

Competitor Profile #3

What Rally Instructors Do on Their Days Off

Fresh from a fourth overall and first in class at the Sandblast regional rally in South Carolina, the team of Ivor Wigham/Jeff Hagan come to Rally New York USA (April 4-5) as part of a campaign for the United States Rally Championship.

Wigham started competing in the 1980s in his native North Yorkshire, England, where “I lived eight miles from some of the best forest stages in Europe.” In a 14-year career, he competed in 124 events in 16 countries, including rounds of the World, European, West Euro, British, Dutch and Spanish championships. After a win in the 2002 Mount Washington Hillclimb, he decided to take time off from rallies to concentrate on business. But even then he was never far from the wheel; Wigham’s business is the European Rally School in Starke, Florida, one of the few schools in North America devoted to rally driving.

Two months ago, Wigham decided to take the starting flag again, and entered the South Carolina event. For the important job of co-driver, he selected Jeff Hagan, a surveyor/engineer from Ontario, Canada who had previously navigated for one of his customers. Using a Mitsubishi Lancer, the pair finished first in the Group N (production) class, which led Wigham to quip “Not bad for an old guy (55) and a first time event for the car and crew.” This result led them to enter the 2008 United States Rally Championship, which begins with Rally New York USA.

Contact information and more information on all Rally New York events may be found at www.RallyNewYork.com.



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