With forest stage rallies disappearing from the American landscape, the 35th annual running of the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (R) (STPR (R)), presented by Citizens and Northern Bank continues to flourish. Perhaps the most important ingredient which keeps the event going is the ability of the rally organizing committee- based in both Wellsboro and Rochester, NY – to change the rally to keep it fresh and relevant.

As the oldest, continuously-running motorsports event in the state of Pennsylvania, the 2011 STPR event, which is round five of the RallyCar Championship Series, will take place June 3 and 4, 2011, in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. The rally, promoted by the Finger Lakes STPR Motorsports LLC committee, is chaired by Meridith Croucher, from Newark, N.Y. (Rochester area), and she reports the Committee is pleased to announce that recent format which includes racing stages at the Tioga County Fairgrounds is now being combined with both a Friday and Saturday appearance of the cars on the Green in the center of town.

“This has become a very popular family event, especially with the Fairground stages, where kids can get up close to the rally cars, meet the drivers, enjoy some refreshments, and then watch the cars battle on a closed course for competitive times and a chance to win the event,” she said, “but some local residents and merchants have missed the second appearance of the cars on the Green on Saturday.”

“We have brought that back by instituting a Parc Expose – an open exhibition of the cars – on the Green at noon on Friday for the traditional viewing and ceremonial send-off into the Waste Management territory for the timed racing stages, plus a revival of the Saturday morning send-off from the Green as well,” said Ms. Croucher.

The Fairgrounds stages cost five dollars for admission each day, with event tickets on sale in advance at the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce (info at 570-724-1926).

One of the other changes made several years ago – the transition of STPR to an alcohol-free event – has helped enhance the family enjoyment of the rally for everyone, and made the administration of the event, both in town and in the woods, easier.

More than 40 race cars, the infusion of millions of dollars to local area businesses rivaling a national convention, and RallyCar championship points chase all highlight the arrival of STPR to the state forests near the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, again announcing the coming of spring in Tioga County.

Citizens & Northern Bank, Waste Management return

With Waste Management, plus Citizens and Northern Bank and the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce sponsorship of the event helping to defray overhead expenses, the STPR Committee is able to offer the rally to the area at little or no cost to the community. Besides the 400 volunteers who work the rally – many of whom come in from out of town and use local services – another estimated 10,000 people come to the Wellsboro area either as spectators or workers for the various teams and their sponsors.

What is STPR and Performance Rally?

The Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally was first conducted by the Finger Lakes Region, SCCA in 1977, with the assistance of members of other sports car clubs in the Rochester, NY area. Members of these clubs (Triumph Touring Club, Corvair Owners Club, MG Car Club and others) had experience with previous performance events such as the Snowblower and Lunar Lunge which ran out of Rochester as early as 1965 and were part of the M.O.N.Y. series (Michigan, Ohio and New York), the forerunner of the SCCA ProRally series.

In the United States, performance rally teams have a driver and co-driver (or navigator) for each car, and the competitors race in segments (or stages) on closed public roads, trying to get from the beginning to the end of the stage as fast as they can. Unlike other forms of motorsports, there is no practice allowed, and the course is not revealed to the competitors until the navigator receives the route instructions before the start of the event. The navigator then barks out the route instructions while the drive proceeds – sometimes at speeds exceeding 100 miles-per-hour – through forest, desert, and logging around at events around the country. The cars, all street legal to allow driving on public roads between racing stages, are compact and sub-compact cars with varying amounts of performance modifications depending on the class they are running in. The sight of these cars, running at speed through the woods to beat the clock, makes exciting spectating for the fans who come out to watch performance rally.

STPR was the last of the great endurance events on the national schedule maintaining the one day format and is designed with a high stage/transit mileage ratio and, thanks to the outstanding cooperation of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), some of the best and most demanding roads in the country.

The Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally presented by Citizens and Northern Bank is a National Rally, approximately 280 miles long with approximately 127 miles of competitive stages. The Sherwood Forest Rally is a Regional Rally, coefficient 2, which includes Stages One through Seven and is approximately 52 miles. The Finger Lakes Rally is a Regional Rally, coefficient 3, which includes Stages Eight through Fourteen and is approximately 71 miles.

In 2008, STPR changed to a new two-day format to better utilize new competitive content, and give spectators more daylight viewing options. The Super Special Stages at the Tioga County Fairgrounds sponsored by Subaru and will once again run once on Friday and once on Saturday. STPR has six spectator locations to show the sport to maximum advantage in all its exciting aspects to the public and media.

VIP Super Pass Back for 2011

After last year’s sold-out STPR VIP Super Pass, the Committee is continuing its expanded spectator option to include separate Friday and Saturday programs for those who might not be able to do both days.

Starting Friday afternoon with the Waste Management stages, where you will be escorted to a private viewing area, to Saturday afternoon, when a bus will take you to a secluded, private area to watch the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon stages, you can get a view of the action previous reserved only for the working media. Food and drinks will be served, and VIP Super Pass holders will receive special rally mementos. Bring your camera for even better photos than before.

Plus, there will be VIP seating for the stages both Friday and Saturday nights at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. Bus transportation will be provided to and from the Fairgrounds to all points. All this for only $50.00 per person per day – kids are not free, as the number of VIP Super Passes are limited. Pick them up today at the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce and Tioga Publishing Company, or call 570-724-1926 for additional information.

The Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, presented by Citizens & Northern Bank, is a National Rally, approximately 300 miles long with approximately 128 miles of competitive stages. The Sherwood Forest Rally is a Regional Rally (for competitors who are not running for national Rally America Championship points), coefficient 2 that includes Stages One through Six and is approximately 48 miles. The Finger Lakes Rally is a Regional Rally, coefficient 3 that includes Stages Seven through Ten and is approximately 80 miles – both Regional rallies are run in conjunction with the full national event.

Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing and is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

The 2011 RallyCar National Championship series consists of six exciting events throughout the country in many different weather and road conditions. Top teams in the series are also invited to compete in the Summer X Games, the leading action sports event broadcast live on ABC and ESPN – with some of those spots being decided at STPR. Among the marques typically represented in Rally America events are Subaru, Mitsubishi, Dodge, Ford and Volkswagen.

L’Estage/Richard Won 2010 STPR

Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard, from St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, survived a big rain storm that came through North Central Pennsylvania to win the 2010 Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) presented by Citizens & Northern Bank.

This was Antoine’s second win in three years at STPR in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and expanded his points lead over Nashua, NH’s Bill Bacon and co-driver Peter Watt, who finished second in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. It was the boost that L’Estage and Richard needed to carry them to the series championship. But the rally didn’t start off that well for the winning team, however, as they lost a power steering fluid hose fitting on the second stage, and their competitors actually save the day.

“The hose popped off during the last part of the stage, making it very difficult to steer. Fortunately, the real twisty part of the stage was over, but the next stage would have been a disaster with no power steering. But competitors Bill Bacon and Pat Moro saw we were in trouble, and dove under the hood to get the fitting back on so we could not only complete stage three, but we won the stage. That’s real sportsmanship,” said L’Estage, a two-time Canadian and North American Rally Champion.

“We realized by that time that we were competitive, and the car was good, but we couldn’t quite go as fast as Block(Ford factory driver Ken Block), so we set our own pace and concentrated on keeping ahead of Bill Bacon, who was just behind us in the standings. When Ken broke, our strategy paid off, and we were able to take the victory” said L’Estage, who won his first Rally America title a month later.

The two favored, factory-backed entries – the Ford Fiesta of Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino and the Subaru Impreza of Dave Mirra/Martin Headland – both failed to complete the rally, leaving the top spots up for grabs for the Mitsubishis. Block was leading the event until he lost his transmission on stage #10, while Mirra went off the road at high speed on stage five, bending both the front and back of the car. Mirra was okay, and co-driver Headland was taken to Wellsboro Hospital with back pain, but was treated and released.

Third was the Subaru Impreza of Ramana Lagemann/Christine Beavis, the highest finishing Subaru (they also won the Super Production class). Fourth overall and second in Super Production was the Subaru Impreza of Tim Rooney/Jeremy Wimpey, while the Patrick Moro Ole Holter Subaru Impreza was fifth overall and third in Super Production.

Charity Rally to Benefit Cancer Society

On Friday, June 3, the 22th annual Relay for Life street rally will take place in conjunction with the STPR event. This year’s event will benefit the Tioga Country chapter of the American Cancer Society, and is opened to the general public.

A time-speed-distance rally designed for any legal vehicle, within the legal speed limit, on high quality paved and unpaved roads in Tioga County. This event will not use the forest roads of the Performance Rally. The instructions will have a mileage to each turn, and are intended to be easy to follow. There are no tricks or traps involved in following the course. Awards in four classes: Novice (less than six (6) rallies by anyone in the car); Stock (stock odometer & single memory calculator); Limited (any equipment which cannot accumulate time and distance simultaneously, including non-programmable calculator, relocated odometer, – SCCA class “L” equipment; and Equipped (anything goes). Door Prizes, too. No limit to the number of people in each car. Limited to the first 50 paid entries.

Registration for the charity rally is from 11:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m., with a class for newcomers to time-speed-distance road rallying at 12:30 p.m. – all at the Tioga County Fairgrounds. There is a mandatory drivers meeting at 1:00 p.m., and the three-hour event starts at 1:31 p.m. the fee for paid, pre-registered competitors is $35/car before May 25, and $40/car after that. More information can be found at www.stpr.org.

Schedule of Events – 2011 STPR

All Registration activities occur at the Tioga County Fairgrounds, Route 6 between Mansfield and Wellsboro, PA.

STPR is an alcohol-free event!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
7-9 p.m.,Registration at the Tioga County Fairgrounds for competitors, service crews, officials & scrutineers

Thursday, June 2, 2011
9 a.m.- Noon/2-5 p.m./7-9 p.m., Competitor Registration and Service Crew Registration Hours NOTE: If you need special consideration, please contact the Competitor Registrar.

9 a.m.-1 p.m./2:30-8 p.m.,Volunteer registration for STPR NOTE: If you need special consideration, please contact the Volunteer Registrar.

3-8 p.m.,Scrutineering for all cars. No appointment needed. Team Crew at Scrutineering must be registered!

Friday, June 3, 2011
9-11 a.m.,Competitor Registration/Service Crew Registration

9-11 a.m.,Scrutineering open, no appointments needed. If you need Scrutineering after this time please contact the Chief for special consideration.

9 a.m.-1 p.m./2:30 – 8 p.m.,Volunteer registration for STPR NOTE: If you need special consideration, please contact the Volunteer Registrar.

10:30 a.m – 11:30 a.m. – Novice seminar fo new rallyists – Fairgrounds

Noon – ,Parc Expose opens at the Green in Wellsboro

1 p.m.,All cars must be checked in to MTC/Mandatory Drivers meeting with Rally America Stewards at the fountain at the Green

2:01 p.m.,The Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally Phase 1 begins (Sherwood Forest Rally Begins)

7 p.m. (approx),Subaru Super Special Stage, sponsored by the Philadelphia Zone of Subaru of America, at Tioga County Fairgrounds

9 p.m. (approx) – Welcome party

Saturday, June 4, 2011
7-10 a.m.,Service Crew Registration on the Green at STPR merchandise Tent

8:30 a.m.,Parc Expose opens around the Green in Wellsboro

9 a.m.,All cars must be checked in to MTC

10 a.m.,The Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally Phase 2 begins (Sherwood Forest Regional Rally continues)

12:50 p.m. (approx) – ,Scrutineering for cars wanting to RE-enter the second rally, located near food pavilion – Germania Service. Finger Lakes Regional Rally begins at Germania.

6.50 p.m.,First car arrives at fairgrounds. Begin 15 minute Service and Parc Ferme.

8:15 p.m. (approx),Subaru SSS begins

10 p.m.(approx) – Party at the Fairgrounds for all participants. Tickets are required.

ASAP after Rally ends – ,Posting of Provisional Scores

30 minutes after posting -,Deadline for filing Scoring Inquiries & Claims

After scores are finalized – Awards Presentation at the Fairgrounds

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