The Slapdash Racing team pounded its 1988 BMW 325is rally car over the river and through the woods at the New England Forest Rally (NEFR) held over the weekend at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. Based in Cranston, RI, the Slapdash team spent the last two years building the car from the ground up and finally got the chance to test its mettle at this two-day endurance event.

Slapdash Racing finished the first rally, the Mexico Regional, in seventh place out of 12 entries. But on Day Two, during the Errol Regional Rally, the Slapdash BMW suffered a huge hit from a buried rock roughly the size of George Washington’s head on Mount Rushmore.

“It was like we got hit by a truck from underneath the car,” said car owner and driver Kris Gove. “I’m still sore from the hit. We were able to finish the stage, but as soon as I shut the car down, it started bleeding Castrol. If we weren’t strapped in, we would have flown out of the car. It knocked me sideways in the seat, skewed our helmets so we were looking out the sides, my co-driver dropped the notes and the steering wheel ripped out of my hands.”

Taking care to avoid an outcropping of other giant Maine rocks, Gove maneuvered to the inside of a turn, hit a small yump and landed the oil pan squarely on Washington’s head. “It shattered the pan,” Gove said. “Despite having a substantial skid plate and a bash bar, like a roll cage just for the oil pan, Washington head-butted the car. There used to be six inches of clean air between the skid plate, bash bar and oil pan. Now, there are zero inches. Despite the obvious, the car held up really well and it’s bone stock, even the exhaust, except for heavy duty Bilsteins up front.”

Aside from the smash fest, Gove, a brand-new rally/racing driver, and his co-driver, Bill Hatem, also brand-new to rally, said they had a great time and are already planning for the next event. At one point, over the intercom, Hatem said, “What the hell are we doing here?”

“Bill did a great job,” Gove said. “By Day Two, we were starting to get the notes, which look like algebraic equations. I actually had the chance to start anticipating what was coming up and begin turns early. Through sweat-stung eyes, I looked at the speedometer once and saw 70 mph on one of the scariest roads I’ve ever seen. I never looked at the speedo after that.”

Slapdash Racing would like to thank its title sponsor, Cage This. Owner Bill Doyle, not only built a showpiece roll cage, skid plate, light bar and footrest for the Slapdash BMW, he provided countless hours of advice, education, and nerve-calming services to Gove, who was damn-near panic stricken in the minutes leading up to tech inspection.

“I really couldn’t have done it without Bill Doyle,” Gove said. “He even lent me his tow rig and trailer, a package he hasn’t even used yet. I spent many a 12-hour day at Bill’s house and he was the driving force in helping me finish the car and repairing everything I broke during the build process, and I broke a lot of stuff!”

Slapdash Racing would also like to thank the following people for their support, whether physical, technical, or advisory: Crew Chief Steph Gove, Payam Fahr, Matt Albie, Kyle Dwyer, Ryan Donaldson, Neal Liddle, Anthony Ricci, Bill Hatem, Eric Shea and FredK.

About Cage This:
Owned and operated by Bill Doyle, of Lynn, Mass., Cage This is a full service welding shop located just north of Boston specializing in designing, fabricating, constructing and installing roll cages built to the specifications of any sanctioning body’s rules, including the FIA, the SCCA, Rally America, Formula Drift, NASA and NHRA. For more information on Cage This, visit their web site at

About Slapdash Racing:
Slapdash Racing, a fledgling, fly-by-night operation, started two years ago with the purchase of a vintage BMW and a lifelong dream to stage rally. Prior to NEFR 2011, owner and driver Kris Gove had no actual racing experience. For more information, visit Slapdash’s equally fledgling web site at

Action photos by Claude Lamoureux/



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