31 July 2005 - For immediate release
For more information, contact: John Dillon
Widget Rally Team
P. O. Box 1231
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358-0231
Widget web site: www.WidgetRacing.com
MetalMarks web site: www.MetalMarks.com
e-mail: John @ WidgetRacing.com
Bethel, ME. Chris Havas (Team MetalMarks, Richmond, VT) and John Dillon (Widget Rally Team, Thousand Oaks, CA) joined forces to tackle the Maine Forest Rally July 30-31, racing a VW Golf in the Group 5 class. Dave Kean, Chris's usual codriver, couldn't attend the event, so Dillon was asked to step in by Cat McKeen, the MetalMarks team manager. Havas and Dillon ran the practice stage to get a feel for the car and each other on Thursday before starting the race on Friday. The pair warmed up quickly and proved by far to be the fastest of the 2WD cars. Unfortunately, while poised on the verge of a top-ten finish a suspension bolt failed on stage 6, leaving the team stranded on the roadside.
"Chris hasn't raced for a year, so I was particularly impressed by how quickly he got up to speed," reported the codriver. "He demonstrated his skill in every corner, with every launch over a jump, in each rocky apex. It was a joy to race with him."
The crew really demonstrated their talent on Friday night when, halfway through a ten-minute service break, they discovered a broken hub. "Those guys really hustled to replace the whole upright and get us out of there," reported McKeen. "We had a bunch of spectators watching the action. They applauded when the car came off the jack stands and took off for the next control!"
On the final stage before the suspension let go, the car's Coralba odometer recorded a top speed of 102 MPH, not bad for a two-wheel-drive car surrounded by 4WD and AWD Subarus and Mitsubishis. Crew chief Gary Charbonneau, who watched some of the in-car video from the stages, commented "I never realized just how much wheel spin Chris was getting. With only two driven wheels, it's really hard to get the power to the ground." Other crew members included Bob Legiere, who specializes in turbo engine modification, and Greg Nosiglia, who delivered exceptional meat from the team's sponsor Smokehouse Sausage in Boston. Greg used his culinary skills as a former sous chef to prepare deluxe meals for the team, including steak and eggs, spicy sausages, quiche lorraine, and even chorizo. It was the first rally ever for the team's newest crew member, Jackie Dubois, who enjoyed herself thoroughly.
"Naturally I'm disappointed with our result," said Havas, who earned the class win in two prior Maine rallies. "It looked like we could break into the top ten if we could just get it to the finish line. At least I got to enjoy the thrill of six of the nine stages." He wryly noted "At least we're in good company--there was a lot of attrition this year, with only half the cars finishing the rally."
About the Sport
Rallying is the ultimate team motorsport where street-licensed cars are raced at high speed on dirt trails with two people in the car, a driver behind the wheel and a codriver describing every bend in the road. Normally competitors are not allowed to pre-run the roads so they are racing "blind," navigating from a route book provided just hours prior to the event. Cars can easily reach speeds above 100 MPH as they snake between trees and along the edges of cliffs in this sport of strength and stamina.
About the Teams
Chris Havas races a 2000 VW Golf, sponsored by Samuel Adams beer, Smokehouse Sausage of Boston and Mid-Atlantic Trading. PIAA provides powerful lighting for night stages while 1-800-VWPARTS provides the components needed for Volkswagen racers everywhere.
The Widget Rally Team, that "serious team with a whimsical name," is supported by Perforce Software (www.perforce.com), makers of high performance software for computer professionals. The team insists on brakes by Porterfield Enterprises (www.porterfield-brakes.com) and utilizes the web services of Shults Dot Com (www.shults.com) for its internet needs. Satellite phones are provided by WCC Global Satellite Communications (www.wcclp.com).
Photo caption and credit:
Chris Havas and John Dillon raced at speeds above 100 MPH on the dirt roads of Maine before mechanical failure took them out of the event.
Photo copyright © 2005 by Pete Kuncis, www.OnALimbRacing.com. High resolution version available on request.
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