Ken-Block-Thumb-Rally-Win-8-26-13Detroit Lakes, MN — Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino built a commanding lead at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on August 23-24th, and finished first overall – the first ever career Ojibwe Forests Rally victory for Block and his third straight overall win in the Rally America National Championship.

Block drove a relatively problem-free event and enjoyed being first on the road with a dust-free ahead of him. The other teams were not as lucky as hope for rain never materialized to minimize the dust. Block pushed hard to establish his lead and finished 5:33.2 over second place Subaru Rally Team USA.

Block is in the midst of a furious comeback in the Rally America National Championship points standings. The Hoonigan Racing driver fell behind Subaru Rally Team USA at the beginning of the season with multiple mechanical failures, but has since won the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, New England Forest Rally, and now the Ojibwe Forest Rally.

Ken-Block-THUMB-Rally-America-New-England-7-30-13Newry, ME -- Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino won their first New England Forest Rally (NEFR), round 5 of the Rally America National Championship, on July 26-27th headquartered in Newry, Maine after a closely fought battle with Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew. The margins between the two teams were incredibly thin and either could have snatched victory. Subaru Rally Team USA drove a nearly flawless event and pushed the Hoonigan camp hard all weekend, but Block and Gelsomino persevered with a 6.5 second buffer at the end.

Block and Gelsomino’s NEFR nearly came to an end when their Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V. experienced electrical problems on stage 11. They had no intercom communications for nearly 13 miles before the alternator quit on the transit back to service. Open Class rivals Rifat Sungkar and Steve Lancaster, who were in fourth place overall at the time, graciously towed the Hoonigan Racing Team back to the service area so Hoonigan Racing Team could complete repairs and continue their race.

Higgin-New-England-Rally-7-10-13Williston, VT (July 10, 2013) — The fifth round of the Rally America National Championship resumes at the New England Forest Rally on July 26-27th in Newry, Maine with 57 national and international teams – one of the largest entry fields since 2010 – slated to tackle some of the smoothest, fastest competition roads on the calendar.

The New England Forest Rally (NEFR) has been hard at work the past year improving road conditions and gaining permission from land owners to expand the race for a better fan experience and a less punishing race for the competitors. The event promises more spectator viewing options allowing fans to choose to drive to free viewing areas, purchase a Sunday River Resort shuttle pass ($10 per person on Friday and $15 per person on Saturday) to more viewing areas or take an all-inclusive catered VIP Bus to private locations.

Williston, VT — Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins and Craig Drew won their second straight Rally America National Championship title at the New England Forest Rally on July 13-14th with an event left on the Championship calendar. Needing just sixth place or better the team battled though blinding dust and hot humid weather to take the national title with a second place overall podium finish.

“It feels great winning my fourth Championship in America,” exclaimed Higgins, “It was a team effort and we had a big job to do here. It’s a big relief to put this Championship in the bag.”

The Championship came just in time as Higgins closest rival, the Rockstar Energy Drink Team of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, began massing a string of Rally America event wins and staging a mathematically possible come from behind victory.

Newry, ME – The Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team of Antoine L’Estage from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and co-driver Nathalie Richard from Halifax, Nova Scotia won their third consecutive New England Forest Rally (NEFR). The team won the first six stages and took a commanding lead. As their rivals dealt with thickening dust that obstructed their views L’Estage contended with poor grip being the first on the road, sweeping away the gravel before the others had a chance to race the stage.

“It went really well,” said L’Estage, “Friday is where we made our time and then tried to keep our nose clean and not make any mistakes. For us it’s a great win and another great season.”

L’Estage and Richard are on a string of success having recently won the last two Rally America national events and all the Canadian Rally Championship events this year.

Says Co-driver Nathalie Richard, “Since May we’ve had a fantastic season. Too bad we had problems at the beginning of the Rally America season. Congrats to Higgins and Drew. Looking forward to 2013!”

NEWRY, ME — One of the most spectacular seasons in Rally America Championship history came to an end at the New England Forest Rally with Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard atop of the NEFR podium for the second consecutive year. The privateer Rockstar Rally Team took the lead from the start and held it for the entire duration of the event, winning eight of the eleven special stages. L’Estage finished 48 seconds ahead of Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins.

Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew focused on getting to the finish having to place fourth or better here to secure the National Championship win. Higgins faced overheating issues on Day 1 and fuel pressure issues on Day 2, but eventually finished second overall to win the title back for Subaru. This victory marks the third American Championship title of Higgins’ rally career.

Rounding out the podium was Super Production (SP) class driver Travis Hanson and co-driver Terry Hanson. The privateer father/son team put the finishing touches on their flawless season by placing third overall in Maine and third overall in the National Championship. The Hansons dealt with severe overheating issues late in Day 2 while battling to stay ahead of Tom Lawless and co-driver Alex Kihurani. Hanson edged Lawless out of a podium spot by just 7 seconds. Hanson leaves NEFR with the SP class win and a dominant Super Production Championship title victory.

The New England Forest Rally is based in Newry, Maine and features approximately 100 competitive miles of fast, rugged logging roads. Heavy attrition caused by the rough and rocky stage road surfaces is expected, making NEFR one of the toughest events on the Rally America calendar. Retirements were in abundance this year, most notably Joseph Burke who blew his turbo on Stage 1 and Heath Nunnemacher who was in podium contention before crashing out on the famous Concord Pond stage.

Attrition also got the best of Super Production drivers Ramana Lagemann and Lauchlin O’Sullivan. Lagemann and O’Sullivan came to Maine with only one point separating them as they prepared to battle each other for second place in the SP Championship. Lagemann and co-driver Chrissie Beavis were put out of the event early on Day 1 with a misfiring engine; O’Sullivan and co-driver Scott Putnam DNF’d on Stage 4 with a blown turbo and a small engine fire.

Evan Cline and co-driver Greg Dorman scored their season best, finishing second in SP class and ninth overall. Andrew Wickline and co-driver Stephen Kurey also got their first class podium finish of the season, giving Wickline just enough points to take second place in the Super Production Championship ahead of Ramana Lagemann.

In Two-Wheel-Drive (2WD) competition, a fierce battle raged between more than 25 crews fighting for a piece of the $15,000 MaxAttack! Series prize money. Chris Duplessis and co-driver Karl Atkinson set a blistering pace from the beginning to finish well over three minutes ahead of second fastest 2WD crew of Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey. Duplessis put his Ford Fiesta R2 in an astonishing fifth overall.

ACP’s rally almost came to an end when his Scion xD’s oil pan cracked late on Day 2, but he managed to finish second in class and sixth overall. Ford Racing’s Dillon Van Way and co-driver Jake Blattner successfully put a second Fiesta on the class podium and were the third 2WD crew to finish in the top ten overall.

Wyatt Knox and co-driver Ole Holter had a problematic weekend with fuel system issues on Day 1 causing their Mazda3′s engine to cut out several times. Knox limped the car late into Day 2 before an engine fire finally forced him to retire. Knox and Holter earned enough points in the season that their start at NEFR secured them the 2WD National Championship title.

Last Ditch Racing’s John Cassidy and co-driver Jennifer Daly won the Mexico Regional Rally on Day 1 of NEFR by 13.4 seconds over Jason Smith and co-driver Jared Lantzy. Martin Walter and co-driver Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff finished third, rounding out the Mexico Regional podium.

Smith and Lantzy also had a successful Day 2, winning the Errol Regional Rally in their Open Light class 1994 Subaru Impreza by over two minutes on MAP Rally Team’s Mark Piatkowski and co-driver Robert Maciejski. Kevin Turner and co-driver Robert Sockalexis placed third on the Day 2 Regional, piloting a 2WD Subaru Impreza to finish only 5 seconds behind Piatkowski.

RallyCar will be streaming video LIVE from the 2011 New England Forest Rally! For the first time ever, you will be able to watch NEFR pre-event driver interviews, Parc Expose, and action from the stages live from your computer. The live stream is scheduled to begin Thursday, July 14th at 6:30pm ET!

In addition to rally being broadcast live, RAM TV’s Bill Wood will stream a 30-minute recap show on Saturday at approximately 9:00pm ET showcasing event’s highlights and the crowing of the 2011 Rally American Champion.

Watch all the great footage by tuning into www.inreach.com/forest


Live Streaming Schedule (all show times are approximate; Eastern Time Zone)

Thursday, July 14th

Driver interviews at the pre-event party 6:30pm

Shakedown Stage flying finish- 8:00pm
Friday, July 15th

Sunday River Parc Expose – 10:00am

Sunday River Super Special (Stage 1) – 11:30am

Mexico Rec Park Super Special (Stage 2 & 3) – 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Saturday, July 16th

Errol JML Super Special (Stage 7) – 10:00am

NEFR Victory Celebration – 6:00pm

Rally America National Awards Presentation – 8:00pm

RAM TV Show NEFR Recap Special – 9:00pm
The rally takes place in remote locations without reliable Internet and mobile connectivity, which may result in technical difficulties. Our engineers will do everything possible to bring the action from NEFR into your home with the best quality.

Travis and Terry Hanson started the season in a history book and will end it in a family annual. On the way, the son and father duo won the 2011 Super Production title with a dominance yet seen in the Rally America National Championship.

Travis from Littleton, NH and his father/co-driver Terry from Williamsburg, MI stunned themselves and the the Rally America community with a win in the season opener at January’s  Sno*Drift Rally in Michigan.   It was a U.S. rally first putting the team on the top of the points standings for half the season, another U.S. rally first for a Super Production category team.

The Hansons continued to rack up top five overall finishes  throughout the season to maintain third place in the championship even after Suburu Rally Team USA’s David Higgins started winning events in his faster Open category machine to take over the championship after the Oregon Trail Rally in May. The Hanson dominance in the Super Production category kept the team in the top three in overall points going into the final event of the season, the New England Forest Rally (NEFR) in Newry, Maine July 15 & 16.  They’ll enter NEFR with the SP title in hand but still a brass ring to reach for.


“The SP class championship has been our main goal since the inception of the class,” said Travis Hanson, “It means the world to me to be able to win in a class that is so competitive and a true driver’s class. Having my dad as my co-driver makes this championship so special. Being able to do this with my dad makes this much more than just a championship, just a trophy, it’s a relationship that no one else has.”

Now, the Hansons can focus on defending their third place overall standing knowing that the SP Class is wrapped up. They can enjoy being the highest placing SP team since the class was introduced in 2009.

“At NEFR we have to keep doing what we have done for the whole season, be consistent, be fast and finish. If something happens to one of the top teams and we have a great race there is a chance that we could even score better than 3rd. Who knows? This is rally. Anything can happen,” says Travis Hanson.

Even with the SP championship decided there’ll still be drama in the category in New England.  Second and third place in the SP Class promises to be a battle to watch in New England. Only one point separates Ramana Lagemann, Somerville, MA, in second from Lauchlin O’Sullivan, San Francisco, CA, his teammate in third place.  Lagemann, in fact, is coming on strong in the second half of the season. He’s won the last two SP class events to move into second in the category.

Both Ramana and Lauchlin are experienced rally racers and very familiar with each other’s driving style and racing pedigree. They’ve faced each other as factory drivers (Ramana drove for the Subaru Rally Team USA and O’Sullivan drove for the Mitsubishi Rally Team) during the SCCA ProRally days nearly ten years ago.  Now they’ll stare each other down heading into a difficult and predatory New England Forest Rally.

“Lauchlin and I are great friends,” Lagemann explained, “and after NEFR last year, we talked about how awesome it would be to compete together in the same class this season. Unfortunately that plan hasn’t really worked out. Either I’ve had car troubles or he has. But now we have a few weeks to prepare for NEFR, and we’re both looking forward to getting on those stages.”

Be sure to catch all the NEFR action on www.rally-america.com via live updates and RAM TV video reporting featuring rally action and driver interviews. You can check stage results on your mobile at m.rallyam.com or www.twitter.com/RallyCar_Series.

Travis and Terry Hanson’s Season Accomplishments:

Championship    Super Production

Sno*Drift Rally             1st Overall          1st Place

100 Acre Wood Rally    4th Place             1st Place

Olympus Rally               5th Place            1st Place

Oregon Trail Rally         4th Place            2nd Place

STPR Rally                    4th Place            2nd Place