Frank Beyer, aka Dr. Devio, sent me this report on the Black River Stages Rally which took place on September 23-24, 2011 in Harrisville, New York:
Pro Rally has finally reached a point where only a handful of cars in the event are models that I have owned in the past, giving me a whole new crop of cars to cheer for. I get to watch these new beauties slide through the trees on boulevards I have a passing familiarity with, having driven most of the stage roads, oh, ah, maybe +50 times. Harrisville, on the edge of the Adirondacks, was awash in the vibrant reds of trees in the midst of changing their summer suits (for some reason, the reds were ahead of the yellows this year).
Folks, the screams of Ferraris and Matras on the starting grid of Watkins Glen are the only equal to the roar of the WRX’s and Evo’s in blast mode through the woods. Suspensions slam and rattle over the yumps and dips of the roads outside Croghan, Diana, and Pitcairn, and there’s no way to convey the excitement you experience as a full-blown, big-time rally car witch-slaps your face with the breeze of speed 15 feet from you as you stand-so-brave behind a massive tree and watch these teams wrestle with dirt and off-camber twists.
Portions of the course I had the chance to drive were in prime shape. Our friends in the Towns have been kind enough to work on the roads during the off season, bringing in some stone to fill in areas that have been soft in the past, and with all the rain we’ve had this year, the work was appreciated. The top dogs now average from the high 50’s to 70 MPH during the daylight and only lose around 5 MPH in the dark. Even the two-wheelers (motorcycles and 2WD cars) are only a handful of MPH behind. All this on the beautiful stages in Croghan and Harrisville.
A beautiful run was made by Martin Donnelly and Bernard Farrell in their Mitsubishi Evo 9, finishing over 3 minutes up. Jim Roth onboard a KTM EXC, had a closer time of it in the motorcycle class, coming in 17 seconds up over a combined hour and a half of competition.
I noticed some nice in-car footage you might want to review on You Tube: Samuael Albert & George Loef, who finished second in their STI have a nice video of SS1 Texas Rd, as they averaged over 53 MPH on a beautiful road (the blue shirt next to the red finish flag at the very end of the video on the right is me, by the way), and there is a nice jump by, I think, Michael Reilly and Aaron Crescenti in a Ford Focus. There are some nice views of a number of the stages shot from various cars and motorcycles.
I want to congratulate Ford, which has (too) quietly supported rallying in the United States. I think we counted 10 Ford entries out of the 35 cars as the Focus and Fiesta models are catching up to the Subaru’s and Mitsubishi’s out there. I’m glad to see Ford’s steadfast loyalty pay off in the ranks, and, it appears that the vehicles handle well and stand up to the challenge.
One of the Fords at Black River Stages 2011