DUBLIN, NH - After two years away from the driver's seat, RallyHo Motorsports is is ready to attack the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) Maine Forest Rally on July 26-27 with a stronger car, new co-driver, and exciting new sponsorship.
RallyHo Motorsports' previous finish was an impressive third in class at the 2000 Maine rally, a performance he hopes to improve upon at this year's event. Despite the tremendous growth of the sport and the level of competition, not to mention an 11th-hour engine failure during pre-event testing, team owner and driver Mike White is confident of an excellent performance.
"I know there are a lot of new competitors in ProRally," White said, "but we've put together a really strong car that can take the punishment of the Maine logging roads. There are a lot of fast drivers in our class, but we will do very well. I'm glad we found the engine problem in testing and not during the event."
SCCA ProRally is often described as "real cars, on real roads, real fast." Unlike most types of auto racing, rally cars must remain street legal while also being able to withstand the punishment of rough forest roads at racing speeds. Each car has a driver and a co-driver (often called a navigator) who gives the driver instructions from a route book.
The Maine Forest Rally is made up of 10 special stages (totaling about 110 miles) on closed roads where drivers race against the clock, connected by over 200 miles of "transit legs" on public roads where the teams must obey all traffic rules while maintaining a strict schedule. Each special stage is timed, and the car with the fastest time at the end of the rally wins.
White's venerable Saab 99 has undergone extensive work. The body shell, suspension, drive train, brakes, and electrical systems were all upgraded or improved with speed and durability in mind. White runs in the SCCA Group 2 class, along with many other highly competitive teams that use four-cylinder normally aspirated engines.
Fellow Saab enthusiast and rally contestant Chris Morand of Townsend, Mass., will be assuming the co-driver duties for RallyHo this season. "While I didn't plan on spending the weekend before the rally changing engines in the rally car, I'm still very excited to get to ride with Mike. He knows how to get 120 percent from his car and always puts on a good show."
"Chris is a Saab nut who has seen just about everything on these cars, from broken suspension to fires in the cabin," White said. "We used his prior co-driving experience as a basis for improving our car."
In addition, RallyHo Motorsports has partnered with Saabs.com of Amherst, NH - a pre-owned Saab and import sales and service shop. With this partnership, RallyHo Motorsports has been able to expand the team schedule to include competition throughout the year as well as promotional events throughout the summer and fall.
"We needed a good way to show the durability, safety, and outstanding performance of Saabs," said Saabs.com owner Richard Barnsley. "It was just natural to combine White's experience in racing Saabs with our experience in finding excellent pre-owned Saabs and providing top-notch service."
Long-time RallyHo supporters Import Parts Specialists (IPS) of Boise, ID, provided many of the new parts for the car. "The guys at IPS really stepped up to the plate to get us what we needed to build the car right," said crew chief Brett Rudolf of Manchester, NH.
Keene, NH, area businesses YBA Muffler and City Tire have also lent their support, providing exhaust work and alignment and tire services for the team.
Additional Contact information:
For more about the Maine Forest rally, www.maineforestrally.com For more information about the sport, www.specialstage.com, and www.bensrallypage.com
Mike White: (603) 563-5076 (603) 381-0160 (cell)
For information during the event, call Andrew Steere: (603) 781-0832 (cell)