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July 2008 Archives


Last time the LDR crew was in California was for the 2002 Rim of the World Rally. That was an epic adventure and we always said we'd come back.

Third in line(which is far back! ;-)) to win the wildcard invite to X-Games 14, we were really pumped with our performance for a bunch of locals working out of a barn/shop here Triple Caution Farm.

Anyway, I'm between jobs, and when we were talking about the X-Games, my wife suggested we go to spectate and take in the spectacle. Awesome! I love my wife! :-)

Unfortunately she and Cullen can't come, but John V and I, as well as past LDR co-driver and perpetual team member Erik Lee, will be flying out next Wednesday.

We'll be staying at the historic Biltmore hotel in downtown LA and are planning on having adventures every day! :-)

I'll try and post some blog updates from out there. We're hoping to hang with our rally friends and catch as much of the other events as possible. Of course, we're pulling for Dave Mirra to pull out the stops in his BMX events and will be rooting him on! :-)

Hmm, sushi? La Brea Tar Pits? Huntington Beach? Where to go and what to do. Three LDR dudes loose in LA for five days...we'll make some memories for sure! :-) Stay tuned!

Cheers! John


Hey everyone! Just finished putting together videos of a couple stages at the recent Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs. They're full stage videos, so enjoy! :-)

Just search for "Last Ditch Racing," on Youtube and subscribe to our video feed.

Cheers! John


For Immediate Release

July 16, 2008

Bangor, Maine USA

Last Ditch Racing, defending 2007 Rally America Eastern Open Class Champions, took the overall and Open Class wins in both the Mexico Regional Rally and the Berlin Regional Rally at last weekend New England Forest Rally. Their performance was enough to earn them a fifth place overall in the national portion of the event, after starting 16th. The team set several top 10 stage times and set personal team records on seven stages. The New England Forest Rally, held in Western Maine and parts of New Hampshire, is Round 6 of the 2008 Rally America National Championship and regarded as one of the roughest and difficult events in the Championship.

The team began 2008 by taking the overall win at the Team O'Neil Rally in New Hampshire in icy conditions. The team continued on their winning streak by taking an award for the longest jump at the recent Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in Quebec and finishing 10th overall in the national event. The recent wins at the New England Forest Rally give the team a commanding lead in the Rally America Eastern Regional Rally Championship.

Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell drove a tidy and quick event and brought their 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX STi home relatively unscathed. Said Cassidy, "This result is the equivalent of a win for us. To be 5th overall after a past production car world rally champion and two series contenders is amazing. Maine is known as a rough event and this year was no exception. We kept out of the scenery and had only one puncture, with the tire going flat after we were done with the stage. Dave and I were at the top of our game and reached a new level of performance in the car. We were definitely pushing and this is an event we'll remember for a long time!"

Some not familiar with the team were surprised with their impressive finish, but Cassidy expects more of the same in their remaining events this season. "We really struggled with development of our current car early on, leading to some poor finishes and a season where we went from fourth in the Championship to not scoring any points at all. Since last fall, we've hit our stride with the car and recent additions to our service crew have bolstered our confidence."

The team had close battles with Dave Mirra and Jeff Moyle, both piloting Subaru STi's prepared by Vermont Sportscar. "The cars we were racing are quite advanced relative to ours. Our ace in the hole was our experience and perhaps our advancing age! Both Dave and Jeff were right there throughout the event and our ability to avoid drama put us in a position to take 5th. On the final stage, we caught two cars near the end and literally had to stop in the thick dust because we just couldn't see the road. Mirra told me when he came through he didn't have any dust to contend with and that made me worry that he had perhaps caught us. He took 30 seconds out of us, but it wasn't enough and we held station."

The Maine Forest Rally 1999 was Cassidy's first event in a Honda CRX. "The team has made obvious significant strides over the last 9 years. We've still got plenty of room for improvement, but our hard work over the years as a privateer team is starting to pay dividends when we achieve a result like this. To have our career best finish at home after such a long time in the sport is a dream come true. It definitely fuels us to strive for bigger things in the future. We've been asked recently if we'd consider a full US national schedule next year, and while we'd love to do that, we'd need far more external support to do it properly. TIme will tell!" The team's next event will be the Rallye Defi-St. Agathe in Quebec, Canada.

John and Dave would like to thank their crew for their hard work and support, both on and off event: Bronson Crothers, Duncan Matlack, Ken Anctil, Drew Simpson, John Cassidy V and Rob Sockalexis.

Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2008 Partners for their support:

Triple Caution, LLC,
Hydra EMS,
Team O'Neil Rally School,

For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:
For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit:
For more information on the Rallye Defi-St. Agathe, please visit:


New England Forest Rally weekend went the best EvAr. Best LDR team effort, best car, best performances on stage. Though field was modest size, it was quite top-heavy. At the start line, at least 20 crews were primed for top 5 finishes.

Field might not have been the biggest, but the quality was stellar: Irish Evo ace and former PWRC Champ Niall McShea showed up to vie for the coveted X Games wildcard invite, Pastrana with McRae's WRC-winning codriver Derek Ringer, Block/Gelsomino, Canadian champs Antoine L'Estage/Nat Richard(who've won 2 US events this year), R-A series leaders ACP/Goldfarb, Hankook/Rallispec's Matt Johnson/Jeremy Wimpey, US-based Irish stalwarts Seamus Burke/Eddie Fries, Cowboy Kenny Bartram/Dennis Hotson in the ex-Iorio uber-GC, etc etc.

Well, going up against all those speedy well-supported teams was a bit intimidating at first, so John and I concentrated on the regionals and let the National stuff sort out later. We just went out and tried to go wicked fast and not hit things...and by jeez, it worked. Our stage times were close to top 10 against the full National field, and we were running well ahead of the R-A East regional guys all thru Day One. Hmmm, which got us to

On Day 2, the LDR game plan changed as the rough Maine forest roads started chewing up rally cars and we started climbing the national event leaderboard. Burke/Frie's Evo blew up on the first Super Special. Johnson/Wimpy, ACP/Goldfarb, and Cowboy Kenny all suffered at the hands of the rocks on the "stupid-fast" Dillon-Success stage, one of the fastest of the entire R-A series. Cowboy Kenny hit a rock going so hard and so fast, they not only tore the right rear wheel clean off, they had to walk back
down the road on gather up the pieces! Next thing we knew, we were sitting 10th overall and the rally was still young.

We kept on pushing, running clean and tidy. Of course everybody else was going fast, but soon they started hitting things. Block/Gelsomino got bit by a rocky crest and destroyed the left rear suspension, at almost the exact spot where they went out at Maine Winter Rally a few years back. Antoine and Nat's battlewagon Hyundai expired on the very last stage. And so, LDR found itself Very Much In The Hunt.

We ended up winning regional events both days, and had great battles in the national with Dave Mirra/Alex Kihurani in a fire-breathing VTCar STi, Bill Bacon and veteran Canadian navvie Peter Watt in an immaculateEvo VIII, Jeff Moyle/Scott Putnam in Colin McRae's ex-X Games car, and PGTseries leaders Pat Moro and Scott Crouch. We ended up ahead of all but Bacon/Watt--fifth overall--LDR's best result by far in a US national event.

Yeah! LDR's car T4 is the real deal--we're talking a wild, wild horses kind of ride. I got strapped in next to a madman this weekend, and we rode the wild pony past almost everybody else in the rally.

It's gonna be a tough week, climbing back into normal life, back to dealing with boat shows, house construction, girlfriends, families and stuff.....


Wow, what an event! The LDR crew dug deep over the past two days and pulled out our best result of our career!

We won the Mexico Regional Rally yesterday and again won the regional event today. We climbed from our 16th or so starting position to finish 5th overall in the national event! We were the third Subaru to finish and the top all US crew to finish(that's Dave's co-driver spin! ;-)).

A HUGE thanks to the fans that came out and to our friend and family for their support.

The biggest thanks go to our crew for keeping T-4 together and looking sexy all weekend! Ken Anctil, Duncan Matlack, Mike Rademacher, Rob Sockalexis, John Cassidy V and Kevin Sennett.

Look for more speed and success from the LDR crew in the future! :-)

Cheers! John


It's nearly day 2, and we're just getting around to writing about day 1!

Dave and I pushed hard today, and were trading times with Jeff Moyle and Pat Moro.

We ended the day in 12th position in the overall classification in the national event. Up substantially from our start position.

A clean and tidy run saw us take the overall win in Friday's Mexico regional rally! A big thanks to the other regional teams for coming out and to our crew for keeping T-4 shiny and on the road.

Mood today was tense as our clutch is going away a bit. Without a spare, we're hoping to make it through Saturday's stages without any drama. Only 5 more stage starts! Hope she holds! :-)

On the way out to Concord Pond, we had some issues with the engine not running well. I had been fiddling with the ECU plugs and had managed to crimp the vacuum hose. A bit of digging in the dash and we made the ECU a bit more comfortable and all was well.

Our time on Concord Pond was a personal best for us. About 20 seconds quicker than Erik Lee and I had run it in 2006!

Mood remains tense. Saturday is a long day and we know the stages aren't forgiving if you loose focus(or cut a corner!). A few hours of sleep and we'll be back in our sweet smelling suits for another day in our rally office.

Thanks for all the well wishes and for checking on our progress!

Cheers! John


It's quiet. A bit unnerving actually. Co-driver Dave Getchell and myself are alone in the condo at Sunday River. I'm taking some time to center and Dave is working on the route books. We're both listening to the wind blow across the mountain.

Some distant echoes of rally car exhaust notes as the cars are being driven up to Parc Expose.

The crew has left for the service area and it's up to us to make it through the first couple of stages so that we can see them at our next planned service.

Everything has a schedule, and a rally weekend is lived minute-by-minute, making the weekend extremely long. Of course, it's punctuated by times in the car on stage that make you think someone with a big remote control is pressing the fast forward button! ;-)

The pressure palpable. Dave and I don't feel like eating. We're hydrating and I've got some energy bars for the car.

Dave has just finished his notes and we'll suit up and head up the mountain for Expose and the driver's meeting.

Rally is a sport where you try to control all the variables, but know that you can't control them all. The car is prepped, shiny and all the fluids are topped off. The tires are round, sticky and are holding air. Dave and I feel good, but edgy.

What happens after we pull up to the line? 3...2...1....GO!!!


Up at 06:00 on day 1 of the New England Forest Rally(we still like to call it the Maine Forest Rally, but we're biased! ;-)).

Co-driver Dave Getchell is busy with his books and the crew is attending to T-4, checking a few things and getting her perfect for the first super special stage. The stage happens to go right by our condo complex here at Sunday River! :-)

Not a large field this year, but the talent is very deep. Due to issues with an artificially low speed factor, the stewards have granted our request to start a bit further up the order and we hope we can reward their decision with a good turn of speed!

We're wishing all our competitors a fast and safe run over the next two days. We'll try and post some pictures on our flickr account, so check it out!

Thanks to the crew this weekend: Ken, Duncan, Rob, Drew, Rad and Kevin.

Cheers! John


posted in News by Last Ditch Racing


Update from the road! The LDR crew arrived in Bethel tonight in preparation for the upcoming New England Forest Rally this weekend. Driver Cassidy and Co-Driver Getchell will spend all day Thursday in their street car doing recce.

Recce is short for reconnaissance and is where the crews drive the stages and either make pace notes or modify organizer provided notes. NEFR offers crews one pass recce where they can modify the organizer supplied JEMBA notes.

Recce is often more grueling for the crews than the actual race as it's a full day of concentration without much of a break.

The event starts officially on Friday and continues through Saturday. The team has been attending the Maine Forest Rally/NEFR since 1999 and considers it to be their home event.

Folks can follow our progress via our blog and via the Rally America website which is under our links section. Cheers! John


For Immediate Release

July 4, 2008

Bangor, Maine USA

Last Ditch Racing flew high and far at the recent Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs, in New Richmond Quebec. Round three of the Canadian Rally Championship, the event, is known for it's driver's stages, combining technical sections with fast flowing sections. Conditions this year were especially difficult due to recent rain.

Finishing 10th overall, the team set 8 top 10 times out of 17 stages. A record 46 competitors took the start of the event, 27 finished and 19 DNF'd, attesting to the difficulty of the stages.

The team took the DC Shoes sponsored, "Longest Jump Award," after flying their 2003 Subaru WRX STi 116 feet off the famous jump at the end of the Camp Brule stage. Said driver John Cassidy, "The first time through Brule, we had a flat on the rear so couldn't take the jump with any speed. We only had one more pass and wanted to give the fans something to remember, so took the jump in fifth gear!" The team landed hard, nearly knocking co-driver Dave Getchell unconscious. Said Getchell, "That's the biggest hit I've taken without crashing!" DC Shoes principal Ken Block, suggested the award and won the rally outright in his 2008 Subaru Impreza STi, driving for the Subaru USA Rally Team. Block's jump was 115 feet. "Ken has really progressed in his driving over the past few seasons and devoted himself to the sport. His progress has been impressive and I think we'll see a lot more of him in the years to come," said Cassidy.

The event was universally praised by the crews. "We've been coming to the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs and have encouraged other US teams to do so. It's almost like one of those secrets you don't want to share with anyone, but we love the event and encourage all our fellow US teams to come up. It's clearly the top event in the North American calendar at the moment. We'll be back in 2009 and I'm sure more US teams will as well!"

The team's next event is their home event-The New England Forest Rally. Held in Rumford, Maine and based out of the Sunday River ski resort, the event is known for it's fast and flowing roads that are also filled with car breaking rocks. Said Cassidy, "This was our first event in 1999, and we've been there every year since. Because it's our home event, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Coming so soon after Baie adds another degree of difficulty as there's car re-prep to do as well. The Fourth of July weekend will be a work weekend here at Triple Caution Farm!"

The team is hoping for a repeat of their 2006 10th place finish. "Erik and I finished 10th that year after a really clean run over the two days. We're hoping for a repeat and will do our best to give the home fans something to cheer about this year!"

Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2008 partners:
Triple Caution, LLC,
Hydra EMS,
Team O'Neil Rally School,

A special thanks to Planet Motorsport for their on site support at Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs. Thanks to Subaru Canada for their support of the Canadian Rally Championship in 2008.

Dave and John would like to thank their crew for the event: Duncan Matlack, Ken Anctil, John Cassidy and Drew Simpson

For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:
For more information on the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs, please visit:
For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit: