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    For Immediate Release

    Bangor, Maine USA

    September 22, 2011

    Maine's Last Ditch Racing rally team makes rally history in partnership with Canada's X-Vision. Working together, the two have pioneered the use of their 360 degree video technology in a stage rally car.

    Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Jennifer Daly faced considerable adversity during the recent Rallye Defi, round four of the Canadian Rally Championship to obtain the video.

    Said Cassidy, "When we were approached by X-Vision about pioneering the application of their technology in a rally car, we ware on board immediately. When I saw what the technology was capable of, I was blown away! The possibilities of this technology are mind-boggling for action sports like rally. Through this partnership, we're able to give the end user the ability to immerse themselves in the car and the event, panning and tilting the video through a full 360 degrees. There are views of the rally car that neither I, nor anyone else has ever seen!"

    Last Ditch Racing is no stranger to pioneering technology. They were the first rally team in history to do a daily podcast from a WRC event, when they competed at the 2006 Corona Rally Mexico. "Although we're competitors, we're also huge fans of the sport in general. Anything we can do to promote the sport and expose it to new audiences is very exciting to us."

    The team enjoyed a successful 2011, securing two podiums and two Open Class wins en route to Cassidy's win of the Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship.

    John and Jennifer want to extend a special thank you to their crew for the 2011 season: Drew Gladu, Duncan Matlack, Nathan Haskell, Jon Bolduc, Zach Sennett, Cullen Gillis, Bronson Crothers, Kevin Sennett and John Cassidy V and Craig Greenwell.

    To see the result of Last Ditch Racing and X-Vision's partnership, please visit:

    For more information on X-Vision, please visit:

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2011 Partners for their support:

    DTECH Motorsport,
    VP Racing fuels,
    Triple Caution, LLC,

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing:
    Social Networking: Search for us on Facebook and Myspace.

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    For Immediate Release

    September 18, 2011

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing overcame significant adversity to finish Rallye Defi, round four of the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship.

    Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Jennifer Daly started Friday's stages with a failing front differential and an elusive oil leak near the turbocharger, which continued to cause considerable smoke in, and around, the car all weekend.

    The front differential began to make odd noises on the transit to the first super special Friday, and the crew feared that their event could be over that day. The crew were concerned the turbo might be failing, so it was replaced with a spare unit prior to the event start. The spare turbo was a smaller unit and the only restrictor the team had that fit was smaller than the diameter required, meaning they'd be down on power all weekend.

    The crew was also preoccupied with providing partner X-Vision with some quality onboard video to help showcase their immersive video technology. Said Cassidy, "We were definitely feeling stressed on Friday. The fact that the car wasn't running well, coupled with the very short stages and long transits, was difficult. Trying to balance some sort of pace with longevity through the day was quite difficult."

    Cassidy/Daly made it through Friday, but an issue with a computer cable meant that no video had been recorded for the X-Vision crew. "X-Vision's Louis Charland was was devastated, but in true rally fashion, he and his crew regrouped and met us Saturday morning at 05:00 after returning to Montreal to troubleshoot the system. We were able to get footage for X-Vision on the first two stages of Saturday. Judging from the response from the X-Vision team, you would've thought we'd won the event!"

    In spite of all the adversity, Cassidy/Daly pushed their Subaru STi throughout Saturdays' stages. The day had it's fair share of drama, however, when the Cassidy miscalculated on fuel load and ran out of fuel just outside of the service park in Montpelier. "I thought something was wrong with the engine-it sounded like it was detonating. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, but when I looked at the fuel gauge, I was actually relieved!" said Cassidy. Cassidy and Daly were forced to push the car about 40 yards uphill into the service park. "Jenn and I got a real workout pushing T-4 into service and the crew got theirs pushing us out of service."

    The day continued with the team slowly rising up the order to gain 4 places on the final day. "We were off the pace all weekend, but I can't recall an event filled with this much adversity for quite some time." said Cassidy. "We we working with a car that was not 100% from the outset, while dealing with one issue after another. The crew was busy all weekend long, which is rare for us. They got 4 hours sleep in 48."

    The event sees the team complete an ambitious 5 event season. Starting with the winter Rallye Perce Neige, followed by the Mt. Washington Hillclimb, Rallye Baie des Chaleurs and the New England Forest Rally. "To say we're ready for a break is an understatement. The car needs quite a bit of attention. That said, we're looking at some off season upgrades and a strong return in 2012. Jennifer and I have developed a great relationship in the car, and it has paid dividends with multiple podiums for us this season."

    The team enjoyed a successful 2011, securing two podiums and two Open Class wins en route to Cassidy's win of the Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship.

    John and Jennifer want to extend a special thank you to their crew for the 2011 season: Drew Gladu, Duncan Matlack, Nathan Haskell, Jon Bolduc, Zach Sennett, Cullen Gillis, Bronson Crothers, Kevin Sennett and John Cassidy V and Craig Greenwell.

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2011 Partners for their support:

    DTECH Motorsport,
    VP Racing fuels,
    Triple Caution, LLC,

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing:
    Social Networking: Search for us on Facebook and Myspace.

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    For Immediate Release

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Maine's Last Ditch Racing completed an ambitious month of racing;
    competing in three events in four weeks, in two different countries.
    They clinched the 2011 Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class
    Championship and two podiums in the process.

    Driver John Cassidy of Bangor, Maine and Co-Driver Jennifer Daly from Kelowna,
    British Columbia started their summer season with a second place in the R1 Rally
    class at the Climb to the Clouds, a hill climb up New Hampshire's Mt. Washington
    Auto Road.

    First run in 1904, the Mt. Washington Hillclimb is the oldest
    motorsport event in the United States. Last run in 2001, Cassidy
    jumped at the opportunity to compete in the event. "Jennifer and I
    had no idea what to expect on the mountain. What we encountered was both a
    technical and psychological challenge. The weather and visibility
    were constantly changing, forcing us to push in low visibility on
    roads with significant exposures." The event marked the first time
    that Daly and Cassidy have worked as a team since the 2008 Rallye Defi
    in Quebec. "We were ecstatic with a podium finish at the event, as we
    had no prior experience on the mountain. Having to run a restrictor
    in the turbo certainly kept our speeds down at altitude, but we pushed
    as much as we dared in the limited visibility at the top of the mountain.
    Our rally experience definitely served us well on the often wet surface
    and challenging visibility."

    The following week found the team in New Richmond, Quebec for the
    Rallye Baie des Chaleurs. One of LDR's favorite Canadian events, the
    technical and rough stages of Baie suit Cassidy's driving style. The
    team was setting top ten stage times on Friday night, until they
    had an off, striking a bridge with their Subaru STi on SS6. The front
    suspension suffered terminal damage, and they were forced to retire
    from the event. "It was a bittersweet return to Canada. We had not
    been at Baie since 2008, and we were having a great time on stage.
    Jennifer and I were settling into the car and getting up to speed
    quite well. I came into the corner with too much speed and
    understeered into the bridge. It was a very heavy hit, and we were
    very lucky not to have done more damage to the car or ourselves."

    Two weeks on and many repairs later, the team attended their home event, the
    2011 New England Forest Rally, headquartered at the Sunday River
    Resort in Newry, Maine. The twelfth consecutive showing for Last
    Ditch Racing at the event, the notoriously rough roads are home for Cassidy.
    "The New England Forest Rally has a reputation for being rough, and this
    year was no exception. For some, the rocks are intimidating, but I'm used to
    pushing on rough events." The rough roads were new to codriver Jennifer Daly:
    "During recce I was surprised by both the softness of the sand in some spots, and by the
    size of the painted rocks on the road, but John hasn't missed this event in over 11 years,
    so I was very confident in his ability to be fast through these strange conditions."

    The National event spans both Friday and Saturday's stages, and each day is
    considered a separate Regional Rally. Cassidy and Daly set quick
    times on Friday, but unbeknownst to them, Jason Smith and Jared
    Lantzy, driving LDR's original Subaru, T-1, held a lead of 7 seconds
    on the LDR team going into the final stage of the night, the famous
    Concord Pond stage. Cassidy and Daly were unaware of their overall
    standing, and the team goal was to set a new personal record on
    Concord Pond. At the end of the stage, the crew had bested LDR's stage
    record; 12 seconds quicker over just 5.75 miles, and secured the win over
    Smith/Lantzy by 13 seconds. "Having both LDR cars on the podium was
    great. Concord Pond is an epic stage and we wanted to push for all
    the fans that come out to spectate. Taking the overall win and first
    in Open Class was a fantastic end to the day!"

    Saturday's regional event opened with the longest stage of the day,
    where the LDR team posted the fastest time of the regional competitors
    by nearly 1.5 minutes over Smith/Lantzy. A flat on the second stage dashed
    any hope of an outright victory for the day, despite setting the best time on every
    other stage. "We had a flat and the tire started to delaminate quite quickly.
    We had 5 miles left in the stage and it was a very technical section.
    The car wasn't turning well and it would have been dangerous to continue.
    Changing a tire on stage is always costly, but sometimes
    it's the best choice." The team was awarded first in class for
    Saturday's event.

    2011 has been another development year for the team, with a new engine
    and other technical changes to the car. The addition of Canadian co-driver
    Jennifer Daly to the team has also had a significant impact on LDR's
    recent success. "Jennifer strapped into the co-driver's seat like
    she's always been there. The communication in the car is very good and
    we both feel there's still more speed to be had on stage." The
    team's future schedule is yet to be determined and likely won't be
    finalized until damage assessment is completed on the car after this
    difficult schedule of events. For Daly, the possibility of rejoining
    the LDR team is attractive: "It's very exciting to have some success
    early on with a new driver and codriver match. John and the LDR crew
    are prepared and competitive; I was very happy to be a part of such a
    fun and tight knit team. When we set out to do three events in four
    weeks, it seemed a little crazy, but with the right people and some
    hard work, just about anything is possible."

    The team is appreciative of support from Mirraco, a BMX bicycle company founded
    by actions sports athlete Dave Mirra. Mirra supplied the team some of his personally
    autographed signature Bell helmets, which the LDR team gave to young fans at the rally.

    John and Jennifer want to extend a special thank you to their crew for 2011:
    Drew Gladu, Duncan Matlack, Nathan Haskell, Jon Bolduc, Zach Sennett,
    Cullen Gillis, Bronson Crothers, Kevin Sennett and John Cassidy V.
    "Rally is a truly brutal sport on the car and without the support of
    our talented and dedicated crew, we wouldn't think about leaving the
    start line!"

    The team would also like to thank Dave Heerdegen of DTECH Motorsport
    in New Zealand for his support in tuning the car's engine after all the recent
    modifications. "Dave has been an invaluable resource for us over the past
    two seasons, and we owe a lot of our recent success to his hard work."

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2011 Partners for their
    continued support:

    DTECH Motorsport,
    VP Racing fuels,
    Triple Caution, LLC,

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing:
    Social Networking: Search for us on Facebook and Myspace.

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    Mt. Washington, New Hampshire to be exact.

    Co-Driver Jennifer Daly and myself arrived at the mountain Wednesday and completed registration, followed by a quick drive up the mountain, as she'd not seen it before. Weather was beautiful and the scenery stunning. We then took T-4.5 through tech and she passed without issue or concern.

    The discipline of hillclimbing is a bit different than rally. It's a specialized discipline and most of the competitors have arrived with specialized vehicles. For us rallyists, we have the luxury of having a co-driver on board, but the potential disadvantage of being a bit outside our comfort zone on the mountain.

    The psychological challenge is likely worse than the reality of racing up the mountain. After making several passes during recce today(Thursday), we've begun to do the specialized work that is writing our own pacenotes for the road. This increases our focus on the task and really serves to bring our heads back in the car, instead of outside thinking of exposures and such...

    Jennifer likened one of the ditches(really just a section, but the comparison applies to the entire mountain) as a gaping mouth filled with rocky teeth. I don't want to play dentist this weekend.

    Weather will likely be the deciding factor this weekend. While nice yesterday, it's been raining all day, resulting in them closing half the mountain to traffic this afternoon. It was very difficult to recce the top half of the road due to poor visibility and our notes will likely need to be fine-tuned during practice runs tomorrow and Saturday.

    While very familiar with driving in all sorts of weather on all sorts of surfaces, the Mountain presents all sorts of challenges. There is a change from tarmac to gravel back to tarmac. Tire choice is a compromise. If it rains(which seems likely), slicks won't be a great choice.

    Rookie driver meeting tonight, dinner and then arrival of part of our crew. Tomorrow is practice, either lower or upper half of the mountain, depending on weather. Practice times will determine start order, so there may be some strategy. Do we go quickly and risk the car? Do we dial it back a bit and make sure the notes are ok, risking being seeded lower in the start for Sunday? I don't really have a good answer.

    While we focus on our task here, we also have been firming up plans for next weekend's Rallye Baie des Chaleurs in New Richmond Quebec. Very excited to get back to this incredible event! Two weeks later, we'll be at the New England Forest Rally, headquartered at Sunday River.

    I think I'll need a vacation afterward.

    Be sure and follow us on and

    Cheers! John


    For Immediate Release

    September 14, 2010

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Maine's Last Ditch Racing, consisting of Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell, overcame significant adversity to crack the top 10 at the Rallye Defi in St. Agathe, Quebec Canada this past weekend. Finishing 10th of 36 starters was not as easy a task as they had initially hoped.

    The fourth round of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship, the event is held in the Laurentian Mountains near scenic Mont Tremblant. Cassidy last competed in Canada at the 2008 Rallye Defi with guest Co-Driver Jennifer Daley. "We had a very difficult event in 2008 and suffered a DNF due to max lateness after having a tank full of contaminated fuel," said Cassidy.

    Cassidy and Getchell headed North without their usual complement of crew. "The new laws requires we have passports to travel to Canada, and our current crew are all new since 2008, so were without the proper documentation to join us." Given how active the team is in social networking, offers of help in service came in by cell and internet. "Harry Boucher volunteered to help us and we would have been quite a bit more stressed without his calm presence in the service park-our hats/helmets are off to him!"

    Day one saw the crew tackle the new Montcalm stage, run twice. A new, technical stage, Montcalm proved to set the tone for the event for many crews. "While not setting a blistering pace on Montcalm, we were still in the thick of things and feeling out the car and the recent changes we'd made to it." said Cassidy. On the second run through the Lac Brunet stage, the team sheared the teeth off first gear in the transmission. "I launched a bit too aggressively on the pavement and the tranny just couldn't take it," said Cassidy. Limping back to service without first gear, the crew drained all the large metal chunks out of the transmission, filled it with fresh fluid and pressed on.

    "It's the third time we've lost a gear in our 11 years in the sport, so it didn't throw us too much. We don't carry a spare transmission on the truck, so just had to roll with it. Dave and I discussed it and decided if we had all the other gears, we'd soldier on as best we could. Unfortunately most of the stage starts are uphill at Defi, so it made for a somewhat slower weekend than we expected."

    Day two arrived with Getchell and Cassidy acting as their own service crew and getting the car to the service park in Montpelier, an hour or so away from St. Agathe. After reversing the car off the trailer, Cassidy was unable to get the transmission into any gear. Realizing the tenuous nature of their drivetrain, they were about to concede defeat and withdraw from the event, but friend Iain Fraser of Planet Motorsport used a bit of Scottish persuasion to get the transmission unstuck. Game on! Cassidy/Getchell headed to the stages to have a go.

    "The stages at Defi were very short this year, and Dave and I knew we'd be loosing time off the line of every stage without first gear. We'd try our best to make up that loss on stage, but also knew it would be near impossible." As if the challenges weren't already enough, stage 2 on Saturday saw the battery in the intercom die, leaving Getchell to yell at Cassidy for most of the stage. Managing two top 10 stage times during the day and driving quick and tidy, the team fulfilled their goal of finishing in the top 10. "Starting each stage in second gear was painful. Dave was counting the seconds before we'd finally hit a speed where we'd get boost-once we did, it was like someone lit a rocket. On a 4-5km stage, 8-10 seconds is a huge deficit."

    Cassidy and Getchell were impressed with the depth and talent of the competition in Canada. "Everyone's getting faster. The quality of the cars and crews is the best we've seen in some time." Last Ditch Racing is working to put together a challenge for the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship if they can arrange sufficient support. The team is hoping to attend the Rallye Perce-Neige in Maniwaki to kick off their 2011 season.

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2010 Partners for their continued support:

    VP Racing fuels,
    DTECH Motorsport,
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Luke Dobie Designs,,

    Special thanks to Harry Boucher and Iain Fraser for their support on event at Rallye Defi!

    For more information on Rallye Defi, please visit:

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    Social Networking: Search for us on Facebook and Myspace.
    LDR's Youtube channel:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    For Immediate Release

    September 7, 2010

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing is heading to Quebec, Canada for Rallye Defi, round 5 of the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship.

    Having had a mixed 2010 season that saw a return to form at the New England Forest Rally in July, Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell arenxious to get back to Canada.

    "We've always enjoyed competing in Canada, and given our geographic location here in Maine, it feels more like home to us than the US Championship," said Driver/Owner John Cassidy The team last competed at Rallye Defi in 2008, and suffered a premature end to their rally when the car was filled with contaminated fuel. "It was devastating-we had a max lateness penalty on the first day, despite having a car that was fully functional after the fuel was changed."

    LDR is unfortunately familiar with french rallying term, "Force Majeure," and vowed to return again when the time was right. "We've developed the car to a point where we feel we can be competitive in Canada again." Although running a 2.0L engine in their 2003 Subaru STi rally car, the team feels they can challenge some of the crews with larger displacement motors. "We may be behind the curve a bit in terms of displacement and with our transmission versus other teams, but we have the skill to push and the maturity to know when to pull it back a bit."

    Cassidy and Getchell have a history of success in Canada. 2004 saw Cassidy take second Open Class driver in the championship and fourth overall driver. 2005 saw Cassidy and Getchell take second overall at the Rocky Mountain Rally behind Thomson/Hendrickson, with Cassidy again taking second Open Class driver for the season. "We've definitely had the majority of our success in Canada. Concentrating on the Rally America Eastern Regional Championship for the past few seasons has really limited what we've been able to do in Canada, and we're happy to point the tow rig North again!"

    The team plans to start 2011 with Rallye Perce Neige in Maniwaki. "It's been far too long since Dave and I have been to Perce Neige as a team and we're excited to start the season off with what is arguably one of the most difficult events of the championship for a driver."

    The team would especially like to thank VP Racing Fuels for their support in 2010. "The return to VP race fuels has a lot to do with our increased performance, and we've been amazed at what the Motorsport 109E fuel has allowed us to do with our engine tuning and we're looking forward to pushing the envelope a bit more in 2011!"

    VP Racing fuels,
    DTECH Motorsport,
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Luke Dobie Designs,,

    For more information on Rallye Defi, please visit:

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    Social Networking: Please search for us on Facebook and Myspace.
    LDR's Youtube channel:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    For Immediate Release

    July 25, 2010

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Bangor's Last Ditch Racing were challenged by the 2010 New England Forest Rally and persevered, taking to the podium in Saturday's race.

    The sixth and final round of the 2010 Rally America Championship, this year's event saw more than 65 teams from across the USA step up to take on the notoriously rough stages in the woods of Western Maine.

    LDR started the event with a new ECU in the car. The Link G4 Extreme ECU was tuned via the internet with the expertise of Dave Heerdegen of DTECH Motorsport in Tauranga, New Zealand. "Using Skype, we allowed Dave to remotely log into the laptop while it was connected to the car. We were able to get a very good tune on the car that saw it running the best it has in many events," said driver/owner John Cassidy. "The tuning was completed in three very long days. We had a great time working with Dave, but the 14 hour time difference, working my day job and working all night in the shop was a bit surreal and not the way we prefer to spend the week prior to an event."

    Friday's stages saw the team having some shifting issues after the jump on the first stage, the Mexico Super Special. The transmission kept popping out of second gear and Cassidy was forced to drive with one hand while holding it in gear. The assumption was that the geometry on the shifter was keeping the shifter from fully engaging the gear. The crew trimmed the shifter surround and sent the crew back out. The issue progressed over the next couple of stages. Said Cassidy, "I knew something was wrong-the car would now stay in second, but would pop out of 4th. We had planned on making time over a stage that had several new miles added to it for this years' event, but I spent most of it holding it in 4th and driving with one hand, trying to do my best Sitg Blomquist imitation. Dave told me that was the fastest I'd ever driven with one hand."

    At the second service, Cassidy asked the crew to check the engine and transmission mounts. The driver's side engine mount was indeed broken, likely letting go over the jump on the first stage. Without a spare mount, the crew used a ratchet strap to secure the engine for the final few stages of the day. WIth the engine no longer bouncing up into the hood, Cassidy and Getchell headed back out and set some competitive times, besting their personal record on the famous Concord Pond stage by 1 second with a ratchet strap holding the engine in the car!

    With assistance from the Valley Tire team of Steve Quigley and Dana Nauss, a new motor mount was fitted for Saturday's stages. Not unexpected, the car shifted well and stayed in gear! The team were hampered by a mysterious lack of boost for the day. The problem was consistent though, and Cassidy and Getchell felt it better to work with what they had, rather than potentially create more issues by starting down a diagnostic pathway in the middle of the event.

    "We pushed fairly hard and had a great time on the rough stages. Having proper anti-lag on the car was an eye-opener. We were taking some corners at speeds that were initially a bit unexpected, but we got used to it quickly. We haven't had ALS on our car since T-2, and that was a few years ago. We won three consecutive Regional Open Championships without it, but it sure is a lot more entertaining with it!"

    The team already has parts on order for further development of the car in preparation for the remainder of 2010 and the 2011 season. "We're going to optimize some of the systems on board, and we'll be starting with the wiring system, and then focusing on the cockpit. The driver/co-driver interface with the car needs a little work. Having our office laid out efficiently increases our comfort level in the car, letting us focus on faster stage times."

    Cassidy and Getchell are honored and proud to have the best crew in the sport: Bronson Crothers, Duncan Matlack, Drew Gladu, Drew Simpson, Erik Lee, Cullen Derepentigny. Special thanks to Sean Glenn for joining the crew for this event. Cassidy would like to thank his close friend and personal trainer Scott Kahkonen for all the punishment in the gym-it makes it all easier on stage!

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2010 Partners for their continued support:

    VP Racing fuels,
    DTECH Motorsport,
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Team O'Neil Rally School,
    Luke Dobie Designs,,

    A special thanks to Mike at ACT clutch, Miles at Fine Line Import and Dave a Dtech for their support.

    For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit:

    For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    Social Networking: Please search for us on Facebook and Myspace.
    LDR's Youtube channel:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:

    Photo Copyright Pete Kuncis/ 2010

    September LDR Musings

    posted in JoMo's Musings by Last Ditch Racing


    Difficult to put down in words what's been going on of late, as there's been so much, really.

    The season is essentially over for the LDR team until the Regional Rally Championship at the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri, early 2010. Having finished second in the RRC the last two years, we'd really like to add a win there to our palmares. :-)

    What do we do when we're not racing? Sitting still isn't one of them! ;-) I'm currently working on fixing up a used Forester for use as my teen son's first car. Another crew member has been restoring a Chris-Craft power boat, yet another is crewing for a national level team and others have been Rallycrossing. Erik Lee has been co-driving in Canadian National events of late, and Dave Getchell will be Chief Steward at the Black River Stages in New York this coming weekend. Black River will also see LDR crew member Rob Sockalexis strap into the role of Co-Driver with fellow Bangor native Kevin Turner driving in his GC8 Impreza. Never a dull moment.

    Closer to home, here at Triple Caution Farm, T-4 will be getting some love in the form of a complete overhaul of the wiring system. The aim is to make the system more efficient and easier to service/troubleshoot. The battery will be relocated to the interior of the car, also redistributing some weight. The current turbo appears ill and that'll have to be replaced.

    We are also looking at building a new engine for the car and perhaps going with a different engine management unit that has a more effective anti-lag system. Our current ECU, while performing consistently, simply does not have an effective ALS implementation. In rally, this can mean a couple of seconds/mile.

    For those of us that rally out of their own pockets, the intellectual/technical adventure is/has to be as rewarding as actually being on event. As always, we're trying to attract partners for the 2010 season. We really are an irresistible group of guys. ;-)

    On the personal side, I continue to push my physical limits and find out where they are. I continue to be surprised that they're not where I expect them to be! For instance, on Sunday I rode a charity bike ride and logged 81 miles. While not keeping up with the more experienced, younger, fitter cyclists, I held my own. Pedaling into a headwind for more than two hours, I began to talk to myself-hey there was no one else there! ;-)

    I asked myself why I was doing it, why pro cyclists do it, why the other guys in lycra out that day were doing it. We all have our reasons. Ultimately my participation is a result of not wanting to do it, but knowing that I actually can. I have internal discussions/struggles between sitting on the couch and actually getting up and out to do something.

    There's an interesting parallel between fitness and cars for me. There was a time that I didn't know how to change oil on a car or check the air filter. Now I can fabricate, weld, and perform most major system repairs. I sometimes lament to my wife that I have NO EXCUSE not to fix something automotive and I would really enjoy a day where I could feign ignorance in order to avoid the task.

    Fitness is fast becoming the same. I can claim that I can't ride 100 miles next month in the Dempsey Challenge, but I know that I can. It won't be easy-I'll likely cramp and hurt and gasp up the climbs, but I can do it. Will I? Don't know...yet. :-)

    After the 81 mile ride on Sunday, I went to the Dojo Monday night for Kumite night. We all went a bit harder than perhaps we should have. After Kumite is fight night-a time for those that want to take their fighting to the next level of intensity and contact. Of course I stuck around. I spent last night with a bag of frozen mixed vegetables on my leg and a frozen breakfast burrito up my shorts. I woke this morning with a large red mark on my chest that I can only surmise is the ghost of someone's foot. Still kind of feels like it's there! :-)

    So here's the challenge for all of us. Let's try and move outside our normal pattern of behavior for our own betterment. Maybe you have 4 Starbucks this week instead of 5(that might be detrimental for some of you). Maybe you switch to diet soda. Maybe you take up ballroom dancing. Maybe you spend more time with the kids. Maybe you stop smoking or drinking for a month. Maybe you put yourself on a bike or hit the dojo.

    Honestly, I wish I had an excuse not to make positive changes, but I really can't find a good one anymore. Dammit. :-)

    Cheers! John


    For Immediate Release

    July 26, 2009

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing overcame adversity to clinch the 2009 Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship at this past weekend's New England Forest Rally held in Bethel, Maine. Round 6 of the 2009 Rally America Championship, the New England Forest Rally is a driver's favorite and has a reputation for being somewhat rough and rocky.

    Friday's stages consisted of two super specials and the famous Concord Pond stage. Hoping to better their top 10 stage time from 2008, it became apparent to Cassidy and Getchell early in the stage that the car was down on power. The team did what they could to minimize time losses, with Cassidy driving the car a bit further into corners and trying to carry speed where possible. A failing driveshaft was later identified and fixed during the overnight service.

    Saturday saw the start of the Berlin Rally and the first two stages saw the team setting competitive regional times. But it was not to last. Cassidy could see white smoke trailing(and entering) the car as early as stage three. In service, oil seen on the skidplate and the crew surmised that there was an internal engine issue that was overpressurizing the crankcase, forcing oil out under load.

    The team were battling with the Team O'Neil team of Knox/Wilburn in their Group 5 Mazda Speed3 for the Rally America Eastern Regional Open Class Championship. Knox had been leading the Eastern Regional Championship after a strong run in an Open Class Subaru at STPR. But Knox was having issues of his own-a gearbox leak causing concern.

    The situation forced Cassidy/Getchell to change their mental approach to the race - ignoring the smoke and whine from the engine under load while still pushing as hard as possible took all energy they had. They had to resort to carrying supplemental oil onboard to top of the car before and after each stage. The final stage saw the two teams separated by mere seconds. With a 30 mile transit back to the finish at the Sunday River Resort after the stage, Cassidy/Getchell were carrying a full fuel load and 6 liters or supplemental oil. "We were the heaviest we'd been all day, and we knew the car was sick. We also knew that we had to pull out the best run of our day on our third run through the short, tricky stage," said Cassidy.

    The stage went without incident and the crew felt they were clean and tidy. Now the long transit back to Sunday River, and the final MTC, began. The crew stopped every 12 miles or so to pour more oil into the engine. "It was all we could do to nurse her home. Every time we'd put the engine under load uphill, I'd see a thick fog of smoke blowing out the back. I don't think the line of cars behind us appreciated it very much, but we were in survival mode."

    The team arrived at Sunday River and Co-Driver Wilburn found Cassidy. Cassidy/Getchell were 5 seconds quicker their last time through the stage and secured the final podium spot for the day, and the Eastern Regional Open Class Championship by a mere 3.3 seconds! The regional competition was very close, and all of the competitors agreed that it made for some good drama during the day. "We all came to race, and having to fight for seconds at the end of a physically and mentally taxing day is something we soon won't forget," said Cassidy.

    Cassidy ended the 2009 Rally America Eastern Regional season first Driver in the Open Class and second in the Overall driver points. Getchell took second overall Co-Driver and second in Open Class. Last Ditch Racing has secured the Eastern Regional Open Class Championship the last three years in a row and the Eastern Regional Overall Championship in 2008.

    Once their engine issues are sussed, the team is looking forward to competing in Canada later in the season as well as returning to the Rally America Regional Rally Championship in Missouri in 2010.

    And finally, Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2009 Partners for their support:
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Mark Fleming Photography:
    Team O'Neil Rally School,


    For Immediate Release

    July 13, 2009

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Maine's own Last Ditch Racing heads to the the mountains of Western Maine and Northern New Hampshire for the New England Forest Rally, July 17-18.

    Round 6 of the 2009 Rally America Championship will see Last Ditch Racing's Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell celebrating their 10th anniversary in both the sport and the event itself.

    "We've come a long way in ten years, and we owe it to our talented crew as well as all the talented crews that we've raced against that have shown us how to prepare a car, manage a team, and run an event. Very few people, other than fellow competitors, understand what we go through simply to get the car to the start of the first stage. We're thankful to still have a passion for the sport and a desire to strap in and push ourselves to the limit."

    The event will see the LDR crew starting 16th amongst a field of 50 competitors from the US and Canada. 2008 saw the team place a career best 5th overall, narrowly missing out on a wildcard invite to the Summer X-Games in LA. "We had a dream race last year, and I'm hoping we can run a tidy and quick race. Above all, we're going to have fun!"

    Rally America Eastern Regional Rally Overall and Open Class Champions in 2008 and Eastern Region Open Class Champions in 2007, the LDR team is excited to be in the hunt for yet another regional Championship, currently sitting second in the 2009 Eastern Regional Championship. "We found a snowbank in February at the Team O'Neil rally and then had a power steering pump fail in Missouri. Both incidents cost us valuable time, but that's what rally is about-keeping cool in the face of adversity and driving quick enough to scare yourself, but not quick enough to crash! We went on to finish both events and that'll be the priority at NEFR-to finish."

    The team will pilot their Open Class 2003 Subaru WRX STi sedan, a car they've been continuously developing over the past few seasons. "The car's in great shape and she's ready to go play in the dirt!"

    Friends and fans can find the team at the Phoenix House at Sunday River on Thursday night from 7-9PM. The crew will be signing posters and the team's car will be on display!

    For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit:

    And finally, Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2009 Partners for their support:
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Mark Fleming Photography:
    Team O'Neil Rally School,

    For photos, videos, team blogs and more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    Social Networking: To follow us on twitter, please visit: or find us on Facebook and/or Myspace and sign up as a friend or fan!

    For LDR Videos, check out out Youtube channel at:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:

    Buckle Up!

    posted in JoMo's Musings by Last Ditch Racing


    "What the hell are you guys up to, anyway!?" Alright, so no one has actually asked us, or perhaps they have and we've been too busy to hear it! Anyway, we've been busy on a lot of fronts and we're way past due for an update.

    I've spent the last few hours packing for the Trek Across Maine. A charity bike(bicycle) ride for the Maine Lung Association, it's a three day ride from Sunday River(also HQ for the New England Forest Rally next month) to the town of Belfast on the coast. Forecast is for rain all three days. My friend Scott and I are planning on tenting out each night. Adventure, here we come! :-) I completed a 70 mile ride a week ago and am feeling pretty good about this three day event.

    If you're feeling charitable, feel free to pledge towards my ride at this link:

    Last weekend saw LDR's and Mark Fleming's stars align for a photoshoot. The first round of images from the day can be found here:

    Mark's talent is obvious and we're going to see much more of him in the near future. :-)

    New England Forest Rally is coming up quickly and T-4 ran well during the photoshoot. While I'd love to make some modifications to the car, it's really not prudent. There's neither the time nor the funds, so we'll do what we do best and make sure she's 110% before the event.

    Condos are booked, entry has been made. The field of regional entrants already looks much larger than 2008, which is really exciting for us. If you've been waiting to see an event, or haven't been to Maine Forest in a few years, pick this year to come back and check it out! It's going to be an awesome show.

    As always, please feel free to contact us via e-mail, and please, please, please do look us up in the service park at NEFR! :-)

    Cheers! John


    For Immediate Release

    March 8, 2009

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing, a Maine based performance rally team, enjoyed an epic journey to the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri to compete in the Rally America Regional Rally Championship as well as the National and Regional portion of the events. The team were invited to compete in the Regional Rally Championship based on their finish as the Rally America Eastern Regional Overall and Open Class Champions in 2008. The team were also Eastern Regional Open Class Champions in 2007.

    The 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem Missouri is round 2 of the 2009 Rally America Championship. Known as a fast and flowing event, it is in contrast to to the tighter, more technical roads the team is used to seeing at New England and Eastern Canadian events.

    After an epic two days, filled with much drama, the team took 2nd place in the Rally America Regional Rally Championship, and 3rd in Open Class in the 100 Acre Wood Regional Rally. The results are but a small part of the weekend's story.

    With the rally located just over 1,500 miles from the team's home base in Bangor, Maine, just taking the start is an accomplishment! Adding to the stress of moving the team halfway across the country, the day prior to the departure saw Maine hit with a large Nor'easter storm that dumped about 16" of snow on the team's headquarters. "I had to get the tractor out and snowblow just to get us out on the road. We didn't see another car on the highway that morning for over an hour," said driver/owner John Cassidy.

    Once on the ground in Missouri, Driver John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell spent most of Thursday on one pass recce, while the crew fettled with the car and put it through technical inspection. A frantic call from the crew to Cassidy informed him that the turbo restrictor was 0.06mm too large for the regulations. Without a spare, the crew were on the phone in a matter of minutes and found a machine shop in Salem, MO that specializes in design and repair of equipment for the lead mining industry. The crew brought the old restrictor and within 2 hours, the enthusiastic crew at the machine shop put a new restrictor in the teams' hands, enabling them to start the event. "I had no idea why the restrictor was such a miniscule amount over," said Cassidy, "but our car is always legal and we didn't want anything to put our results in Missouri in question. The work by the machine shop was exceptional and our helmets and hats are off to them!"

    Clear to start the race on Friday, Cassidy and Getchell were off to a relatively slow start. After two stages, they found themselves more than 30 seconds behind 2007 RRC winners Henry and Cindy Krowlikowski. Determined to pick up the pace, disaster struck. One of the power steering lines developed a crack. Forced to race 3-4 stages with manual steering, Cassidy knew they'd bleed time. "It was a huge blow to our confidence. We went from race mode to survival mode. Good thing it's not our first time in that position. In addition to the power steering loss, we had a crack in the exhaust manifold. I was worried that the exhaust leak might cause the dripping fluid to ignite in the engine bay. Luckily that didn't happen, but other things that we expected did."

    At the start of the last stage, while waiting to start, the crew heard the telltale screaming of metal on metal in the engine bay. On stage, the now dry power steering pump seized, causing smoke and sparks to fly out of the engine vents/scoop as the pump also took out the alternator/power steering belt. Able to finish the stage, Cassidy and Getchell shut down all unnecessary electrical systems as they knew they were now running on battery. "We had about 25 miles back to service and weren't sure if we could make it on just the battery." The answer came shortly later, when the lights started to dim, then flicker. With the low power level, the engine control unit started to run erratically, so the crew was forced to pull to the side of the dark Missouri country road. Fellow Subaru driver George Georgakopoulos pulled over and offered to tow the team into the final MTC of the night. Said Cassidy, "Being towed in a quiet, cold car, just 10 feet off the back of another careening through the dark at 50mph was quite a surreal experience. It took all my concentration to keep the tow rope taut and be safe. Without George, we'd never have completed 100 AW!" The team of Fox/Blattner graciously loaned the team a welder to make repairs to the exhaust header.

    Seeing Steel Tulip-4 roll into the MTC on the hook, the service crew knew they were in for a long night. The crew sourced another power steering pump from fellow competitor Pat Moro. Again, without Pat's help, the team would not have completed the event. While the crew replaced the pump, Cassidy and Getchell headed to the local auto parts store for a replacement belt and power steering fluid. After dropping off the supplies to the team around midnight, Cassidy and Getchell headed back to the hotel while the crew worked through the cold night. Crack in the header welded up, Cassidy was awakened often by the crew with status updates on the repairs as well as for guidance on how to proceed. "It wouldn't have been so bad," said Cassidy, "but I had developed a nasty sinus infection that hit hard on Thursday night and was having trouble sleeping as it was. At one point, about 04:45, the crew called me and told me the Dodge Sprinter was dead on the side of the road! A deer had run out in front of them and they honked the horn. The dash lit up like a Christmas tree and the truck died and wouldn't restart. I fired up the laptop and went to the online Sprinter forums and found a post about someone having similar issues after using the horn. I told them to check fuse 7. It was blown as was the case in the forum post. The truck fired up and they continued on their way back to the hotel. They thought my ability to service the Sprinter over the phone out of a dead sleep was spooky! "

    Starting Saturday over 3 minutes down on the first place Krowlikowskis, Cassidy and Getchell knew they needed to push. The crew assured them the car was 100%. On the transit out to the first stage of the day, the power steering hitched a few times and had Cassidy worried that he might not have it for long. Then the power steering pump began to squeal. Cassidy and Getchell played all the possible scenarios out in their minds. Replacement pump might be bad? High and low pressure lines might be swapped? Steering rack damanged? Belt too loose or too tight? They got to the next stage start a bit early and decided they'd take a late penalty if need be, if only to suss out the issue. Turns out the new belt was a bit loose and slipping, causing the squeaking. Tightened and good to go, they strapped back in.

    The first leg of stages went well for the crew, but didn't see them setting any land speed records. Their close ratio gearbox, with the ultra short final drive-perfect for twisty Eastern events-was not working so well on the fast open roads in Missouri. "It was frustrating," said Cassidy, "We were pushing as hard as we could, but the drivetrain ran out of gumption just around 100mph. We needed another 10mph at least for Missouri." Temperature was also an enemy for the team. The team were running on Pirelli soft gravel tires for the first time at the event, and while Friday's temperatures were within the operating range for the tires, Saturday's temps were at the lower limit. At the second service, they decided to mount some Yokohoma AO-34 snow tires as the stage conditions from that point on were questionable with a winter storm warning posted for a possible 6-8" of snow. Competitor Krowlikowski was out with a blown turbo, so the team had an opportunity to push for another position at least. "There were no smiles when we heard that Henry and Cindy went out-they were having a fantastic event and to go out with a mechanical issue that is out of your control is always difficult."

    To the team's surprise, the next 4 stages had no snow, but Cassidy found the Yoko's offered more grip than the Pirellis. "The Yokohama AO-34's have always been a favorite tire, and I love them more now. Although still not reaching the velocities they wanted, the team had power steering, a repaired exhaust header and sticky tires. "Although a bit late, things were as good as they could be for us! The last loop of 4 stages saw the team pulling into the finish control of each stage to find the car ahead still completing their paperwork-a sign we were making time. Each time we'd pull up and see them there, we'd high-five! It was a good feeling." It was a feeling that continued into stage 14. The stage was covered in about 4-5" of snow, and by this time, Cassidy and Getchell felt like they were at a Canadian Rally-familiar territory. "We were smiling like a couple of schoolboys with a naughty magazine. We knew this was our opportunity to have fun and go fast. The gearing of the car isn't really an issue in the snow, as it's about smoothness and commitment."

    Stage 14 saw the team set the 10th quickest time, 1 second behind eventual event winner Ken Block. "We had a great time on that stage and passed one car and were catching a second, meaning we were clawing time back. It's the stage that represents the rally for us-the crew, local businesses and fellow teams had all worked together to get us to that point and we were standing on their shoulders in order to push through the snow in the dark-just a great feeling that'll we'll carry forward to the next event and beyond," said Cassidy.

    The team ended their trip home just behind another snowstorm-the same that they had in Missouri-just now in the Northeast. Nine days and over 3,000 miles later, the team is ready for a bit of time off, but knows that assimilation back into, "normal," life won't be easy. Said Cassidy, "It's always difficult when you come back and friends and co-workers ask if you had a good time or a good trip-they just don't understand the depth of the answer we "could," give them! We usually say we had a good time and leave it at that!"

    The team would like to thank their crew for their support prior to, and during, the event We couldn't have done it without you! Drew Simpson, Ken Anctil, Chris Boone, Bronson Crothers, Nate Haskell, Rob Sockalexis, Nate Sockalexis, Samantha Francis and Duncan Matlack.

    The team's next event will either be STPR in Pennsylvania in June or the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in New Richmond Quebec in July. Check the team website for upcoming plans/events.

    For more information the 100 Acre Wood Rally, please visit:

    And finally, Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2009 Partners for their support:
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Hydra EMS,
    Team O'Neil Rally School,
    Mark Fleming Photography:

    For photos, videos, team blogs and more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    Social Networking: To follow us on twitter, please visit: or find us on Facebook and/or Myspace and sign up as a friend or fan!

    For LDR Videos, check out out Youtube channel at:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    Just back in the hotel in Rolla.

    We had some fluid leaking from the power steering line fittings that Bronson and I brazed on. Chris tightened them up and off we went.

    Shortly after leaving service, I knew that something was wrong with the power steering. Shortly thereafter, it was gone.

    We had three stages and I knew that it'd take all my manly buffness to wrestle T-4 through the stages without power steering. It was pretty rough, and now I know what the WRC guys go through.

    Worst part was when the wheel jerked on one corner and my elbow slammed into the rollcage. Ouch. I'll be wearing my wrist splints to bed tonight.

    So, we knew the power steering pump would eventually fail and likely seize if the fluid was leaking out. Sure enough, after the next stage, it was chirping like a chipmunk under the hood.

    About halfway into the stage, we started smelling smoke and seeing sparks/embers coming out from the hood vents and into Dave's footwell. He was pretty sure we were on fire, but I told him it was just sparks(optimistically). We had also found a crack in the headers and I was worried that if the power steering fluid was pooling on the skidplate, the blowtorch temperature heat coming out of the cracked header would ignite it.

    Anyway, we pushed the pedal down and kept on. Eventually, the smoke stopped and the sparks subsided, but not before we launched over a cattle-grate jump smoking and sparking! :-)

    With the alternator belt gone, we knew we were running on just battery power. We shut down all unneeded electrical items and I ran with just one set of HID's on, figuring that once lit, they draw less than normal halogens. Of course, driving with the HID lights on the road made many people happy! ;-) We got about halfway to Salem and the HID's started to flicker. Not good. Dave said to find a spot to pull over and I pulled off near a driveway.

    We flagged down a fellow competitor, George Georgocopalus(? SP) and he towed us the rest of the way to Salem. Eventually all trace of electrical activity faded from T-4 and we were just a shadow trailing George's car on a tow rope. He was going about 55, so it was a bit hairy and took some concentration.

    We made it back to the final Main Time Control without penalty and the boys are still in Rolla fixing the issue. Pat Moro gave us his spare pump. Chris blobbed some weld on the headers and we went to Auto Zone and bought a new belt and power steering fluid.

    Just got a call that there is a leak below one of the fittings that we brazed on. They told me they thought they might try brazing it again, but it's nearly impossible in the car. I told them to head to Autozone and find some good that they can plug the damn hole with.

    Who knows how long the repair will hold(if at all) and how far we'll make it tomorrow. Snow is forecast, and that should make things interesting! :-)

    Up at 06:00 tomorrow and won't be done until tomorrow night.

    Dave Mirra is doing great and is in third place.

    Thanks for all the support-we'll push as hard as we can tomorrow. We were in 4th in the Regional event, but lost about 3 minutes with the lack of power steering. Not sure where we sit currently. With all that's happened, we're just happy to still have the chance to continue. :-)

    Thanks for all the support! Cheers! John


    Sorry I've been remiss about posting on the blog the last few days we've been here in Missouri!

    We're here for the 100 Acre Wood Rally and primarily the Regional Rally Championships. We arrived in Rolla, which is about 20 minutes from Rally HQ in Salem MO on Wednesday afternoon. Registered for recce while co-driver Dave and Super Agent Kevin arrived in the SUV rental from St. Louis.

    Thursday was recce for Dave and I. We were up at 05:00 and finished about 14:30. Roads were very smooth, fast and dry. Temperatures have been unseasonably warm, but should be cooling off quite a bit tomorrow and Friday, which is good for us. We have cold weather Pirelli tires which only are effective within a certain temperature range.

    Crew tech'ed the car this afternoon and I got a call when I was in the woods on recce that we had no restrictor in the turbo! Of course, we're required to run one, and I know I had put it in when we left. On further examination, the crew located it in the air intake pipe. ;-) But, then they were told that it was 0.06mm too large! WTF!? It was fine at the last race. It had miraculously grown. Needing a solution, Chris called around and located a local machine shop that repairs equipment for the mining industry. They said they'd take a go at making one and used the old one as a template.

    Entering all the info in the CAD program, the CNC lathe whipped up the restrictor in record time! We need to get one of those! Um, no, we don't. ;-)

    Car all tech'd, we all met back up in Rolla for a team meeting and then a quick bite at Panera.

    Up tomorrow at a very civilized 7AM so that we can leave around 9. Takes awhile to get 6 men showered and fed. ;-) We'll travel about 1:45 to Pitosi, the only service location for the day's rally. Parc expose, then first car off about 15:30. We'll be starting 18th on the road, which will hopefully give us a cleaner line to work with than the first few cars.

    Big effort to get the car ready, crew down here, and take all the time needed. No matter how things go, we've already made some great memories this week and hopefully will go fast enough to make some more on race day! :-)

    Be sure and follow us via twitter over the weekend-that's where most of the updates will be happening!

    Cheers! John


    Damn, it's cold in Maine sometimes. That's the kind of statement a, "nummah,"(idiot) would make, but I have to state the obvious. With the thermometer hovering just below zero on this first day of 2009 and the sun shining bright, I have to ponder what the new year will bring us....

    As mentioned in an earlier post, we're focusing on our first two events of 2009; the Team O'Neil Rally in New Hampshire in a few weeks and the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri at the end of February. Two very different events, but both important for different reasons. The Team O'Neil rally is our second, "home event." Tim O'Neil has been my instructor over the past several years and I'm beginning to enjoy racing in the snow! 100 Acre Wood is the site of the Regional Rally Championship event, where we'll see how we stack up against other regional champions from around the country.

    At present, we're working on our own homegrown rotated turbo setup for the car. This should make checking and removing the turbo restrictor easier, as well as facilitate turbo changes on event, should the need arise. A relatively simple change like turbo position creates a ripple effect throughout the intake and exhaust system, though, and we'll be quite busy right up until we leave for the event in New Hampshire.

    I know that all of you have been holding your breath for my New Year's resolution(s)! ;-) I'm going to keep it a bit simple this year. I'd like to see some new opportunities appear for the rally team in 2009, as I already know we've created the environment for them. I'd like to see all our friends and families stay up-to-date with their health care and health care screening. Although I feel younger, my birthdays tell me I'm going the other way, and I know that my risk of problems increases with advancing age. Get screened!

    I'm hoping that I don't hurt myself with the kettlebells I just bought. For those that don't know, kettlebells resemble a cannonball with a handle on it. You use the weight to perform various exercises. Amazingly devious device and one with a lot of potential energy once it gets moving, not unlike the rally car! ;-)

    What's up beyond Missouri!? We're not sure. Time are tight, but we're still eager. We have some plans in place to seek some team support, and hopefully they'll be successful. I suspect that you'll see us at the New England Forest Rally and perhaps our favorite Canadian National Championship events in 2009.

    Happy New Year! John


    For Immediate Release

    November 25, 2008

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing clinched the 2008 Rally America Eastern Regional Championship in commanding form, taking top spots in both the Overall and Open Class rankings. Driver/owner John Cassidy and Co-driver Dave Getchell pulled off the best season of their careers so far.

    The team maxed out their points total by winning three Eastern Regional rallies outright -- the icy Team O'Neil rally in New Hampshire, followed by the rough-and-dusty Mexico and Bethel regional events at the New England Forest Rally in Bethel, Maine.

    The Team O'Neil Rally in Franconia, New Hampshire saw the LDR squad earn its first overall win. The LDR lads had some demons to exorcise at this event, especially after the 2006 O'Neil's rally where Cassidy slid wide on a greasy crest and center-punched a birch tree at 60mph. This year, things were different, despite exceedingly icy conditions on race day. "Those were some of the slippiest roads I've ever ridden on, much less raced on," says Getchell, "so I give John extra credit for not lifting into what's now known as Cassidy's Corner. Heh, I don't think he even looked at his tree!"

    LDR arrived at their home event, the New England Forest Rally, with plans to push harder than they had in the past. "NEFR has become the centerpiece of our calendar over the past 9 years of competition," says Cassidy, "and it's where friends, family and team supporters always look for us to do well and we always strive to deliver." LDR traded stage times all weekend with PGT stars Pat Moro/Scott Crouch, BMX legend Dave Mirra/Alex Kihurani, and the late Jeff Moyle and his codriver Scott Putnam. "It was as if the stars aligned for us on this event," says Cassidy, "those sort of perfect rally days don't happen very often, and that made NEFR very, very special. The team and car were running at 110%. Dave and I clicked all weekend, and the team knew that my intensity level was cranked up a few notches." In addition to wins in both Regional events, NEFR brought the team a stellar fifth overall, their best-ever result in an American national rally.

    2008 also saw LDR venture to Canada, where they've run for many years. At Rallye Baie des Chaleurs in Quebec the team ran conservatively to preserve the car for NEFR, a scant 10 days later. "We couldn't risk the car, but still wanted to put on a show for our Canadian fans and friends," says Cassidy. "Rallye Baie features a famous big jump at the end of the Camp Brule stage. We really like to push over the jump for the thousands of fans that gather there, but on the first pass we limped over lip on a flat tire. The second time we launched at the top of fifth gear with foot to the floor!" That second-pass jump involved some serious air time, and the LDR car landed off-camber so hard that co-driver Getchell was nearly knocked unconscious. The consolation was that they won the Longest Jump of the Rally Award--116 feet--besting the Subaru USA crew of Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino by a full 12 inches!

    As a follow-up to the Eastern title, LDR will travel to the 100 Acre Wood rally in Missouri next February to battle top regional teams from around the country at the annual Regional Rally Championship. This will be LDR's second trip to the Regional Championships. 2007 saw them loose out on the title due to a penalty. "There definitely is unfinished business in the woods of Missouri," says Cassidy, "we'll load the rig up in a few months and head South to do what we can to get some closure. But this is rally, and we take nothing for granted."

    The LDR team would like to thank their families, friends and fellow competitors, without whom this season would literally not have been possible. The Eastern Championship truly belongs to the crew that kept LDR going full tilt all season: Bronson Crothers, Duncan Matlack, Ken Anctil, Drew Simpson, Michael Rademacher, Rob Sockalexis and John Cassidy V.

    The team would also like to express very special thanks to photographer Mark Fleming and videographer Kevin Sennett.

    And finally, Last Ditch Racing would like to thank their 2008 Partners for so much support:
    Triple Caution, LLC,
    Hydra EMS,
    Team O'Neil Rally School,
    Mark Fleming Photography:

    For photos, videos, team blogs and more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:

    For LDR Videos, check out out Youtube channel at:

    To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


    I know, I know-it's been a bit since I've update you all on the goings on at Triple Caution Farm, LDR's world headquarters. It's been a busy couple of months and there will be an important press release to come, but first to some important items.

    First, it's not really November. It's Mo-vember. A Mo is Australian slang for a mustache, and November turns into Movember in order to grow mustaches in order to raise awareness around prostate cancer and the importance of screening for all the dudes out there! You can visit and search for Last Ditch Racing. Please consider donating to the cause. As a medical professional, I'm on the front line of prostate screening and have been involved with patients in the past who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

    Are we growing Mo's!? Well, some of us are. Beards are forbidden by the rules, but damn, it's cold here in Maine, so I've gone for as much facial coverage as possible! :-) A couple of flattering pics of me on our Flickr page in my full Subaru cycling regalia.

    We've had some illness on the team which has raised our awareness of health in general, but more importantly has cemented the reality that one of our most valuable assets is each other. It also brings home the importance of routine medical checks by your doc, PA or Nurse Practicioner. If you're due for a physical, call up and make the appointment. Heck, you can even call me if you're local! Feeling well is NO excuse! We can't have any ill fans! ;-) The converse is always true. If you don't feel well, DON'T chalk it up to getting older-get in to see your doctor!

    What about JoMo's fitness quest?! Well, it's a continuous process. Some more weight has come off and the cardio has improved. Work continues with my trainer and I've ordered a carbon fiber(what else would I buy!?) road bicycle and hope to get an indoor trainer to put it on for the winter. Hopefully I can take a couple of spins on the road before the snow flies....

    Karate continues and I continue to show the bruises. Honestly, it's not violent or rough, it's just that I have to keep my head protected and learn how to kick without putting my toes in harm's way! :-) Our second full contact kumite night was last night and I knew I should've just taken myself out before it started. I was tired and sluggish, and ended up being a human pinata! ;-) It's all part of the learning curve, and other than some really deep contusions to my chest and thigh, oh yeah-a bloody nose as well, I'm in good shape! Now where's my Bio-Freeze!?

    We had planned to load T-4 onto a ship in New Jersey in order to contest Rally Jamaica in December, but shipping arrangements did not come to fruition in a timely enough manner. Very unfortunate, as we really wanted to celebrate our fantastic 2008 season with a trip out of the country. Maybe 2009 will see us abroad? Stay tuned....

    We are sitting out one of our favorite events this weekend, the Tall Pines Rally in Bancroft Ontario. Unpredictable weather, great competition and season end let 'er rip attitude make the event difficult to miss.

    We're hoping to make a showing at the Team O'Neil rally in New Hampshire in January of 2009 to defend our win from last year. This year it's a NASA sanctioned event, so perhaps we'll see more of the Irish lads than last year? We can only hope for more folks to come out and play.

    100 Acre Wood in Missouri is our big focus for early 2009, as we'll be heading down to try and capture the 2008 Regional Rally Championship title. Regional Champions from all around the country are invited to attend in order to see who's got the speed on the fast Missouri roads. We had a great showing last year, but lost the RRC on a penalty. We hope we can show our speed there in 2009. This is rally though-it's not over until it''s over! :-)

    This time of year, the team members obviously are involved in work, school and with family around the Holidays. There seems to be little time for car prep or modification(although my mental list is always long). We'll find a bit of time to make a couple improvements to Steel Tulip 4 in hopes of upping the pace for 2009.

    Our best to all of you from all of us on the team for the 2008 Holiday season! May all your friends on Facebook be rally folk, all your turns be Scandinavian Flicks and your Mo's be long and bushy! :-)

    If you have any questions for the crew, please e-mail us via the "about us," page. Also, please check out our videos on and please rate and comment on the videos. We're trying to up the production value and suggestions for what type of other content you might want to see is always welcome. :-)

    Cheers! JoMo and the Equipe


    What a roller coaster of a month! We had originally planned, or rather felt obligated, to go to the LSPR rally in Michigan. We had erroneously calculated that we needed to attend to defend our 2008 Rally America Eastern Regional Championship title.

    After another competitor pointed out that we didn't need to, we were a bit deflated. We went from not really wanting to take a week away from work/family to attend to being pumped to go on another rally adventure! I spent several straight days doing car prep and loading and modding the tow rig only to get the call to stand down. Always a hard thing to change the rally prep transmission from drive to park.

    Regardless, it appears that the 2008 Rally America Eastern Regional Overall and Open Championship is ours. In 2007, we took the Open Championship, but missed out on the overall. We also ended 2007 second in the RA Regional Rally Championship after a penalty at 100AW Rally took us out.

    Needless to say, we'll be looking forward to attending 100AW in Missouri again at the end of February 2009.

    So, how do we celebrate the championship? With another rally of course! :-) This rally will be outside the US and happen before the end of the year. Why so cryptic?! Well, we want it to be a surprise for our friends and fans, so are making sure all the T's are crossed and I's are dotted before announcing the entry.

    T-4 is in good shape, but waiting for some new rear end bushings and the replacement radiator fan to go in. Other than that, she's ready to roll. A trip to Canada next week to pick up some rally tires and we should be set for the next couple of rallies.

    We spent some time last week adding a workbench to the venerable Sprinter tow rig and he's now more capable than ever. We have one other shelving project planned, but then the rig should be just about done(who am I kidding? It's never done!).

    Leaves are falling here in Maine. The maples at Triple Caution Farm are hanging on, but turning yellow and red. The old ash trees dropped their leaves about three weeks ago. It seems to me that the old trees just seem to be tired when fall rolls around and their leaves just drop in a couple of days. Can't say as I blame them. When I'm over 100, my leaves will drop! ;-)

    In other news, there was serious discussion of LDR being part of a two car national effort for 2009. Alas, many factors conspired against that becoming a reality, so we'll continue to do what we do best-rally! I have to admit, the team was flattered to even be on a list of considered candidates, and hopefully a similar opportunity will present itself in the future.

    Cheers! John


    Sorry for the delay in posting. Although in between, "real," jobs, I've been busy with all the fall outdoor projects we have to do in Maine in preparation for the soon-to-come snow.

    I've also been hitting the gym a bit more and added a new challenge...Karate.

    So, the gym is three days a week; Body Combat class, RPM class and an hour with the trainer. Karate is two nights a week.

    Tonight was the first full contact kumite night that we had in the dojo and as a white belt, I knew that it would be difficult, but as crazy as it sounds, I wanted to know what it's like to get hit. In the regular class, there is Kumite monthly, but this extra session is for folks that want to go a bit harder, with strikes to the head allowed.

    Only knowing some basic moves, and those not as polished as I want them to be, I was pretty scared. I'm not as young as I used to be and I wondered how the recent work at the gym would help me.

    Kicks and fists were coming at me. All I knew is that I had to try and remember some basics and block what I could and take the hits that I couldn't. I also figured I needed to be aggressive and not wait to get whacked. This worked pretty well with all of us giving and taking it pretty equally. There didn't seem to be enough air in the dojo to breathe after the second pairing.

    Then Sensei Apsega paired up with me. I knew I was going to get hit. And hit I was. After a good blow to my face, Sensei said, "That's what you wanted to get out of the class, right?" I told him it was worth every single penny-and it was. Of course, that wasn't the last hit. There were more and a good kick to the inside of the left knee. I wanted to give up, my lungs were on fire and I just kept telling myself to keep my hands up. I listened to myself some of the time. ;-)

    We continued to pair up until we just didn't have anything left. It was an amazing educational and physical experience. I've been doing cardio, but I obviously need to do more! I'm going to try and hit the gym tomorrow.

    For those interested in Karate, you can visit the website of our Dojo here in Maine.

    A big thank you to my son, John for his help with instruction recently. He has three years in the dojo and his dedication and attention to detail never cease to amaze me and make me proud.

    Alright everyone, enough reading about me getting whacked. Get out there, move and get fit! :-)

    Cheers! John

    Test Hangover

    posted in News by Last Ditch Racing


    One thing that we don't talk about much is what it feels like after a rally. This struck me this morning as I woke and unfolded myself to start the day.

    My hands are stiff and swollen and my neck and shoulders are a bit angry. We often refer to the, "rally hangover," that we feel after events, but it's not because we drink. It's because of the punishment that our bodies take in the car. It can take us anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to feel ourselves.

    Granted, Dave and I are not 21 anymore(not that we'd necessarily want to be)! :-)

    Test day was great. With a large complement of crew and photographers, we headed into the Maine Forest and spent about 6 hours making runs on a 3.5 mile stage and adjusting suspension settings.

    Some of you may not be aware that co-driver Dave is a talented driver as well. He campaigned our second Subaru for a couple of seasons and also instructs at the Team O'Neil rally school from time-to-time.

    He was a valuable asset on test day and when we'd complete a run after making changes, he'd hold his thoughts until I told him what I thought. It was amazing that our assessments were almost the same every time.

    Mark got some pics in a controlled environment(thanks to Bronson and our ham radio system) and no wildlife were harmed. It was a good day.

    Thanks to all who came out: Drew, Ken, Bronson, Rob, Nate, Ryan, the other Ryan, Mark, Stan and Dave.

    We did have a radiator fan break, but we found that the second, high-performance fan kept the car cool. We'll still replace the other for insurance. We also had a brake line rupture at the end of the last run. We'll be replacing both as a precautionary measure.

    Look for pics on Mark's pixyblog site. The first is already up!

    Cheers! John


    So, tomorrow is our first proper test of our rally car!

    I know those that know us are saying, "Isn't nine years more than enough time to test a friggin' rally car?!" Um, yes and know.

    There are certain words in rally that have specific meanings. "Off," "Crash," and, "test" are just a few.

    Testing is a controlled setting in which to change settings on the car and see if they make a positive, negative or perhaps neutral effect on the car's performance.

    We've actually never done a proper test. I'm as incredulous as the rest of you-believe me! :-)

    So, what's going to happen? Good question.

    We're going into the forest at our uber secure and stealthy test location for about 6 hours. We'll take a couple different sets of tires and try each of those out.

    We also might test out a new, LDR exclusive, GPS locating system for the rally car.

    Primary focus will be on our RS+SP gravel suspension. Adjustable until the cows come home, we've never changed the settings. NEVER! I know, I know, I can see the shaking heads now....

    Anyway, we've gotten quicker over the past couple of years and we really need to know which way to twiddle the adjustment knobs on the damn things to make the car handle better.

    Tonight in the shop, we'll be making notes about current ride height at all four corners. We'll then make note of all current strut settings. We'll run the test road until we're comfortable and then make changes in one direction, then back to the starting point, then perhaps in some other direction.

    At the end of the day, my plan is to have the crew give me one of the settings that I've decided makes me drive like Marcus Gronholm, then see if it actually is faster. Of course, they'll not be telling me which setting they're choosing. Double-blind and all that.

    Now, the road and tires will change with time during the test, so it won't be a perfect test. Rally is not a perfect sport. Perfectly awesome perhaps, but it's not the same corner a thousand times during a race.

    Mark Fleming, star photog will also be there snapping pics of us in. Having us in a semi-controlled environment is a dream come true for him. Perhaps he'll have an easier time making a couple of old(er) gentleman racers look sexy enough for the cover of Men's Health! ;-)

    Beyond that, we'll also be looking to make sure that our new pedal assembly gives me full throttle. The pedal ratio is different than stock, resulting in more throw. I have to work a bit harder, but my legs could use more definition anyway....

    Speaking of legs, I went back to an RPM class at the gym this AM. If you checked out my debrief from the first attempt, you may not have stopped laughing yet. Well, I got my cycling shoes unclipped all by myself and didn't pass out, so I'm making progress!

    As always, thanks for following the team! Please check out the YouTube vids and please rate them and leave comments.

    Cheers! John


    We think about racing! Duh! ;-)

    Seriously, we're always thinking about the next event and planning the logistics and the upgrade/repair path for the rally car.

    Currently, we're planning a test day for the car this weekend in the Maine forest. This will give us an opportunity to make sure the car is solid and that the new pedal assembly we installed prior to Rallye Defi allows us full throttle of the car.

    We've decided that we're going to step outside our usual cast of events and travel to the Lake Superior Performance Rally in Michigan in October. This will be a 1,200 mile tow for the team and we'll plan to do it over two days. Three would be ideal and we might have to stretch it out. We'll leave a little breathing room en route.

    LSPR will be a good event for a number of reasons. The first is that it's near the hometown of Jeff Moyle, a fellow competitor who recently passed away in a non-rally related accident. We really only met him at the New England Forest Rally, but found him to be a great guy who always had a smile on his face. I got to meet his wife and their beautiful daughter at the recent X-Games in LA. Jeff had quite the cheering crowd in the stands! He'll be missed.

    LSPR will also give us an opportunity to see the event, should we have the opportunity to revisit it in 2009. You never know what the future will bring.

    We're also making sure our passports are in order. For what, I'm not at liberty to say, but it involves cars and travel-what better combo is there than that?!

    We'll post some pictures and videos of the weekends' test and let you all know how it went. We'll make sure we ONLY put fuel in the tank this time! ;-)

    Cheers! John


    For Immediate Release

    September 11, 2008

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Last Ditch Racing headed to the beautiful Laurentian region North of Montreal for round 4 of the Canadian Rally Championship, Rallye Defi-St. Agathe.

    Driver/owner John Cassidy was joined by co-driver Dr. Jennifer Daly for this event. Recce went smoothly, and Friday's smooth, short stages were seeing the crew get used to each other and some recent modifications to the car.

    It all went pear shaped when the team refueled the car prior to embarking on the last few stages of the evening. Shortly after exiting the refuel area, the car died. Cassidy attempted to trouble shoot, but other than cranking the car and popping the hood to look for loose wires, there wasn't much to do.

    Being just outside the service area, the crew opted to get pushed back in for repairs/troubleshooting and take a penalty for illegal servicing. Hoping to get back to the parc expose in downtown Ste. Agathe on time, members of several rally teams swarmed over the car. It was determined that the the recent fueling was to blame and the fuel tank was drained, showing a large amount of water in the fuel. A new fuel filter was sourced from the Subaru Canada support truck and the team was on their way to expose. The team had filled some fuel jugs from a half full barrel back at the shop, and the only explanation was that rain water found it's way into the drum.

    Unfortunately for the team, although they had arrived at parc expose 22 minutes prior to their assigned out time, they had accrued maximum permitted lateness for the entire event. The Stewards informed the team that they would not be able to restart the second and final portion of the event on Saturday.

    Said Cassidy, "Fielding a rally team is a huge endeavor on many levels for all competitors. Crew had flown in for the event from opposite ends of the continent, 100's of hours of car prep had gone into making sure the car was perfect. Te be struck down by something that was essentially non-rally related was heart wrenching for me as a team principal. Telling the team we were out was one of the most difficult announcements I've made to them in some time. We loaded a car that was ready to race back on the trailer and headed out for a late dinner. There was no other alternative, and at the end of the day, that's rally."

    Not a team to dwell on the negative, the LDR service crew volunteered to fettle the Washpa Rally Team's Toyota MR2 for Saturday's stages. Cassidy hit the stages with pro photographer Mark Fleming and found out how difficult it is to catch rally cars in action-especially on a rainy day!

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank Jen Daly for strapping in the right seat and bringing chocolate chip cookies! We'd also like to thank Iain from Planet Motorsport, Karl Sprongl and Steward Ho from CanJam Motorsports for their help in the service park Friday night. We'd also like to thank crew on hand for the event: Duncan Matlack, Dave Getchell and Ken Anctil.

    The team's next event will be Rally of the Tall Pines and possibly the LSPR rally in the UP of Michigan in October.

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

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

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


    Well, it's all play really, but every day between now and Rallye Defi will involve some sort of work on T-4.

    Tonight, I installed a new proximity probe for the rally computer. The probe creates a signal when something ferrous is in close proximity to it. We put a nut on the driver's axle with some metal based adhesion goo and then routed the wires up to the computer. We spun the wheels by hand and she works! :-)

    Drew stopped by and we spent the rest of the evening removing items so that we can take the tranny out for a clutch change. For those of you changing clutches at home, don't forget the nice clutch fork rod, which lives in both Subaru 5 and 6 speed trannies! :-)

    I'll pull the tranny tomorrow, install the new ACT 6 puck clutch and pressure plate and then put it all back together.

    Bronson will show and work his magic fusing different types of metal and aluminum together. We're hoping to tie up some of the welding projects that need to be completed.

    Some more brake system fittings ordered from California today. They'll arrive Tuesday and we leave Wednesday AM. Never enough time.....

    Cheers! John


    Fellow native and award winning photographer Mark Fleming is documenting our prep and journey to the upcoming Rallye Defi St. Agathe in Quebec in about a weeks' time.

    His first pic is up on his blog. Check out Mark's fantastic work!

    Cheers! John


    Sorry everyone, but I sometimes get some tied up in working on the car, I forget to update you all!

    The question I've been getting lately is, "How's the car coming?" Next popular is, "Will it be ready for Defi?" Answers are good and yes! :-)

    More detailed updates below.

    1.) Got the AN plumbing from, where else, Great folks at the Earl's Store in Cali. Got the bulkhead fittings installed. Dry fit all the lines to the master cylinders. Installed the residual pressure valves. These are important if the master cylinders are below the level of the calipers. Pedal box still not mounted yet, but that's the next step.

    2.) Clutch slave cylinder. Had to put the new AN line on the clutch slave and had to open up the gap on the top of the slave to accept the wider diameter of the new line. While the clutch slave was out, I employed a common rally mod. The slave mounts to the tranny(both 5 and 6 speed) with two bolts. These are difficult to get out quickly with the starter in place.

    So.....I found a bolt with the same thread as the stock one and placed it in the rear and cut the head off. In the front, I installed a stud with a nut. So, when/if the clutch slave needs replacing, then you remove a single nut off the front stud and pull it off. MUCH easier.

    3.) The power to the rally driving lights comes off a couple of relays on the passenger side of the engine bay. Pretty standard stuff. Problem is, when the lights are connected, you can't open the hood. So, another standard rally mod is in the works. Bought two orange extension cords at Home Depot tonight and will wire those to the relays and then secure them to the bottom of the hood so that the pod lights won't restrict access to the service crew.

    A small, simple, cheap modificaiton that could make a world of difference for the service crew and improve the reliability of the car.

    Thanks for checking in and keeping up to date with the LDR crew!

    Cheers! John


    Don't worry, the X-Games write up will come-who knows when, but it'll come! :-)

    Prepping T-4 for Rallye Defi St. Agathe.

    Focus on the car varies between races, depending on what system needs improvement and what damage we've done at the last race!

    Improvement has progressed steadily this season, and that's reflected in our finishes.

    The brake system is our current focus, although no system in the car exists without affecting another.

    So....I decided that we really needed to rectify my driving position. My seat was too far forward(and high) as we were using the stock, firewall mounted Subaru pedals. We had been using the stock master cylinder(without vacuum assist) to our Group N brake calipers.

    To say that the system didn't work well would be a bit of an understatement. I mean, I could stop the car, but braking late and hard is the name of the game. In order to do that, we needed to re-engineer the whole system.

    A couple of e-mails late and a floor mounted pedal box was on its way from England. A few more magical clicks on the internet and three new Wilwood compact master cylinders were on their way. Heating up the debit card a bit more resulted in a bunch of AN stainless plumbing heading across the US of A to Triple Caution Farm.

    So, what else did we need to do?! The list only got longer. Floor mounted pedals meant that we could move my driver's seat back. Moving the seat rearward meant dropping the steering column a bit as well.

    Removing the stock brake and clutch master cylinders meant some aluminum patches needed to be cut and riveted to the firewall to plug the holes. The remote reservoirs for the new dual brake master cylinders and the clutch master will be mounted in the engine compartment.

    Each change to the car is made with specific concerns in mind; safety, speed, reliability.

    The brake system/floor mounted pedals/changed driver's position result in numerous positives.

    The position change of the seat allows me to enter and exit the car easier. This becomes even more crucial in an emergency situation. I am now sitting on level with the B-pillar, which puts more metal between me and the scenary. Never a bad thing!

    The floor mounted pedals move some weight closer to the floor and further back in the car, helping to lower the center of gravity and change the polar moment of the car(moving my heft back does way more for this, but you get the idea!).

    The dual master cylinders should allow for improved braking performance and the balance bar will enable me to change the bias from front to rear brakes as the conditions dictate.

    What's the next system for an upgrade? Probably the turbo system, but that's a story for another day.

    Stay tuned!

    Cheers! John


    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:


    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

    LDR at NEFR!

    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:


    An update from the LDR crew in New Richmond, Quebec!

    We arrived at about 01:00 after an 8 hour drive from Triple Caution Farm, LDR World Headquarters in Bangor, Maine.

    Staying at the lovely Cascapedia Lodge in New Richmond. In spite of the late(or early) hour of our arrival, our host greeted us in his bathrobe and graciously showed us to our rooms.

    Today, John and Dave(and John, John's son) did recce and found the stages muddy, wet, and very rough. After a 9-10 hour day on the stages making their own notes, the team hit the Bayou lounge at the Hotel Francis for some good food and networking with rally friends.

    Duncan and Ken spent the day running errands and looking after gear and last minute details on the car.

    Our new Dodge Sprinter van hauled the car and gear with aplomb and is a vast improvement over the Ford box truck we've hauled with for the last couple years. A big thanks to George at Bangor Chrysler/Dodge for getting a new turbo installed the morning of our trip! :-)

    Another BIG, BIG thanks to Bronson, chief fabricator and pontificator, for getting the truck together with a push the day of our departure. The push saw John and Bronson turn the lights off in the shop at 04:30. The team could truly not perform at the level we do without Bronson's help and contributions!

    Crew present at this rally include: Duncan Matlack, Ken Anctil, Drew Simpson, John Cassidy, Dave Getchell and John Cassidy V.

    Up tomorrow AM for an early breakfast and setting up the service area. We know from the conditions of the stages, that there'll be carnage this weekend-we just hope it doesn't involve us! ;-)

    Check the Rallye BDC site for results as the day progresses.

    Cheers! The LDR crew


    Been a bit quiet of late, but wanted folks to know that it's because we're working our butts off trying to get the team in shape for our rally in Quebec next weekend!

    Our new Dodge Sprinter service vehicle is getting aluminum shelves, tool boxes, fuel drum holder, tire holder, air bag helper suspension, tow hitch, rear step, etc, etc! Of course, it's all custom, and taking more time that we had hoped, but we're doing it right and not cutting any corners!

    T-4, our rally car is getting LOTS of attention. New front bumper cover, new rear wing, new windshield, intercooler water spray system, etc, etc.

    In short, everything we own is getting a lot of attention and a thorough going-over!

    We're starting 12th out of 50 or so cars at Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs, and we think that's a good place for use to be. We hope we end the rally a bit higher than that, but the event truly is a shakedown for the car and service rig in preparation for the New England Forest Rally, our home event.

    Thanks for checking out the site and listening to our rants! :-) We hope we can put on a good show for those of you at Rallye BDC and NEFR! :-) If you can't make it to an event, we'll try and update you during the event via this site. Be sure and subscribe to the RSS feed! :-)

    Cheers! John


    Well, I finally realized that improved fitness might help me on the special stages, and certainly will help me with my every day wellness.

    Got a membership to a local gym and convinced a trainer with a great Scandinavian name to torture me periodically! :-)

    So, have only been going sporadically, but due to a change in work schedule, have been going more often the last couple of weeks.

    Thought I'd share my experience from RPM class tonight. Started the day with a Body Combat class, and then decided to be brave and try the RPM class for the first time tonight.

    Armed with my settings for the bike given to me earlier by my trainer(who teaches this particular class as well), I showed up early to make sure I got a bike. Apparently people enjoy the torture he dishes out in class as well.

    Not wanting to be on the bike for the first time when class was full, I hopped on and tried to clip my cycling shoe into the pedal. I've had the shoes for awhile, but haven't used the clips on the mountain bike. Up on the bike I go, then tried to clip in-no joy. I get off the bike and take my shoe off and get down where I can see how everything meshes. Clip the shoe in, and then.....can't remove it.

    One shoe on, one shoe off. Not wanting to look like more of an imbecile than I am, I take the other shoe off and head out to the main gym area and hope that Scott(said trainer) will show up a bit early and help me rescue my shoe, and my dignity.

    Of course he laughs at my plight, then asks which bike I was set up on-then he replies, "Oh yeah, the one with the shoe hanging off of it." He's very supportive! ;-)

    Scott gets me set up and class is about to begin. I had brought some padded gloves with me due to my carpal tunnel. I had bought them at Dick's Sporting Goods last year, and with my luck, they were two right hand gloves! Thinking they were my replacement gloves(which were anatomically correct for a person with one each of left and right hand), I brought the, "special gloves."

    Strike two. This wasn't looking good! ;-) So, class begins and I'm muddling my way through, spinning the tension knob on the bike when Scott tells us too. More tension, less tension. He really can't seem to make up his mind. Why are my thighs and ass on fire?!

    Get to the end of the 60 minutes and we're done. Some stretching on the bike and my right quad starts to cramp. Visions of my leg locking up and me dangling from my clipped in shoes appear in my head. Cramp passes. Scott tells us we can get off the bike when we're ready and do some stretching.

    Oh yeah, don't know how to unclip, but have a vague idea. Spin for a bit more, trying to look like I'm just cooling down-wondering if I'll be spending the night on the back of a Lemond gym bike. Twist my ankles outward and the clips release. Thank the big guy!

    Stretching and we're done. Scott asks how the class was and I tell him it was long....little does he know! :-)

    As I've gotten a bit older, um, wiser, I've come to appreciate these types of experiences and find the humor in them. I'm feeling stronger and feeling fitter, but there's plenty of work to do yet. Year's of working out with my two trainers, Ben and Jerry, have given Scott lots to work with!

    Cheers! John


    Work continues at a furious pace here at Triple Caution Farm! We're outfitting our new(used) 2006 Dodge Sprinter cargo van with custom shelving and a seat for crew. We're fabbing everything out of aluminum and it should be a sweet ride once it's done! :-)

    Moving from one rally service vehicle to another is almost like moving from one house to another. The tow rig is our, "mothership," and has to be our home away from home, and even our lifeboat if need be.

    T-4 is also getting some love prior to our next event in about 3 weeks.

    Wicked hot working today(about 90) and Bronson was working up a sweat with the welder in the shop.

    We'll be hard at it between now and Baie, making sure everything's as perfect as it can be!

    Cheers! John


    After a few weeks of negotiating, we closed the deal for a 2006 Dodge Sprinter 3500, 158" wheelbase. This truck will replace our 2002 Ford E-450 box truck as LDR-1UH(UH=ultra heavy). Since the Sprinter is made by Mercedes, we like to call the new truck, LDR-1 Uber Heavy! ;-)

    We'll be working on making the truck into the perfect rally support vehicle for us and we'll be thinking about the layout long and hard before cutting/welding/fabbing.

    Next race is the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs at the end of June. Check out the event website at

    Cheers! John


    Just back from a whirlwind day at the Team O'Neil Rally School in Dalton, NH.

    We went down for a, "test and tune," day. What the heck is that, you ask!? Well, it's a day where our rally guru Tim O'Neil checks out the car, the driver and the co-driver and offers suggestions on how we can improve our game.

    We had a classroom session, followed by some time with Tim on some test stages, then some pace-noting work. T-4 held up well, but we found some issues with the brakes and alignment settings. We lost a power steering belt after a bolt on the pump backed out enough to contact the pump pulley. This stopped the pump in its tracks and Tim brought the car in smoking as the shredded belt hung off the front of the engine like a dead snake!

    Another belt sourced and I got some time on the stages. Working on timing and intensity of braking, crests and up and downhill sections. Erik Lee hopped in the co-driver seat for Emilio Arce to help him out with the pacenoting section.

    Dave hopped in T-4 after he was done helping teach the, "Rally Experience." course and we went off to write our own pace notes for a small stage which Tim had Jemba notes for. We then compared what we had versus the JEMBA and we all discussed what worked for each of us individually.

    Fantastic day in the White Mountains, except for swallowing a few black flies! ;-)

    Cheers! John


    With over 180 photos on our flickr account spanning out entire career, we'll be adding more from our gigantic collection over time! All the way from the time of Fireball, our Honda CRX, to the 2007 season in T-4, it's all(almost) there. :-)

    LDR on Flickr

    If you're one of the intrepid rally photographers that has snapped us in action, and you see one of your pic(s) on the site without credit to you, please e-mail me so I can credit you! :-)

    Cheers! John


    We've received our new tire changer and balancer. Purchased from Greg Smith Equipment, , this is a HUGE upgrade from the team.

    In the run up to a rally, we usually carry with us 12-15 wheels/tires. Most tires only last an event. So, the process in the past was: 1.) Load up 15 wheels/tires in the truck with 15 new tires. 2.) Drive to the tire shop and unload the whole lot, 3.) Pick up the whole lot and load them into the truck. 4.) Bring them back to Triple Caution Farm and unload them and then put them on the rally car and into the truck/on the trailer.

    I'm not really interested in lifting 30 tires/rims 3 times prior to each event, thus the new machines. We can change tires in our spare time, on site and have control over the quality of the process. Vive le Revolution! :-)

    As an FYI, our next event is the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in Quebec at the end of June.

    Cheers! John


    LDR got a couple new livestock at the farm this weekend! We received our new tire changer and wheel balancer from Greg Smith Equipment. After much research, we purchased these unit due to their quality/price combination.

    The tire changer has dual assist arms, which should help us mount the difficult rally tires. A rally tire has such thick sidewalls, that mounting is difficult.

    Why purchase these machines at all!? Well, it's a large investment in our infrastructure, but here's an example. For each event, we usually take 12 tires/wheels. This means that I get to load 12 mounted tires and loose tires in the truck and take them to the local tire shop. Then I unload them. Then, I return and load them all back in the truck for return to the shop. Finally, they get loaded into the rally truck and onto the trailer and car for the event.

    Sooooo.....potentially 24 tires that I get to move 4 times. Not to mention the travel time. We've been thinking about this for some time, so it's an exciting upgrade for L'Equpipe!

    In other news, T-4 is getting a new oil pan, fresh steering rack, an intercooler spray tank and some general TLC. Out Peltor intercom(which is on the fritz), has been sent out for service.

    Out next event will be the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in Quebec June 27-28, 2008.

    Cheers! John


    Time for another Triple Caution Farm Update! :-) We don't stop moving for long here and the list of projects waiting in the wings is always long! :-)

    Last weekend, we upgraded the trailer with a winch mount and some new tow rings. We found that we need to replace the axles on the trailer as the trip to Missouri a couple months ago destroyed one. We've put some miles on the trailer, so new axles will be a good upgrade.

    We've been working on installing a Mercedes diesel engine in a 1960's Land Rover Series IIA truck and the engine is now in. Unfortunately, we need to replace head gaskets on two Range Rover P38 models, and it needs to get done soon!

    T-4, the rally car, needs to get in soon for a rotated turbo system and possibly addition of a rotated intake manifold and front mount intercooler.

    And what about the Ford Merkur?! We have parts, and a freshly rebuilt engine. We need to find time to work on the roll cage and other bits. It should put a big smile on our face when we're done! :-)

    Cheers! John


    A big congrats to Mark Fleming for his recent win at the Adobe Photoshop World 2008. conference. He won the Best in Show Prize/Guru Award for his photo of T-4 airborne at the 2006 New England Forest Rally. He also won in the photography category for a separate photo.

    Photoshop World Winners

    To see more of Mark's fantastic work, check out his blog site at:
    Mark Fleming

    Congrats Mark, and thanks for making us look soooo sexy! :-)

    Cheers! John


    Progress continues here at Triple Caution Farm, with T-4 being nearly ready to go onto the lift for a round of repairs and upgrades. We have to replace the front bumper cover and the oil pan due to damage from our recent events. She'll get a thorough battle damage assessment and we'll tend to other issues as they arise.

    We're contemplating installing the Triple Caution Thong front mount intercooler that was on T-2, and installer our new 12L STi intecooler spray tank. Rotated turbo? Rotated intake manifold?! Perhaps! :-)

    We just made a major investment in our shop infrastructure with the purchase of a tire machine and wheel balancer. With the number of rally tires and street tires we process in a year, it'll pay for itself in no time!

    Just realizing how little time we have prior to Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in June!

    Cheers! John


    All our videos are now online. We're going to find a couple of older ones and try and get those up. I think we have a few from Targa Newfoundland and Rallye Quebec. Good stuff!

    Spring has arrived here at Triple Caution Farm, world headquarters of the Last Ditch Racing team. :-) As the snow melts, piles of parts and tires emerge as if growing out of the ground.

    The rally car will be getting some new parts and we'll be working on upgrading some systems prior to our next event, the Rallye Baie Des Chaleurs in Quebec in June. If you want to spectate at a fantastic event, this is one of the best! It's one of the closest rallies to our home base and one of our favorites.

    We had a difficult event there last year, with boost cut issues and the shift lever repeatedly popping out. The final blow was a broken outer tierod after hitting a skidder tire on the Super Special. Quel dommage! ;-)

    We always have a line of various automotive projects here at the farm. My old Land Rover will eventually get a Mercedes diesel engine. My new(er) Range Rover will also get a new engine. We have our Merkur rally car project that's always on the list, and of course our street cars and the rally car! We need a couple more bays.

    We'll be working on a spring video podcast soon, so look for that.

    Thanks for visiting the site and checking in with us! Cheers! John


    Going through some teething pains at present trying to load content into/onto the site.

    Look for our full complement of videos and podcasts soon.

    You can find us on myspace, facebook and a beginning collection of photos of

    With the summer rally season a few months away, we are beginning to turn our thoughts to making some improvements to T-4 to make her more competitive.

    Cheers! John

    Media Uploads Continue

    posted in News by John


    Updating the new site slowly but surely. Working hard to get media loaded. 9 years is a long time to accumulate stuff! If anyone sees a photo on our site that they took, and it's NOT credited to them(or if you have a problem with the photo being here), simply e-mail me and I'll take care of it!

    Cheers! John


    For Immediate Release

    Bangor, Maine USA

    Maine's oldest rally team travelled to Salem, Missouri for the 100 Acre Wood rally, round 2 of the Rally America National Championship. The event consisted of two regional events; Trespasser's Wil Central Region Rally on Friday and the 100 Acre Wood Central Regional Rally on Saturday. The event was also the host of the Rally America Regional Rally Championship for 2007.

    While the event is known for it's fast and flowing gravel roads, it is rarely a dry event. This year was no exception as the Last Ditch Racing team seemed to tow the snow and ice South with them from Maine. The week's forecast called for, "ice pellets," which the team sound found were accurately described. Said driver John Cassidy, "We thought they meant sleet or freezing rain, but they were tiny round balls of ice. Talk about slippery!" The team had come prepared with snow, ice and cold weather gravel tires. "We've been doing this long enough to know that we could be racing in any weather and on any surface!," said Cassidy.

    Having won Rally America's Eastern Regional Championship in the Open Class in 2007, the team were anxious to take the show on the road to compete against other Open Class champions from other regions in the US. Their main competitors for the event would be Henry and Cindy Krolikowski from Michigan in their Subaru.

    Fridays' four stages saw teams trying to come to grip with, well...the lack of grip. Cassidy and Getchell chose to go out on Yokohama AO-34's rally snow tires. The tires were a good choice for the conditions and helped LDR to a second place overall(in a field of 24) in the Trespassers Wil Central Regional Rally, 33 seconds adrift of the top spot on the podium. The team ended the day about 2:30 minutes ahead of the Krolikowski's.

    Feeling that the cold weather would most likely cause the existing ice to freeze solid, the team chose to use their Michelin X-Ice tires for the first 4 stages on Saturday. A decision, they came to realize, on the transit out to the morning's stages, was a poor one. "Dave and I knew going to the stages that we had made the wrong tire choice. My confidence in the tires was low and we were sliding in the slush with very little traction. The X-Ice's excel on ice in cold temperatures, but we really needed the Yokohama's on," said Cassidy.

    Stage 5, the first stage of Saturday, proved to be the team's undoing. On a left hand turn early in the stage, they struck a rock that was in the racing line. The left front tire was soon going flat. With about 7 miles left in the stage, the crew decided they'd loose less time by simply driving the rest of the stage on the flat. The team dropped about 2 minutes on the stage, finishing well down the order. Stopping on the transit to change the flat, they found the jack not working! Borrowing an operational jack, they got the spare mounted, but were now late on the transit. With a non-functioning speedometer/odometer due to an electrical glitch, they drew a speeding penalty, being clocked 25mph in a 15mph zone. "To say it wasn't our morning was an understatment," said Cassidy. "We handily turned a 2:30 advantage into a similar deficit within the span of 4 stages."

    Not a team to go gently down the order, they managed through the remaining 3 stages of the morning without another flat. The service crew refitted the Yokohama tires and away the team went, eager to prove a point. Said Cassidy, "I knew that our deficit was more than likely too large to make up, but that didn't mean we wouldn't try! We have a reputation for going faster as events progress, and Dave and I were a bit cranky at our situation and wanted to prove a point."

    Prove a point they did. Cassidy and Getchell won 5 of the remaining 6 stages outright among the 21 regional competitors. Their pace garnered three top 10 overall stage times among both the national and regional competitors. The team finished the 100 Acre Wood Central Regional Rally in seventh place overall, with the Krolikowski's taking the win.

    In the 2007 Regional Rally Championship portion of the event, Last Ditch Racing took 3rd overall. The Krolikowski's took first and fellow Mainer Chris Duplessis took 2nd. Without the road penalties, the LDR crew would have taken the win in the Regional Rally Championship, having won an impressive 9/14 stages outright among the 2007 Regional Rally Championship contenders. "Dave and I did our best and put in some of our best stages to date and we were very pleased that we were able to go quickly in such challenging conditions. We're hoping to find more speed as the 2008 season progresses," said Cassidy.

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

    Last Ditch Racing would like to thank crew members Drew Simpson and Eric Wages for their help at the event.

    For more information Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
    To purchase Last Ditch Racing Merchandise, please visit:
    For more information on the 100 Acre Wood, please visit:
    For scoring information on the 100 Acre Wood and regional rallies, please visit:


    After a mega drive(15 hours from here to there), the LDR crew has emerged with a record setting result.

    Being LDR's first tripto the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri, the team garnered the following results:

    Won 9/14 stages outright in the Regional Rally Championship!

    3 Top 10 stage times overall(2 7th place results and 1 9th place result).

    2nd Overall in Friday's Trespasser's Will Regional Rally
    3rd Overall in the 2007 Rally America Regional Rally Championship
    7th Overall in Saturday's 100 Acre Wood Regional Rally
              Moved from 21st to 7th during Saturday's event!

    The team would like to thank Drew Simpson and Eric Wages for their help and support over the weekend!  Thanks to our fans and team partners.  Pics, videos and PR to come!


    Having finished the 2002 RIQ in dead last place in our Honda CRX rally car, I wanted to see what it would be like to tackle the event in our updated 2.5L Subaru Impreza all wheel drive car.

    Having put in a fair performance at the 2002 Maine Forest Winter Club Rally in early December, and then having some winter instruction at Team O’Neil in New Hampshire, we felt we were ready.

    We attended Team O’Neil as a team(driver/co-driver) as we had asked Tim for instruction so would could better make pace notes. Tim obliged and asked Marc Goldfarb, an accomplished and experienced co-driver, to instruct us as well.

    We wanted some more experience on how to perform recce and make our notes as RIQ 2003 would be our first opportunity to do so. The driving experience for me in the snow was humiliating and humbling, but that was good. The pace noting experience was invaluable.

    There was one day of recce, and we were advised that teams could run each stage twice. We were up earlier than needed after a good night’s rest. Some of the stages were nearly closed due to recent snow and many recce vehicles got stuck. We performed recce in co-driver Dave Getchell’s Subaru Impreza RS, affectionately named, “Nigel.”

    We completed the day and felt good about out notes. We felt they were consistent across all stages, and we had both come to a common language to use when describing the stage to each other.


    Last Ditch Racing had made the decision to focus on running as many SCCA ProRally events as possible in 2003, and I had thrown out the idea of going to California to run the Rim of the World 2003 rally in early May.

    I really didn’t expect the team to bite, but when they ALL told me they were up for going, I really couldn’t believe it! We’ve always had high expectations of our rally program, but this would be one of our most ambitious undertakings to date. Targa Newfoundland 2002 was our other.

    The team members had combinations of stashed frequent flyer miles and free tickets from getting bumped from previous flights that allowed them to find their way to California much quicker than I. I would piloting the team’s new tow rig, “LDR-1 Heavy,” a 1997 Ford F-250 crew cab diesel that I had recently bought from a wholesale lot.

    While the team had their reservations made, I was desperately searching for a co-driver to make the cross country trek with me. Despite numerous responses, I finally found a co-driver in one Mike Rademacher, a private jet pilot and fellow Subaru owner from Maine.

    Our rally car, “Steel Tulip,” had most recently completed Rallye De Quebec, and was in fine shape. We loaded all the gear we thought we’d ever need and I picked up the trip-tik from the AAA office. We estimated a trip that would take 5 days averaging 700 miles daily.


    After struggling with Steel Tulip, our 1994 Subaru Impreza with 1999 Subaru 2.5RS engine and LINK PLUS ECU for two events, we were at our wits end! We finally contacted LINK in New Zealand and Brett Middletion at MRT Performance in Australia for help.

    Paul at MRT was able to diagnose some significant tuning errors we had made in our LINK and we realized that we had been lucky not to have melted our engine down as we were running dangerously lean and using only a quarter of the resolution of the LINK’s fuel table! Truly a testament to the longevity of the Subaru powerplant!

    Some back and forth via the internet in the middle of the night(on our end-it was mid day in Australia), and we had a map that made the car feel like we had a new engine installed! It put large smiles on all our faces! To have the car finally run correctly, and understand the LINK PLUS was doubly exciting.


    We had a MOST eventful debut with Tulip 2, LDR's new GC8 Impreza WRX rally car. Wild as even two crazies like me and John could want!

    Day One:

    We start 52nd of 60-some teams. The new car runs like the hammers of hell. John does his best Richard Burns imitation (i.e., driving fast and smooth), we are really on with our pace-note timing, and start moving up at every stage. It rains most of Friday afternoon and evening, with wicked slippy mud...quite entertaining. The nighttime tarmac stage at Concord Pond is like a freaking unlit skating rink with a BIG jump at the end in front of soaking-wet spectators. Air time, whoa!! Huge fat raindrops come whizzing at us like asteroids thru the glare of our rally lights. End of first night, we're 24th, less than 2 minutes out of the top 10.

    Day Two:

    Saturday morning's start order is reseeded by Day One results, so we line up ahead of cars run by guys we've idolized for years, much less ever imagined we'd be on par with. This presents a whole new, eye-opening view of the rally for us. Kind of amazing what a season's worth of seat time (not to mention an agile new car with 100 extra hp) can do!


    Bangor driver to compete in Pro Rally race in Rumford
    By Tom Hale

    If racing full throttle through the forest is your type of motorsport, you’ll have a chance to see it when the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Rally comes to Rumford Friday and Saturday.

    Pro Rally often conjures up visions of racers from Europe or other foreign shores. Race fans may be pleased to know that Bangor’s John Cassidy with his race team, Last Ditch Racing, will be in the top class.

    After a couple years racing at the local Club Rally level and the Canadian rally scene, Cassidy’s team has gone professional this season. Cassidy and co-driver Dave Getchell from Camden are the only team from Maine to compete in three Pro events in 2003.

    Cassidy has taken delivery of a turbocharged 1998 TAD Motorsports Subaru Impreza to race in rally racing’s top class, Open. In previous races Last Ditch Racing competed in their non-turbocharged 1994 Subaru Impreza.

    The Maine team finished its last race in Pennsylvania ninth in the Open class.

    Cassidy, a physician’s assistant, developed his interest in rallying after viewing a race on ESPN. His mechanical background at that time was limited to restoration work on Land Rovers.


    Bangor ProRally team driven
    Last Ditch Racing competitive in recent events
    By Tom Hale in The Bangor Daily News

    The Last Ditch Racing ProRally racing team of Bangor finished its quest to race on both ends of the continent by placing 26th in the Susquehannock Trail SCCA ProRally held over the weekend in Wellsboro, Pa. The previous weekend the Maine team finished 15th (fifth overall in the Open Class) in the Rocky Mountain Rally in Calgary, Alberta.

    Team driver John Cassidy said the engine in the team's Subaru race car blew in stage five of the Pennsylvania rally.

    "I was not disappointed in our race weekend since we placed eighth in the Sherwood Forest Club Rally portion of the event, thus earning our highest placing in a rally event in the United States," Cassidy said. "Our Bangor team was the highest placing nonturbo car in the Club Rally."

    Despite a broken spring in the car's suspension, the rally team moved up four places after the first stage, three more in the third stage, and held its own in the fourth stage of the Pro Rally.


    The road to Maine Forest 2002 was paved with adversity. This event is very important for myself and the team. We consider it our home event and this year was our fourth time at the race. I started rallying after seeing fellow Mainer Carl Merril on ESPN2 and couldn't believe that someone in my state was rallying! As crazy as the thought was at the time, I bought a car and decided to go rallying. My passion for rally has steadily increased. I regret that I never got to meet Carl prior to his untimely death. From what I understand, he was quite a character. I would expect nothing less from a fellow Mainer in a rally car!

    We had many obstacles to getting to this year's event. We weren't done building our new rally car, a 1994 1.8L Subaru Impreza AWD sedan. We didn't have our SCCA ProRally licenses. We had just come off a Canadian events two weeks prior.

    The Last Ditch Team was up to the challenge. Team is the operative word. For the first time in it's short history, Last Ditch Racing is a TEAM, consisting of, John Cassidy, Maygen McCarty, Eric Wages, Margaret Michaels, Dave Getchell and Matt Robinson. Without the team, there would be no car, no event, no stories. A heartfelt thanks to all of them for helping me realize my dream of becoming a better rally driver and representing Maine in the sport.


    I’ll premise this article to note that it is being penned quite some time after the fact, so I’ll apologize now for any glaring omissions.

    The RIC rally is an epic, three day event, very similar in structure to events held in the World Rally Championship. I had heard of the rally, but had never attended. It seemed as if it would be a good yardstick for the team. Little did I know....

    Prior to the event, we had to replace the transmission in the car. We took the opportunity to also put in a new 1.8L engine as well. The rear diff was also replaced. We didn’t know at the time that we had replaced the diff with a conflicting ratio to that in the gearbox!

    I convinced the crew that we should tackle the event, and we headed North. We took one set of gravel tires, and after much arm twisting by Eric, I agreed to pack a set of Nokia snow tires.


    Not one to make rational decisions, I made the workload for the team exponentially greater in the few weeks we had to prepare for Maine Forest Winter 2002. Having returned from Charlevoix, our first DNF from the year, we had been discussing moving into Open Class for 2003. We had a 2.5RS Impreza engine sitting in the garage and we had been tempted to swap it in earlier in the season, but had thought better of it.

    Dave Getchell, a long time team member and co-driver for another team, would be joining me in the right seat for this race. Dave ended his first race in the woods after a spectacular roll at Ski Sawmill 2002. I told Dave I thought I could get him across the finish line. The thought of having another co-driver in the stable for the team was a very sensible one, as we have had five different co-drivers this year alone!


    Defi-St. Agathe was a shot in the dark for the Last Ditch Racing crew. Having just had a successful debut at Maine Forest 2002 with the team's new 1994 1.8L Subaru Impreza, it was decided that Defi should be the first CARS event for the car.

    The car performed flawlessly at the nortiorously rough Maine Forest event and needed no mechanical attention prior to Defi. The engine had a bottom end knock, but we were assured by the folks at Exeter Subaru that it would, "probably," hold together for another race.

    We headed North and hit rush hour in Montreal, adding at least two hours to our trip. We were pleased to see two other Subarus with the same displacement in the P-3 class. Racing the Impreza at Maine Forest in the SCCA PGT class against stock 2002 WRX'S was futile to say the least!

    The first night saw us do two stages at a tarmac road racing course. We soon found that the 1.8L did not have the gumption to power-slide the car through the tight turns. We took a more traditional road racing approach of , "slow in, fast out," the second lap and were rewarded with a faster time. A timing error on the first lap led to us taking a bogey time for the first stage, putting us down a couple minutes on most of the other teams heading into day two.

    Day two provided us with beautiful weather, although conditions got dusty to the point of being dangerous toward the end of the day. We steadily gained time on our nearest Impreza competitor, but at the end of the day it was not enough to advance a place in the standings.

    We were extremely pleased to take third place in P-3, and took home a trophy for the top finishing American team as well as a gratis entry into the inagural Targa Newfoundland 2002 tarmac rally!


    I knew we had to install a thermostat in the car, but didn't get around to it prior to heading up to Quebec. We then end up doing it in the hotel parking lot, risking our ears, fingers and respective noses to exposure in the gale force wind, sideway snow and then finally stinging sleet. BTW, the car never leaked a drop of coolant the whole race and we were quite toasty inside! :-)

    The stuff at the end of SS1 was on a downhill section. I was too fast and started sliding. No way to stop-brakes no good-accelerator no good. Up and onto the snowbank. Out come Nate and I and the shovels and traction mats. We huffed and puffed and were finally rescued by a caring Mazda 323 driver who tugged us out. Come to find out we were just around the corner from the finish! Talk about heartbreak! :-(

    SS2 bit. We race into the stage only to stop behind a line of 6-8 cars sitting on the hot stage. Turns out the Datsun 510 couldn't make it up the ice precipice. No surprise. Then, a service van gets stuck. Then, the tow vehicles can't tow us up! We end up getting towed all the way from the bottom to the top on the back of a Ford pickup, with both vechicles clawing for traction. Studs would be nice.


    Did you ever want to rally, but didn’t have a rally car in the garage? This was my problem prior to the Baie Des Chaleurs rallye in Quebec this year-sort of. See, I sold Fireball and was holding him until his new owner could pick him up. The mailing came for the Baie rallye and we really wanted to go-problem was, Fireball was no longer mine! So, I e-mailed his new owner and offered to rent Fireball for the event. He replied that it was cool to take Fireball North for a romp and we were on!

    Rallying in Canada, specifically the province of Quebec, is very attractive to us as we are less than ten hours away from most of the five events that make up the Coupe De Quebec. The exchange rate is very favorable, with fuel being the only expensive consumable. But most of all, the Canadian rally community is extremely friendly and inviting! The events that we have attended are the best organized we’ve entered to date.

    Enough gushing about the Great White North. We were on a mission-this was Fireball’s last spin with Maygen and myself in the seats and we wanted to show well. We entered the National event so that we could get some more seat time and experience with a longer format rallye. We had everything packed and somehow tricked Dave Getchell, Matt Robinson, Eric Wages and Margaret Michaels into coming along for the craziness that is a rally weekend.


    Text of article:

    RACERS: The Sports Car Club of America Maine Forest RAlly Pro-Rally drew nearly 100 cars from all over the country, Canada, and a few foreign countries Friday afternoon, as well as hundreds of sports car enthusiasts. The two-day race began Friday afternoon through about 100 miles of rough terrain in the Western Mountains area. It ends late Saturday afternoon. Top: Hundreds of people took the opportunity to look closely at some of the SCCA competition vehicles early Friday afternoon in downtown Rumford just before the race began. Above Left: John Cassidy, the driver, will be competing for the fourth time in the Maine Forest Rally, while navigator Maygen McCarty is making her second effort. The couple are from Bangor and are driving a 1994 Subaru Impreza. "I love everything about the race," said McCarty. "It's the excitement." Above right: Navigator Conrad Ketelsen and driver Bob Olson, both from Minnesota, are making a first-time run in the Maine Forest Rally leg of the SCCA. It's a first visit to the state for the two as well. "It's a beautiful state," said Olson who is driving a 1993 Porsche 911. Right: Chris Havas, the driver from Vermont, and navigator David Kean, originally from England, are making Havas' fifth try at the competition in the Rumford area. Havas particularly likes the rough terrain, and roller coaster-styled roads in the Parmanchenee Lake area. He's driving a 2000 Volkswagen Golf.


    Article by Steve Carrick, Co-Driver for Last Ditch Racing's Targa Effort!

    Stories on the event by Jim Kenzie (

    Article by Jim Kenzie mentioning us specifically ( (including official results)

    Targa...Targa Newfoundland...

    Those were the words that I wouldn't let enter into my conscience willingly prior to heading North to the Rallye Defi-St. Agathe. I had viewed the Targa site earlier in the year and was interested, but knew that I would not be able to enter my lowly Subaru Impreza rally car in the race because it was not, "historically significant." Although, the more I thought about it, the Subaru Impreza is very significant in the history of rallying. No matter...I wasn't going to Targa anyway.

    Prior to leaving for Defi, I received an e-mail from the Defi rally organizers explaining that the winners of each class would win a free entry into Targa Newfoundland. Dave Getchell, one of my team members, joked prior to leaving, "we're going to win an entry to Targa!"

    Maine Forest

    posted in News by Last Ditch Racing


    What follows is a long synopsis of our weekend. It became a little long winded, so read at your own peril! ;-)

    There were rally cars everywhere! Parc Expose was really fun with lots of public coming up and asking about the car and what we had done to it. Rallysport was there with a mobile trailer making up cool t-shirts, and Subaru Canada and USA were selling shirts and giving away posters and stickers. My boys got Maine Forest shirts with other pictures on the front. One got a jet and the other a Nissan Primera. Go figure! Turns out they had a CRX graphic and we had them put that on our other shirts.

    The spectator stage on Friday afternoon was fun, with lots of folks able to see the cars up close and personal. With so many cars in the field, the waits to run were long but that provided us all some time to meet new folks and catch up with old acquaintances. Friday night was rough for us at the back of the pack, but we knew it would be. We drove conservatively to finish. SS4 was scrubbed after an Audi caught fire and burnt to the ground(so we heard).

    Our car was mechanically okay after Friday and we got to sleep about 12AM! A record for us. We even slept in a bit! :-)

    Maine Forest

    posted in News by Last Ditch Racing


    The following is an abridged e-mail sent to a fellow racer regarding our experiences at Maine Forest 2000. After trying to edit it, I decided that the flow of ideas/impressions stands up pretty well as is.....

    Click here for links to pictures of us from Maine Forest 2000!

    Stage 1, over two hours to wait in line to start...nerve racking to say the least! Stage not bad but we were slowed by someone without their OK sign out. They were standing on the side of the road with it in their hand, but not displayed. We were almost caught by the car behind us...

    Maine Forest

    posted in News by Last Ditch Racing


    Well, the Last Ditch Racing team had a long week! :-) We travelled to New Hampshire Wednesday night to attend the Team O'Neil liscensing school. We took a wrong turn in New Hampshire and took an hour-and-a-half detour through the State Forest. Beautiful country, but we were ready for dinner and bed!

    The school was fantastic! A big thanks to all the instructors for presenting the material in a way we could understand. The mock stage was great as it gave us a good idea of the timing setup.

    We arrived in Rumford Thursday night and found our Motel. We then went to the Madison to check was a mob scene! Different accents, the cars, and the excitement of registering for our first was sensory overload. We found John Buffum and the Michelin's he had overnight expressed from the warehouse for us. We watched the team work on Carl Smith's Ford Escort behind the van and were in awe of the level of preparation.