Recent Photos
lastditchracing's items Go to lastditchracing's photostream

Recently in Race Results Category


For Immediate Release

March 3, 2010

Bangor, Maine USA

Maine's Last Ditch Racing had a mixed weekend at the recent 100 Acre Wood Rally in Salem, Missouri, ultimately claiming third overall of sixteen regional entrants and third in Open Class in Saturday's 100 Acre Wood Regional Rally.

The 100 Acre Wood Rally, round 2 of the Rally America 2010 National Championship, also comprised the Regional Rally Championship. As 2009 Eastern Region Open Class Champions, the team had come down to race again other regional champions in an attempt to take overall honors. The woods of Missouri had other plans for the team, however.

Friday's event was eventful, but not in a positive way. A slight off early on SS2 rattled Cassidy and Co-driver Adam Kneiip, and then halfway through the stage the team's exhaust manifold on their 2003 Subaru STi fractured, causing hot exhaust gases to blow onto components in the engine compartment. "In addition to not having any power due to lack of boost, we started to see smoke and smell burning rubber," said driver John Cassidy. "We were forced to make the decision to retire from Friday's event in order to save the car and ensure we'd be able to compete in Saturday's event."

Friday night saw the crew of fellow competitor Dillon Van Way weld up the team's header. As it was the second such failure in the same manifold in a couple of weeks, the team did not trust that it would hold and looked for an alternative. A local media person and Subaru enthusiast soon heard that the team was searching for a manifold and met the team at their hotel with the replacement. New part in hand, the crew replaced it in the early hours of the Saturday morning and the team were ready for Saturday's stages.

Morning came with the crew feeling fresh and confident in the car. The first stage saw Cassidy and co-driver Adam Kneiip continue to acclimate to each other's styles. At a low water bridge on the second stage, a slip joint in the exhaust system separated, creating worry in the car that they had another serious exhaust system failure. "Even with our noise canceling intercom, it was incredibly loud and I thought we had another hole on our hands. Driving a bit further on, I realized that, despite the noise, we still had full power and all systems were go."

Saturday saw the team chasing fellow Open Class crews of Henry/Cindy Krowlikowski in their ex-Prodrive Subaru and Chris Gilligan/Joe Peterson in their EVO 4. Said Cassidy, "I wish we could have pushed Henry and Chris a bit more, but we did all we could with the car we had. We'll continue to work hard to increase the performance of the car on our next outing!"

The 100 Acre Wood Rally saw Colorado co-driver Adam Kneipp sit with Cassidy for the first time. "It was obvious from the first time that we talked over the phone that Adam is meticulous and goal oriented. Adam slotted into the car and team seamlessly. We had a great weekend overall and perhaps we'll be able to get him back into the car later in the season."

The Last Ditch Racing crew were highly regarded in the service area at the event, and Cassidy/Kneipp want to thank them publicly. Drew Simpson, Zachary Sennett and Drew Gladu swarmed on the car each service and worked into the morning hours making sure that everything was perfect for Cassidy/Kneipp. "This event saw the crew really coalesce. I was amazed by the ownership and assertiveness the lads showed this weekend. Their strong work allowed Adam and I to maintain our focus on the race and developing our relationship within the car. Our helmets' are off to them!," said Cassidy.

Last Ditch Racing would also like to thank the Organizers for a fantastic event, as well as the fans/residents of Salem and Rolla, Missouri and all the towns the event travelled through. "The people of Missouri are some of the friendliest folks we've met in rallying and we felt right at home in Missouri. Maine feels a bit like Missouri, but without the awesome BBQ!"

2010 sees LDR with several new partners. LDR has partnered with VP Racing Fuels in the Northeast to run the new 109e race fuel. "We've run VP in the past, but rule changes meant we had to switch to another brand. Now that VP has come out with a newly formulated fuel, we're able to use our preferred brand. We'll soon be remapping our ECU to take advantage of the new fuel." Kartboy products, maker of short shifters, shift knobs, swaybar links and other performance oriented parts is also stepping up support this season. "We've run Kartboy decals on the car in the past, but now they're bigger! Kartboy makes products in the USA that are second-to-none in quality and performance. We'd only consider Kartboy for our mission critical suspension and driver interface parts."

Luke Dobie, of Luke Dobie Designs worked with California graphic artist Craig Woida to create a graphic design for Cassidy's Peltor helmet for 2010. "Luke has been doing custom paint at the pro level for some time. When he approached me about putting custom paint on my helmet, I jumped at the chance. Between he, Craig and I, we came with a design in short order and Luke made it happen incredibly quickly, even hand delivering the helmet to me here in Maine." is an online motorsport news clearinghouse and community. LDR has partnered with Openpaddock for 2010 to help share some insight with fans into what it takes to field a rally team. Cassidy has appeared as a guest on two Openpaddock podcasts to discuss rallying in the US as well as share his thoughts on the WRC as a rally fan and driver.

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

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

To view the Rally-America official highlight video, please visit,

For more information on Last Ditch Racing, please visit:
Social Networking: Please search for us on Facebook and Myspace.
To follow us on Twitter, please visit:
Youtube channel:

To Purchase Last Ditch Racing Gear, please visit:


Maine based Last Ditch Racing scored its first top 10 career finish at the Rallye Defi-St. Agathe-Duhamel in Quebec this past weekend, contesting a close battle with many top Canadian drivers. Defi is the seventh round of the Canadian National Rally Series. The team clinched the tenth spot after starting as the lowest positioned Open Class car in 29th position.

Driver/Owner John Cassidy and Co-Driver Dave Getchell drove their Open Class Subaru Impreza through the challenging stages with the consistency and increasing speed that has become their trademark over the 2003 season. Said Cassidy, "We always get faster as the race progresses, and we were pushing quite hard to bring home our first top ten finish. This is our second race with a fairly stock Open Class car and the potential looks substantial for future events as we continue development of the car."


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.


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.


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...