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Old 12-05-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
xrocket21
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Default My thoughts on the maine forest rally

Huge gigantic thumbs down to the maine forest rally. I always heard it was in Rumford. I downloaded all the maps off the MFR website, and left my house in albion at 8:30. Got to Rumford and asked about the MFR at the visitor center. The lady had no clue. We went to the hotel where the racers stayed. Noone knew where they went. After literally tracking them down (stopping everywhere we could, and relying on advice that "some funny lookin cars went that-a-way...") We eventually drove past a road and luckily saw turn-a-round marks in the snow, we turned as well.... well e-brake slide turn, and went down the road and there it was, down some random road north of rangely. like an hour from rumford. When we got there, no one was helpful or remotely friendly. I felt the impression that we werent welcome and it would be better if we just left. It was fun to watch while we were there though, and the white STI in a full slide up the hill on stage 3 was the best. we walked through the pits and checked out the cars. It was fun. Glad I went, but the MFR site sucks, and everyone was pretty unfriendly.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:10 AM   #2
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Maine WINTER rally is *much* different than Maine FOREST rally that happens in the summer.

Summer is the one that is the huge draw. Winter is more of a local event with a few other decent teams.

Sorry you were misinformed.

--kC
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:14 AM   #3
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Part of the beauty of MFR is that it operates successfully without catching much attention from the locals. Not surprised to hear that many weren't aware of the event, especially since Winter is comparably small.

Come back for the summer rally - I've been attending since 2000 and it's always a great weekend. Spectator maps always get updated on the official site a few weeks before the event.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:17 AM   #4
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I didn't think it would have been so cold and snowy.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:41 AM   #5
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Ya, I know that the summer rally is where its at. I was busy when that happened. It was very cold and snowy. It was like 18 degress I thik, and snowing. I deffinitely did some sliding on the way there and back. I didnt get any pics cause my camera died.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:52 AM   #6
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It did seem to lack a little coordination ... but overall it was a cool event. Everybody we spoke to was super friendly. We initially felt like outsiders since it was our first event and all the rally folks seemed to have their own little community, but everybody welcomed us in. I'll definitely be going to more in the future.

And yeah, the DC STi was sweet. Same with Paul Choiniere's Hyundai. Who knew the Tiburon could rock like that?
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:35 AM   #7
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First echo KC's, "Sorry you were misinformed". Having said that, the event this weekend was excellent!!! Why do you say that you were treated poorly? I know 3/4 of the competitors and crews that attended this rally and would be shocked to hear that any of them had been cold--pun intended--toward a spectator...unless, said specatotor was in the wrong place at the wrong time or acting inappropriately.
I think that JB and everyone involved with putting this rally on deserves a hand...without their efforts we would have NO rallying in this state!!!
And, it is too bad that people seemed have have missed one of the most interesting MFW rallys in a few years...I mean, slick & challenging conditions for the drivers & crews to try to overcome. A G2 car slapping around most ALL of the open cars in the field and finishing second overall!!! Yeah, what a bummer MFW was this year.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:58 AM   #8
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Question

You ran into a classic issue with new fans coming into rally--it's a sport that takes some digging into before you find the good stuff. Starting out with some maps in hand and no other info the morning of the event clearly didn't work. Rally spectator info takes work to find--it's not spoon fed. You can't just show up at a track and buy a ticket. You have to get out in the wild, plan ahead, be ready for adventure. Sorry you had a bad time, but you just weren't ready.

You found out that rally roads are NOT local. They are by nature remote. Your "some random road north of Rangely" just happens to be one of the best rally roads in North America. Access for racers to a closed road is a huge issue. The privately owned logging roads of northern Maine are a priceless resource for rally people.

You found out that rallies are low-profile events, Maine Winter in particular. It's often quite counter-productive for organizers to make a lot of noise about their event in the local communities, because it's too easy for opponents to throw up roadblocks, literally and figuratively.

I'm surprised you found people to be unhelpful on site. Rally people are usually quite welcoming to new fans. Not sure how or where you asked for guidance at the spectator parking area, but a little advance research, checking in on boards like this one, would have given you plenty of basic info about what to expect, where to go, even somebody to connect with on site to show you the skinny.

You basically were'nt up to speed on what you needed to know. You started WAY late to reach the site, find out where to park, walk out to designated spectator areas that were safe to watch from, etc etc. Most competitors left Rumford area before 7 am, many workers well before that.

Don't give up on rally. Just think of how much you learned on your first event!!

Cheers,

Dave G
www.lastditchracing.net
car # 778, MFW 05
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:03 PM   #9
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what i dont get was the map of rumford on the website. why have a map of a town an hour from the actual event? did we really care where the citgo in rumford was? i dunno, if we had SOME idea of where to go it woulda been a lot easier.
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:06 PM   #10
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This is why you work the event. All you have to do is show up at McDonalds at 6:00am right there in Rumford. You then get to caravan up and know exactly where to be and see exactly how the whole thing works. Plus, you get a front row seat!
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:46 PM   #11
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People deffinitely werent friendly. Hell, I knew some of the workers from autocrossing this summer, and they werent even friendly. Maybe everyone was just a little cold. I would think that at a minimum the websit could say where the rally was, which it did not. The mentality of it being some secret club where you gotta know someone to find out where the secret meeting place is is a little bs. And when I checked on boards like this, I was told to go with someone who knows. I guess Im going by how I act at auto-x's. Anyway, How did LDR come out in the end?
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:57 PM   #12
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It did say where it was - stages 5 & 6 from the summer event.

You have to kinda put it together from the map (mileage) and look for a sign at the turn. Usually its a red/orange blaze or arrow.

It was cold - but not that bad. I definately did not like driving out on polished ice.
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrocket21
People deffinitely werent friendly. Hell, I knew some of the workers from autocrossing this summer, and they werent even friendly. Maybe everyone was just a little cold. I would think that at a minimum the websit could say where the rally was, which it did not. The mentality of it being some secret club where you gotta know someone to find out where the secret meeting place is is a little bs. And when I checked on boards like this, I was told to go with someone who knows. I guess Im going by how I act at auto-x's. Anyway, How did LDR come out in the end?
Again, I am surprised by this...I know that I personally spent 30 minutes with two different groups of newbies, talking about where to go to watch the stages and what to look for @ service. I saw many people walking around the service area checking out cars on Saturday and no one that we were crewing with had a problem with that. In factm the only time I can imagine someone being unfriendly is if someone was in the way.
Anyway, LDR--one of the cars that I was crewing for--had a VERY soild day. They finished 3rd in class and 4th overall. Dave even had enough time to take some scenic trips into the underbrush.
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:34 PM   #14
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+1 for the site sucking and it taking forever to find
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:46 PM   #15
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The MFR website & provided maps/info have been the same format for 6+ years, and this is the first I've read of it "sucking". The rest of us have been able to stumble around and find our way. Not sure why it's all of a sudden an issue.

Don't like the website? Volunteer your l33t web design services and make a better one. Nobody is getting rich on this event.
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Old 12-05-2005, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordBass


The MFR website & provided maps/info have been the same format for 6+ years, and this is the first I've read of it "sucking". The rest of us have been able to stumble around and find our way. Not sure why it's all of a sudden an issue.
Yes, absolutely. The hand drawn map of downtown Rumford with no destination indicated on it was my favorite.
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:11 PM   #17
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That doesn't make up for your lack of planning and leaving your home quite a distance away at eight thirty am expecting the easily find the action on the side of a well-traveled road.

I agree that the site will win no design prizes, but chasing rally cars in the US takes much more effort than buy-a-ticket, follow-the-crowds racing.
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:13 PM   #18
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I will say that volunteering this time was kind of interesting. They said to rendezvous at a DOT lot about 3 miles west of the stage road. But this made no sense people would be coming from the east to get there...

I did get it all sorted with another ham radio volunteer. It did become apparent when I got there.
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:23 PM   #19
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Question

check out this rally event site for the complete opposite to Maine Winter as far as spectator outreach and informational usefulness.

www.tallpinesrally.com

Tall Pines is one of the big events of the Canadian Rally Championship, and has a committee of maybe half a dozen very web-savvy ppl working on the site. I think Maine Forest has exactly 1 person doing web updates. Then again, Maine Winter has not happened since back in 2002. anyway, the Tall Pines site has all sorts of detailed who/what/where/when info, maps of spectator sites, and special ticket packages that give you access to exclusive viewing locations.

As you found, spectating a rally is hard work--finding info, finding the location, finding ppl to tell you more about what's up. Not apologizing for it, that's just how it is.

Question--as a new rally fan (hope you are still one, anyway) would you be willing to pay extra $ to have better info available, better PR, better spectator sites? Tall Pines has a special VIP ticket package that's proven super popular over the years. It wouldn't hurt for you to email Maine WInter organizers and suggest such a thing.

Dave G

PS--thanks for asking how we did. Despite a few "geological prospecting" excursions (ie, whacking granite in the weeds) we managed to finish a solid 4th overall. Those stage roads were the hairiest and most super-slippy that any of us had ever run on...and that includes some multi-time national champs who have a helluva lot more stage miles to call on than we do!
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:55 PM   #20
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Ya, I wanted to approach the LDR guys, but didnt. Ill probably go see more. I do quite a bit of racing myself. Pretty sure I won the year end points race for street mod this summer in auto-x, next summer I plan to try some regional events in mass, and some rally-x's. Id like to head up to the summer rally next summer.

Also, it said the event started at 10, and we planned to leave at 8 for rumford which is 1.5 hours away. We were 30 min late, and rumford was the wrong place to go. we drove 3.5 hours there, and it took 2 hrs 10 min to get home!!!

The part by the spectator area was super slick! So icy!
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Old 12-05-2005, 03:01 PM   #21
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Volunteering is definatly the way to go. They put me in the sweep car so even though I didn't get to see any of the rally action I got to ride the stages and pull out stuck cars. Definatly a good time.

-Dustin
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Old 12-05-2005, 03:07 PM   #22
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The first rally I went to was also a MFR winter event. Wasn't real impressed, a WHOLE lotta driving, slick woods roads, didn't know anybody. Decided to give it another try and worked the first MFR Summer event. Watched Carl Merrill drive his escort into the trees at at least 70 MPH. Haven't missed a summer event since and only 1 winter event.
The moral is, now you know what to expect, and can plan for it. Give it another try and I'm certain your experience will be much better.
And sign up as a worker to get an even more intense version!
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Old 12-05-2005, 03:09 PM   #23
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Just checked http://www.maineforestrally.com/mewin05-index.html and found a map showing where the stage was in relation to Rumford and usefull info on the rally flyer that also stated where the stages were. Directions to the stages also in the workers info. Every thing ya needed to see the event was right on that page and easy to find. A good idea would be to check out SpecialStage.com the general web community for U.S ralliests, if ya ever have questions about an event, good place to get them answered (no disrespect to NASIOC)
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