When teams race the New England Forest Rally on July 26-27th they will instantly notice a significant improvement in smoother and faster roads compared to recent years. The New England Forest Rally staff has been hard at work following the 2012 event identifying and improving sections of roads not only for future rallies, but also for the benefit of the local community and its businesses.
Newly appointed chairman and Team O’Neil Rally School founder, Tim O’Neil, led the improvement projects when he appropriated up to $10,000 of New England Forest Rally funds to truck in hundreds of yards of gravel. O’Neil helped place the gravel on New England Forest Rally’s roughest sections.
“I think the event had a reputation for being hard on cars,” O’Neil said. “Now we have filled a lot of the deep culverts and graded most of the roads used in the rally. This was the first time material was brought in and placed in a very long time. Now I can say 97% of the event is smooth and perfect.”
Workers also raised road beds and deepened the side ditches to lower the water table below the road surface in order to prevent erosion from usage. Organizers also made sure to preserve the character of the famous Concord Pond stage, a roller coaster of a stage and favorite of many of Rally America’s fastest drivers. The Concord Pond stage is currently being used as a conduit for a nearby windmill farm construction project, but organizers promise the Concord Pond stage will feature much of the same jumps and fast speeds drivers are accustomed to.
Additional work was spent rebuilding bridges and culverts on the Fish Pond and Icicle Road stages, which allowed the organizers to bring back Fish Pond and the Hampshire Hills stages for this year’s running of the New England Forest Rally.
O’Neil added, “I’m happy to say that we now have 120 miles of stage roads compared to 90 miles last year. The roads will be extremely smooth and cars will be able to go flat out without the worry of breaking the car. And that means more fun and less waiting around.”
The New England Forest Rally’s active involvement has already scored points with the local community and has helped strengthen their relationship with the forestry landowners. Making the roads better after running a rally race creates goodwill with the locals who depend on the roads for their livelihood, and will ensure that the New England Forest Rally will have a home within the host communities of Newry, Maine and Errol, New Hampshire.
The New England Forest Rally will announce spectator location details soon at www.newenglandforestrally.com and www.rally-america.com.