2012 is a year of numerous changes for the New England Forest Rally. While we understand that many people like things just the way they were, it’s important for all to understand that many of the changes were born of circumstances beyond the organizers’ control. Here, we explain to you what is going on this year and why. Please know that the advance planning of a rally of this size and scope takes a tremendous amount of effort on the part of a small number of people who have to work with many landowners, land managers, businesses, and town, county and state officials. Our goal is to produce a rally that will keep the doors open for us for years to come, providing us a variety of options for stage roads and thereby allowing us to change up the rally a little each year.
Changes to Friday’s Maine Regional Rally
The popular Mexico Rec Super Special and Service cannot take place this year due to extensive renovations being undertaken there. Friday’s Service will be at Sunday River, with cars returning there after a much earlier scheduled Johnson Project Consulting Concord Pond stage. Regarding Concord Pond, the stage time had to be changed to take place earlier in the day in order to satisfy town official’s concerns about the safety of spectators and drivers. Excessive alcohol consumption by spectators has led to some serious safety issues, and it is the hope of the rally and the town that moving the stage to an earlier time will reduce those issues. Sunday River will once again provide buses to Concord Pond for $10pp; however, tickets will be sold Friday morning from Sunday River’s booth at the Rally Village, and the bus will leave from there at about 10am, returning to the village after the stage is over.
Saturday’s New Hampshire Regional Rally: Probationary Event with New Landowners
In early May, the NEFR organizers were informed that they would not be able to use the Fish Pond and Sturtevant Pond stages due to a last minute landowner tour scheduled immediately after the rally. Fortunately, the forest manager wrote a strong recommendation on behalf of the NEFR to the managers of the Plum Creek and Wagner Forest Management lands that offered potential new roads. After nearly a month of waiting, we received a green light to host the event, but with the condition that we must put on a seamless rally to provide for participant safety.
The organizers who have checked out these roads say that they are amazing for competitors; however, there are not many accessible spectator areas. While in time we may be able to create more areas for spectators and spectator parking, we simply do not have that luxury this year.
For Your Entertainment: Rally Village, Après-Rally Activities
We are excited about our new Rally Village, where you’ll find a variety of exhibits and vendors, plus there will be a number of “extracurricular” things to do throughout the weekend. Friday night will feature an Awards Ceremony with barbecue at the Rally village for the Maine Regional Rally competitors. Saturday night we urge you to come celebrate the finish of the rally slopeside with a winners’ champagne spray and regional and national awards ceremony. Sunday River will host a pig roast and awards will be followed by live music from the Maine Blues Mafia (featuring one of the rally co-drivers!).
Thank you for your patience and understanding of the changes to the rally this year. We are doing the best we can to provide a great rally for all in 2012.