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Stage rallying is the most exciting and demanding motorsports. With its high percentage of stage miles and a course featuring some of the most challenging roads in the world, Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally (STPR) is one of the United States' best known events.
The STPR ProRally is a form of auto racing in which the cars race against the clock, one at-a-time, on closed public roads of the Pennsylvania State Forest, at times bordering on the famous 'Grand Canyon of the East' near Wellsboro. Each car has a driver, plus a co-driver, or navigator, who reads from a route book and barks out instructions while the driver is negotiating the course at high speed. The teams compete on ten different roads - or stages - covering 125 miles of racing over a 14 hour period, with the team having the fastest time over the whole course winning the event. The excitement of two and four-wheel-drive cars traveling on gravel roads at more than 100 miles-per-hour - especially on a blind course where no practice has been allowed - is exciting both for spectators and competitors.
The drivers meet their crew every couple of stages for service on the cars, and drivers must obey all local traffic regulations when their cars are not actually driving on the closed stage road. Unlike traditional racetrack driving, where repetition on the same course can lead to the 'best line' or 'best setup' for each corner, rally drivers must react to blind conditions at racetrack speed.
Because of the split sanction of Pro Rally events in 2005, some of the top rally drivers are working overtime to earn points in both the United States Rally Championship and the Rally America Championship. One such driver is Matt Iorio, from Westmoreland, NH, who is leading the points in both championships with his co-driver Ole Holter in their Subaru Impreza despite not winning any of the rallies.
Stig Blomqvist, the 1984 World Rally Champion, a Swede now living in England, has entered a Subaru Impreza WRX in the event. Blomqvist, who won the Rally America event in Oregon earlier this year, outran defending National Champion Patrick Richard to claim the win.
Other top entries include last year's STPR winner Shane Mitchell (Subaru Impreza), Paul Choiniere (three-time STPR winner), Tom Lawless (USRC winner this year at Cherokee Trails), Pat Richard (2004 North American Rally Champion and 2005 Rim of the World/USRC winner), and Travis Pastrana (extreme motorcross champion in his second year of Pro Rally).
STPR 2005 is conducted by Finger Lakes STPR Motorsports, LLC, in cooperation with the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry. Finger Lakes STPR Motorsport, LLC is based in Rochester, New York. The event is sanctioned by Rally America
- Thanks to Kyle McMullen and Corry Lino for show coverage.
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