RallyAddict photo’s of the event can be found in our gallery or by clicking HERE .
STPR has made some changes from last year that proved to be an improvement for us spectators. Gone is the Subaru splash, a great place for media but a terrible view for spectators. Introduced are the Waste Management stages though it is worse for spectators as there is no spectator area, and also added is the Tioga County Fairgrounds Super Special Stage where spectators can enjoy seeing about a mile of rally action from the bleachers. Not true rally, but at least it is easy access for those non diehard fans.
This rally starts early for us, we pick up a friend and co-driver Jason Grahn from Newark Airport. He has flown in from Washington State to co-drive for Per Schroeder in his 1977 Saab 99. We get some food into Jason from a nice east coast Jewish Deli, pack the van and head out to scenic Wellsboro Pennsylvania for the rally. About 4 hours later we arrive at the Tioga County Fairgrounds (N41 46.086 W77 12.297) to drop Jason off for registration, snap a few pictures of the happenings there and we head out to our campsite at the Stony Fork Campground (N41 38.045 W77 22.047).
We have used this Campsite in the past for this rally, as well as a large portion of the other spectators. The rally party continues into the night at all the fan campsites, or you can select a quieter site up the hill like us to catch some easy sleep. We set up camp and head back out into town to meet up with some friends at a baseball field near the practice stage where some of team Subaru is staged. Our friend introduces us to his friends rally driver and freestyle motocross rider Kenny Bartram co-driver Dennis Hotson (Car #690). Dennis and Kenny were especially nice people, and surprisingly talkative for us being strangers and them being busy from getting ready for a serious rally. They even invited us out to grab some food and we graciously accepted. Fun times were had at the Wendy’s picnic table. We cruised back to the campsite and crashed out for the night.
Friday is a relaxed day, as first car out on stage 1 doesn’t happen until 2:01pm. It was very sunny and hot that day but we still managed to get some usable pictures out of our not so exciting vantage point. The Waste Management area hosted stages 1 and 2.
After our hike back to the van we head over to the Tioga County Fairgrounds to see how our friend Grahn was doing and to spectate super special stage 3. The Super Special Stage was interesting to watch, you could really get a feel for the different style of driving from the different cars and drivers, something difficult to see when you can only see them accomplish a turn or two out in the regular stages. Kenny Bartram and a local named KC came out and set up dirt bike jumps and performed some awesome tricks for the crowd. Kenny even threw in some backflips!
Saturday was the big day of rally. We woke up early and headed over to Colton Point (N41 42.293 W77 29.544). Last year at this stage we sat with about a thousand other fans and waited for over 6 hours to find a giant debacle and cancelled stages. There was about ½ the spectators and 1/5 of the media at this year’s STPR and surely it is a result of the horrible mis-management, lies and cover-ups from the 2007 Colton Point stage. This year, things went as planned. The highlight of this stage was Matt Johnson coming within inches of rolling over his car as he cut a bit too hard on the setup turn. We sat right at the first turn with the cars driving away from us, causing us to get completely covered in rocks and dust as the cars came tearing past, but that is the excitement of rally!
After Colton Point we moved as fast as we could over to the 12-Mile spectator area (N41 30.956 W77 41.156). The hike to the area from our parking spot was one to remember, over a mile up a hill but we were pleased to find that the stage did not start yet and we were able to get a great spot and finally we were positioned near some fellow Mitsubishi owners. The 12-Mile spectator area was viewing for special stage 8 (Lebo) and special stage 9 (12 Mile). We had a great vantage point and got some fantastic pictures.
After both stages were over we sluggishly headed back over to the Tioga County Fairgrounds to watch the finish of the race, super special stage 13. The stage was at night so no pictures came out usable, but Kenny Bartram came out again and performed some more stunts. What a hard working driver, he drove in from SS12 and hopped right out of his car, ran through the crowd and hopped over the barriers to the ramp area. He took his bike out, got changed into his jump suit, performed his trick, dropped his bike and ran back up to his car to complete SS13. After the rally was over the results were:
1. Antoine L’Estage / Nathalie Richard
2. Tanner Foust / Christine Beavis
3. Matthew Johnson / Jeremy Wimpey
All the Subaru factory and fan support couldn’t keep a lone Hyundai off the top position of the podium. (Albeit an evo powered Hyundai) L’Estage is a spectacular yet smooth driver, definitely a RallyAddict favorite.