The New England Forest Rally begins on Friday

Over 60 teams participate in the two-day race through western Maine and New Hampshire.

WOODSTOCK, Maine – Each year, some of the world’s best drivers make the woods of western Maine their playground.

Blink and you might miss her.

A total of 61 teams – a driver and a passenger in each car – drove to quiet sections of logging and camp access roads for the New England Forest Rally.

They pitched their first camp on Friday at the Sunday River. Teams led by A-list action sports stars Travis Pastrana and Ken Block drew crowds of fans into their team garages at 8:30 a.m

But the locals also showed up in large numbers.

Last Ditch Racing, based in Bangor and run by driver/passenger duo John Cassidy V and John Cassidy IV, has competed in 23 NEFR. Casey Keyler has helped the team on a handful of these rallies and now serves as Crew Chief. He had marked his calendar for a while.

“364 days,” he smiled. “We love it every year. We come here and it’s so much fun. There are a lot of different rallies but if you live in Maine this is your home race.”

Lost in Maine Racing is based in parts of southern Maine. NEWS CENTER Maine introduced the team in early July while driver Andrew Benson and co-driver Zach Stewart tested out their new setup. Finishing the race was their modest aim, while later admitting they valued their chances of setting decent times.

The New England Forest Rally is completely free for fans. If you can hike in the woods near Concord Pond, you’ll be treated to one of rally road’s most famous stretches of road. It’s the first leg of the New England Rally and teams have told us they love it for its mix of straights and challenging corners.

NEWS CENTER Maine found a spot to watch the first leg about midway through the course.

There we met Roger Isaacs. Originally from South Africa, now living in Maryland, the individual made a happy pilgrimage to far western Oxford County, Maine. He seemed to have a healthy obsession with the sport.

After each of the first three cars passed at over 70 mph (including Pastrana and Block), Isaacs noted the steering and braking techniques they employed and the tiny errors they made during the three seconds that theirs were blurry cars were in sight.

“Smell that! Taste that!” he howled, noticing the high-octane gasoline fumes in the air.

Despite his dedication to every detail of the course, Isaacs was most excited to share the experience with his two adult sons.

“I’ve followed the rally all my life,” he smiled. “I’ve got my sons involved now. It’s great to have them here.”

He paused and turned his attention to another oncoming car that was sure not to miss a split second.

“Do you know that rallies are called the king of motorsport?”

By nightfall, the quiet, untamed wilderness of this stretch of road would return to its dormant existence. But for one afternoon the trees trembled.

And Roger Isaacs was in petrol paradise.

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