If you’ve ever worked a stage rally you know your days can be long, hot, sweaty, dusty, wet, cold, lonely, snowy and miserable (sometimes all of those at one event). But you also know that those days can be packed with adventure, speeding cars and feature tales told longer than the rally itself. And you know, no matter what, you’ll have great stories to tell at the end especially the one about the pterodactyl-sized bugs making off with one of your kidneys.
It’s all true what they say about rally volunteers. Yeah, after being trapped in the woods for 14 hours in 110-degree heat with 1,000 percent humidity, they might just smell a little funny. And God help your grandmother if she’s standing between a rally volunteer and the beer cooler at the end of the day. But more importantly, what’s really true is that stage rally just could not happen without throngs of volunteers greasing the cogs in the engine room. No volunteers, no rally. Plain and simple.
Just like competitors, volunteers have to take time off work, pay to travel and stay for the weekend and be away from their families too. Whether it’s marshaling spectators in some far-off L3 in the middle of the Maine woods, or it’s operating ham radios, or running time controls, volunteers give their time, effort and energy to run the smoothest event possible.
In an effort to give a little back to those who gave so much, this year the New England Forest Rally raffled off some prizes for the volunteers and gave them the opportunity to ride along on Shakedown runs with various competitors just prior to the event.
From international superstar drivers to the local newbies, select rally volunteers got the chance to don a helmet and HANS and sit in the Silly Seat for a wild mile ride through the parking lots and trees of the Sunday River Ski Resort. Like a roller coaster with no rails, the ride for some, was an eye-opener. For others, well, they’re still in therapy.
Congratulations to the volunteer raffle winners and again, thank you for your continued service to the New England Forest Rally. We hope to see you next year!
Here are a few of the names of the ride-along winners:
– Doug Bolduc
– James Kramlich
– Kevin Broderick
– Jim O’Brian
– Ryan Freise