Bangor team heads up Maine rally racers

Episode 370

July 26, 2021

Father/Son duet tackle New England Forest Rally

John Cassidy IV and his son John Cassidy V will be taking on the trials and trails at the New England Forest Rally 2021 in Newry, Maine July 30 and 31st. Joining this father son team will 82 other entries competing at the regional and national level.

Vermont Sports Cars, Milton, Vermont will be fielding two Subaru Motorsports USA 2020 WRX STI Subaru, #199 for Travis Pastrana and #180 for Brandon Semenuk. Hoonigan’s Ken Block will be in the #43 2021 version of the WRX.

Cassidy will join three other Maine-based teams at the rally. These are Robert and Nathan Sockalexis, Old Town in a 1995 Subaru Impreza, Mike White, Camden, with co-driver Geoff Clark in a 1994 Saab 900, and Tyler Saunders, Ellsworth with co-driver William Doyle in a 2001 Subaru RS.

At speed at the New England Forest Rally, Last Ditch Racing’s T4 2003 Subaru Impreza has been raced 18 years and 35 events by the Bangor-based team. (Photo used with permission of Edward Best)

For Bangor’s Cassidy this will be his 22nd New England Forest Rally. Eighteen of those have been aboard T4 his 2003 Subaru Impreza. He and helpers have been busy preparing for the rally which does indeed, at times look like preparation for a traveling circus.

Following Cassidy on social media one gets an idea of the work that must be completed before heading to Sunday River Resort Wednesday morning. One example is yesterday’s post. “Fueled everything but the RV. Maybe a trip over to Dysarts later tonight. Got the tow bar set and adjusted for the Mini. Tested the wireless towing lights. They work awesome.

Bangor-based Last Ditch Racing Subaru on the lift at the race shop being prepared for the upcoming New England Forest Rally (Photo by John Cassidy V)

Finished some taping on T4’s intercooler to keep the air and water down there.

Got the generator running so that can get loaded into the Sprinter.

Sprinter cleaning and loading next either later tonight or tomorrow. That’s always a long process of loading tools out from the shop. Of course, you always need whatever you loaded into the van the next day.

Good luck on everyone’s prep out there in rally land.”

Cassidy’s son, Cassidy V, is a technician at Vermont Sports Car in Milton, Vermont. He obtained permission to co-drive with his father even though they will compete against his employer. Driver/Dad John said they have a few goals for NEFR:

  • Get suspension re-installed in time for Wednesday departure. (still not installed as of our phone call this evening)
  • Finish the rally.
  • Be fast in places where they expect to be fast
  • Get ready for Climb to the Clouds August 13-15 thus no major broken parts as a result of competing at NEFR

At Parke Ferme during the 2019 New England Forest Rally with long-time crewmember Duncan Matlock. Though Matlock will not be able to attend the 2021 version his shirt typifies the spirit of the team. (Last Ditch Racing photo)

Cassidy’s race team name is Last Ditch Racing. The pit crew/support team this year will include Jon Bolduc, Jake Davee, and Casey Keyler all from Bangor. Hazen Grass from Kenduskeag will join them as well. John credits his wife Dana as the best supporter of all and the person who will coordinate the behind-the-scenes jobs needed to make this adventure happen.

I was pleasantly surprised when I had the chance to see two of Spud Speedway’s former owner, Barry Thibeau’s daughters and family at the LTA event. Front row left to right Emily, Matt Senior and Bonny (Thibeau) Rollender. Back row Tracy (Thibeau) Jamison and Matthew Rollender Junior. When I found out that Bonny and family now live only yards from Sunday River Resort where the NEFR will be taking place, I deputized them to get photos of the cars and drivers for UpNorth Motorsports. I knew the girls from when I raced at Spud Speedway in the 1970’s and worked at Thibeau Farms at potato harvest time. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Barker in demand as speed trial driver

I had opportunity to talk with longtime Loring Timing Association (LTA) supporter and 200 MPH Club member, as well as owner/driver of Flying Seven Racing, Marcia Buck Barker formerly of Center Belmont, Maine now living in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Dauernheimer-Biglow-Davislakester being pushed to the starting line at the 2021 LTA Summer Event. The Flemington, New Jersey team has offered Marcia Buck Barker a seat in their race car once they have it dialed in at Loring at 250 mph. (HTF Motorsports photo)

She has been offered the chance to driver the Dauernheim- Biglow- Davis lakester based in Flemington, New Jersey at a future LTA event. The seat will be available once the team reaches 250 mph, their goal at the Loring venue. The team has gone 322mph on the 5 miles of salt at Bonneville. The team wants to know that they can get stopped at the shorter Loring track.

Marcia said, “I met Bob Dauernheim through Frank (Walka). I first worked with Bob in 2014, I helped tow the lakester to Bonneville. I work at Bob’s shop every week.”

When I asked if Bob had a race shop, she replied, “Just the garage at his house. He’s always working on either the race car or a friend’s car. He has helped me with my cars.”

Pease Motor Sports based in Florence, Massachusetts pose with Marcia Buck Barker before leaving for home. Team owner/driver Tom Pease is second from left with Barker. The team race car hauler is a converted school bus. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Pease Motor Sports “Cool Bus” race car hauler showing the old school ramps and exposed racer. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Barker was approached by Tom Pease owner of the Pease Motor Sports family-owned team based in Florence, Massachusetts to drive his 1964 Comet stock car. The car, nick-named Chevomet because of the 358 cubic inch 600 horsepower Chevrolet power plant, is geared to go over 200 mph not only at Loring but Bonneville as well.

Pease Motor Sports has raced in ARCA, Super Cup, Hoofer’s Pro Cup, and NASCAR and now land speed racing.

The team uses a converted school bus to transport their race car. Reminds me of the many stock car racing teams who in the 1970’s and 80’s did the same.

Barker had not met the Pease Motor Sports team prior to the event. “I had never met Tom Pease before but had seen the car and he had been following my racing on Facebook.”

UpNorth Motorsports will be following both teams to see when they insert Barker into the racing seat.

Photo of the week

When Spud Speedway track owner Troy Haney’s daughter Kirsten said she was getting married, he offered to let her use the track as the wedding venue. It had all the features a typical establishment hosting such events might have. On July 24, 2021 Kirsten and Nate Godin became the first to be married at the Caribou race track. (Spud Speedway photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)




Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine