This weekends Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) proved as a success for the female rally team of Amanda Skelly and Jessica Beliveau of Noble Star Rally. The rally took place on some of the toughest stages in the backwoods of Wellsboro, PA.
With 51 competitors starting, only 39 completed the entire rally. Cars could be seen entering service areas on trailers from various accidents, including NSR member Villa Cseh who joined her father Louie Jonas in their BMW M3 of Jonas Racing. The event lived up to its reputation as it appeared to be tricky for most of the teams, with many leaving carnage behind on stage. Wrecks incurred red crosses this weekend, one of which resulted in a life flight ride for the team piloting the #786 1995 Volkswagen Golf. Driver Jesse Whitsell and co driver Mackenzie Cucino went off in SS8 resulting in injuries to Cucino. Thankfully a full recovery is expected.
Skelly and Beliveau managed to escape the grasp of the inviting trees, leaving with only a dented skid plate and a few broken mud flaps. Skelly had returned to STPR after a 4 year absence and was greeted by many excited fans, event workers and fellow competitors.
“Some of the best parts about this weekend was seeing everyone's smiling faces. It was such an awesome welcome from everyone! Even though I've been attending events as a spectator, crew or co driver during my absence, being back in my own car doesn't even compare. Big shoutout to everyone that made me feel so welcomed!” states Skelly.
Skelly encountered some issues on day 1 with her shifter linkage, causing the car to get stuck in neutral during SS2 and during the super special. She also discovered that she didn't have a working handbrake.
“This weekend was a big learning curve for me. Despite having a chance to get some seat time earlier this year at a few rallysprints, this was my first time rally driving the car on gravel and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. I did, however, overcome the challenge on hairpin turns only being able to rely on my footwork by the end of day 2”, adds Skelly.
The ladies finished both the regional events of the rally and ended on a strong note by winning the Super Special stage in front of many fans and her team.
“I really wanted to make my team proud and show them how all their hard work has paid off. We played it cautiously this weekend and it resulted in a success for us. With all the chaos of the weekend between the red cross situations, driving a brand new car, having been out of the seat in awhile, and getting to know a new co driver; I just wanted to make it to the finish. I feel like I regained some of my confidence back after day two and Jessica really did a great job. I'm looking forward to our next event together!” exclaims Skelly.
Skelly and Beliveau will be seen working together again during the New England Forest Rally (NEFR) next month in Newry, Maine on 20-21 July. The team is optimistic about the direction of the new build and are confident in Skelly’s ability to grow with the car.
“The car is progressing just ahead of her [Amanda] comfort and confidence, which is far better than holding her back on her re-acclimation to life on stage”, says Crew Chief Ryan Davis of TurboTime Subaru Specialists.
Up next, Skelly will be joining a few NSR teammate for the Central UP Rally on 16 June in Powers, MI; followed by an appearance at the Wicked Big Meet in Stafford Springs, Connecticut on 24 June 2018, where she will be hosted by sponsor Link ECU.
“Wicked Big meet will be a great chance to come chat with Amanda about her love of rally and how this build has been a journey rather than just an assembly and transaction process. Several members of the NSR and Turbotime crew will be there to chat about the little things that make "stitch" such a special and tailored build, one that doesn't just integrate cool little innovations, but also her personality”, concludes Davis.
You can follow Skelly and the rest of the NSR team here: