This year’s New England Forest Rally proved to be an excellent success for Noble Star Rally Team driver Matt Peterson and co-driver Lori Clute. The duo landed themselves a podium finish in the 4th round of the 2018 American Rally Association’s National Championship series.
On the 20-21 July, Peterson and Clute took to some of the most challenges stages in the series that crossed between the New Hampshire and Maine state lines. Of the 11 teams competing in the L2WD class, the NSR duo finished 2nd in class, and 17th overall in the regional results. While 57 cars started the rally, by the end of day 2, only 37 had finished, proving the difficulty of the event.
On day one, Peterson put down the 3rd fastest time on the Concord Pond stage in regional 2WD, which resulted in a cash prize courtesy of the Team O’Neil Rally School.
“Lori and I were in pretty good sync the entire weekend, and I feel like that was the biggest factor. The stages were fast and the weather was excellent. We don't normally score watch or follow stage results. I like to say we are rallying against ourselves, and just watching and improving on our own stage times. This meant that at the end of the rally we got a nice surprise when we found out how well we had done” says Peterson.
After nearly 30 stage rallies, Peterson’s rally car, a 1994 Honda Civic known by fans as “Abe” is still running strong. Aside from the windscreen and a failed starter on the final stage of the rally, the car came away unscathed.
“It's no secret that NEFR is one of the most challenging in the country, but the proudest moments in life are the challenges you overcome. By far the best part about New England is the wonderful fan base we have here. This was where I raced my first stage rally years ago, and many of them have followed us since the very beginning. I most look forward to seeing our friends and fans every year,” adds Peterson.
Day 1 of the rally went smoothly for the duo, despite the rally coming to an end early due to Ken Block’s beautiful Escort Cosworth Group A rally car which succumbed to a car fire and was a total loss. Day 2 found Peterson and Clute picking up the pace on some of the more technical and challenging stages. To add to the teams excitement, they assisted NSR teammate’s Amanda Skelly and Jessica Beliveau patch a leaky radiator hose before SS11, and giving the girls a flat tow halfway through transit after the stage. Peterson reported one incident on the final stage of the rally in which they slid off the road into a mess of rocks and a large bank before stalling the car. Luckily, Peterson acted quick and was able to get the car started and out of the ditch, however it was immediately clear that they were experiencing electrical issues. Towards the end of the stage, despite Peterson’s attempt at keeping the car running, the engine stalled again. As the team began to pull off to the side, the engine fired back up with full power and they made it to the finish and landed themselves a podium!
Next up, the team will be competing at the 2018 Ojibwe Forests Rally in Detroit Lakes, MN on 24-25 August.
2018 Supported By: Turtle Gloves, Impression Center, Whiteline, Ksport USA and Rocky Mt. Autosports.
You can follow the team along online and via social media below: