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Black River Stages
September 27-28, 2002

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Rocky Road Racing Again Proves Subaru's Stout

Shillington, PA - The Rocky Road Racing team and their Steve Moyer Subaru, KAM Specialties sponsored 1996 Subaru Impreza prove the durability built into every Subaru as they survived both the Black River Stages and the Great North Woods Club Rallies.

Black River Stages, a 75 mile performance rally held on the eastern edge of the Adirondack State Park in upstate New York, has quickly become one of the most popular ClubRallies in the area, and regularly boast an entry list that looks like of who's who of rallying in the north east. This combined with some very fast and flowing roads, means that teams have to push themselves and their cars to the limit for a good finish.

Although this year marked team owner Don Kennedy's third year as a driver at the event, it was son Keith Kennedy's first year as a competitor; and though Keith hadn't navigated for his father since January, it didn't seem to affect the team much. “Probably the biggest adjustment was for dad, having to go back to using regular route instructions after having used stage notes with Matt at the last two events,” commented Keith.

While stage note describe every corner in detail, route instructions give only a general visual depiction of the more significant corners. Driver Don added, “because I had to read the road, and try to guess where it went, I found that I wasn't able to push the car as much as I'd like.” In the end the team was able to push hard enough to finish 14th overall out of the 34 finishers (51 started), yet preserve the car for the next event only four weeks later, the Berlin, NH based Great North Woods ClubRally.

Although the weather forecast for the Great North Woods ClubRally was, in a word, wet, no one could predict if that weather was going come in the form of rain or snow, so the Rocky Road Racing team headed out into the great unknown a bit cautiously. As it turned out, it was a wise plan. While the 16 mile first stage was very quick, the stages that followed began to show the effects of the weather, and the team found themselves sliding around, and even off, the road many times. “These are some of the slimiest and slipperiest I've ever seen without it being icy or snowy,” remarked driver Don Kennedy.

A thorough check at the service break revealed that one of their “off course” excursions had done some damage to the right side of the team's Impreza. Navigator Matt Kennedy related that “when we pulled the tires off the right side of the car we discovered one rim missing about 6 inches of the inside lip, one tire damaged beyond use, and a bent A-Arm.” After a change of tires and a quick bite to eat the team took off again, hoping to be able to continue their fight for 2nd in class, but being very careful of the bent A-Arm and the worsening weather.

Partway through the last stage the team found themselves in the weeds again, which bent the A-Arm to the point that the tire began to rub the wheel-well. The subsequent change to a smaller tire cost the team over 4 minutes, and dropped them to 5th in class and 20th overall; with only 32 teams finishing out of the 50 that started. The excitement didn't end there though, as two miles after the last competitive stage the team watched as its left-front wheel departed into the woods! “The lug nuts just worked their way loose and off it went,” stated a puzzled Don. “At least it happened at 25 mph on a transit, rather than at 60 mph+ on a stage.” The team retrieved the wayward tire and, after securing it with spare lug nuts, was able to make it to the final check in without further incident.

The next event for the Rocky Road Racing crew is the Maine Forest Winter ClubRally and RallyCross, to be held Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8 in the Rumford, ME area. To find out more about Black River Stages or the Great North Woods ClubRally check their official web sites:, and Also, for photos, videos, and more information about Rocky Road Racing, as well as rallying in general, be sure to stop by our web site:

Matt Kennedy
Rocky Road Racing

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