The New England Forest Rally has come and gone marking the end of the sixth event on the 2022 American Rally Association Calendar. A new championship leader has risen, after a tight battle on day two. 

Day One 

Day One saw only five of the 15 stages. The first day also included a back-to-back running of the iconic Concord Pond stage. Brandon Semenuk was able to gain a 21.3 second lead over Block. Block won two of the five stages and had a lead of almost five seconds heading into stage four until disaster struck. An intercom problem arose leaving Block and Gelsomino to use hand signals and as a result, lose the lead. Travis Pastrana swept day one and finished the day 29.3 seconds behind Semenuk. 

Times After Day One

Semenuk/Williams 30:31.5

Block/Gelsomino 30:52.8

Pastrana/Gelsomino 31:00.8

Donnelly/Kierans 35:30.0

Burke/Brady 36:08.0

Day Two

Day Two saw the remaining 10 stages of the rally. Ken Block was on maximum attack all of day two and was able to regain the lead on SS13. Block would expand the lead on SS14. The lead would be short-lived however as on SS15 disaster would strike yet again for Block. As dust would stop him dead in his tracks, and cost him his full 2.9-second lead. As a result, giving Bradon Semenuk the rally win. Block wouldn’t be the only unlucky one as Travis Pastrana would face 1:40.00 in penalties for starting SS10 10 minutes late, after having to repair a turbo issue. 

Times after Day Two

Semenuk/Williams 1:27:27.0

Block/Gelsomino 1:27:27.9

Pastrana/Gelsomino 1:31:29.7

Fedoff/Romero 1:42:05.3

Bialobrzeski/Mantopoulos 1:43:12.7

National Championship Rundown

Brandon Semenuk regained his championship lead after taking home maximum points at the New England Forest Rally. Travis Pastrana was able to keep Subaru Rally Team USA first and second overall, with Ken Block remaining third. Although Semenuk regains the lead the championship points between first and third stay the same with only nine points separating Block and Semenuk. Semenuk and Block were able to keep us all guessing who would win as they brought it down to the wire. As a result, the finish couldn’t have been much tighter.

National Championship Standings After NEFR 

  • Semenuk 99
  • Pastrana 95 
  • Block 90 
  • Williams 43 
  • Piatkowski 42 

LN4 Championship Rundown

Klim Fedoff won the L4WD class to take over third place in the LN4 Drivers Championship. Fedoff was able to jump from sixth place in the LN4 Drivers Championship to third. Dylan Murcott was expected to take first place but a motor problem would force him to retire leaving him in second. 

2WD Championship Rundown

The 2WD Drivers Championship Standings stay pretty much the same with only Tracey Gardiner and Nick Allen taking points. The top five remained the same after Lia Block, Michael Hooper, and Seamus Burke failed to score any points. 

Can He Keep This Pace?

Brandon Semenuk was in a toe to toe battle with Ken Block for the win and national championship lead at the New England Forest Rally. Although Semenuk was able to keep up and beat Block the question is can he keep up this pace. The answer to that question is unknown and something that will be answered throughout the remaining three events on the ARA national schedule. 

A New Record 

Lost in the chaos of the New England Forst Rally was Ken Block setting a new record for the fastest time on the Concord Pond stage. Block beat the previous record set by David Higgins who had a time of 3:48.9, Block had a time of 3:45.9. 

More New England Misfortune For Block

Ken Block doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to the New England Forest Rally. Having only finished the rally three out of seven times, not including this past weekend. Block experienced more misfortune this past weekend after having an intercom failure on day one put him down 21.3 seconds to Semenuk. This left Block to go flat out on day two. On day two Block fought back to regain the lead on SS14. The lead would be short-lived however as dust would stop Block dead in his tracks.

Ken Block and Co-Driver Alex Gelsomino weren’t happy after losing by 0.9 seconds to Semenuk. Their request for an extra dust minute was denied. The Old Road North Stage is known for being dusty which led to questions about why it was chosen in the first place, and why it was chosen for the power stage. The extra dust minute would be granted after the first few cars went. Which lead to even more questioning about why it took so long. On top of the dust, the stage was being raced at sunset after the stage was delayed due to an SOS situation on SS11. 

Is Consistency Enough?

Travis Pastrana has been Mr. Consistent so far this ARA season. Pastrana has finished second two times, third two times, and fourth one time so far this season. Although he has been able to maintain a position in the top three and was able to gain the championship lead after the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. It raises the question of will consistency be enough for Pastrana to take back-to-back ARA Championships. The answer to that question will come in time, but it’s highly unlikely Pastrana can win the championship without winning one or two of the remaining three national rallies. Pastrana’s last rally win came at the Ojibwe Forest Rally last year. 

Where Was Lia Block? 

Lia Block was scheduled to race the New England Forest Rally and potentially take fourth place in the 2WD Drivers Championship, but where was she? Lia Block was testing her 2014 Ford Fiesta with Brandon Reeves at the Team O’Neil Rally School to prepare for the New England Forest Rally when she went off the road into a ditch. The damage to her Fiesta was too much to repair with the short amount of time they had before the New England Forest Rally. 

My name is Joe Moore, I am a writer for Belly Up HockeyBelly Up Racing, and Belly Up Sports. You can find me on Twitter.

About Author

Joe Moore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.