Danbury residents share stage with some of the biggest names in rally racing at nationally-sanctioned
New England Forest Rally
Newry, Maine (August, 2015) – Driver Alvin Fong and Co-driver William Machin, both of Danbury, successfully piloted their 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX to a first place finish in the Super Production class in the New Hampshire Rally and a second place finish in the Super Production class in the Maine Rally. The rally races are the regional competitions that are a part of the two-day nationally-sanctioned New England Forest Rally. The New England Forest Rally, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has established itself as one of the premier rally racing events in North America and is the sixth of eight rounds in the 2015 Rally America National Championship.
The team’s winning finish time in class in the New Hampshire Rally was 1:20:43.8 (1 hour, 20 minutes, 43.8 seconds), which also placed them in fifth place overall, just 3:31.1 (3 minutes, 31.1 seconds) behind the overall winner. The pair notched a second-place time of 38:07.7 (38 minutes, 7.7 seconds) in the shorter-stage Maine Rally.
Black Box Rally, as the team calls itself got its start in rally racing after Fong’s friend showed him a rally video in high school physics class. “I was hooked. When I landed an internship my freshman year in college, I blew all my savings putting a down payment on a Mitsubishi Evo,” Fong recalled. “Six months later, we stumbled upon the Finger Lakes Winter Rally series, and I convinced a bunch of high school buddies to come along with me. These guys now make up the bulk of our rally team.”
Black Box Rally has several successes to its credit, including Eastern Regional Super Production Champions in the 2014 Rally America series, first place in the Production AWD Cup in the 2012 U.S. Rally Championship, and dozens of podium finishes in rallies since 2011.
While rally racing is their passion, it is not their profession. According to Fong, “We’re a self-taught rally team that has gone from knowing nothing about cars to winning championships. Despite all having day jobs and no formal mechanical background, we’ve learned to do all the work ourselves.”
“They are not only good competitors, they are great ambassadors of the sport of rally. I’m really glad they had a strong finish,” commented Tim O’Neil, chairman of the New England Forest Rally and owner of Team O’Neil Rally School in Dalton, NH. Team O’Neil is widely recognized within the rally racing community as one of the most successful motorsports brands in the industry. It has dominated the two-wheel drive Rally America Championship for nearly a decade. In addition to the Team O’Neil/Ford Performance Motorsports division, the Rally School has been teaching advanced driving techniques to race champions from almost every motorsports discipline, military and security personnel, and the general public since 1997. It is considered the premier rally racing school in the United States.
The 25th anniversary running of the New England Forest Rally, July 17-18, featured 100-plus stage miles over two days of competition. The course consisted of dirt and gravel logging roads that are known as a favorite among competitors due to their challenging and technical demands. For fans, the real thrill was witnessing the incredible skill of these drivers as they maneuvered their cars (twisting, sliding, turning and jumping) through the woods at speeds up to 100 mph. The New England Forest Rally will return to its base at Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine for the 26th running of the rally on July 15-16, 2016.
Contact: Allan Guilbeault