Each July, for decades, the New England Forest Rally has taken over the old logging roads in the area around Oxford County, Maine.  Driving slightly modified cars, the drivers and navigators attempt to get the best time on a pre-determined course.

Despite the fact that the cars cruise down these rough roads at high speeds, there are really ever any incidents.  As with any similar event, safety is paramount for the people running the event.

Sadly, tragedy struck at this year's event.

According to WGME, a 48 year old woman from Marshall, Virginia was killed in a crash that happened during the rally.  It appears that Erin Kelly was the vehicle's navigator.  She passed away of her injuries at the scene.

The crash reportedly happened near Lower Richardson Lake.  According to investigators, the rally car failed to make a left turn, causing it to lose control and strike a tree on the passengers side.  That impact caused Erin Kelly's fatal injuries.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Because of the tragedy, those running the event have decided to cancel the remainder of the rally.

The investigation into the crash continues.

Our thoughts go out to all those involved.


The Rally

The origin of the rally dates back to 1989, when NASCAR sponsor and (sometimes) driver.Carl Merrill, of Ogunquit, met rally enthusiast Sandy Liversidge.  By the early 1990s, the event was an SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) event.

You can read the whole story HERE

While the vehicles used in the rally are standard vehicles, they have been modified for safety.  Seal fuel tanks, roll cages, etc have been installed in the vehicles to limit the risks should there be a crash.

Common vehicles used include Ford Escorts, Audi A-series vehicles, and Subaru WRXs.

You can learn more about the rallies HERE


Cooper's Experience With The Event

On a personal note - years ago, because of a college friend, I had a chance to work crowd control at the New England Forest Rally.  Events like this attract thousands of spectators.  They were a mixture of people who had traveled with the drivers / navigators, locals, and people who have a love for the sport and came to watch.  During the event, my job was to make sure that these people stayed clear of the road where the cars would be driving.  Safety was really the most important thing with this event.  As a result, tragedies like this are basically unheard of.

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