What is the New England Forest Rally?
Here in Maine, for the last couple of decades, crazy people gather in the woods of western Maine and take souped-up, yet street-legal cars, and whiz around the logging roads through Newry and other surrounding towns for the New England Forest Rally. They can reach speeds of 80 mph on roads typically posted at 20-25 mph.
If it sounds insane, it kind of is. Last year in 2020, like just about everything on the face of the planet, the race had to be canceled due to the pandemic. But they're roaring back through the woods this year, ready to cause all sorts of havoc. You might see amped-up Saabs, Subarus, and other small high-performance vehicles, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Can the cars actually handle all that insanity?
Here's the thing... All these cars are technically street legal. Sure, they have beefed-up suspensions and such, but they're just regular cars. No fancy engines or anything. In fact, it's a big deal just to finish the race, never mind finishing. More than half the cars sustain enough damage that they don't see the end of the race.
But the camaraderie is key. Drivers will lend each other parts, or do whatever it may require to help each other stay in the race as long as possible. You'll never see that on the NASCAR circuit.
Is it something I can actually go watch?
Absolutely. However, it's one of those deals where there's a shuttle to take you around to the different stages of the race because once you're in, you're in for a while. It's likely not super easy to come and go. I imagine safety is the main concern. You know, that whole forest full of fast-moving cars....
Some 5,000 people typically attend the rally annually, so it's a much-beloved sport up there in the sticks. It's free to watch, but if you want access to the shuttle and such, that will cost you $50. The "rally bus" as it's called brings you around the course to see a bunch of the race. Buy tickets here.
It sounds like a blast. The drivers love it, the fans love it... Everyone involved says that once you either see it or drive in it, you'll be hooked forever. It's so outrageous. Careening through the woods at 80 mph has got to be a rush. But, maybe a rush I'll watch from the sidelines...