Monthly Archives: September 2009

Peter Olenick

I think it is great that rally is attracting more action sport athletes and I welcome Peter to our community.

But having Peter run Rally Colorado hit a little closer to home then I would have thought. Peter’s Co-Driver was my good childhood friend Jake largess. Jake grew up in Bethel, Maine and graduated from Telstar High School one year ahead of me.

Jake moved out west and started a clothing company called EMPIRE attire with another Bethel native and close friend of mine, X Games Gold medalist Simon Dumont.

Peter is the first of the Freestyle skiers to come rally, but I have been trying to get Simon out on some stages to give me a run for my money!


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Ken Block and Chris Atkinson at Team O’Neil

I had the pleasure of warming up the right seat on this little blue monster! I even got to move it but shhh don’t tell Ken. It was really cool to see Ken go from never driving a rear wheel drive rally car and struggling to wrap his head around it then 20 minutes later and he was going flat out like he had been driving it for years. Just Amazing

Ken, good luck this weekend at Defi in that thing wish I could be there!!

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Duplessis/Woods win the 10,000 Lakes Rally, finish 2nd overall in the MaxAttack! Championship and 3rd overall at the Ojibwe Forest Rally MaxAttack! Event


After finishing first overall at the New England Forest Rally in the MaxAttack! Championship, Chris Duplessis and co-driver Catherine Woods headed out to Bemidji, Minnesota to compete in the final round of the Championship. Going into the event they were tied with the first round winner Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Karen Wagner in their Dodge SRT-4.

On the first day of competition, their 1990 VW Golf, came to a complete stop about a mile into the second stage. A relay failure caused the team to pull over, set-up warning triangles and diagnose the problem. Chris managed to get the car started, however it stopped five more times on the stage and the team lost a total of five minutes. After the stage, Duplessis was able to fix the problem and the team went back out and set excellent times for the remaining day stages.

The night stages were an advantage for Chris who likes driving at night. On the Paul Bunyan stage with a length of 22 miles, Chris set the 5th best time on the stage, followed by another 5th best time on the final stage of the night SS7, Parkway an 8 miler. At the end of day one, the team was sitting in 5th place overall in the MaxAttack! event.

After the tough start on Friday, Duplessis was in full MaxAttack mode for the Saturday stages. He set some incredibly fast stage times including a 4th best stage time over the 13 miles of SS14, Little Rock. With his determined driving, Duplessis managed to claw his way back up to 3rd overall in the Ojibwe Forest Rally MaxAttack! event; win the Saturday regional 10,000 Lakes Rally; and finish 2nd overall in the MaxAttack! Championship. A big thanks goes out to their service crew of Forest Duplessis and Dan Thorton. The team would like to thank John Mason from LTD Racing, , The Ogontz Group and Techtonics Tuning.

Chris and Catherine would like to congratulate Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Karen Wagner on winning the 2009 MaxAttack! Championship.

Duplessis is the reigning two wheel drive National Champion and has won six Regional and National championships over the past three years.

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Press release photo: Andrew Snucins

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Chapter 1 Paul Bunyan’s Ride

Sorry it’s been a few days since the last post. I was busier then I thought I would be. I will get better at posting during rallies.

The first car started stage 1 Bemidji Speedway in reverse order at 2:30 pm. Bemidji Speedway is a small dirt oval with maybe a 12-15 degree bank. We started on the outfield, did half a lap around the track, then jumped onto the track at about turn three. Then we did some loops on the infield and finished with half a lap of the oval. The grandstands were packed and there was no safe place from the dust. We set the third fastest time overall and were told we went the biggest over the jump onto the track.


Stage 2, Spur 2. We were the 12th car to leave the line for the start of the forest stages. The car felt great! The new head was screaming, and the new gearbox was putting down flawless power. Catherine was right on with the notes. I felt like this was it; we were going to have a great rally. We were going to throw down some great stage times and put on a great show! But this is rally, after all, and one mile in we went from 7,000 RPM’s flat out in 4th to… Silence… The car died instantly. I tried to re-fire it, but nothing and we rolled to a stop. Catherine jumped out to go set the triangles. I went into mechanic mode. The hood went up, nothing obvious everything looked to be in order and we had fuel at the test port. I pulled the coil wire off about half an inch then tried to re fire the car. If the ignition system was working I would have seen and heard a spark jump the gap. Well the car fired… and then stalled, and the wire fell too far from the coil. I recounted it and closed the hood. Catherine ran back and grabbed the triangle. We belted in and we were off. Four cars passed us when we were stopped we were already four minutes down in the first mile of racing not a way to start a rally.

But we were not out of the woods yet. The car shut down four or five more times before we made it out. The car would not restart until we came to a stop. As we were driving out I was thinking about what it could be. I came to the assumption it did not have anything to do with us being stopped but more the time it took. From going 50-60+MPH and looking for a good place to stop so other cars could pass it must have taken us a good 20 sec. Knowing VW’s, my first guess was the fuel pump rely. When we stopped for the start of the next stage I jumped out and started checking relays. The fuel pump relay was cold but the “109” relay was almost too hot to touch. “109” powers the ECU which would definitely shut the car down as quick as it did. I pulled it out and put a jumper in its place. A jumper is just a piece of wire with two male spade ends on it and will work like a relay that has been powered. The car ran great the rest of the weekend!

Stage 3, Steamboat. It was time to start making up some time. After the mess on stage 2 we were sitting in 17th, down 14 places since the start. I could not clear my head after stage 2 and I was not driving all that great. I knew I was going to have to change that if I wanted to make up six minutes. About 50 meters from the finish, we stopped and pulled out Roman Pakos so I felt a little better about the stage. We still managed to move up 2 positions.

Stage 4, Blue Trail.  Stage 4 felt better. I was almost done thinking about stage 2, and we moved up 3 more positions.

Stage 5, The Paul Bunyan. 22.32 miles! We had a great stage we were just 7 seconds behind the legend Laughlin O’Sullivanan. We made up 6 positions and were only one spot out of the Max Attack! money.

Stage 6,  Kabekona. Back in the Money! Max Attack pays out $500 to fifth place so at least we would come home with some money.

Stage 7, Parkway. We had 1 minute 11 seconds to make 4th. We narrowed the gap to 36.8 seconds, but we could not move up to fourth.

That was the end of Paul Bunyan’s Ride. We placed 5th overall, 3rd in class and we were sitting in 5th for Max Attack, which continued on the next day. I will continue in my next post. Sorry if it’s hard to follow. I have not written that much since… well… never mind.

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