Win a the Ultimate Rally Experience with Crazy Leo at Tall Pines

The Rally of the Tall Pines. An icon on the North American rally scene. The final major motorsports event of the year.

As always, The Garage Blog will be there to bring you the sights and maybe even some sounds of the 2011 Rally of the Tall Pines in Bancroft, Ontario. You can be there too, for a rare opportunity to get up close and personal World class rally cars and their drivers. Best of all, it is free!

Of course, the best way to see the event would be to spend a few bucks on the Tall Pines VIP pass which includes transportation to and from the stages, food and special perks along the way. Perks like heat! They even throw in a bunch of official Tall Pines swag. For just $145 it is one of the best deals in all of motorsport and sells out every year. To learn more, visit the VIP program page.

The 2011 running of Tall Pines promises to be the biggest ever, with 60 teams entered ranging from classics to open class monsters. Along with the usual Subaru and Mitsubishi suspects, we’ll also see new Ford Fiesta rally machines. Add in a vintage Volvo, a Corolla and even a Datsun and there should be some great drifting action all day long. Mother nature is hard at work freezing the ditches solid and laying down a bit of snow to make things more challenging for the drivers, more exciting for the fans!

If you are really feeling lucky, you should enter Crazy Leo’s contest over on his Facebook fan page. The Crazy Leo VIP Rally Experience is like the VIP program on steroids. The winner gets a ride with Crazy Leo in The Beast, an open class Subaru WRX, during Friday’s shakedown stages. The prize also includes admission to Leo’s Tall Pines after party, complete with free beer!

All you need to do is submit your favorite rally photo to chris@crazyleo.net and you will be entered in the contest. Better hurry though, the contest closes on Wednesday at 10 pm.

Regardless of how you choose to watch the event, you HAVE to go to Bancroft this Saturday to check out the action. Come early and dress warm!

Photos from the 2010 Rally of the Tall Pines

Ken Block’s Gymkhana 3 Focus on display at NAIAS

Ok, so this may not be news of any sort from Detroit, but I thought it was pretty cool that the Ford Focus that Ken Block drove while filming Gymkhana 3 was on hand during NAIAS.

Call me a geek, but this thing is a monster!

Gallery after the break.
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4 camera onboard view of Pat Richard attacking Tall Pines

Pat Richard on maximum attack!

On stage A7 at Tall Pines a couple of months ago, I met an interesting camera crew. They were working on a multi camera experiment with Pat Richard’s Subaru. The plan was to mount 4 separate cameras and then allow viewers to choose which one they want to watch. Cool stuff.

Even cooler, they have now shared a video from stage A4.
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Team Chinook still on the road at Dakar

In past years, I’ve been all over covering Dakar. This year though, I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around it. That is a shame, because Conor Malone and Tom Frank are attempting to become the first Canadian team to finish the Dakar on 4 wheels.

As of this writing, the Team Chinook Chevy is still on the road, having passed today’s waypoint 6 in 110th position out of 135 cars. This is despite an off yesterday that required some all night welding and a 40 minute delay caused by a misplaced nomex balaclava!
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Ken Block topping WRC popularity charts so far. Will Pastrana do the same in NASCAR?

Earlier this morning, the good folks at WRC posted a new poll on their site to determine which driver was the most popular personality. Here in The Garage, it comes as no surprise that Ken Block is not only on the list, but as of this writing he is sitting with 61% of the votes!
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Tall Pines stage A7: Up close at Iron Bridge

Pat Richard storms the bridge!

Yes, I AM that close!

After A5, competitors head over to the Mayo Lake stage before returning to the Iron Bridge spectator stage for the final time. We switched up our shooting locations a bit and I positioned myself right up next to the bridge. Pat Richard was still pedaling the Subaru as fast as he could, which brought him past the lens closer and faster than anyone else. Even still, he was 3 seconds slower than the leader. Antoine L’Estage was running fast and smooth and Richard would have to push harder to catch him as the sun began to set and the temperatures dropped.
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Gallery: 2010 Tall Pines Rally Stage A5, Iron Bridge

Getting to the Iron Bridge stage proved to be a bit of a challenge for the team from The Garage, as our route was blocked by another stage. A tip from Andrew Harvey sent us to an alternate spot where we could gain access to shoot the next couple of runs through the Iron Bridge stage.

As they did for the whole rally, the Rockstar Mitsubishi of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard was the first car through the stage. While they were bombing along at a fast pace, there was very little drama as L’Estage was driving super smoothly. Their primary competition, Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell were a whole different story.
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Gallery: Rally of the Tall Pines Stages A1 & A2

When the alarm went off at 6 am the day of the Rally of the Tall Pines, the old hotel was moaning under the strain of a wicked wind and the wavy 105 year old windows were rattling as the trees banged against them. It was not promising to be a very nice day to shoot Tall Pines but at least it was warmer than the last time I shot the rally. Fortunately, the winds subsided and the sun warmed the air nicely to provide a great day for shooting. Until the evening, that is, but that is for another post.

The first car Jay Tomchuk and I saw on Saturday morning was the black Mitsubishi of Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard. They were to remain at the front of the order for the entire day, while the rest of the order made some interesting changes throughout the day. We heard that Pat Richard was missing at one point, while Crazy Leo and several other competitors vanished altogether.

After the break we’ve got a rather large gallery of my shots from the first two stages, as competitors made a loop and attached Upper Old Hastings twice in a row.
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Tragedy strikes rally community following Rally of the Tall Pines

I have long believed that more racers die on the way home from an event than do while actually racing. Sadly, that belief was supported once again on Saturday night following the Rally of the Tall Pines.

37 year old volunteer worker Sabina Sima, from Hamilton, Ontario was killed in a 2 vehicle collision on Highway 28 just east of Bancroft. She was a passenger in a Subaru that was being driven by a fellow volunteer when the vehicle crossed over the center line and collided with a Dodge pickup that was travelling in the opposite direction. The driver of the truck received minor injuries while the driver of the Subaru was airlifted to Kingston General Hospital with non life threatening injuries.

Our thoughts go out to Sima’s family and friends.

Tall Pines 2010 video mashup

Today will be a massive editing day here in The Garage, so I thought we’d share the fruits of someone else’s labour. Matt Johnston has just posted this quick mashup of HD clips from the 2010 Rally of the Tall Pines, which includes in car, road side and even helicopter footage. The soundtrack is all natural, meaning there are no tunes and lots of pops and bangs from the exhaust!

After the break, select HD, crank the volume and hold on!
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