I always liked rally racing from seeing it on TV occasionally. One of my favorite games was Need for Speed where you ran the stages instead of doing the tracks. I had no idea rally existed in the US until my friend Fred called me the night before the 1998 Maine Forest Rally and asked if I wanted to go. I got the next day off of work and we drove up in his big blue van to marshal.
Sitting at The Madison during the workers meeting, Fred was rattling off names of people in the room to me like Frank Sprongl and John Buffum. At the time they meant nothing to me. We made the drive to the Bunker Pond stage. First car I saw on stage was Carl Merrill in the Escort Cosworth. It scared the hell out of me and I was hooked.
Following the 1998 Maine Rally, I helped Fred in building a rally car. He received an Alfa Romeo Milano for free. He was going to build that up. The first rainy night he got it, we went for a drive down a closed road around the New Bedford airport. The first corner, we slid off the road and got stuck in the mud. We tried pushing car out to no avail. We shoved tree branches under the tires to get traction and that did not help. It took a call to a tow company to pull the Alfa out.
A few days later, when Fred was backing up his big blue Dodge van, he looked in the side-view mirror and saw he was getting perilously close to the Alfa. In the side mirror, he saw "Milano" backwards which is "Onalim". Between seeing that and the shoving of tree limbs under the car on his first night of ownership, we came up with the team name of "On A Limb Racing".
Over the next couple years, we tried unsuccessfully to put a good race car together. Between a lack of Alfa rally parts and money, the chances of success were slim. We sure did have fun trying though! Fred was the driver and team owner. I was the crew chief. We had a few different co-drivers.
We competed in 3 actual rallies. A torn gas line in 1999 Maine caused us to DNF. At Sawmill in 2000, the car was running ok except for some transmission trouble (I spent all morning under the car trying to rig up the driveshaft donut). That race was cut short by the tragedy that occurred. The 2000 Maine rally was a short one for us when we smashed the oil pan a mile or two into the first stage. Josh Bressem co-drove for us at 1999 Maine. Jan Ben at 2000 Sawmill. Mustafa Samli at 2000 Maine.
Fred ended up selling the car and we then spectated and worked the events.
I started taking photos just for personal keepsake reasons. During the 2002 Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally, I took an awesome shot of Lauchlin O'Sullivan. He contacted me about purchasing it. I sold him three 8x10's. It was right then I realized that this was more than cool. At the time I had a Nikon 995 digital camera. (Previous cameras were a CVS point & shoot film camera with no zoom and an Olympus D490z digital camera).
From then on, I really put an effort into getting good photos. I had realized that this was a lot tougher than it appeared. Anyone can take pictures at a sunny track in perfect weather and lighting with having cars go by the same spot dozens of times. You have a few hundred chances to get a shot of a car, and they all take practically the same line. Not the case in rally. You have dust, rain, shadows, nighttime, uneven terrain, a whole bunch of different lines and more than likely only one chance to get the shot. I enjoyed the challenge.
In July of 2003, I got my first DSLR. It was a Canon 10d. I only had one lens at the time which was a 28-135mm lens. It was a good all-around starter lens. That 10d has been through hell and I still have it as a backup camera. In July of 2006, I upgraded to a Canon 5d. I was most interested in getting a good full-frame sensor and less concerned with a high frames per second. (Anyone can hold down a button for a machine shutter.) I also have a good pile of lenses and other camera junk.
I'm 36 yrs old and live in Brockton, MA. No wife, no kids (that's why I can go to rally). My car is a 2009 Toyota Tacoma. I work in the IS department at J. Jill in Quincy, MA. I have been with the company since August of 1995. TV nowadays is pretty terrible, but I can always watch Whose Line is it Anyway no matter how many times I have seen it. MXC is good too. No favorite kind of music. Seafood and steak are my favorite foods. Yuengling and Guinness are my favorite beers.
I think that is all. Any questions or anything, shoot me an e-mail.