STPR 2015 – What Makes STPR Great
Physicians, therapists, lawyers, restaurant owners, teachers, medical drug company employees, volunteer fire fighters, foster parents, and professional drivers—the list goes on and on and on! What do these individuals have in common? RALLY! As I spoke with the drivers and co-drivers of the 2015 STPR rally, I was surprised to find so many different walks of life represented there. I was also encouraged that this event is alcohol-free, making it a family friendly opportunity to meet not only those from a wide variety of backgrounds, but from other countries as well. I met drivers from Hungary, India, Russia, and Whales to mention a few! And all right here in my hometown of Wellsboro, PA.
Three words were repeated often to me describing rally; humor, humility, and perseverance. These are themes that deserve reflection, as we could use those attitudes in everyday life. So maybe rally is just a fast way to learn how to live!
Two years ago if you mentioned rally to me, the only image in my mind was fast cars. Now there are faces, names, and memories for me to warmly recall. I have no doubt the situation is the same for anyone else who came to cheer on their favorite driver or to see the cars in action.
This year, we interviewed four drivers and co-drivers who traveled from outside the Tioga County area to participate. Two of those teams wanted to draw attention to help others to understand stroke and Cystic Fibrosis, the Fast Rally Team and the Noble Star Rally Team.
Gary De Masi (a PA resident) and co-driver Stephen Kurey competed and finished in a 1985 Ford Ranger GT (number 80) this past weekend. One of his main reasons for participating in the rally is to promote stroke awareness. His rally team is FAST which stands for face, arms, speech and time – it is a race against time. Gary knows all too well about stroke symptoms, because in 2010 he experienced one himself. Now he lives to tell others about the warning signs. He wants to live each day to its fullest, which includes rally!
Ian Kessler and co-driver Amanda Skelly competed in a 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier for Noble Star Rally. This boyfriend/girlfriend team were unable to finish this rally, but admirably demonstrated a winning attitude. First they had a CV joint malfunction after a jump, and then the engine died as they were going through the second stage on Saturday. Ian’s response to their inability to finish? “No regrets here! Drove it hard, had a blast in the process. Stuff breaks, that’s just rally!”
Ian (25 years old) is no stranger to life’s challenges. As an infant, Ian was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and has chosen ever since to face each day with determination. Cystic fibrosis (CF), according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s website, is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) suffer from CF. In the 1950s, few children with CF lived to attend elementary school. Since then, tremendous progress in understanding and treating CF has led to dramatic improvements in the length and quality of life for those with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s, and beyond. For more information on CF, you can go to the foundation website at www.cff.org/AboutCF/. Ian is the first person that I have met who has cystic fibrosis. He has inspired me to persevere – I am thankful to have met him and look forward to seeing him race again.
Kevin Allen and co-driver Elizabeth Cordara competed and finished in their RallyCats 1994 Subaru Impreza. Not only do they share rallying as a hobby, but they also have the same careers as stability analysts for GlaxoSmithKline. This engaged couple from North Carolina have been rallying together for the past few years. Surprisingly, Kevin introduced Liz to the sport of rally, even though she grew up in Michigan where rallying is quite popular. The couple shared how much they enjoy coming to STRP here in Wellsboro and how they felt encouraged by the cheers and support of the fans.
Aakash Desai and co-driver Uttara competed and finished in their 2000 Subaru Impreza for the Northern Sky Rally Team. The first rally they attended in America was this STPR in Wellsboro. They later volunteered to work at this event and eventually decided this would be the perfect rally in which to compete. Of course, with Aakash’s demanding work as a physician and Uttara’s similarly challenging job in the mental health field, it took some time for this weekend to come about. Now this past weekend, their dream came true! As with many of the competitors, to Aakash and Uttara the rally is a sport rather than a vocation. They sincerely enjoyed coming to Wellsboro for this event. Thanks to the warm welcome, it feels like home to them.
In the Sherwood Forest Regional Rally event, Gary DeMasi & Stephen Kurey took 5th in Group 5 class, Kevin Allen & Elizabeth Cordara took 10th in Open Light class, Aakash Desai & Uttara Desai followed for 11th in Open Light class. Unfortunately, Ian Kessler & Amanda Skelly did not finish due to mechanical problems, namely engine failure.
Gary DeMasi & Stephen Kurey performed well in the Finger Lakes Regional Rally event, claiming 3rd in Group 5 class. Kevin Allen & Elizabeth Cordara took 4th in Open Light class, and Aakash Desai & Uttara Desai took 9th in Open Light class. Kessler & Skelly were able to finish three stages on Saturday (9, 10 & 11).
For more information and full competitor results, visit STPR.org.
Writing: Sara Vogt
Produced by Vogt Media