Pat Richard closes out 2008 with a win!

Posted on 22. Nov, 2008 by in Tall Pines 2008

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Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell commandeered a lead of over five minutes heading into the final stages of the 2008 Rally of the Tall Pines. In an event that has punished many, even those still in the hunt had to fight to make it to the end.

The Lower Hastings stage garnered notoriety three years ago when it was run as the very first stage of the rally. That year, the 14 jumps spread over it's length helped in claiming over a dozen competitors on the first pass. Since then, crews have known the threat that particular stage presents.

“It's a really rough stage in there with those jumps. It's still dangerous, so we're going to slow down a bit now.” said Pat Richard.

Craig Henderson had complained earlier in the day about feeling a little sick to his stomach. Coming in for the third service, and Craig couldn't even comment on how he felt. Co-driver Lynn Murphy explained how things were going.

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“Craig is very sick, and we had to stop on stage for him to be sick. We will try to continue and see if we can finish, even if only in third or fourth.”

Andrew Comrie-Picard has been well down the order ever since he had an off this morning, and has spent the rest of the rally working to develop the new Mitsubishi EVO X.

“I'd be surprised if we're in the top ten,” said ACP, correctly. “Still, we're learning a lot and the car is getting better and better.”

Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard ended their rally and season earlier than they had hoped.

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“We sheared off our wheel studs on one wheel. It was just like Calgary, so that's it.” said Antoine. A disappointing ending to a season that has failed to live up to expectations. “It's good we won the North American Rally Cup, but it would be nice to have had a good finish here.”

Nick Mathew had been holding third place through most of the day until dropping down to fourth behind Irishman Seamus Burke. This is Nick's first run at Tall Pines and it hasn't been a clean run for he and co-driver – his sister Kelly. The two slid wide at one point and struck a few trees. Thankfully, damage was cosmetic and the pair have been continuing to set fast times through the day.

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“When we started today, I had no idea we'd be where we are. I like driving at night, and I find it easier to stay focused, so we'll see how these last few stages go.” said Nick Mathew.

Peter Kocandrle and Jimmy Brandt have been flying all day, and were sitting in the top ten heading into the final three stages. The pair were within striking distance of Randy Zimmer and Dave Shindle.

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Dave Mirra and Lance Smith were forced to retire after a particularly rough run through the Lower Hastings stage. Up to that point, the pair had been running consistently, with Mirra really enjoying the conditions and variability of the event.

“It's just awesome how the conditions always change. I don't really like the super tight technical stuff, but there's such a mix here, it's amazing.” said Mirra.

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Heading into the darkness, the crews all took to the Super Special stage, new this year. Short, but smooth and fast, fans got a good chance to watch the cars at full chat. Following those two short stages, there was one more service before the final three treacherous stages. Tall Pines was not done dishing out punishment just yet.

Over the final few stages, the R32 of Peter Reilly and Ray Felice left the road, forcing the retirement of the experienced crew in their new car.

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Teams returned to service and the final Parc Ferme of the year, to await the podiums. As the scores were tabulated, the results came clear. Pat Richard and Alan Ockwell had built on their massive lead to finish first overall, closing out the year with a final win – something Pat has never managed to do at Tall Pines.

“It's a really fantastic finish, after such a tricky event. This finish is a great way to lead into next year.” said Pat Richard.

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Craig Henderson had battled through his earlier illness to finish up second overall. The result meant a lot in the bigger picture as well.

“We wanted to finish this high because it means we've finished the season third in the Canadian Rally Championship, and we've also won the Subaru contingency program.” said the pleased Henderson.

Third place went to Irishman Seamus Burke. Visiting from Georgia, USA, Burke has landed a podium finish on his first visit to Tall Pines. Though short on comments, he was clearly happy with the result.

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“Tall Pines is a great event with some great competition. There are lots of gotchas on these roads, so you really need to be careful,” explained Burke. Seamus had driven with a cool calm maturity and was rewarded as other competitors fell away through the event.

Perhaps one of the most exciting stories of the event belongs to Nick and Kelly Mathew. 2008 marks Nick's first run at Tall Pines, and Kelly's second. The pair have been blazing fast this season, but have punctuated various events with retirements. As the sun set over Bancroft today, the question remained as to whether Nick could maintain his composure and position through the final stages. Watching the pair pull into the final time control, the result was clear, they had finished fourth overall, and second place in the regional podium.

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“We're very very very happy,” smiled Nick Mathew. “It's way better than we could have hoped for at the start of the event. It's just a fantastic finish.”

Rounding out the top five was Martin and Patrick Losier in fifth. Further down the order, and the highest finishing two wheel drive car was Peter Kocandrle and Jimmy Brandt. The pair wrapped up the day in eighth place in their diminutive Suzuki Swift Group Two car. It should also be noted that they were the first non open class car, beating out many open and all wheel drive cars.

To describe how cold this Tall Pines has been, Seamus Burke complained on the podium that he couldn't open his bottle of champagne. The problem – the bottle had frozen shut!

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Flatovercrest.com was pleased to bring you the 2008 Canadian Rally Championship. We've had a great year and are certain 2009 will be a thrilling one for rally fans.

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8 Responses to “Pat Richard closes out 2008 with a win!”

  1. Warren Currie

    22. Nov, 2008

    Congratulations to Pat, Allan and the rest of the Rocket Rally / Subaru Canada Team. Well done on a great “come back” season.
    A HUGE Thank You to all the FOC team for another great season of Rally coverage. Thanks Guys!
    WRC

  2. Shawn Bishop

    22. Nov, 2008

    Great coverage, great photos … as usual.
    Thanks guys for all the work! See you next year!
    Shawn

  3. Paul Marentette

    23. Nov, 2008

    Thank you for this great report and amazing pictures. While I too was there the full day and had a great time at the bridge and the night field stages, we obviously need to stake out some better places next year.
    Where were those jumps?

  4. Jon Nichols

    23. Nov, 2008

    Great to get a taste of the action …. for those of us stuck working … Thank You

  5. Dan Sprongl

    23. Nov, 2008

    Congrats to Peter K and Jimmy B, Peter and his flying Suzuki did very well.
    His FIRST national event and with a new co-driver as well as his First Tall Pines, great job!!!!!!!!!!
    Some pre-event issues, but none-the-less
    an excellent result for a 2wd car.
    I was at home nursing my blown-out knee
    watching the results. I knew he would be in the top 10.
    Hope that all the crews which had offs are doing OK.
    Congrats to the winners.
    Dan Sprongl

  6. Charles Plourde-Leblanc

    23. Nov, 2008

    Great coverage boys! You really become important media for the rally information in Canada, and a little bit in the states! This rally confirm wasn’t an exception!

  7. Adam Prime

    23. Nov, 2008

    Great coverage all of you, can’t wait to hear the audio and see the video!

  8. Pete Pollard

    24. Nov, 2008

    FOC rocks

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