History

History 2017-04-30T11:40:24+00:00

Rochester, New York has always been a very active area for rallying. In the 1960s and early 70s, the local Rochester clubs presented two annual performance night rally events, run out of Rochester, down into the Finger Lakes area of the State. These events were part of the M.O.N.Y. series (Michigan, Ohio and New York) and were the forerunner of the Pro Rally series as we know it today. Even though these events were mainly held at night on remote roads, using a set average speed, they did often attract the attention of the local police and the occasional resident.

The route instructions might have indicated an average speed of only 49 mph, but careful adjustment of the odometer factor by the Rally Master often boosted the actual average speed well into the 50s. In those days there were no separation of transits and stages it was more like one big stage on open roads. To increase the average speed even more, you had to stop at the controls, get your time, get back in the car and leave. The perfect time for a control was usually on the 55 second mark, and your out time was the top of the minute you entered. It was often almost impossible to make the required speeds, especially for the Snowblower, which was run in similar ice and snow conditions to that of the Maine Forest Rally. These events were run from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and were around 500 miles long, with the only service a gas station about every 150 miles.

The last of these events to be run out of Rochester, was in 1972, and while the exact reason they were not held anymore is not know, it was probably a combination of pressure from the authorities, lack of insurance, and lack of National organization.

In the next few years a conversion to stage events was beginning to take place around the country. There was a desire of the Rochester rally following to join this conversion, but a major road block in New York State, was a law that was on the books, which banned the use of the roads for motorsport racing. This law was put into place after a spectator was killed at Watkins Glen in the early 50s, during an annual race there, which was run through the streets of the town in the days prior to the track being built.

In 1975-6, an SCCA Finger Lakes Region member, Bill Leathersich, tried to restart the night performance rallies, but when he found that the interest was not there he turned to starting to organize a stage event. He found that Pennsylvania did not have a law regarding motorsports, and also found that there were an abundance of great rally roads in the forests just south of New York State. Bill made some great selections in those early days, many of the roads we use today were found by him and of course probably the most important choice was that of selecting Wellsboro to be the Headquarters of the Rally. From that starting point the relationship between the Finger Lakes Region and Wellsboro has grown to point now where the Rally is jointly organized by two committees, one in Wellsboro and one in Rochester.

In May 1977 the first Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally, or as it is mainly known today, STPR, was held. In those early days, it was the members of the Rochester clubs such as, Triumph Touring Club, Corvair Owners Club, MG Car Club, SCCA and several others, that worked together to get that all important first event off the ground.

From these beginnings, the event has grown to become one of the classic stage rallies in the country, winning the SCCAs Best ProRally award an unprecedented eight times, in 1983, 1993, 1998, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2000 and most recently in 2003; the SCCA stopped sanctioning performance rally in 2005.

A new sanctioning body, American Rally Association, emerged in late 2016, and the organizers decided to move from Rally America to be part of the AMA’s inaugural National and Regional championships.

We are proud to have continued the tradition of putting on a top-quality event for more than 40 years.

From the first Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses has been an enthusiastic supporter of the event and a proud member of the organizing committee. The event has a significant economic impact on the community, bringing regional and national visitors to Wellsboro and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

Both the Finger Lakes STPR Motorsport, LLC members and the Community of Wellsboro, are proud to say this is our event.

Past Winners

Year Driver/Co-driver Vehicle description
2016 David Higgins/Craig Drew 2016 Subaru WRX STI
2015 David Higgins/Craig Drew 2015 Subaru WRX STI
2014 David Higgins/Craig Drew 2014 Subaru WRX STI
2013 Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino 2012 Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V
2012 Antoine L’Estage / Nathalie Richard 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
2011 David Higgins/Craig Drew Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2010 Antoine L’Estage / Nathalie Richard Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
2009 Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2008 Antoine L’Estage / Nathalie Richard Hyundai Tiburon
2007 Andrew Pinker / Robbie Durant Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2006 Matt Iorio / Ole Holder Subaru Impreza
2005 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Hyundai Tiburon
2004 Shane Mitchell / Glenn Patterson Subaru Impreza
2003 David Higgins / Daniel Barrett Mitsubishi Evo
2002 David Higgins / Daniel Barrett Subaru Impreza
2001 Mark Lovell / Michael Kidd Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2000 Karl Scheible / Russ Hughes Mitsubishi Evo V
1999 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Hyundai Tiberon
1998 Frank Sprongl / Dan Sprongl Audi Quattro S-2
1997 Carl Merrill / Lance Smith Ford Escort Cosworth
1996 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Hyundai Elantra
1995 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Hyundai Elantra
1994 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Audi Quattro S-2
1993 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Audi S-2
1992 Paul Choiniere / Jeff Becker Audi Quattro
1991 Chad DiMarco / Erick Hauge Subaru Legacy
1990 Jeffrey Zwart / Calvin Coatsworth Mazda 323 GTX
1989 Rod Millen / Tony Sircombe Mazda 323 GTX
1988 Rod Millen / Harry Ward Mazda 323 GTX
1987 John Buffum / Tom Grimshaw Audi Quattro
1986 John Buffum / Tom Grimshaw Audi Quattro
1985 Rod Millen / John Bellefleur Mazda RX-7 4WD
1984 John Buffum / Neil Wilson Audi Quattro
1983 John Buffum / Doug Sheperd Audi Quattro
1982 John Buffum / Doug Sheperd Audi Quattro
1981 John Woolf / Grant Whittaker Mazda RX-7
1980 John Woolf / Grant Whittaker Mazda RX-3
1979 Rod Millen / Mark Howard Datsun 510
1978 John Buffum / Doug Sheperd Triumph TR-7
1977 Eric Jones / Roger Sieling Datsun 510