NEWRY — Five-year-old Kaleb Voter of Dixfield was thrilled beyond belief early Saturday morning when his parents took the youngster and his brother to the New England Forest Rally’s Parc Expose at Sunday River Ski Resort.

Kaleb said he wants to race rally cars when he grows just like his rally racing heroes, Travis Pastrana of Davidsonville, Md., and Ken Block of Park City, Utah.

“My name is Kaleb Scott Voter and I want to be a racecar driver,” the youngster said after posing for a picture in front of Block’s 2013 Ford Fiesta. He was waiting for Block to arrive so he could greet him and pose with his dad for a photo with Block, who was in second place following Friday’s racing.

Voter’s parents, Scott and Jessica Voter, were equally excited about the meet-and-greet session attended by a few hundred fans despite a heavy downpour. They share a unique connection with Pastrana, who was in third place.

“A few years ago at the Recreation Park in Mexico, Travis did a jump in his car and lost a piece of his bumper when he landed and we got it and took it to him that same day and he autographed it for us,” Jessica Voter said. “It’s our most prized possession.”

They got something else from Pastrana when he posed for a photo with Scott and Kaleb. And then, in light rain, Pastrana autographed Kaleb’s rain jacket hood on top of the youngster’s head, wowing the crowd waiting to meet Pastrana.


“Mom! He signed my name on my head!” a stunned Kaleb said.

Laughing, Jessica said, “No, honey, he signed HIS name on your head.”

The racers spent more than an hour greeting fans, posing for pictures, handing out free copies of their swag, and autographing whatever fans brought for them to sign.

Waiting in line for autographs was Kevin Ondre and the whole Ondre family of Springfield, Vt.

Kevin Ondre built an HPI WR8 remote-control race car modeled on rally racer Brendan Reeves’ 2015 M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2. Ondre took the plastic body off the chassis and Reeves autographed the underside of the body’s roof.

Ondre said his son, Nick Ondre, got Ken Block’s autograph on the underside of the plastic body of a remote-control race car modeled after Block’s old rally car.


“We were here yesterday, too,” Kevin Ondre said. “I’m a moderate fan. We follow this (forest rally) when it gets here, because this is the only time they come to New England.”

Dan Ondre proudly displayed a racing shirt on which he was collecting autographs. It was his first time attending the Parc Expose in Newry.

“I can’t get over how approachable everyone is,” Dan Ondre said. “And I can’t wait to see the dirt flying on the course.”

“It’s really great meeting them,” Maggie Ondre said. “They’re very laid-back and very friendly.”

Dan Ondre said he races on autocross tracks with the Sports Car Club of New Hampshire. Autocross is a driving skill event conducted over a short, miniature road course that is clearly defined by traffic cones. He said it doesn’t even come close to comparing with rally racing.

“Avoiding orange cones is my racing compared to avoiding trees like these guys do,” Dan Ondre said.


And suddenly, overcast skies that were drizzling light rain over the racers, their parked cars and fans, gave way to a heavy downpour at about 8 a.m. Some fans and racers ran for canopies or the South Ridge lobby.

The onslaught ended by 8:27 a.m. and racers and their co-drivers headed for the timing stanchion where rally Chief Registrar Jackee Manock of Newton, N.H., waited to give them the day’s stage packet.

Manock said Saturday’s drenching rains would be great for the course. “Yesterday, we had a very dusty day, so today we won’t have to have delays like we did in yesterday’s race.”

However, she said, the wet gravel roads could prove slippery for racers who drive full throttle on the backcountry roads.

Unlike the fans, Manock said she doesn’t have any favorite racers. “I will tell you this, though,” she said. “My favorite car is Lucy Block’s racecar, because there are some unicorns and rainbows on it.”

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