Spectators line Sturtevant Pond Road in Magalloway Plantation to watch the 27th Annual New England Forest Rally in 2017. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file photo

You can bet fans will be watching for Lucy Block and her 16-year-old daughter, Lia, when the pair pass their way during the New England Forest Rally, which begins on Friday. 

The two-day race will pit over 60 drivers racing in off-road-ready vehicles against some of the toughest roads in western Maine and along the border of New Hampshire. Officials learned Wednesday that all the stage roads in the course remain intact despite the past heavy rains that have swept over New England in recent weeks.

The race’s headquarters is at Sunday River Resort in Newry.

This edition of the race will be the first since the death of action sports star and longtime race competitor Ken Block in January.

Lia’s co-driver will be Rhianon Gelsomino, while Lucy will be paired with Alesandro “Alex” Gelsomino – Rhianon’s husband and Ken Block’s former co-driver. Lia will be at the wheel of a rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ, while her mom will be tooling around in a four-wheel drive Ford Fiesta R3. Ken Block raced in cars for both manufacturers during his career.

Both Block women have taken the torch from Ken when it comes to rally racing.


Lia has vaulted into sixth place in the overall standings and remains at No. 1 in the Open 2WD (O2WD) class. Lucy is holding down 12the place overall and remains in fifth in Limited 4 Wheel Drive (L4WD) class.

Maine drivers entered into the race include Anthony Burden (New Hampshire native now living in Norway), Andrew Zapsky (with co-driver Ben Zapsky, both of Carmel) and Tyler Saunders (Ellsworth). Lisbon’s Ryan Rice was originally entered into the race (with co-driver Ben Nadeau of Auburn), but had to bow out due to illness.

Other co-drivers from Maine include Cape Elizabeth’s Joshua Benthien (teaming up with Erik Potts of Exeter, New Hampshire) and Brunswick’s Heather Littlefield, who will ride alongside Edward Best of Bethel, Vermont.

Defending race winner Brandon Semenuk, who edged out Ken Block for the title last year, is also entered into this year’s race.

The New England Forest Rally is part of an eight-event American Rally Association Green APU National Rally Championship series. According to a press release from the New England Forest Rally organizers, this year’s race will include 111.3 stage miles on forest and public roads as well as 415 miles on public roads at legal speeds. 

Rally racing consists of a driver and co-driver, who points out route notations to make drivers aware of road conditions. According to the NEFR press release, cars can reach speeds over well over 80 mph on straightaways.  

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.