Posted by John McArthur on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
I was the SCCA (USA) National Rally Steward - I had been for a couple of years. I was at the first rally of the year - Sno*Drift. There was a new team - the Prodrive team here this year - the selection for the team is posted elsewhere - but my friend and neibour from Rochester New York - Karl Schieble was there driving for the Prodrive Team. The top slot in the Prodrive team was taken by a new name in the USA - Mark Lovell!
It was at the prerally shakedown - I asked (I am a Codriver at heart) if I could get a ride in one of the new factory Subarus. I noticed that Mark had brought his car in after one run with the front bumper missing! The crew worked on the car for another run - Mark didn't get out of the car! I was later told that Karl Schieble would take me for a run.
Later that night I got to talk to Mark - it was a first meeting and pretty down to earth one. This was his first USA event. I asked him what he thought of Rallying in the USA?? He replied - you people are bloody crazy (being from New Zealand I knew what he meant)- you have a blind event (no recee), run on glare ice, with no notes and you don't allow studded tires.
He told me he had told David Campion after the shakedown, if he ever wanted a driver for the next event - don't call him!
We all know that Mark did come back to the USA many times - I as Steward got to know him very well - we developed a trust that only great respect between people can create.
Over several years our respect and friendship grew. Soon after my Steward duties ended - I found myself in the Co-Drivers seat again - unfortunately the event had a delay - the first car on the road had crashed!! The stage was cancelled. After a delay and much respectful discussion about what Mark would have wanted - the rally continued. On the next stage our car experienced a roll over - luckily we only demolished the car!
On the second day of the event - I first visited our crash site to try to figured out why! - then I visited the site at the beginning of stage one - my Stewards training meant that I was looking for answers - all I know is that I lost a couple of great friends - the trees are so big that only a little bark missing showed the great loss that so many now feel.
It has taken all this time to express my feelings about losing such a Noble Gentleman.
Mark and Roger - you are in all our memories.
Our condollances go out to your families..
It was a priviledge to know you so well.
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