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 SCCA’s “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. 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

YearDriver/Co-driverVehicle description
2015David Higgins/Craig Drew2015 Subaru WRX STI
2014David Higgins/Craig Drew2014 Subaru WRX STI
2013Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino2012 Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V
2012Antoine L'Estage / Nathalie Richard2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
2011David Higgins/Craig Drew Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2010Antoine L'Estage / Nathalie RichardMitsubishi Lancer Evo X
2009Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2008Antoine L'Estage / Nathalie RichardHyundai Tiburon
2007Andrew Pinker / Robbie DurantSubaru Impreza WRX STI
2006Matt Iorio / Ole HolderSubaru Impreza
2005Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerHyundai Tiburon
2004Shane Mitchell / Glenn PattersonSubaru Impreza
2003David Higgins / Daniel BarrettMitsubishi Evo
2002David Higgins / Daniel BarrettSubaru Impreza
2001Mark Lovell / Michael KiddSubaru Impreza WRX STI
2000Karl Scheible / Russ HughesMitsubishi Evo V
1999Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerHyundai Tiberon
1998Frank Sprongl / Dan SpronglAudi Quattro S-2
1997Carl Merrill / Lance SmithFord Escort Cosworth
1996Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerHyundai Elantra
1995Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerHyundai Elantra
1994Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerAudi Quattro S-2
1993Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerAudi S-2
1992Paul Choiniere / Jeff BeckerAudi Quattro
1991Chad DiMarco / Erick HaugeSubaru Legacy
1990Jeffrey Zwart / Calvin CoatsworthMazda 323 GTX
1989Rod Millen / Tony SircombeMazda 323 GTX
1988Rod Millen / Harry WardMazda 323 GTX
1987John Buffum / Tom GrimshawAudi Quattro
1986John Buffum / Tom GrimshawAudi Quattro
1985Rod Millen / John BellefleurMazda RX-7 4WD
1984John Buffum / Neil WilsonAudi Quattro
1983John Buffum / Doug SheperdAudi Quattro
1982John Buffum / Doug SheperdAudi Quattro
1981John Woolf / Grant WhittakerMazda RX-7
1980John Woolf / Grant WhittakerMazda RX-3
1979Rod Millen / Mark HowardDatsun 510
1978John Buffum / Doug SheperdTriumph TR-7
1977Eric Jones / Roger SielingDatsun 510