Friday, May 31, 2013

Wellsboro resident gets his turn behind the wheel

By Marilyn Randall

Charles Tameris, of Wellsboro, Pa., is one of the "local boys"
entered in his first STPR driving a 944 Porsche
 in the two-wheel-drive class. Photo credit: MaryAnne Shults
With his numerous facial piercings, he looks somewhat intimidating. However, the people of all ages coming up to give this local boy hugs and wishes of good luck in his inaugural competition in the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, or STPR, defy that stereotype.

Charles Tameris, along with Rochesterian Tony Zanni co-driving, didn't mind starting second from the last car as they parked the blue and red 1987 Porsche 944 along the side street off "The Green", the town square in bucolic downtown Wellsboro, Pa. The cars were lined up like off-camber dominos in a "parc expose" for a meet-and-greet with the rally teams, for a few hours prior to the start of the event.

Although it's his first time competing at STPR, he's no stranger to the event.

"I grew up with STPR in my backyard," said Tameris. "I've worked sweep and also worked the Wellsboro Winter Rally [in 2011]," he added.

The Porsche came from Boston, literally in boxes. And he was happy to snag the car number 944. They are running in the Group 2 class, the small-engined two-wheel-drive cars.

"Our goal for this first event is to just finish," he said, as they climbed in the car and headed out to start the 2013 STPR.

The first stage, through the Waste Management property, about 12 miles outside of Wellsboro, the team moved up quickly from their place in the back of the pack, holding their class position through the hard-packed, tree-lined dirt roads of the first three stages.

The rally then moved back to the Tioga County Fairgrounds for the Super Special Stage. This is a short stage, about a half-mile long, focusing on sharp cornering maneuvers geared for the enjoyment of the grandstand crowd, which is run twice. Two cars run each heat simultaneously on parallel lanes, switching lanes for the second lap.

On the second lap, Anthony Concha, from Philadelphia, in a Ford Focus, inadvertently ended up in the wrong lane, blocking Tameris' progress. As a result, the rally officials allowed Tameris to run again.  Despite having to power out of a high-centered situation at the end of the lap, the Porsche still won the heat, this time competing against the Mazda Protege driven by Joshua Baker, from Rockville, Md.

Overall it was a good day for the novice team. They succeed in not only finishing the day clean, but given that second chance at the fairgrounds and coming out on top to the whoops and cheers of the local, dedicated fans.