Gone But Not Forgotten
These are the drivers who were taken too soon. Although no longer with us, their passion for the sport left an impact on Vermont SportsCar – and on all who had the privilege of racing, and knowing them.
Carl Merrill 1936 – 1998
Carl Merrill was a great friend and fan of rallying. Hailing from Ogunquit, Maine, he had been involved with motorsports since 1979, mostly as a modified and NASCAR North sponsor and team owner. However, Merrill wanted to be a driver more than a sponsor or team owner so he set his sights on rally.
Carl was a two-time North American Rally Champion, 1993 and 1996, and a Canadian Rally Series champion. Vermont SportsCar founder Lance Smith was his co-driver from 1996-1998 and recalls him as someone “who could always put a smile on people’s faces” and who was always having fun. He will always be missed by the rally community. For his biography, complete rally stats and a letter from his family to the rally community, read more below:
Mark Lovell and Roger Freeman were stars of the British rally racing scene who had begun to compete in the early 2000s in the nascent American Pro rally sector. “We had the great pleasure of working with Mark throughout the 2001 season and his support and the lessons he taught us will never be forgotten,” says Vermont SportsCar founder Lance Smith, “he was a bright light when he arrived in the U.S. Championship and he helped grow the sport of rallying in America as a whole.
He was always a joy to be around whether he won or lost. Mark and Roger will be missed forever and will always be in our thoughts.”
Colin McRae 1968 – 2007
Described as understated and immensely talented, friendly and focused, Scotsman Colin McRae was rally royalty (son of five time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae)and a force to be reckoned with. Winning the WRC driver’s title in 1995, he was championship runner-up in 1996, 1997 and 2001, and third in 1998. He helped Subaru win the Manufacturer’s title in 1995, 1996 and 1997. In 2006 he came back to Subaru for the X Games Rally event in Los Angeles, winning a silver medal in a Vermont SportsCar fabricated vehicle.
“We are here for a good time, not a long time.”
McRae will always be remembered for his flamboyant personality and dramatic driving style that made him one of the World’s most popular rally drivers.
Says Lance Smith, Vermont SportsCar founder, “As part of Vermont SportsCar’s rally effort at the X Games, McRae not only brought a wealth of experience and talent, he quickly became a friend of the team through his casual and approachable demeanor. To many on our team, having an opportunity to work with Colin McRae represented very much a dream realized. We will never forget our time with him.”
Dave Mirra 1974 – 2016
Dave Mirra was one of action sports’ biggest and brightest stars. He was a BMX legend, winning 24 X Games medals during two decades of competition, and is credited with bringing freestyle BMX into the mainstream. Mirra shifted his attention to rally in late 2007 when he joined Vermont SportsCar. He went on to participate with Vermont SportsCar in both rally and rallycross, including being one of the team drivers for the Subaru Puma Rallycross team in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship from 2010 – 2013.
Dave’s passion and determination were infectious, and were hallmarks of his personality. His accomplishments were extraordinary and yet he always remained humble and approachable, especially with his fans. For more information about Dave, his life and legacy please visit: http://davemirra.com/
Karl Scheible 1961 – 2020
Karl was a former Subaru Rally Team USA driver and an integral part of the team in 2001 and 2002, finishing third overall in the 2001 SCCA ProRally championship and winning the Group N title in a WRX STI. He was also the 2000 North American Rally Cup champion in a Vermont SportsCar-prepared privateer entry, earning overall wins at Rim of the World ProRally and Susquehannock Trail ProRally.
Lance Smith said “All of us at Subaru and Vermont SportsCar were shocked to learn about the sudden loss of one of our former teammates and driver Karl Scheible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Karl helped to guide Vermont SportsCar during its formative years and looked at American rallying with an unique business perspective and a high level of integrity and professionalism. Karl led Vermont SportsCar to its first Championship in 2000 and went on to help establish Subaru as a winning brand in North American rally.
Karl will be missed but his impact and guidance to Vermont SportsCar, Subaru and the Rally Community will live on.