Sno*Drift PRO Rally 1980



GRAYLING, Michigan. -- Guy Light and Jim Brandt squeeked to a half-minute win in their Jeep CJ-7 at the 12th round of the Sports Car Club of America's PRO Rally Series. The Michigan team jumped into a huge early lead at the Sno*Drift PRO Rally after the factory teams were forced from the event.

The expected show-down between John Buffum in his Triumph TR-8, and Rod Millen in his Mazda RX-7 fell by the wayside when Buffum exited for 6.5 minutes on the first five stages. Millen and co-driver Adrian Seabridge then got lost for 5 minutes. Both teams spent the rest of the rally trying to catch Light's very guick Jeep, with Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd actually coming within one-half minute at the end. Millen drove off course twice on the last stage (for a total of nearly a half hour) , and dropped to 16th place.

The 46 teams entered in the 350-mile, 10-hour Sno*Drift could not have predicted the event's terrible conditions for this, the only winter rally on the SCCA schedule. In addition to a foot and a half of snow, there was drizzling rain and a fog so thick that the U.S. Weather Bureau issued a travelers advisory. Vision was often less than a car length, making driver fatigue a critical factor in the results.

Third place went to Dick Turner and Tom Grimshaw. Unaccustomed to snow, the Texas team drove their Scout conservatively, and the strategy paid off, earning Turner his tenth top ten finish of the season -- an SCCA PRO Rally record. Fourth was Brian Rebney in his very very old Datsun 510, finishing two places better than he did at last year's event. Fifth went to John Woolf, who put his Mazda RX-3 off for 15 minutes on the first stage, then stopped to help Millen out of the snowbank on the last stage. The gesture may have cost him fourth place and helped to tighten the manufacture race between Mazda and Triumph to a thin 30 points.

Newcomer, (his third event) Erik Zenz and his partner Brian Berg hung on to claim top honors in the Production Class in their Saab 99, marking the 10th Production win for Saab this season. Second in the class was another Saab 99 belonging to Curt Spicer and Tom Hudak.

The event was marred by an unfortunate timing error, which may have cost John Buffum the win. Failure to record several times on the final stage caused rally officials to remove the stage from final scoring. Raw scores showed Buffum with a .70 minute advantage over Light on the final leg -- a margin which would have given Buffum victory.

Light's victory marked the return of Cooper Tires to the winner's circle.

Thus, the stage is set for a showdown at the upcoming Frontier Hotel Las Vegas rally on December 20 and 21. Millen and Buffum each have five victories, two seconds. These two drivers will have their own rally going on at Las Vegas. It's one-on-one, and the guy who comes out on top will be crowned the U.S. Rally Champion.

SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044


EVENT: Sno*Drift                                      	EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Detroit Region, SCCA
LOCATION: Grayling, Michigan                          	LENGTH: 350 Miles, 17 Stages
DATE: December 6-7, 1980                              	WEATHER: Cool, Snow, Rain, Fog
ENTRANTS: 46: FINISHERS: 24                    		TERRAIN: Forest, flatland

FIN											CHAMP	MFG. 
 1.	Guy Light, Midland, MI			Jeep CJ-7		117.32		100     100
      	Jim Brandt, Lake Odessa, WI                                               	100

 2.	John Buffum, S. Burlington, VT		Triumph TR-8    	117.90           80      80
   	Doug Shepherd, Livonia, MI     	                                                 80

 3.	Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX		IH Scout        	123.43           60      60
   	Tom Grimshaw, Aubrey, TX                                                         60

 4.	Brian Rebney, Saginaw, MI		Datsun 510		125.72		 50      50
   	David Stone, Big Rapids, MI                                                      50

 5.	John Woolf, Auckland, NZ		Mazda RX-3      	130.33           40      40
   	Grant Whittaker, Auckland, NZ                                             	 40

 6.(1P) Erik Zenz, West Allis, WI		Saab 99         	130.74           30  	 30
      	Brian Berg, Brown Deer, WI                                                       30	  

 7.	Eric Jones, Columbus, OH		Datsun 510      	132.88           20
      	Gary Grebus, Dublin, OH                                                   	 20

 8.	Larry Schmidt, Rochester, MI		Dodge Colt      	134.84           19
   	Torn Wreesman, Troy, MI                                                          19

 9.(2P) Curt Spicer, Saginaw, MI		SAAB 99         	137.46           18
     	Tom Hudak, Hemlock, MI                                                           18

10.	Jim Warren, Midland, MI			Jeep CJ-7       	138.59           17
     	Jennifer Swenson, Midland, MI                                                    17

 1. 	Erik Zenz, West Allis, WI		SAAB 99         	130.74          100	100
      	Brian Berg, Brown Deer, WI                                                      100	  

 2. 	Curt Spicer, Saginaw, MI		SAAB 99         	137.46           80
     	Tom Hudak, Hemlock, MI                                                           80

 3.	Roger Suppes, Saginaw, MI		Toyota Corolla		146.61		 60	 60
	K. Crutchfield, Frankenmuth, MI

                              STANDINGS AFTER TWELVE EVENTS

DRIVER                                         		PRODUCTION DRIVER
1. Rod Millen         	500                    		1. Jon Davis       	500
   John Buffum        	500                    		2. Dan Johnson          240
3. John Woolf         	380                    		3. George Beckerman     180
4. Jon Woodner        	330                    		4. Pat Nowak            178
5. Dick Turner        	230                    		5. Fred Stafford        170

CO-DRIVER                                      		PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER
1. Doug Shepherd      	500                    		1. Harry Ward        	500
2. Grant Whittaker    	380                    		2. Karen Johnson        240
3. Tom Grimshaw       	230                    		3. Doris Beckerman      180
4. Joe Andreini       	209                    		4. Greg Harris          160
5. David Orrick       	190                        	   Ron Richardson       160

MANUFACTURER                                   		PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER
1. Mazda              	880                    		1. Saab                1000
2. Triumph            	850                    		2. Plymouth             650
3. Dodge              	350                    		3. Dodge                430
4. Datsun             	320                    		4. Toyota               170
   IH Scout           	320                    		5. Audi                 140

Results 1980
RRN Index