|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||March 10, 1980|
ROLLA, Missouri -- Defending PRO Rally Champion, John Buffum, proved that he is still the man to beat in U.S. performance rallying. The South Burlington, Vermont resident and his partner, Doug Shepherd, drove their Triumph TR-8 to a slim 48-second victory In the 14-hour, 400 mile 100 Acre Wood Rally. Buffum's fourth win in the 100 Acre's four-year history makes him the event's only winner.
The victory didn't come easily. Buffum's fiercest challenge came from New Zealander, Rod Millen, in his brand new Mazda RX-7. Millen and co-driver John Grimshaw were in a car which was finished only two days before the rally. They stayed close through the entire night, winninj six of the rally's 12 special stages. But in the end, it was Buffum running a car that has a full year's development who claimed top money.
Third went to Jon Woodner of Washington, D.C., and his partner from England, David Orrick in another Triumph TR-8. For the former SCCA racer and second year rallyist, it was his best finish at a PRO Rally.
The 52 car field was decimated by the rough, challenging roads of southern Missouri and by a significant number of driver-error accidents which were due, in part, to the rally's considerable length. At least four cars rolled including Tom Bell who completely destroyed his Datsun 240Z when he rolled twice trying to pass a slower car. Texan Tom French was somewhat luckier. He rolled his Saab 99 twice on the fourth stage. The car landed on its wheels and he and co-driver Dave Fremder got it going again. They did some quick repairs at a service break and went on to finish 21st in a car that certainly looked like it had been beaten with large hammers.
Production class honors went to George and Doris Beckerman of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, in a Dodge Colt. Jon Davis and Harry Ward had production all wrapped up until they went "off into the boonies" on the last stage dropping them to 15th overall and second in Production. One team who was expected to figure high in the standings went out in one of the strangest incidents in PRO Rally history. Californians Hendrik Blok and Rod Sorenson were in Blok's new (and very trick) Mazda GLC Rotary. On the first stage, a hot exhaust caused Sorenson's seat to burst into flames. After some very tense moments, they were able to get stopped, put the fire out and, in the process, put themselves out of the rally.
In spite of the terrible havoc visited on the cars, the safety equipment which all cars and drivers are required to use prevented serious injury -- except to some egos.
Four-wheel-drive is starting to come on very strong in PRO Rallying and three of the top cars weren't "cars" at all. Garry Henderson and Mike Van Loo finished fourth in their AMC CJ-7 Jeep. Sixth went to Dick Turner and Tom Grimshaw in an IH Scout II with Guy Light and Jim Brandt taking eighth in another AMC Jeep.
The hard luck drive of the weekend was that of Wayne and Debra Baldwin. They had flat-towed their Volvo l42S from their home in Waldwick, New Jersey, over 600 miles away. For the entire rally, they ran with the leaders When scores were posted, they picked up a six minute penalty that they didn't know anything about. A check of the scoring logs could not resolve the problem and the score stood dropping them from third to fifth place.
The rally marked B.F. Goodrich's first foray into PRO Rallying in several years. They couldn't have been happier with the results. The first, second, fourth and sixth place teams were on Goodrich rubber.
In all, over $5,000 in prize money was paid and several thousand dollars more went directly from companies to teams through contingency winnings.
Before anyone can catch a breath, the PRO circuit heads for the mountains and forests of Washington state and the Tour de Forest rally. It will be run out of Shelton, south of Seattle, in the Olympic Mountains. Fifty teams are expected for the March 22-23 rally. Buffum, Millen, Woodner, Turner and Blok (who promises to fix the co-driver' s hot seat problem) will all be on hand along with several talented West Coast drivers. As things stand now, the PRO Rally Championship will probably pay close to $100,000 in direct prize money over the course of the 12 event season and nearly twice that much in contingency monies.
Millen won the Tour do Forest last year, just ahead of Blok. Buffum stayed home. This year with so much at stake, no one is sitting out any of the PRO Rallies. It is going to be an exciting year.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: 100 Acre Wood EVENT CONDUCTED BY: ST Louis Region, SCCA LOCATION: Rolla, Missouri LENGTH: 407 miles, 12 stages, 145 stage miles. DATE: March 8-9, 1980 WEATHER: Cool, clear, dry. ENTRANTS: 52 FINISHERS: 25 TERRAIN: Forest, rolling hills TOP 10 FINISHERS FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, So. Burlington, VT Triumph TR-8 15,460 100 100 Doug Shepherd, Ann Arbor, MI 100 2. Rod Millen, Santa Ana, CA Mazda RX-7 15,541 80 80 John Grimshaw, Denton, TX 80 3. Jon Woodner, Washington, D.C. Triumph TR-8 16,842 60 David Orrick, Lancaster, U.K. 60 4 Garry Henderson, Dearborn Hts, MI AMC deep CJ-7 17,033 50 50 Mike Van Loo, Farmington Hills, MI 50 5. Wayne Baldwin, Waldwick, NJ Volvo 142 17,248 40 40 Debra Baldwin, Waldwick, NJ 40 6. Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX IH Scout 17,360 30 30 Tom Grimshaw, Lewisville, TX 30 7. John Chalmers, Findlay, OH Dodge Colt 17,363 20 Bill Potvin, Toledo, OH 20 8. Guy Light, Midland, MI AMC Jeep 17,367 19 Jim Brandt, Lake Odessa, MI 19 9. Brune Kreibich, Ridgewood, NY Porsche Carrera 17,716 18 Scott Hughes, Loveland, OH 18 10. Colin Whittingham, Tyler, TX Mazda RX-3 17,753 17 Andrew Magnus, Arlington, TX 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1.(11) George Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL Dodge Colt 18,252 100 Doris Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL 100 2.(15) Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 18,973 80 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 80 3.(16) John Olinger, Sacramento, CA Dodge Champ 19,056 60 Ron Richardson, Sacramento, CA 60 DRIVER STANDINGS CO-DRIVER STANDINGS MANUFACTURERS 1. John Buffum 100 1. Doug Shepherd 100 1. Trimph 100 2. Rod Millen 80 2. John Grimshaw 80 2. Mazda 80 3. Jon Woodner 6O 3. David Orrick 60 3. AMC 50