Big Bend Bash Pro Rally

FEBRUARY 17, 1981


BIG BEND BASH TO BUFFUM; PEUGEOT CAPTURES ITS FIRST PRO RALLY EVER

ALPINE, Tex. -- U.S. PRO Rally Champion John Buffum of South Burlington, VT., staged a dramatic come-from-behind drive to capture the Big Bend Bash, the opening round of the Sports Car Club of America' s PRO Rally Series, last weekend.

Driving a factory-prepared Peugeot 504, Buffum, who had never sat in the machine until the day before the event, and co-driver Doug Shepherd of Plymouth, Mich. , scored a one-and-one-half minute victory over the 35-car field in the desert of southwest Texas.

Trailing the factory Peugeot in its first ever SCCA PRO Rally win was New Zealand rally ace Rod Millen, who now resides in Santa Ana, Calif. Millen, who piloted a factory-backed Mazda Rx-7 similar to his 1980 model, and partner Bob Kraushaar of Tigard, Ore., moved into first place after six of the rally's nine stages and held a slim half-minute lead over the field. However, after the break, the field headed into the rugged country known as the Terlingua Ranch once again, and Buffum and the Peugeot swept the final three stages including a long, rough 20-miles (by more than a minute and a half) to claim the victory.

Texans Dick Turner and Tom Grimshaw rounded out the Top 3 in their "thunder truck", an IH Scout with a whopping 540-bhp engine. Turner stated after the event that "the truck would spin all four wheels in high gear". Placing fourth in the season opener were Michigan Privateers Larry Schmidt and Joe Andreini, who pushed their Dodge Colt to the top spot for an un- sponsored team, while the Mexican team of Fred Van Beuren and Franco Soldati closed out the Top 5 with a Ford Mustang, part of a six-car contingent entered by the the Rally Automovil Club of Mexico and the Club Automovilistico Frances.

The Production Class at the Big Bend Rash turned out to be unusually fierce with all five cars entered finishing the grueling 12-hour rally. Californians Ray Becker and Damon Trimble drove their Dodge Colt to the win with a tough battle of European heavyweights contending for second position.

The husband-wife team of Gary and Carolyn Eaton brought their factory backed Peugeot 505 held down the No.2 slot before a punctured tire on the last stage cost them five minutes and second place. Defending Prduction Class champions Jon Davis and Harry Ward then moved their Saab into the second spot and dropped the Eatons to third.

The Big bend Bash marked the opening event on the 14-contest SCCA Rally Series schedule for 1981, and, for the next 11 months, drivers will travel the entire United States in search of the coveted $103,000 in prize money and championship points. The next event on the PRO Rally Calendar will be the 100 Acre Wood set for March 7-8 through the hills of southern Missori in the town of Rolla. Many of the same stars who competed in Big Bend Bash will challenge the forest, snow and mud of Missouri including Buffum, Millen, Turner, Schmidt, Jon Woodner and John Woolf.


SCCA NATIONAL PRO RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

EVENT:	Big Bend Bash 						EVENT CONDUCTEDBY: Texas Region
LOCATION: Alpine, Texas						SCCA in cooperation with Dallas
DATE: February 14-15						SCC
SANCTIONING BODY: Sports Car Club				LENGTH: 150 miles, 9 stages
		  of America, Inc.				WEATHER:   Warm, clear, dry
ENTRANTS: 35	FINISHERS: 22					TERRAIN:   Desert, rolling hills

 
	FIN									CHAMP     MFG. 
	POS.					CAR		SCORE		POINTS	POINTS
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
	1. John Buffum, So. Burlington, VT	Peugeot 504	2:41.37		20	20
	   Doug shepherd, Plymouth, MI						20

	2. Rod Millen, Santa Ana, CA		Mazda RX-7	2:43.06		15	15
           Bob Kraushaar, Tigard, OR						15

	3  Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX		IN Scout	2:57.03		12	12
           Tom Grimshaw, Aubrey, TX						12

	4. Larry Schmidt, Rochester, MI		Dodge Colt	3:02.14		10	10
           Joe Andreini, Aubrey, TX						10

	5. Fred Van Beuren, Mexico City		Ford Mustang	3:04.00			8
           Franco Soldati, Mexico City

(1P)	6. Ray Hocker, Ridgecrest, CA		Dodge Colt	3:09.15		6
           Damon Trimble, San Francisco, CA					6

	7. Will Prince, P1ano, TX		Datsun Truck	3:10.17		4	4
           Dexter Prince, PIano, TX						4

	8. John Woolf, Santa Ana, CA		Mazda RX-7	3:11.17		3
           Grant Whittaker, Santa Ana, CA					3

(2P)	9. John Davis, Houghton, MI		Saab 99		3:11.52		2
           Harry Ward, Toledo, OH						2

	10. Dan Fahrenkrog, Las Cruces, NM	Corvair		3:14.43		1
            Jim Pettengill, Roswell, NM						1


PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS:

	1. Ray Hocker, Ridgecrest, CA		Dodge Colt	3:09.15		20	20
           Damon Trimble, San Francisco, CA					20

	2. John Davis, Houghton, MI		Saab 99		3:11.52		15	15
           Harry Ward, Toledo, OH						15

	3. Gary Eaton, Ann Arbor, MI		Peugeot 505	3:14.80		12	12
           Carolyn Eaton, Ann Arbor, MI						12


                          STANDINGS AFTER ONE EVENT

DRIVER:						PRODUCTION DRIVER

1. John Buffum      20				1. Ray Hocker		20
2. Rod Millen       15				2. Jon Davis		15
3. Dick Turner      12				3. Gary Eaton		12
4. Larry Schmidt    10				4. Tom French		10
5. Ray Rocker        6				5. Dan Wing		8

CO-DRIVER					PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER
1. Doug Shepherd    20				1. Damon Trimble	20
2. Bob Kraushaar    15				2. Harry Ward		15
3. Tom Grimshaw     12				3. Carolyn Eaton	12
4. Larry Schmidt    10				4. Dave Frewder		10
5. Damon Trimble     6				5. Rich Harrington	8

MANUFACTURER					PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER

1. Peugeot          20				1. Dodge		20
2. Mazda            15				2. Saab			15
3. IH Scout         12				3. Peugeot		12
4. Dodge            10
5. Ford              8


Results 81
RRN Index