|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||March 24, 1980|
Olympia, Washington -- The Sports Car Club of America's PRO Rally Championship is quickly turning into a horserace between Triumph and Mazda. John Buffum of S. Burlington, VT once again proved that Triumph has the horses to win. Running their specially prepared V-8 powered Triumph TR-8, Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd of Ann Arbor, MI, won their second PRO Rally in two weeks over a field of 42 cars from all over the U.S. and Canada at the Tour de Forest rally in Olympia, Washington.
Hot on the Triumph's heels for the second straight time was the Mazda RX-7 of New Zealander Rod Millen. Millen and local co-driver Dave Weiman finished just over four minutes behind Buffum, a virtual repeat of the 100 Acre Wood rally two weeks ago in Missouri. They led a Mazda parade that included Nick Van Nugteren of Singapore in another RX-7 who finished third and local, Steve Roberts, driving an RX-2, in fourth. Rounding out the top five was the husband-wife team of Bob and Phyllis Chandler from Seattle, WA in a Datsun 240Z.
There were some moments in the early going, however, when it looked as though everything might fall apart. On the second stage, Tim Arnold and Steve Hierholzer picked a very bad spot to slide off the road in their Datsun 510. The car nearly came to a stop on a steep bank and then, said Arnold, "It went thunk, thunk, thunk." Before it quit thunking, it had rolled over twice to the bottom of the hill and caught fire. Quick action by the drivers, as well as assistance from the next two rally teams who stopped to help, prevented a very dangerous situation from getting out of hand.
Because of the accident, as well as an earlier incident where rally chairman Jerry Hines put his car off the road pre-running the course, Stage Two was cancelled. That was fine with Buffum and Millen, both of whom had gotten lost on that stage. It was also "okay" with Van Nugteren who had a flat on the same stage and lost seven minutes changing it. Two potent challengers wish they had never seen Stage Two. Hendrik Blok over-cooked a corner and put his Mazda GLC up to its floorboards in mud, and Jon Woodner broke the rear axle on his Triumph TR-8.
Outstanding communications supplied by a local ham radio club and quick action by the organizers soon had things back under control and their actions received high praise from many of the competitors.
The win by Buffum stretches his lead in the championship points race over Millen, in second, with several drivers distantly in third.
The third round of the PRO Rally Championship is less than two weeks away. Many of these same teams are expected to return to Olympia for the Olympus rally.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: Tour de Forest EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Northwest Region, SCCA, LOCATION: Olympia, Washington Ranier Auto Sport Club DATE: March 23-24, 1980 LENGTH: 210 miles, 10 stages, 95 stage miles ENTRANTS: 42 Finishers: 22 WEATHER: Wet, light rain, cool TERRAIN: Forest, low mountains TOP 10 FINISHERS FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, S. Burlington, VT Triumph TR-8 6055 100 100 Doug Shepherd, Ann Arbor, MI 100 2. Rod Millen, Santa Ana, CA Mazda RX-7 6308 80 80 Dave Weiman, Federal Way, WA 80 3. Nick Van Nugteren, Anaheim, CA Mazda RX-7 7044 60 Steve Everhelni, Grande Hgts., CA 60 4. Steve Roberts, Bellevue, WA Mazda RX-2 7094 50 Don Gibson, Seattle, WA 50 5. Bob Chandler, Seattle, .WA Datsun 240Z 7153 40 Phyllis Chandler, Seattle, WA 40 6. Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX IH Scout II 7173 30 30 Tom Grinshaw, Lewisville, TX 30 7. Ken White, Fremont, CA Datsun 510 7221 20 Gene Kaczmarek, Fremont, CA 20 8. Bill Brooks, Olympia, WA Saab 99 7249 19 Bill Banger, Spokane, WA 19 9. Colin Whittingham, Tyler, TX Mazda RX-3 7353 18 Linda Marsh, Seattle, WA 10. Clark Connell, Ankorage, AK Saab 99 EMS 7366 17 Dan Goodwin, Ankorage, AK 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. (8) Bill Brooks, Olympia, WA Saab 99 7249 100 100 Bill Banger, Spokane, WA 100 2.(11) Dan Wing, Bellingham, WA Saab 99 7539 80 Mike Kirchgessner, Bellingham, WA 80 3.(14) Fred Stafford, Santa Monica, CA Saab 99 7754 60 Erick Hauge, Pleasantown, CA 60 STANDINGS AFTER TWO EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 200 1. George Beckerman 100 2. Rod Millen 160 Bill Brooks 100 3. Dick Turner 60 2. Jon Davis 80 Nick Van Nugteren 60 Dan Wing 80 Jon Woodner 60 3. Jim Olinger 60 Fred Stafford 60 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 200 1. Doris Beckerman 100 2. John Orieshaw 80 Bill Banger 100 Dave Weiman 80 2. Harry Ward 80 3. Steve Everhele 60 3. Erick Hauge 60 Tom Grimshaw 60 Ron Richardson 60 David Orrick 60 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Triumph 200 1. Saab 180 2. Mazda 160 2. Plymouth 100 3. IH Scout 60 4. AMC Jeep 50 5. Datsun 40 Volvo 40