Olympus PRO Rally 1980



OLYMPIA, Washington -- New Zealander Rod Millen and co-driver Dave Weiman demonstrated the reliability of their new Mazda Rx-7 by convincingly winning round three of the Sports Car Club of America's PRO RallY Championship the April 6-7 "Olympus Safari Rally," near Olympia, Wash.

Second by over 12 minutes was the local team of Steve Parker and Richard Inman in an aging Datsun 510, a vast improvement from their 12th place finish at the Tour do Forest Rally only two weeks earlier. Third went to Jon Woodner and Jerry Hinkle in a Triumph TR-8.

The win moved Millen into the lead in the Championship point standings and put Mazda in a tie with Triumph for the Manufacturer's title chase.

For the first half of the 307 mile rally, Millen was locked in a tremendous duel with John Buffum who was looking for his third win in a row in his Triumph TR-8. Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd had edged Millen by the narrowest of margins in the first two rallies, and the Olympus Safari looked like more of the same. Buffum jumped off to a one minute lead after the Millen Mazda had some vapor lock trouble on the second stage. After that it was nip-and-tuck until stage eight. Then, said Buffum, "I must have braked at the wrong time. We got into a right hander and just couldn't quite make it."

The result was that Buffum's TR-8 ended up sitting on some logs and branches off the road. For Millen, there was then nothing to do but stay on the road for the last half of the rally, something others found exceptionally difficult. Some truly miserable weather (torrential rain which did not end until it turned to snow) and tricky roads combined with the driver error brought on by the fatigue of the long event to take their toll. Only 15 of the rally's 49 entrants were classified as finishers. Night's end found the Washington countryside was littered with PRO Rally machinery.

The first retiree was an expected top contender, Hendrik Blok blew the clutch in his Mazda GLC Rotary 100 yards from the starting line of stage one. Pieces of the clutch tore through the car rupturing a fuel regulator which allowed gasoline into the interior. The fuel ignited and for the second time this year, co-driver Rod Sorenson found himself in a flaming rally car. Four weeks ago at the 100 Acre Wood Rally at Rolla, Mo., his seat caught fire from an overheated exhaust. This time, quick work by the drivers extinguished the fire, but left the car out of the rally.

The Production Class showdown between Plymouth and Saab got hotter and closer at the Olympus Safari. Jim Olinger and Ron Richardson won the class in their Plymouth Champ. Second in Production went to the Saab 99 of Dan Wing and Mike Kirchgesner. These finishes put Olinger and Wing in a tie for first place in the Production Driver category.

The PRO Rally tour now takes a short break before resuming the Championship race at the "Northern Lights" Rally, May 2-4 in Houghton Lake, Michigan. Northern Lights represents Round Four of the twelve event PRO Rally Championship.

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


EVENT: Olympus Safari						EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Northwest Region, SCCA,
LOCATION: Tumwater, Washington					Puget Sound Sports Car Club 
DATE: April 5-6, 1980						LENGTH: 307.61 miles, 14 stages, 155.87 stage miles.   	
ENTRANTS: 49, FINISHERS: 14					WEATHER: Wet, rain and snow.
								TERRAIN: Forest, Low mountains.


FIN											CHAMP	MFG. 
 1.	Rod Millen, Santa Ana, CA		Mazda RX-7		3:30.23   	100	100
	Dave Weiman, Federal Way, CA							100

 2.	Steve Parker, Redmond, WA		Datsun 510		3:42.97	 	 80	 80
	Richard Inman, Marysville, WA							 80

 3.	Jon Woodner, Washington, D.C.		Triumph TR-8		3:44.49 	 60	 60
	Jerry Hinkle, Columbia, MD						 	 60

 4.	Jeff Vanderwal, Sorry, B.C.		Datsun 510		3:44.77 	 50
	Ken Bergen, Prince George, B.C.							 50

 5.	Steve Roberts, Bellevue, WA		Mazda RX-2		3:48.97	  	 40
	Don Gibson, Seattle, WA								 40

 6.	Colin Whittingham, Tyler, TX		Mazda RX-3		3:52.90		 30
	Linda Marsh, Seattle, WA							 30

 7.	Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX		International Scout	4:01.16	 	 20
	Tom Grimshaw, Lewisville, TX							 20

 8.	Jim Olinger, Sacramento, CA		Plymouth Champ		4:06.54		 19
	Ron Richardson, Sacramento, CA							 19

 9.	Dan Wing, Bellingham, WA		Saab 99			4:08.75	 	 18
	Mike Kirchgesner, Everett, WA							 18

10.	Ken White, Fremont, CA			Datsun 510		4:13.21		 17
	Gene Kaczmarek, Fremont, CA							 17


 1.(8)	Jim Olinger, Sacramento, CA		Plymouth Champ		4:06.54		100
	Ron Richardson, Sacramento, CA							100

 2.(9)	Dan Wing, Bellingham, WA		Saab 99			4:08.75		 80
	Mike Kirchgesner, Everett, WA							 80

 3.(13)	Al Perez, Pleasant Grove, UT		Plymouth Arrow		4:20.93		 60
	Doug Montgomery, Calgary,Alberta 						 60

1. Rod Millen 		260				1. Jim Olinger           160
2. John Buffum         	200				   Dan Wing              160
3. Jon Woodner         	120				2. George Beckerman      100
4. Steve Roberts         90				   Bill Brooks           100
5. Dick Turner           80				   Jon Davis              80

1. Doug Shepherd       	200				1. Ron Richardson        160
2. Dave Weiman          180				2. Doris Beckerman       100
3. Don Gibson            90				   Bill Banger           100
4. John Grimshaw         80				4. Mike Kirchgesner       80
   Tom Grimshaw          80				   Harry Ward             80

1. Mazda                260				1. Saab                  260
2. Triumph              260				2. Plymouth              200
3. Datsun               120				3. Dodge                 100
4. International Scout   60
5. AMC Jeep              50

Results 1980
RRN Index