|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||May 5, 1980|
HOUGHTON LAKE, Michigan -- John Buffum of S. Burlington, VT, won his third SCCA PRO Rally in four starts, capturing the 300-mile Northern Lights PRO Rally. Running a brand new Triumph TR-8 Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd of Plymouth, MI, finished over five minutes ahead of Jon Woodner and English co-driver Dave Orrick in another TR-8. The win moved Buffum into first place in the driver standings over Rod Millen, who stayed home at his shop in California preparing his Mazda Rx-7 for upcoming West Coast events.
Buffum had left his "old" TR-8 on the West Coast after two recent PRO Rallies in Washington. The car at Northern Lights was all new--so new that they completed it the morning of the rally. It wasn't perfect, but certainly good enough to win. One tense moment came early in the first of the rally's 20 stages when the hood on the TR-8 came loose during a high-speed straight and flew up cutting off Buffum's vision. Things were a bit dicey until he got the car stopped. Some spectators helped remove the bent hood and gave the TR-8 a push to get out of the sand and going again.
Woodner's second place showing was his best ever in a PRO Rally. The former SCCA racer is really starting to get the feel for the sport and is adding valuable depth to the very successful Triumph effort.
An early challenge from Californian Hendrik Blok and co-driver, Jean Rizor came to a disappointing end just short of the half-way point. A rear A-arm on their Plymouth Fire Arrow broke pulling the half-shaft out of the differential, putting them out. They were standing second at the time.
Third and fourth places went to a pair of 4wd vehicles which contested the finish down to the wire--and beyond. The initial results showed Texans Dick Turner and Tom Grimshaw in third followed by Guy Light and Jim Brandt in a CJ-7 Jeep. But one of the stages (where Turner had beaten Light by four minutes) was thrown out and the order was reversed. International and Jeep are now tied for fourth in the Manufacturer's standings.
Fifth went to John Chalmers and Bill Potvin in their Dodge Colt earning Dodge its first Championship Points of the year.
FIA Seed 2 driver, Hannu Valtaharja, of Finland came to the U.S. specifically to run Northern Lights in a Toyota Celica with Jim Sweeney. There were several problems with the car in the early going, but Valtaharja still managed to pull out a respectable sixth place.
Polish driver Marek Baranski is still preparing his new Renault 5 Alpine but turned up in a very old Mazda. Co-driver Ginny Reese said that, as poorly as the car performed, their seventh place finish was amazing.
Production Class honors went to Jon Davis and Harry Ward in a Saab 99 which moves Davis, Ward, and Saab on top in the Production Standings. Second in the class went to Roger Suppes and Woody Crutchfield in a Toyota Corolla followed by Pat Nowak and John Erickson in a Ford Capri.
The next round on the PRO Rally tour is the Susquehannock Trail, June 7-8 in Wellsboro, PA.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: Northern Lights EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Saginaw Valley Region, SCCA LOCATION: Houghton Lake, Michigan LENGTH: 267 miles, 20 stages, 120 stage miles DATE: May 3-4, 1980 WEATHER: Clear, mild, dry ENTRANTS: 56, FINISHERS: 34 TERRAIN: Forest TOP 10 FINISHERS FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, S. Burlington, VT Triumph TR-8 1:50.00 100 100 Doug Shepherd, Plymouth, MI 100 2. Jon Woodner, Washington, D.C. Triumph TR-8 1:55.75 80 David Orrick, England 80 3. Guy Light, Midland, MI Jeep CJ-7 1:56.51 60 60 Jim Brandt, Lake Odessa, MI 60 4. Dick Turner, Lewisville, TX IH Scout II 1:57.88 50 50 Tom Grimshaw, Lancaster, TX 50 5. John Chalmers, Findlay, OH Dodge Colt 1:59.67 40 40 Bill Potvin, Toledo, OH 40 6. Hannu Valtaharja, Finland Toyota Celica 2:03.36 30 30 Jim Sweeney, Cleveland, OH 30 7. Marek Baranski, Brooklyn, N.Y Mazda RX-2 2:05.40 20 Ginny Reese, Ann Arbor, MI 20 8. John Townsend, Gibraltar, MI Chevy Chevette 2:10.10 19 Rick Shue, Dearborn, MI 19 9. Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 2:11.07 18 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 18 10. Mark Hardymon, Columbus, OH Dodge Colt 2:11.18 17 Tom Drake, Columbus, OH 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 2:11.07 100 100 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 100 2. Roger Suppes, Saginaw, MI Toyota Corolla 2:13.90 80 80 Woody Crutchfield, Frankenmuth, MI 80 3. Patrick Nowak, Ann Arbor, MI Ford Capri 2:16.40 60 60 John Erickson, Roseville, MI 60 STANDINGS AFTER FOUR EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 300 1. Jon Davis 180 2. Rod Millen 260 2. Jim Olinger 160 3. Jon Woodner 200 Dan Wing 160 4. Dick Turner 130 4. George Beckerman 100 5. Steve Roberts 90 Bill Brooks 100 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 300 1. Harry Ward 180 2. Dave Weiman 180 2. Ron Richardson 160 3. David Orrick 140 3. Doris Beckerman 100 4. Tom Grimshaw 130 Bill Banger 100 5. Don Gibson 90 5. Mike Kirschgessner 80 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Triumph 360 1. Saab 360 2. Mazda 260 2. Plymouth 230 3. Datsun 120 3. Dodge 150 4. International Scout 110 4. Toyota 80 AMC Jeep 110 5. Ford 60