|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||May 27, 1980|
PARIS, Texas -- Over thirty of the top PRO Rally teams in the country squared off at the Chisum Trail Rally Memorial Day weekend. When the dust cleared (and that took several hours due to the hot, dry conditions) John Buffum of S. Burlington, VT had another victory to his credit. Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd of Ann Arbor, MI, used luck, dust and good driving to put their Triumph TR-8 on top of the thirty-one car field.
Their luck started early when New Zealander Rod Millen spun his Mazda RX-7 into a ditch on Stage One and lost eleven minutes. Then Dutchman Hendrik Blok (who won the first stage) began having trouble with his Mazda GLC. First it was fuel starvation, then a flat tire, then the brakes locked up.
The most forceful challenge came from two foreign drivers. John Woolf has been running his Mazda RX-3 in New Zealand and came to the U.S. to have a go at the PRO Rally Championship. He finished Chisum Trail in second place, seven minutes behind Buffum. Woolf's parents made the trip all the way from Auckland, where they run a muffler business, to watch John run. He plans to stay in the U.S. "as long as I keep winning enough money to pay the bills."
Polish ex-patriot, Marek Baranski, debuted his new Group 2 Renault 5 (Le Car) and promptly claimed third place. Team members say the car is not fully developed, but will be a winner before the season is ever.
Dust was a factor all night -- and so were cows. Sixth pLace finisher John Chalmers said that "the dust was bad enough, but we sometimes had to dodge cows." Chalmers' Dodge Colt was )ust a half minute behind the Colt of Larry Schmidt. The dust gave Buffum a decided advantage because he was first on the road after the fourth stage.
Dick Turner's International Scout finished its fifth PRO Rally (in five starts) of the season, this time with novice co-driver, Tamara Newell. That moves International into fourth in the manufacturer's standings and Turner to fourth overall in the driver's championship race.
Beside Millen, notable DNF's included Jon Woodner whose Triumph TR-8 packed up a clutch while in third place. Garry Henderson had been in third place, but he had transmission trouble which put his AMC jeep out for the night.
Production honors went to Dan and Karen Johnson in their Plymouth Champ. The California couple have only been in PRO Rallying about a year and the win was very sweet. Second production went to Tom French and Dave Fremder, a pair of Texans who took time out in the middle of the event to give some Cub Scouts a ride in their rally car.
The next rallies on the SCCA PRO Rally schedule are susguehannock Trail, June 8-9, in Wellsboro, PA, and La Jornada Trabajosa, June 22-23. in Bakersfield, CA.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: Chisum Trail Rally EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Texas Region, SCCA LOCATION: Paris, Texas LENGTH: 328.3 miles, 16 stages, 125.9 stage miles. DATE: May 24-25, 1980 WEATHER: Hot, dry, dusty ENTRANTS: 31, FINISHERS: 18 TERRAIN: Forest, Rolling Hills FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, 5. Burlington, VT Triumph TR-8 2:19.78 100 100 Doug Shepherd, Ann Arbor, MI 100 2. John Woolf, Auckland, NZ Mazda RX-3 2:26.53 80 80 Grant Whittaker, Auckland, NZ 80 3. Marek Baranski, Ann Arbor, MI Renault Le Car 2:32.25 60 60 Virginia Reese, Ann Arbor, MI 60 4. Hendrik Blok, Los Angeles, CA Mazda GLC 2:36.45 50 Jean Rizor, Ann Arbor, MI 50 5. Larry Schmidt, Rochester, MI Dodge Colt 2:37.31 40 40 Joe Andreini, St. Clair Shores, MI 40 6. John Chalmers, Findlay, OH Dodge Colt 2:37.80 30 Phil Schmidt, Maumee, OH 30 7. Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX International Scout 2:45.33 20 Tamara Newell, New York, NY 20 8. Eric Jones, Columbus, OH Datsun 510 2:50.21 19 Ralph Starr, Denver, CO 19 9. Kim Demotte, Emperial, MD Saab 99 2:55.09 18 Jon Wickens, St. Clair Shores, MI 18 10. John Witt, Mesquite, TX Datsun 280ZX 2:58.87 17 Liz Witt, Mesquite, TX 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Danny Johnson, Hermosa Beach, CA Plymouth Champ 2:58.95 100 100 Karen Johnson, Hermosa Beach, CA 100 2. Tom French, Dallas, TX Saab 99 3:06.40 80 80 Dave Fremder, Dallas, TX 80 STANDINGS AFTER FIVE EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 400 1. Jon Davis 180 2. Rod Millen 260 2. Jim Olinger 160 3. Jon Woodner 200 Dan Wing 160 4. Dick Turner 150 3. George Beckerman 100 5. Steve Roberts 90 Dan Johnson 100 Bill Brooks 100 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 400 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 Karen Johnson 100 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Triumph 460 1. Saab 440 2. Mazda 340 2. Plymouth 290 3. Datsun 120 3. Dodge 150 4. IH Scout 110 4. Mercury 110 AMC Jeep 110 5. Toyota 80