|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||June 23, 1980|
BAKERSFIELD, California -- Rod Millen and his long-time friend from New Zealand, John Woolf, raced to the wire in their very different Mazdas to sweep top honors and the SCCA National PRO Rally, La Jornada Trabjosa (The Difficult Journey) - After nearly 12 hours of rallying in the beautiful Sequoia National Forest in the High Sierras north of Bakersfield, Millen's RX-7 nudged Woolf's RX-3 by only 17/100 of a minute (about 10 seconds). "It was really a close one," said Millen, "Did you see our scores? It was nip and tuck all the way. I won some stages by a little bit, and he won some by a lot, and we tied a few."
Third went to Hendrik Blok of Los Angeles in his Plymouth Fire Arrow. Blok had been running a specially built Mazda GLC most of the season, but when his deal with Mazda expired, he went back to the tried and trusted Arrow, which he rallied so successfully last year. In 1979, at LJT, Blok finished 6th in a controversial scoring decision. That marked the start of a streak of bad luck for the fiery Dutchman which has been going on ever since. Perhaps this good finish will turn things around for him.
Fourth went to Jon Woodner of Washington, D.C. in his Triumph TR-8, less than a minute behind Blok. In spite of the good showing, Woodner slipped from third to fourth place in the overall standings because of Woolf's good finish.
The fifth, sixth and seventh place cars were separated by a mere half-minute at the end of the 297 mile rally. It shows what a great equalizer PRO rallying can be when cars as diverse as a Scout, an RX-7 Mazda, and a Production Class Plymouth Arrow finish that close together. Dick Turner in his International Scout II finished his seventh event of the season: - the only driver on the rally circuit to boast such a record. Nick Van Nugteren of Singapore was sixth in his Mazda which had been completely rebuilt after a bad accident last month. Kris Mellon was seventh overall in his Plymouth Arrow claiming first in the Production Class. Ted Hocker was second in Production in another Arrow followed by Del Hoffman in a Saab 99. Hoffman's finish gives Saab a whopping 600 points in the Manufacturer's standings.
Pre-rally favorite and defending champion, John Buffum didn't get his Triumph TR-8 as far as the first stage. "I don't know what was wrong. It was a brand new engine, well, a new rebuild, and it just didn't work. We think it might be a cam. Everything went bad on the way to the stage, so we just turned around and rolled back to the bottom of the hill.
One of the biggest winners at LJT was B.F. Goodrich. In seven rallies this year, a BFG-shod car has won every time. At LJT, both Millen and Woolf were on Goodrich T/A radial street tires.
The rally, which drew 40 entries from 12 states, was the seventh in the SCCA National PRO Rally Championship 13-event series. In spite of his DNF at LJT, Buffum continues to lead the series with 400 points followed by Millen who now has 360 and Woolf with 260. Mazda now takes the lead in the Manufacturer's Category with 540 points followed by Triumph with 510.
The next rally in the Championship will be the Happiness Is Sunrise in Pennsylvania August 9-10.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: La Jornada Trabajosa EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Bakersfield Rally Club LOCATION: Bakersfield, California LENGTH: 297 miles, 11 stages, 80 stage miles DATE; June 21-22, 1980 WEATHER: Fair and mild ENTRANTS: 40: FINISHERS: 27 TERRAIN: Mountains, Forest FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS CHAMP MFG. 1. Rod Millen, Santa Ana, CA Mazda RX-7 1:32.25 100 100 Mike Franchi, Santa Ana, CA 100 2. John Woolf, Auckland, NZ Mazda RX-3 1:32.42 80 Grant Whittaker, Auckland, NZ 80 3. Hendrik Blok, Los Angeles, CA Plymouth Arrow 1:35.74 60 60 Steve Ruiz, Torrance, CA 60 4. Jon Woodner, Washington, DC Triumph TR-8 1:36.61 50 50 David Orrick, Spring Valley, NY 50 5, Dick Turner, Lancaster, TX IH Scout II 1:41.48 40 40 Tom Grimshaw, Aubrey, TX 40 6. Nick Van Nugteren, Anaheim, CA Mazda RX-7 1:42.00 30 Steve Feuerhelm, Anaheim, CA 30 7.(1P) Kris Mellon, Kings Beach, CA Plymouth Arrow 1:42.02 20 Julie Anderson, Manhatten Beach, CA 20 8. Ray Rocker, Ridgecrest, CA Dodge Colt 1:45.79 19 Damon Trimble, Newark, CA 19 9. Ken White, Fremont, CA Datsun 510 1:46.66 18 Gene Kaczmarek, Fremont, CA 18 10. Rod Koch, Norco, CA VW 2100CC 1:51.84 17 Bill Sturm, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Kris Mellon, Kings Beach, CA Plymouth Arrow 1:42.02 100 100 Julie Anderson, Manhatten Beach, CA 100 2. Ted Becker, San Jose, CA Plymouth Arrow 1:52.38 80 Amy Atkinson, San Rafael, CA 80 3, Del Hoffman, Kirkland, WA Saab 99L 1:53.18 60 60 Greg Harris, Bellevue, WA 60 STANDINGS AFTER SEVEN EVENTS DRIVER: PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 400 1. Jon Davis 280 2. Rod Millen 360 2. Jim Olinger 160 3. John Woolf 260 Del Hoffman 160 4. Jon Woodner 250 Dan Wing 160 5. Dick Turner 210 5. Pat Nowak 110 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 400 1. Harry Ward 280 2. Grant Whittaker 280 2. Ron Richardson 160 3. Tom Grimshaw 210 Greg Harris 160 4. David Orrick 190 4. John Erickson 110 5. Dave Weiman 180 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Mazda 540 1. Saab 600 2. Triumph 510 2. Plymouth 390 3. Scout 190 3. Datsun 210 4. Dodge 140 4. Mercury 110 5. Datsun 120 5. Toyota 80 Volvo 120 Triumph 80