|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||August 11, 1980|
COUDERSPORT, Pennsylvania -- John Buffum and co-driver Doug Shepherd continued their dominance of the 1980 Sports Car Club of America's PRO Rally Championship with a convincing win at the 225-mile Happiness Is Sunrise rally. A record 72 starters were on hand for the rally that saw the S. Burlington, VT car dealer and his Livonia, MI partner jump into a lead from the opening gun and win every one of the rally's 11 stages. There was some very formidable opposition on hand to challenge Buffum, only to fall by the wayside one by one. In the end, all of the factory teams (except Buffum) were spectators and second went to Larry Schmidt and Joe Andreini in a Dodge Colt who finished nearly 17 minutes behind the winners.
Third went to Eric Jones and R. L. Sieling of Columbus, Ohio, who had second place locked up until a flat tire on a transit section caused them to lose three minutes. That caused them to slip a half minute behind Schmidt's Colt.
Fourth overall and first in Production Class went to the Saab 99 of Jon Davis and Harry Ward, who posted the best overall finish of a Production car since the category was established. In fact, Production Class cars did exceptionally well at HIS with three finishing in the Top 10 overall. Second in Production (9th overall) was the husband/wife team of George and Doris Beckerman of Mt. Carmel, IL in a Dodge Colt. Third in that class was Dave Annis and Jim Blumenfeld in an Audi Fox.
Buffum's primary opposition was expected to come from a pair of New Zealanders, an American in a TR-8, and a lad from Singapore, but by the half-way point, all were gone. Kiwi ace, Rod Millen, quickly moved his Mazda RX-7 into a tight second place, only to blow a motor seal on the Rotary after four stages. His fellow countryman, John Woolf, in an RX-3, had even worse luck. His crew had to change the car's rear-end in the middle of the rally, all to no avail. He lost so much time he was forced to retire. Tire troubles forced Jon Woodner to retire his TR-8 when he had more flats than he had spares. Nick Van Nugteren went out early with his RX-7, also due to blown motor seals.
Wayne and Debra Baldwin had moved into second place while all the other hot-shoes were having trouble of their own. They had finished second overall in June at the Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally in Pennsylvania and looked like they were in for a repeat. It wasn't to be. On Stage 8, about half way through, they rolled their Volvo in the middle of the road. Neither of them was hurt, but the car looked very bad indeed.
Buffum is on a roll of another kind. Just before HIS, he claimed back-to-back victories at two Canadian National Rallies. Now he is off to England for an English Championship Rally. He will be running Russel Brooks' Sunbeam Talbot and in return, Brooks will be coming to the U.S. to run the Buffum TR-8 early next year at a PRO Rally.
The next event on the PRO Championship will be in Lucerne, California, September 27-28. The Mendocino Forest PRO Rally is expected to draw entrants from 20 states and Canada. As with all SCCA PRO Rallies, HIS and Mendocino Forest are listed on the International Motorsport calendar of the Federation International de Automobile (FIA).
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: Happiness Is Sunrise EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Western New York Region, SCCA LOCATION: Coudersport, Pennsylvania LENGTH: 225 miles, 11 stages, 115 stage miles DATE: August 9-10, 1980 WEATHER: Warm and clear ENTRANTS: 72, FINISHERS: 41 TERRAIN: Forest, Rolling Hills FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. John Buffum, S. Burlington, VT Triumph TR-8 1:52:28 100 100 Doug Shepherd, Livonia, MI 100 2. Larry Schmidt, Rochester, MI Dodge Colt 2:09:05 80 80 Joe Andreini, St. Clair Shores, MI 80 3. Eric Jones, Columbus, OH Datsun 510 2:09:41 60 60 R.L. Sieling, Columbus, OH 60 4.(1P) Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 2:11:23 50 50 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 50 5. Bruno Kreibich, Ridgewood, NY Porsche 911 2:11:26 40 40 Scott Hughes, Loveland, OH 40 6. Mark Everett, Valhalla, NY Ford Escort 2:12:04 30 30 Wayne Brooks, White Plains, NY 30 7. David Lapham, Bronxville, NY Datsun 510 2:18:01 20 Susan Ferretti, Bronxville, NY 20 8. Colin Whittingham, Tyler, TX Mazda RX-3 2:19:00 19 Clark Bond, Midland, MI 19 9.(2P) George Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL Dodge Colt 2:19:31 18 Doris Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL 18 10.(3P) Dave Annis, Natick, MA Audi Fox 2:21:01 17 Jim Blumenfeld, Weston, MA 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 2:11:23 100 100 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 100 2. George Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL Dodge Colt 2:19:31 80 80 Doris Beckerman, Mt. Carmel, IL 80 3. Dave Annis, Natick, MA Audi Fox 2:21:01 60 60 Jim Blumenfeld, Weston, MA 60 STANDINGS AFTER EIGHT EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 500 1. Jon Davis 380 2. Rod Millen 360 2. George Beckerman 180 3. John Woolf 260 3. Jim Olinger 160 4. Jon Woodner 250 Dan Wing 160 5. Dick Turner 190 5. Danny Johnson 130 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 500 1. Harry Ward 380 2. Grant Whittaker 280 2. Doris Beckerman 180 3. Tom Grimshaw 190 3. Greg Harris 160 David Orrick 190 Ron Richardson 160 5. Dave Neiman 180 5. Karen Johnson 130 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Triumph 610 1. Saab 700 2. Mazda 540 2. Plymouth 430 3. Dodge 220 3. Dodge 290 4. IH Scout 190 4. Mercury 110 5. Datsun 180 Toyota 110