|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||September 29, 1980|
LUCERNE, California-- New Zealand rally champion Rod Millen survived mechanical ills early on to take the SCCA PRO Rally Mendocino Forest, in his Mazda RX-7. Survived is exactly the right word. Millen and co-driver Roger Blain of Seattle were the only team in the top 10 starters to finish the grueling 350-mile, 13-hour event. Virtually every top rally team in the country was on hand to challenge the serpentine mountain roads 150 miles north of San Francisco, but in the end, the roads won.
Second went to Jon Davis of Houghton, Michigan and Harry Ward of Toledo, Ohio in their Production Class Saab 99. No production class car has ever done that well on a National PRO Rally in the history of the sport! Davis' finish was only the beginning as the third, fourth and fifth place finishers were also production cars: Ray Hocker/Damon Trimble (Dodge Colt), Fred Stafford/Ken Adams (Saab) and Jim Olinger/Dana Sharitz (Datsun 710). All finished within two minutes of one another to round out the top five. The tremendous showing by Production Class cars was amazing. Unlike Open Class cars which are permitted unlimited modifications, Production cars are just that. No engine, transmission, or suspension modifications are allowed and they must run standard wheels and tires. Even the interior trim must be left in place. Said Davis, "It became obvious early on that this would be a survival rally. Production cars just do better on that kind of an event."
Series leader John Buffum jumped out into an early lead in his works Triumph TR-8 and had about a minute lead on second place Millen when, "I saw the corner coming all of a sudden and thought, `Oh No! . We hit a tree with the rear quarter and spun off the road nose down between two trees."
A lot of other top dogs joined Buffum to become spectators including: John Woolf (Mazda RX-3), Marek Barenski (Renault 5) and Bob Chandler (Datsun 240Z) who all went out with mechanical ills; and Jon Woodner (Triumph TR-8), Dick Turner (Scout) and Nick VanNugteren (Mazda RX-7) who all went off the road at speed putting them out for the night.
The Bad Luck award of the rally went to Roger Goss and Bob Brandes in their Mazda RX-2. Goss is from New Zealand (another one!) and Mendocino was his first U.S. rally. A navigational error late in the rally cost them more than 10 minutes and dropped them from a certain third to eighth overall. Still an excellent drive.
Mendocino Forest was the ninth round of the 13-event PRO Rally Series for the United States Rally Championship. The competitors hardly have time to catch their breath before the PRO circuit moves to Alpine, Texas, south of El Paso for the October 11-12 running of the Big Bend Bash.
SCCA CONTACT: Tim Cline (203) 453-1742, T. Michael Moreland (303) 770-1044
EVENT: Mendocino Forest EVENT CONDUCTED BY: San Francisco Region, SCCA LOCATION: Lucerne, California LENGTH: 305 miles, 9 stages, 223 stage miles DATE: September 27-28, 1980 WEATHER: Warm, dry, dusty ENTRANTS: 47, FINISHERS: 21 TERRAIN: Low mountains, forest FIN CHAMP MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. Rod Millen, Auckland, N.Z. Mazda RX-7 5:41:82 100 100 Roger Blain, Seattle, WA 100 2.(1P) Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 6:10:42 80 80 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 80 3.(2P) Ray Hocker, Ridgecrest, CA Dodge Colt 6:23:20 60 60 Damon Trimble, Tuscon, AZ 60 4.(3P) Fred Stafford, Santa Monica, CA Saab 99 6:24:25 50 Ken Adams, Bakersfield, CA 50 5.(4P) Jim Olinger, Placerville, CA Datsun 710 6:25:43 40 40 Dana Sharitz, Davis, CA 40 6. Steve Parker, Redmond, WA Datsun 510 6:29:65 30 Steve Richards, Belleville, WA 30 7. Ken White, Fremont, CA Datsun 510 6:30:63 20 Gene Kaczmarek, Fremont, CA 20 8. Roger Goss, Sacramento, CA Mazda RX-2 6:31:87 19 Bob Brandes, San Francisco, CA 19 9. Rod Hall, Reno, NV Dodge Truck 5:37:90 18 Cam Warren, Reno, NV 18 10.(5P) Kris Mellon, Kings Beach, CA Plymouth Arrow 6:46:21 17 Ray O'Brein, Kings Beach, CA 17 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Jon Davis, Houghton, MI Saab 99 6:10:42 100 100 Harry Ward, Toledo, OH 100 2. Ray Hocker, Ridgecrest, CA Dodge Colt 6:23:20 80 80 Damon Trimble, Tuscon, AZ 80 3 Fred Stafford, Santa Monica, CA Saab 99 6:24:25 60 Ken Adams, Bakersfield, CA 60 STANDINGS AFTER NINE EVENTS DRIVER PRODUCTION DRIVER 1. John Buffum 500 1. Jon Davis 480 2. Rod Millen 460 2. Jim Olinger 210 3. John Woolf 260 3. George Beckerman 180 4. Jon Woodner 250 4. Dan Wing 160 5. Dick Turner 190 Danny Johnson 160 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. Doug Shepherd 500 1. Harry Ward 480 2. Grant Whittaker 280 2. Doris Beckerman 180 3. Tom Grimshaw 190 3. Greg Harris 160 David Orrick 190 Ron Richardson 160 5. Dave Weiman 180 Karen Johnson 160 Harry Ward 180 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Mazda 640 1. Saab 8OO 2. Triumph 610 2. Plymouth 470 3. Dodge 280 3. Dodge 370 4. Datsun 220 4. Mercury 110 5. IH Scout 190 Toyota 110