FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2002
Contact: Tamara Shadbolt
Tel: (503) 624-6366
Tigard, Oregon-- After a nine-month absence from Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Performance Rally events, the Hairpin Racing Team competed in the Dryad's Quest and Shitepoke ClubRallies on June 15 and 16. The events held on gravel forest stages outside of Shelton, Washington, included roads not seen in competition since the International Olympus Rally days.
The team brought out their 1997 Subaru Impreza ProRally car which was built to 1997 Subaru WRX specs utilizing an engine and drive train imported from Japan. This was the same chassis that drove Paul Eklund to the Production GT (PGT) co-driver's championship in 1998, and Claire Chizma to the PGT co-driver's championship in 1999. Lee Shadbolt never won the elusive SCCA PGT driver's championship. However, in 1999, Lee and Claire won the North American Rally Cup for PGT by competing in events in both the US and Canada. The car was converted to OPEN class in 2000 and is currently for sale as the team concentrates on their 2002 WRX Import Drag car.
Bernie Russnogle, the performance parts manager of sponsor CARR Subaru (www.carrauto.com) in Beaverton, Oregon, assumed the co-driver's seat for the two ClubRally events. The team loaded a stack of obsolete rally tires in anticipation of extreme sideways driving. The goal was to have a fun event with a comfortable safety margin. The first stage was 28.5 miles in length, which saw speeds of up to 110 mph on gravel straights - so much for the safety margin! Combined long straights and hairpin corners took their toll on tires and brakes, and the Hairpin Team wore out both. Bernie concentrated on the route book, calling out instructions to 0.01-mile accuracy while Lee pointed the car in the relative direction of travel. Despite nine months away from Performance Rally events, his skills were not dusty (no pun intended).
With the exception of hot brakes and bald tires, there were no mechanical issues the entire weekend with the familiar #35 Impreza. The team competed on five stages for each event for a total of 136 stage miles. They finished sixth overall in the Dryad's Quest ClubRally and eighth overall in the Shitepoke ClubRally. The event winners were Carl Jardevall (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO) and Paul Eklund (2002 WRX), respectively. The Hairpin Racing team brought home the second place trophy for the competitive OPEN class from Sunday's event. In an event riddled with attrition, the team was very satisfied to meet their original goal of a fun, safe event.
Although missing ProRally events in the first half of the season, the Hairpin Racing Team has been busy competing in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag events with their 2002 WRX. The virtually stock yellow WRX is sponsored by SPO Motorsports (www.spomotorsports.com) and runs consistent 60 foot times of 1.9 seconds, and quarter mile times of 13.76 seconds at 98 mph. Lee's competition history came full circle on June 2nd of this year when he ran 1/8-mile drags at the track where he first spectated auto racing events in 1975. The Coos Bay International Speedway featured paved oval racing and inline sand drags 20 years ago. It has since been converted to a 1/8-mile paved drag strip. The team plans to qualify the WRX for the national NHRA Import Drags coming to Woodburn, Oregon on August 17th.
Team updates can be seen regularly on the website www.hairpinracing.com. For additional information please contact Tamara Shadbolt at Shadbolt@hairpinracing.com.