Olympus Rally

Olympus Rally 1987

30 years ago, the Olympus Rally got underway in late June.  This year, the rally was to be run as a full manufacturer and driver points event, unlike 1986 where it was driver points only.  Running for full manufacturer points meant that the works teams sent a full entry.  However, due to the banning of Group B at the end of 1986, the rally was run under Group A, so it was a transition year from the highly evolved B’s to the new A’s.

The rally got underway on a Friday with “Mickey Mouse” spectator stages near the Tacoma Dome and a run up the hill behind Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.  After that was out of the way, the real stages got underway in the late afternoon near Shelton, WA.

I had to work on the Friday, so I was only able to make it to one of the Shelton stages after getting off work and only took one picture on the stage for some reason.  Probably due to the dust, which I recall as really bad, hanging in the trees with no breeze to move it along.

img001wThis is Markku Alen in the Group A Lancia Delta.  I believe this is the infamous stage where an unaware local got onto the stage in a Ford Mustang and preceded to hold Alen up, oblivious to what was going on behind them.  Alen was livid for a while and then can be seen laughing about it a bit later in some videos I’ve seen of the event.

Olympus Rally 2015

VNWM visited the Olympus Rally this weekend.  It’s my first rally since the 1989 Pacific Forest SCCA PRO Rally.  I have some video of that rally on VHS that I shot with my brothers huge VHS Camera that I need to transfer and post to the blog, but that’s another project for another day.

Spectating has changed since the 1980’s.  You are pretty much stuck in the caution tape corral that the marshals patrol with an iron fist.  We used to walk up the stage before the first car and get a good place for photos without a bunch of other spectators in the shot, but no more.  We sat on a stump about 5 feet from where the caution tape ended and were told that we’d have to move.  Some others went cross country across the clear cut to a better spot and were chased away by 3 marshals.  Also, you couldn’t walk on the road between cars.  We used to switch spots all the time during the stage to get a variety of positions.  I guess that is the risk-averse, lawyer infested society we live in, in 2015 vs. 1986…

I didn’t bother to bring my camera.  I did shoot a couple of crappy iPhone videos, mainly of the backs of other spectators heads.

RIP Bjorn Waldegaard

I just read that the first WRC World Champion, Bjorn Waldegaard, passed away from cancer.

I was lucky enough to see him compete at the 1986 and 1987 Olympus Rally.

img005

That is him putting on his jacket at scrutineering for the 1986 Olympus Rally.

I’ve heard there is a story about him, recce for the ’86 Olympus, loosing a recce car in a flooded river, public nudity and the Washington State Patrol.  Maybe someone can share the specifics?

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Finish ceremony

The rally finished in the Washington State Capitol Building parking lot in Olympia Washington on Sunday night.  This was the last WRC rally to feature the Group B cars.  The FIA banned them after the Corsica tragedy and 1987 would be run with Group A cars.

These photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

The cars crossed the finishing ramp in reverse order.

Rod Millen won Group A in his Mazda 323 GTX.

Image48

John Buffum scored a fine 3rd place in his short wheelbase Quattro.  This was John’s highest finish in a World Championship rally as well as the highest finish for an American still to this day.  With this finish, John gained A seeding for the next year.

Image25

Image47

Kankunnen was second, which also earned him second in the Driver’s championship for 1986, at least for now…

Image26

By winning the rally, Markku Alen became the World Driving Champion for 1986…

Image29

The crowd control guys crack me up, if they should have been so lucky, there wasn’t much of a crowd to control.

Image28

Image27

A couple of weeks later the FIA met in Paris and threw out the results of the San Remo rally.  This caused Markku to lose his points for the controversial event where Peugeot was excluded and Markku and Lancia won.  As a result of the San Remo points begin discarded, Markku then lost the World Driver’s Championship to Juha Kankkunen.  Ironically, they would become team mates at Lancia in 1987.  Markku would never win the WDC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: The last daytime stage

This was the last daylight stage we went to on the Sunday of the rally.  As you can see, I think it was the best attended of all the stages.  I’ve seen some pro photos of this stage as well.  We were able to get into the depressed area at the apex of the corner for some good close-up shots.  They probably wouldn’t allow spectators without press credentials to do this today.

These photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Image42

Image30

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Raymond Stages Part 4

Sunday dawned grey and foggy, but dry.  I read later that the fog caused Alen to slow a bit, but his lead was never threatened.  The stage below was a neat stage, with the spectator area in a clear cut.  We hiked in a bit and had the area all to ourselves.  We got some neat shots by standing on some of the stumps.

Once again, these photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Markku Alen was first through the stage.

Image43

 

Image44

 

Next was the 205 of Kankkunen.

Image45

Image46

JB was next in the Sport Quattro.  He was quite a ways behind the leading two works cars.

Image31

Image32

Image33

Lars-Erik Torph’s TTE Toyota Celica Turbo.

Image34

Image35

The Alessandrini’s were still in the rally with their private Delta S4.

Image36

Rod Millen in the Group A 323.

Image37

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Raymond stages part 3

Here’s another Raymond area stage.  This one took place on the Saturday, just as it was getting dark.  Probably about 4pm at that time of year.  The week before there had been heavy rains in the area causing some erosion.  You can see evidence of that on this stage, the road where we were at was barely wide enough for the cars to pass.

Again, these photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Markku Alen was first through.

Image18

Next was Kankkunen in the Pug.

Image17

John Buffum was next in the Quattro.  I like how you can see the sky in the background of the second shot.

Image9

Image10

One of the Group B Toyotas.

Image11

The Alessandrini’s Delta S4.

Image12

Rod Millen’s Group A Mazda.  That is me in the background, trying not to get a rock through the lens of my camera.

Image1

A Group N Toyota entered by a Canadian team.

Image2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Brooklyn stages part 2

Here’s another stage that I don’t remember the name of.  I do remember it was another Raymond, WA area stage.  It had a good view of the cars coming into a junction and it turned out to be more exciting that we had first guessed.

Again, these photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Markku Alen was through the stage 1st in the Lancia Delta S4.

Image61

Image62

Image63

Juha Kankkunen was next in the Peugeot 205 T-16.

Image64

John Buffum was next in the Sport Quattro with an unorthodox line.

Image65

Image66

Image67

One of the TTE Group B Celicas.  Not sure who.

Image72

The privately entered Delta S4 of the Alessandrinis.

Image73

I think this was New Zealander Clive Smith’s Group A Toyota.

Image68

Looks like it could be a Subaru.  Subaru had 2 XT’s entered in Group A for Peter “Possum” Bourne and Chad DiMarko.

Image69

Looks like a Mitsubishi of some sort.  There was a Japanese team that had entered one and finished 14th.

Image50

Not even sure what this car is…

Image51

This looks to be the Audi 80 Quattro of Paul Choiniere and Tom Grimshaw.  Paul is John Buffum’s step son.  Choiniere/Grimshaw would finish 10th in the rally, earning one World Rally Championship point.

Image70

Here’s another mystery car.  It might be Whiting / Damitio in their Toyota.  Whoever it is, they seem to have attacked the caution tape.

Image49

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Raymond Ridge

The following pictures were taken on the Raymond Ridge stage.  I can’t specifically remember exactly where it was, but I seem to remember it being off Highway 101 and up the Smith Creek road.  The stage was a favorite with us, we had been going to it for a few years.  You could see the cars for a good amount of time for a rally.  Some years they would run it in reverse of the direction in these pictures.  The land was privately owned Weyerhaeuser land.  I guess it has been many years since they have been used for rally stages.  The last time I went to this stage was in 1989.

Again, these photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Markku was first through the stage.

Image16

Image15

Juha was next in the Peugeot.

Image14

Image13

Then John Buffum in the Sport Quattro, quite a ways behind on time.

Image24

Image23

Image22

One of the TTE Toyotas.

Image21

The Alessandrini’s privately entered Delta S4.

Image20

One of the Golf GTI’s.

Image19

 

 

 

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Brooklyn stages part 1

After the crappy, pouring down rain of Friday, Saturday dawned clear and cold and a bit icy.  We spent the night at my parents vacation house near Shelton, WA and got up early and headed for the stages held near Raymond, WA.

Again, these photos were taken by my good friend Denton  Morris.  He has graciously scanned his photos and is allowing me to post them here. Denton is a professional photographer and you can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, so please don’t fold, spindle or mutilate the photos without contacting him directly, or contact me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Alen was now leading and had been re-seeded to be first on the road.

Image52

Kankunnen was next in the 205.

Image53

Here’s a series of John Buffum.

Image54 Image55 Image56

The Alessandrini Brothers privately entered Delta S4.

Image57

Rod Millen’s Group A Mazda.  Notice the remote camera in the lower left of the shot.  I always wondered who those guys were and I would love to see the pictures they got.

Image58

One of the Light Performance Works Golf GTI’s.

Image59

The Toyota of the Japanese team of Kunimasa and Nori.

Image60