Rallyweek Northwest

1985 Nor’wester Rally

In 1985 the Olympus received “prototype” status from the FIA as a prelude to possible inclusion in the World Rally Championship for 1986 and moved its date to July.  The Rally Week Northwest organizers decided to keep the Rally Week event in April and promoted the SCCA Regional Wild West Rally to National Pro Rally to start the week and then ended the following weekend with the Nor’Wester.  I took these photos at the Nor’Wester.

Rod Millen was back with his 4WD RX-7.  Parc Ferme for the event was held across from Sylveter Park in downtown Olympia.


John Buffum was back with his A1 Quattro.  He would get an S1 Quattro Sport in July after Michele Mouton used it to set a record at Pikes Peak.


The Stromberg/Reese Saab 99 Turbo running Group A.


Crowd favorite Oldsmobile Omega of Guy Light.


Clive Smith’s Toyota Corolla.


Not sure who’s Toyota Starlet this was.  They were popular cars due to their RWD.


They ran a stage at the Thurston County ORV park that included part of the motocross track stadium.  Here is JB in the stadium.


Jon Woodner was switching from his RWD Peugeots to a 4WD 205T-16.  However, for the start of the 1985 season the car wasn’t ready, so he ran an ex-Millen 4WD RX-7 while he waited for the 205 to arrive from the UK (since the works team wouldn’t sell him one).  Here Jon takes a different line from Rod Millen and John Buffum.


Bruno Kriebich and his older Quattro.  I think this is the ex-Buffum car that Mouton also won the Port Wine Rally in Portugal in.  John Buffum now owns that car in his private collection and has restored it back to the way it was when Michelle ran it.


The cars then headed out into the Capital forest.  Here’s John Buffum in the Quattro.  Notice the hail on the ground.  I remember it pouring rain and hail while we waited for the cars on the stage.


In the evening, the cars descended down a hill behind the ORV part to return to a service at the ORV park.

Rod Millen.


John Buffum.


Stromberg’s Saab.


Kreibich/Bond Quattro


I think this was the Clive Smith Toyota.


Guy Light’s Olds Omega.


I think this was a Saab 99 Turbo.  No idea who…


A European Ford Escort Mk2.  It was entered by a local team.  I forget who they were.


A Toyota that was interesting to me 30 years ago.  I have no idea why now…


An Evening service was held in the ORV parking lot prior to the night stages.

Rod Millen’s Mazda is serviced.


John Buffum has a quick rest before the night stages.


Bruno’s service area in the foreground of the ORV parking lot service halt.


The final stage was held on the taxiways of the Olympia Airport.  The cars went out in groups and it was odd to see more than one car on the stage at once doing laps.  They used to  have an SCCA Regional road race at the airport in April and the rally would sometimes be a part of it.

This was a local crew of Grant Whiting and Ray Damitio in an RX-3.  RX-2’s and RX-3’s used to be popular regional rally cars.


Quattros!  John is about to pass Bruno.


John Buffum went on to win the event by 1 minute over Rod Millen, and this shots film didn’t age so well.  Probably wasn’t the best idea to use cheap film in hindsight.



Rallyweek Northwest 1984

Unfortunately I didn’t own a camera when I went to the Norwester and Olympus in 1984 as part of Rallyweek Northwest.  However, I did find on YouTube a copy of a professional video that was made of the event:

We were standing on the steps of the old Capitol building on Washington Street in Olympia at 19:51 in the video where Doug Shepherd hits the curb with his Dodge Shelby, knocks over a handicapped parking sign and bends his rear axle.

It’s pretty cool to see this video, I can’t believe it will be 30 years ago next month.