SCCA Pro Rally

1987 SCCA Wild West Pro Rally

The 1987 Wild West PRO Rally was held near Olympia, WA in early November.  Here are a few pictures I took at the event with my trusty Olympus OM-2S.

Since the rally was run with SCCA Pro Rally rules, John Buffum was back with his Audi Sport Quattro, instead of the Group A Coupe Quattro he ran on the Olympus for 1987.  This was John’s last rally as a full time professional rally driver and the last time we’d see him in the short wheelbase Quattro.  The car was then destined to sit in a private collection for years until it was liberated and now lives in the UK where it comes out to play occasionally.

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This picture was taken at the Thurston County ORV park prior to the first stage.

The first stage was held in the stadium section and access roads of the ORV park prior to the crews heading out into the Capitol Forest.

Rod Millen had the #1 seed and was first in his Mazda 323 GTX.  He had retired the 4WD RX-7 for 1987.

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Next was John Buffum in the Quattro.

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Then Jon Woodner in the 205.  This was the last time we’d see Jon on a rally in the Northwest.  He was tragically killed in a plane crash in early 1988.

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Guy Light in the Volkswagen of America Golf GTI.

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Local team of Grant Whiting and Ray Damitio in a Mazda RX-3. I always liked how nicely this car was turned out.

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Another local team.  The driver was Steve Roberts from Redmond, WA.  Not sure who the co-driver was.  This is a well-used Mazda RX-2.

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David Yein and John Watkin in a Honda CRX.

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Fan favorites Bill Holmes and Jim Rodgers  in their Ford F-150 desert racing truck.

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The rally then moved off into the Capitol Forest for proper stages.

John Buffum again.

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Rod Millen.

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Jon Woodner.  I this is one of my favorite photos.

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Guy Light.

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The bellowing Ford F-150.

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I think this was Scott Child and Steve Laverty in a Group A Toyota FX-16.

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The Honda CRX again.

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1986 Nor’wester Pro Rally

In 1986 the Olympus gained World Rally Championship status and would be held in early December.  The Rallyweek Northwest organizers decided not to do a Rallyweek Northwest in April, but instead just ran the Nor’wester SCCA National Pro Rally in May as a shakedown for the Olympus.  As usual, the rally was based in Tumwater, WA and used the familiar stages in the nearby Capitol Forest.  However, there were no city street stages as in rallies past.

For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures at the rally, and the ones I did were not my best work.  Don’t remember my excuse, maybe I was experimenting with new film or something…

Doug Shepherd was running his Dodge Shelby in GT class.

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New Zealander Clive Smith was  running a Toyota in Group A.

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Group A Audi entered by Carter/Kingsley.  They DNF’d later.

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Dodge Shelby GLH of Landau/Landau running in the Production class.

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Guy Light had switched from his Oldsmobile Omega to a Golf GTI that he was running in Group A

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Another Dodge Omni GLH driven by the team of Crawford & Andreini.

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The Wantanabe brothers in their Group A Toyota.

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Shepherd and Reese at night.

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Another Dodge running in the GT class.

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The Gooches in their GT class Dodge.

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Local crew of Grant Whiting and Ray Damitio in their Mazda RX-3.  They were sponsored by Walt’s Radiator of Olympia.  I always liked the color scheme of this car.

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Local Gene McCullough in a Datsun 510.

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John Buffum’s stepson Paul Choiniere was running an Audi 80 in Production.

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Another Datsun. I can’t seem to find any information on the crew.

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Jon Woodner had finally gotten his Peugeot 205 T-16.  The car started as a street 205 built for Group B homologation.   Jon had it modified in the UK since the French wouldn’t sell him an ex-works car.  Here it is at night service probably in Shelton, WA.  After being housed in a collection by Jon’s widow for many years, the car was sold and is now in England and has been fitted with an Evolution 2 body kit and is active on the historic Group B rally circuit.

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John Buffum received the short wheelbase Sport Quattro that Michelle Mouton used on the 1985 Pikes Peak Hillclimb in order to compete with Rod Millen’s 4WD RX-7.  The Sport Quattro was fast and evidently hard to photograph at night…

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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.

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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.

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The Stromberg/Reese Saab 99 Turbo running Group A.

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Crowd favorite Oldsmobile Omega of Guy Light.

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Clive Smith’s Toyota Corolla.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Rod Millen.

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John Buffum.

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Stromberg’s Saab.

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Kreibich/Bond Quattro

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I think this was the Clive Smith Toyota.

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Guy Light’s Olds Omega.

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

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

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

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

Rod Millen’s Mazda is serviced.

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John Buffum has a quick rest before the night stages.

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

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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.

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Quattros!  John is about to pass Bruno.

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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.

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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.

1983 Olympus Rally

I went to my first SCCA Pro Rally in the fall of 1982, the Tour de Forest based in Tumwater, WA.  I had been reading about the Audi Quattro rally cars in Europe and specifically remember an article about SCCA Pro Rally in Road and Track, and when I noticed that a Pro Rally was being held near where I lived.  My brother and I decided to check it out.  After learning not to stand on the outside of a corner after Rod Millen sprayed us with gravel, we were hooked.

In 1983, the local Pro Rally organizers in Washington decided to become serious about getting one of their rallies included on the World Rally Championship calendar.  One of the first things they did was move the dates of the Norwester Rally and Olympus Rally to be consecutive weekends in April, titling it Rallyweek Northwest.  My brother and I went to both rallies in 1983.  My brother took the following shots on the Olympus Rally 1983.

The late Jon Woodner was first through the stage in his Peugeot 504.  This car was an Ex-Safari rally Peugeot factory team car, that is now part of a collection in Greece.  Remember when French cars were still for sale in the U.S.?  I think the stage was near Aberdeen, WA.

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Rod Millen was through next.  This year he was running a four wheel drive RX-7 he built in his Newport, CA shop to be able to compete with Buffum in the Quattro.

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John B was next through the stage.  John had just switched to an A1 Quattro, from the Group 4 Quattro that he ran in 1982.  The car had just arrived from Germany, and John won the previous weekend’s Nor’wester Rally with it.   This time at Olympus, John had a U.K. co driver on board, Steve Fellows.  Steve was writing a book on rally navigation.  I bought it when it came out and still have it.  John went wide on an earlier stage, hit a hidden stump and rolled the Quattro.  They lost a bit of time, as there were no spectators to help them back on the road.

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Gene Henderson was running what we called the “Grandfather of the Quattro”, an AMC Eagle SX/4.  It was an AMC hatchback, the Sprit to which AMC joined with a full time four wheel drive system based on the Ferguson Formula system.

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Guy Light’s Oldsmobile Omega.  It was a favorite with its bellowing V-6 and automatic transmission.

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JB on a night stage.  I seem to remember it being near Elma, WA.  Buffum had a bit of a hard time getting the long wheelbase Quattro around the nearly 180 degree junction.  You can see a sizeable dent in the door from his earlier roll.

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Guy Light almost missed the junction.

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Night service on Millen’s RX-7.  I don’t remember the location of the service area…

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JB and the slightly dog eared Quattro.

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Buffum and Bill Brooks.  Brooks was a local Olympia driver running a FWD Audi Coupe that year.  He later ran a Rabbit GTI sponsored by the local Olympia VW dealer.

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Sunday morning the second to the last stage was run on some roads near the Olympia airport.

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Prior to the last stage, the cars had a service and Parc Ferme at the South Sound Mall in Lacey, WA.

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You can get a good look at Buffum’s battered Quattro.

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The last stage was an autocross run in the parking lot of the South Sound Mall.  The cars were run in reverse order.

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Millen, the winner of the rally, really hooned it, doing some great pre-Ken Block Gymkhana drifts and slides for the small crowd.

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