World Rally Championship

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: 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

 

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: The Drivers

Here is series of driver portraits taken by my good friend Denton Morris.   Again, thanks to Denton for graciously scanning his photos and 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, please contact him directly, or me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Juha Kankunnen.  I think this was at a service in Raymond, WA.

Image4

John Buffum at the same service.

Image5

Image6

Markku Alen with Martin Holmes, the Lancia team helicopter and a FIAT X1/9 lurking in the background.

Image7

Image8

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Capitol Forest Stages

Here is another series of pictures taken by my good friend Denton Morris.   Again, thanks to Denton for graciously scanning his photos and 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, please contact him directly, or me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

The second day of the rally was held in very typical, wet Northwest weather.  We didn’t leave Seattle for the Olympia area until late morning on the Friday, so we didn’t get to the stages until after lunch.  I have long since forgotten the name of this stage, but it had a good hairpin left for photographing the cars at.

Kankunnen was first through the stage in the 205 T-16.

Image88

Image89

Alen was next through with the Lancia Delta S4.

Image90

John Buffum in the Sport Quattro.

Image91

 

Rod Millen in the Group A Mazda 323 GTX.

Image92

The Alessandrini brothers in their privately entered Delta S4.  They brushed the bank and the red object behind the left rear wheel is a piece of their air dam.  One of the spectators on the hillside jumped down and picked it up as a souvenir.

Image93

 

Walter Boyce in the Light Performance Works prepared VW Golf GTI entered by Volkswagen of America.

Image94

 

This was the all Japanese team of Kunimasa and Hori in a Toyotal Corolla.

Image95

 

I can’t read the car number on this RX-7, but it may be the local team of Jolly / Sorenson.

Image96

 

Not sure about who (or what) is passing the Honda CRX of Ray Hocker.  Ray is now an official in the NASA Rallysport organization and also went to High School with my older brother.

Image97

 

The Toyota of local team Whiting / Damitio.  They usually run a Mazda RX-3.

Image98

 

Later on in the day things began to dry out.  I don’t remember the name of this stage either, but I do remember Alen nailed me in the back with a rock.

Kankunnen is first through the stage.

Image39

Markku Alen.

Image38

One of the TTE Celica Turbos.

Image41

John Buffum.

Image40

 

 

 

 

1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Scrutineering

My good friend and fellow rally nut, Denton Morris  went with me and my older brother to the Olympus.   Denton is now a physicist at Fermi Labs and also a professional photographer.  He graciously scanned his photos and allowed me to post them here.  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, please contact him directly, or me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Scrutineering was held on a late Thursday afternoon in early December in Tacoma, WA at the Tacoma Dome.  We hung around in the parking lot and caught the cars as they arrived.

John Buffum / Neil Wilson in the short wheelbase Sport Quattro.

Image84

The late Jon Woodner in his Peugeot 205 T-16.  This was one of the 200 road going homologation cars that Jon had converted to rally specs in the UK as Peugeot Sport would not sell him an ex-works car.

Image83

 

Rod Millen got his Mazda 323 GTX ready in the parking lot.

Image77

The factory Peugeot of Juha Kankunnen was also sitting in the parking lot.  We couldn’t believe that we were actually seeing a real works car.

Image79

BTW that is me in the back in the red coat :-).

Image80

The cars were rolled into the Tacoma Dome via the service entrance.

Image78

This is a really cool shot that I’m glad Denton took of the floor of the Tacoma Dome while scrutineering was going on.  Note all the Toyota banners and the new for 1986 Toyotas outside of the scruitineering area.  Toyota was the sponsor of the rally, but since manufacturers are not allowed to sponsor rallies, there was some creative bending of the rules and looking the other way by the FIA.

Image86

Toyota Team Europe had 3 Group B Celicas entered.  Here is Bjorn Waldegaard’s #3.

Image81

TTE entered a car for Rod’s brother Steve Millen.  Steve drove Stadium trucks for Toyota.  Maybe this was a reward…

Image82

I haven’t been able to find the name of the crew, but apparently this was the last WRC event for the venerable Saab 96 after 30 years of service.  After 1986 it was no longer eligible.

Image76

The local crew of Whiting / Damitio’s Toyota undergoes inspection.  The car was sponsored by the local Olympia Toyota dealer.

Image75

Markku Alen’s Lancia Delta S4 undergoes inspection.

Image85

The Alessandrini brothers privately entered Delta S4 in the scruitineering area.

Image87

Guy Light’s Light Performance Works had prepared two Golf GTI’s entered for Volkwagen of America.  Walter Boyce was the driver of one, Guy was the driver of the other.

Image74