ProRally: Lake Superior Review

Buffum and Smith Win Lake Superior ProRally HOUGHTON, Michigan — It was shades of old times this weekend, as 11-time champion John Buffum and navigator Lance Smith fought Mother Nature and the rally long known as the...

Buffum and Smith Win Lake Superior ProRally

HOUGHTON, Michigan — It was shades of old times this weekend, as 11-time champion John Buffum and navigator Lance Smith fought Mother Nature and the rally long known as the oldest, meanest and toughest event on the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship. When it was all over, they had taken their Hyundai Elantra to the overall win in the Oct. 22-23 D&N Bank Lake Superior ProRally, the final event of the 1999 season. LSPR, as the rally is known, is always a tough event, but this weekend Mother Nature threw in rain, sleet and snow, as well as powerful winds that built 15-foot waves on nearby Lake Superior. In fact, the weather was so harsh that virtually every Weather Channel bad-weather segment during the two-day event began by looking squarely at this part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Buffum and Smith overcame the conditions and a formidable array of challengers to take the overall win. In doing that, they finished a bit less than two minutes ahead of 1995 winner Henry Joy and Chris Griffin, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo II. Jon Kemp and Rod Hendricksen were third overall and in the Open Class in their Audi quattro S4. In seventh overall were Group 5 winners Mike Hurst and Rob Bohn, in a Mazda Rx-7. Interestingly, they gave credit for their win to unwanted tires bought from the team they beat for the Group 5 win. However, that duo, Henry and Cindy Krolikowski, had bigger matters on their minds. Despite four wins this year, they had to wage a very difficult come-from-behind battle to win the class championship in their Dodge Shadow GT. They did it by finishing second. Production GT winners Brian Pepp and Jerry Stang were able to breathe a little easier once their prime competition was taken out by an accident. After that they could concentrate more on Mother Nature's challenges and the tough course itself. In the end, they brought their Eagle Talon home three minutes ahead of second-place finishers Patrick Richard and Claire Chizma, who were in a Subaru Impreza. Group 2 winners Bryan Hourt and Pete Cardimen had their share of drama both before and during the event. Prior to the start, they had many anxious moments searching for a replacement driveshaft for their Honda Civic after discovering that their brand-new spare was mislabeled and incomplete. They couldn't find one, but another team loaned them something they thought might work. It did, and they got the class win. The victory was doubly important, because they had been in a very tight points race. The win gave them the Group 2 driver and co-driver championships, respectively. The contest in the Production Class wasn't for the season championship, which had been decided in a previous event. Rather, it was a father-and-son battle. All the way through the rally, Evan Moen and Tom Young (Plymouth Neon ACR), and Brain Vinson and Moen's father, Ron (Volkswagen Golf GTi), traded fastest times. When it was all over, they finished just 0.02 minutes apart – 1.2 seconds – with the younger Moen and his co-driver getting the win. A navigation error opened the apparent margin some at the finish, but it did nothing to diminish the intensity of their battle.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Lance Smith , Patrick Richard , Rod Hendricksen , John Buffum