Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round ...
Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally Round #7 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Bemidji, Minnesota
37. The 12th running of the Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally is now history, and the John Buffum/Doug Shepherd Hyundai Elantra dominated the event with a five-minute victory over the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV of David Summerbell/Michael Fennell. Buffum built up his lead steadily all day, and was never threatened.
Third and fourth overall went the veteran Production GT combatants Steve Gingras/Bill Westrick in their Eagle Talon and Cal Landau/Eric Marcus Mitsubishi Eclipse. This battle for class was close for most of the day until Landau's car developed alternator problems, and Steve pulled away to a three-minute win.
The Carl Merrill/Lance Smith Ford Escort Cosworth was headed for a second overall finish and a chance to lead the championship points, but late turbo problems lead to 20 minutes in penalty points and a disappointing 12th place finish.
Bill Malik/Christian Edstrom drove their best rally of the year to score much needed points in both Group 2 and the Jon Woodner Trophy in his Volvo 240. With the Dave White/Cindy Krolikowski VW GTI have problems on Friday night, Malik had a 10-minute lead in Group 2, but did not give up an inch to finish with a 10-minute win and a fifth- place overall finish.
In the other classes, Jay Kowalik/Scott Embree Honda Civic CVT scored its third straight win in Production; and Mike Hurst/Rob Bohn overcame a faulty clutch in their Mazda RX-7 to score a Group 5 win over the Jim Anderson/Martin Depot Honda Prelude VTEC.
The last stage of the rally was cancelled when the Hubbard County Sheriff requested that the organizers not race on the roads while the police looked for a lost local child. The rally transited through the last stage, and we are happy to report the child was found later.
The point standings for overall now look like this:
David Summerbell - 61 Paul Choiniere - 60 Carl Merrill - 54