BEMIDJI, Minnesota -- There were no happier people on the planet following the end of the Ojibwe Forest ProRally this weekend than Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley. After a hard-fought, two-day seesaw battle with the Canadian National Champions...
BEMIDJI, Minnesota -- There were no happier people on the planet following the end of the Ojibwe Forest ProRally this weekend than Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley. After a hard-fought, two-day seesaw battle with the Canadian National Champions -- and a very large dash of drama on the event's final stage -- they emerged victorious in round even of the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship. They also became the first two-time winners this season.
Despite the best efforts of Canadian champions Frank and Dan Sprongl (Audi quattro S2); and their own teammates, seven-time US champion Paul Choiniere and 11-time champion John Buffum (Hyundai Tiburon); and Rim of the World winners Garen and Doc Shrader (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV), Lawler and Bradley would not be denied. Not even a broken halfshaft at the start the final, 21-mile stage could keep them from taking the win. The Sprongls finished second. Choiniere and Buffum were third, and the Shraders were fourth overall.
European veteran Lawler called it his greatest win. The victory put both Lawler and Bradley into comfortable leads in the driver and co-driver championship standings, respectively, with only two events remaining. Even a so-so showing in either rally would give them the titles.
Sixth overall and the Group 5 win went to low-flying Henry and Cindy Krolikowski, in their Dodge Shadow. Ralph Kosmides and Joe Noyes were second in their Toyota Supra Turbo.
Close behind the Krolikowskis were Group 2 winners Bryan Hourt and Brian Shanfeld, in a Honda Civic. In a gesture of great sportsmanship, Hourt and Shanfeld helped rivals Bill Malik and Christian Edstrom repair the broken shifter in their Volvo 240 just before the start of the rally's final 21-mile stage. The two teams finished the event only about 30 seconds apart.
Brian Pepp and Jerry Stang pushed hard in their Eagle Talon to get the Production GT win, a solid 11th overall. They were two minutes ahead of the PGT runners-up, Lauchlin O'Sullivan and John Dillon, who hadn't even seen the car they competed in until the day before the rally. It was nearly 2000 miles from the rally site on Monday, when the rental was arranged.
Karl Scheible and Gail McGuire clinched the driver and co-driver championships, respectively, in the Production Class. The victory in their Volkswagen New Beetle was their third class win in the car this season, and came on top of a victory in a rented Volkswagen Golf GTi at the beginning of the season. Despite having already secured their class crowns, Scheible and McGuire have said that they will compete in the year's final two rallies.
The next round of the Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship will be the Prescott Forest ProRally, which will take place in Prescott, Arizona, on the weekend of October 1-2.
Ojibwe Forests ProRally Round 7; 1999 Michelin SCCA ProRally Championship Bemidji, Minnesota August 27-28, 1999
OA Driver/Co-Driver Car Time Class
1 Noel Lawler/Charlie Bradley Hyundai Tiburon 2:24:56 1 Open
2 Frank Sprongl/Dan Sprongl Audi quattro S2 2:26:35 2 Open
3 Paul Choiniere/John Buffum Hyundai Tiburon 2:28:41 3 Open
4 Garen & Floyd "Doc" Shrader Mitsubishi Evo IV 2:30:50 4 Open
5 Jon Kemp/Rod Hendricksen Audi 4000 quattro 2:35:23 5 Open
6 Henry & Cindy Krolikowski Dodge Shadow 2:35:41 1 Group 5
7 Bryan Hourt/Brian Shanfeld Honda Civic 2:36:28 1 Group 2
8 Bill Malik/Christian Edstom Volvo 240 2:37:07 2 Group 2
9 Ralph Kosmides/Joe Noyes Toyota Supra T. 2:37:31 2 Group 5 10 Jim Anderson/Martin Dapot Honda Prelude 2:38:36 3 Group 5 11 Bryan Pepp/Jerry Stang Eagle Talon 2:39:22 1 PGT 12 Karl Scheible/Gail McGuire VW New Beetle 2:40:07 1 Prod. 13 Alex Erisoty/Ben Greisler Audi 90 quattro 2:40:51 6 Open 14 Lauchlin O'Sullivan/John Dillon Mazda 323 GTX 2:41:11 2 PGT 15 Andrew Havas/Scott Slingerland Mazda Rx-7 2:41:26 4 Group 5 16 Chris Czyzio/Eric Carlson Mitsubishi Eclipse 2:42:28 3 PGT 17 Lee Shadbolt/Claire Chizma Subaru Impreza 2:45:33 4 PGT 18 Rod Dean/Nichole Dean Plymouth Laser RS 2:46:29 5 PGT 19 Colin McCleery/Jeff Secor Ford Sierra 2:47:45 5 Group 5 20 Paul Dubinsky/Yvon Dubinsky Eagle Talon 2:48:57 6 PGT 21 Bob Nielsen/Brenda Corneliusen VW Golf GTi 2:49:46 3 Group 2 22 Eric Burmeister/Mark Buskirk VW Golf GTi 2:50:31 4 Group 2 23 Gail Truess/Pattie Hughes Mazda 323 GTX 2:51:30 7 PGT 24 Ted Grzelak/Chris Plante Mazda Rx-7 2:54:12 6 Group 5 25 John Rek/Piotr Modrzejesdki Audi S2 2:56:16 7 Open
Steve Gingras/Bill Westrick Eagle Talon DNF
Kyoichi Takaori/Ken Cassidy Mitsubishi Evo III DNF
Dean Panton/Mike Fennell Hyundai Elantra DNF
Bill Morton/Mike Busalacchi Mitsubishi Evo IV DNF
Mark Utecht/Diane Sargent Dodge Omni DNF
Mike Hurst/Rob Bohn Mazda Rx-7 DNF
Jay Kowalik/Carl Lindquist Honda Civic CVT DNF
Seamus Burke/Tom Lawless Mitsubishi Galant DNF
Richard Pilczuk/Brian Pilczuk VW Golf GTi DNF
Robert Burtis/James Burtis Audi quattro DNF
Evan Moen/Tom Young Plymouth Neon ACR DNF
Dariusz Bosek/Mariusz Malik Eagle Talon DNF
Jim Dale/Robert Logue Mazda Rx-7 DNF
Doug Davenport/Al Kintigh VW Golf GTi DNF
Brian Scott/W.David Watts Eagle Talon DNF
Wiktor Biegalski/Daiusz Peszko Mitsubishi Eclipse DNF
Charles Sherrill/Mark Rea Honda Civic CRX DNF