ProRally: Oregon Trail: Saturday summary

Burke Bullies Way Into Top Spot After Oregon Trail Day Two Vernonia, Ore. (April 24, 2004) -- Seamus Burke was in control for much of Saturday's Day Two action at Oregon Trail, Round Two of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot ...

Burke Bullies Way Into Top Spot After Oregon Trail Day Two

Vernonia, Ore. (April 24, 2004) -- Seamus Burke was in control for much of Saturday's Day Two action at Oregon Trail, Round Two of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship Presented by Hot Wheels®. But then a minor mishap in his 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution forced the Irish driver to spin on Special Stage Five and watch Swede Carl Jardevall jump to the front of the ProRally pack by two seconds in his 1997 Mitsubishi Evolution IV.

Coming out of the afternoon service after SS6, Burke wasted no time in regaining the top spot, attacking the next two stages while the rest of the field, including Jardevall, appeared to be mired in an after-lunch droll.

As soon as Jardevall had inched into the top spot, Burke came storming back in SS7 and SS8, ripping off stage times that were 23 and 18 seconds faster than Jardeval's.

"We spun in the stage before service," Burke's co-driver, Charlie Bradley said. "So going back out we wanted to push it a bit and we did."

The move was good enough that Burke/Bradley now hold a 35-sec. lead, approximately, over Jardevall and his co-driver Amity Trowbridge. First-day leader Pat Richard chose a softer tire compound than the rest of the field to start Saturday, and the move cost him as he slipped to third overall but remained first in Group N in his 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX.

"It was a bad move," Richard said. "I wanted to try something different than everybody else and see if it would help. I gambled and lost. That's all there is to it. I switched to a harder compound because the roads are really gravelly and I needed something that could dig through the rocks and get into the dirt."

Road conditions weren't the only problem facing Richard and his co-driving sister, Nathalie.

"I started on the wrong page going into (Special) Stage Seven," Nathalie said. "We were in a delay and all the sudden (the marshals) were like, 'We're going in two minutes!' It was a mistake and it cost us some time."

Road conditions played a part in ending the Oregon Trail ProRally weekend early for several competitors, including Production GT driver Sans Thompson. Thompson, with his co-driver Paul Nelson, got loose through a turn on SS4 and as his tires hit the edge of the road, the road gave way, sending the duo's 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse into a soft roll that ended with the car upside down in a shallow creek. Both were okay and there were no signs of major damage to the car. There was, however, a small streak of dirt left by water that had flowed through the top of the car.

"I didn't think anything was wrong until we were turned over," Thompson said. "When the tires hit the soft dirt on the corner and the road gave way and the car went. Three weeks from now, after the ground has had a chance to dry out and firm up and that doesn't happen. It's one of those things and we'll take the car to California and get ready for the next event at Rim."

Dennis Martin, with co-driver Kim DeMotte, also softly rolled his car Saturday. His roll came on SS5. Both were uninjured, but the car was unable to continue. Others who were knocked out of the rally Saturday included Open class competitor Doug Havir, with co-driver Scott Putnam on SS8, thanks to a broken rotor; Wyeth Gubelmann, with co-driver Alex Gelsomino, on SS10; and Group N driver Mark Utecht, with co-driver Jeff Secor, as their car became stuck in neutral.

Day Three of the Oregon Trail ProRally, which includes the final six stages, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. in Vernonia, Ore., after an hour-long parc expose. The event is expected to end with the first car crossing the finish at 4:30 p.m., approximately, at the Red Lion Hotel in Hillsboro, Ore. Check for final information, including results, on www.scca.com, upon completion of the event.

-scca pro rally-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Carl Jardevall , Amity Trowbridge , Seamus Burke , Wyeth Gubelmann , Doug Havir , Pat Richard , Kim DeMotte