ProRally: Prescott Forest ProRally Race Notes 17-66

17.) According to medical coordinator Don Crews, all of the medical volunteers for this weekend's event are from the Central Yavapai Fire District, of which he is a member. The district has been involved in the event for years, but each year that...

17.) According to medical coordinator Don Crews, all of the medical volunteers for this weekend's event are from the Central Yavapai Fire District, of which he is a member. The district has been involved in the event for years, but each year that involvement has grown, as has the support provided by Chief Dave Curtis. One of the interesting innovations making its debut is a rope-rescue unit that can respond to any problems that might develop around the sheer cliffs found on some stages. The district also has provided a 4WD ambulance that could be very handy in this rugged country.

18.) California hotshoe Tony Chavez is reported to have had a flat 3.5 miles into Stage 3. He and navigator Ken Cassidy changed the tire and continued in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4, which is now sporting a shiny new silver paint scheme.

19.) At the first service, which followed Stage 3, Ralph Kodmisdes indicated that the expected battle in Group 5 is in full swing. He says that he and Joe Noyes, and the Ruby's Toyota Supra Turbo, are a mere 0.07 minutes up on Henry and Cindy Krolikowski in their Dodge Shadow.

20.) Production GT points leader Gail Truess and Pattie Hughes are cheery and happy, and say that so far things are going well for them. It's much rougher than expected and it's very difficult seeing over the numerous crests. Gail says that, because of it, "there is a lot of trust going on" in the car. They did add that things opened up a bit on Stage 3.

21.) "The Girls" may inadvertently have given away one of their speed secrets when field reporter Jeff Burmeister asked them if they had anything to add. Although Truess was munching an apple, they shouted into Burmeister's cell phone (in unison) "We've got Skittles." Years ago Road & Track editor Thos Bryant and art director Richard Baron relied heavily on Snickers bars when they were driving the Nissan-BFGoodrich ProRally media car. Times change.

22.) In addition to navigating with Truess, Pattie Hughes also has been doing some road racing this season. She drove in the Women's Global GT Challenge at Road Atlanta earlier this year, and was scheduled for the San Diego event as well, but it was cancelled. She'll be doing the full Pro Spec Racer Ford series next year.

23.) Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley seem to have things going their way again. However, like so many others, they have found the course very tough so far. "It's unbelievably rough --- like driving on the moon," Lawler said. Both he and navigator Charlie Bradley had to loosen their belts to try to see better over the numerous blind crests. Lawler also commented that due to the topography and coloration of the vegetation it often was very difficult to "read" where the road was going over the crests. He said that it was tough "to figure which side of the trees to go to" in those circumstances. They had been off twice because of it, but had no damage, although they had stalled once and had to back up both times.

24.) Tony Chavez and Ken Cassidy had troubles earlier, but their day has gotten considerably worse in a hurry. First they had a power steering line break, which started a fire in their Mitsubishi Galant VR4. They put the fire out, crimped off the offending line and continued, but the fire had burned through the tiny hose to the oil-pressure gauge. That leak started another fire. They put it out and continued, but figure that they lost 10-15 minutes to the problems.

25.) Prescott resident Roger Hull and co-driver Sean Gallagher are running grooved Goodyear run-flat tires. They don't have quite the traction of rally tires, of course, but they are happy with the performance and really like the security of the run-flat capability. They, too, are finding the roads rough --- Hull says that they are the roughest he has ever seen here --- but they're having a good time and running well.

26.) Kendall Russell and Dave Weiman were having a good day until about a mile from the finish of Stage 2. At that point, they were surprised by a left-hander and couldn't get their Dodge Shadow turned in time. They went off and got high-centered on a berm. By the time they were able to free the undamaged car they had been time-barred. This would have been Kendall's 15th consecutive rally finish, probably the best finishing record of anyone currently active in the ProRally series.

27.) We are dependent on cell phones to get information back from the field this weekend; and reception is proving to be very spotty. It is making the job of our field reporter difficult, to say the least. In addition, the event is slowly falling behind schedule.

28.) Paul Eklund and Dave Jameson had a brand-new aftermarket strut fail on the right-rear corner of their Subaru Impreza on the rally's opening stage. It came apart on the next stage, and they had to soldier on until the first service. They replaced it with a stock strut and were expecting at least "decent" times afterward.

29.) George Plsek and Renn Phillips found things a little confusing at one point early on. As a result, they "had a little miss" with the course. However, other than finding the second stage pretty rough, they're going well in their Audi quattro Coupe.

30.) Peter Malaszuk and Derek Szerejko are having a fine event so far in the factory Daewoo Nubira. They felt that there had been an abundance of rocks in the early going, but otherwise felt it was going well. Malaszuk was quite vocal about his assessment that this event was going to let them show off the Nubira's potential.

31.) Lee Shadbolt and Claire Chizma also were doing the strut-change routine on their Production GT Subaru Impreza. It's not known at this time if they also were replacing aftermarket struts with stock units.

32.) The person loaning teams his stock struts is Canadian Subaru driver Patrick Richard, who is here with a new Production GT car. He and co-driver Ben Bradley (whose Internet site is really popular with rallyists) thought that the opening stage was great. This is Richard's second national-level event. Even though they did some damage to the front of their car on a big jump there, he still described the extremely rough Stage 2 as "awesome." Bradley got the call to navigate at the last minute.

33.) Mike Whitman and Flynn Baglin have had no problems with their classic Group 2 Datsun 510, and they're having a great time despite the roughness. Whitman enjoyed the fast "squirts" between turns on Stage 2 and found Stage 3 rough but fast. Paula Gibeault, who normally co-drives with Whitman, is not with him this weekend. Instead, she is driving in the ClubRally in a Volkswagen Jetta.

34.) Chad Dykes and Deborah Fuller are running really well despite a litany of problems that includes one flat, a partial loss of brakes, a radiator puncture and a battery meltdown. They got repairs they needed for their Toyota SR5 pickup and were ready to head out again.

35.) Karl Scheible and Gail McGuire already have clinched the 1999 driver and co-driver championships in Production, but they are here with their Volkswagen New Beetle looking for the car's fourth win in six events. When the car's season is done, it will be spiffed up and sent out on the car-show circuit.

36.) For those following such details, the flower in the Beetle's bud vase this weekend is a desert arrangement of green leaves and yellow berries --- carefully plucked from the headquarters hotel's hedge.

37.) Doo Wop overall winners Lauchlin and Farina O'Sullivan came here with high hopes for another win, and the same Audi 4000 quattro that got them the first one. Going into the event they had to be considered dark horses capable of snatching the overall win if Lawler and Bradley faltered. However, a big jump on the event's early stages shattered their hopes for the second win. The landing was so hard that it bent the shift linkage within the transmission. Now they can't engage first or second gear, which people familiar with this event say will hurt them considerably.

38.) ClubRallyists Ron Wood and Kelly Walsh are taking it easy in their fierce-looking Audi quattro S2, but not by choice. Their controlled pace is partly due to the roughness, but it's mainly due to their engine running off-song. They're going to let it cool down a bit and then pull some plugs to look for indications of the problem.

39.) "Mad Mike" Halley and navigator Emily Burton-Weinman got a flat halfway through Stage 3 on their Dodge rally pickup. They drove it out and changed tires after leaving the control, without losing any time. They trashed the tire and rim, but the truck is okay. Halley's official summation up to this point is clearly from a pickup driver -- and a far cry from virtually everyone else's --- "What cool roads!"

40.) ClubRallyists Paul Timmerman and Ola Lysenstoen are out after rolling their Open Class Mazda 323 GTX a mile from the end of Stage 4. This was their first time together, and they were dealing with new-team cockpit communication issues when they got a bit behind the route book. As a result, they arrived at what Timmerman called a triple-caution turn flat-out in first. The car climbed a bank and then did a slow roll. They have some aches and pains, "but nothing that a couple of Advil can't fix." Up to that point, Timmerman says that the event was 1.3 times as rough as Rim of the World.

41) Following the first service the field was re-seeded, and there were some big changes. Lawler/Bradley remained first, but the O'Sullivans had jumped from ninth to second. Bryan Hourt and Pete Cardimen had their Group 2 Honda Civic in third, with Chad Dykes and Deborah Fuller right behind them in the Group 2 Toyota pickup. Mike Whitman and Flynn Bagman were fifth overall in their Datsun 510, with Carl Jardevall and Amity Trowbridge sixth in their Volvo 740 Turbo. Peter Malaszuk and Derek Szerejko had the Production Class Daewoo all the way up to seventh, with Bill Malik next. Lee Shadbolt and Claire Chizma also were making a good show in Production GT, in ninth place in their Subaru Impreza. Rounding out the top 10 were Ralph Kosmides and Joe Noyes, in the Toyota Supra Turbo.

42) Reports are now starting to come in from the second service, and the news isn't good for several fast teams. Scheible and McGuire are out. Scheible says that first the left-front strut failed, which led to a control-arm problem, which in turn led to a tire failure. The combined damage put the New Beetle out. He figures that they were 12th overall at the time. Earlier, he had said, "I am driving slow enough that my grandchildren will see the car."

43) Paul Eklund and Dave Jameson were sidelined halfway through Stage 5 when a rock got into the engine compartment and took out the ignition system's crankshaft position sensor. They tried to make a jury-rigged repair but it soon became apparent that "No amount of 'McGyvering' was going to fix it," according to Eklund. Due to the nature of the roads in the area, they had to flat-tow the crippled car 46 miles. Eklund says that they were second-fastest overall on Stage 4.

44) Another of the dark-horse teams for the overall win is out on Stage 5. Tony Chavez and Ken Cassidy are through for the day. They have a broken rear crossmember on their Mitsubishi Galant VR4, and retired just about a mile beyond Eklund and Jameson.

45) ClubRallyists Steve Bender and Craig McHugh, and their Group 2 Volkswagen Rabbit are reported out. The reason is unknown at this time.

46) In addition to having to deal with the rough roads and bent shift linkage, the O'Sullivans also had to contend with loose mounting bolts on the steering wheel of their Audi 4000 quattro.

47) Reports are now coming in from the third service. Being first on the road does have its advantages. As the day has worn on, dust has become a growing problem. Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley have missed that difficulty, being out in front of the field, but they're having problems of their own. Every time Lawler steps completely off the throttle, the car reacts as through he had gone to full throttle. That caused some anxious moments. "The car was driving me," was how Lawler put it.

48) Apparently some of the roads used on these later stages are quite narrow in places. SCCA ProRally marketing manager Kurt Spitzner has seen several cars sporting rallying's equivalent of NASCAR's infamous "Darlington stripe." Mirrors are missing or folded back, and bodywork is scraped down the side from contact with the things lining the narrow spots on the roads.

49) There are still many comments about rough roads. Canadian PGT driver Patrick Richard says that these are the roughest roads he has ever rallied on, on either side of the border.

50) Bryan Hourt and Pete Cardimen are absolutely flying in their Group 2 Honda Civic. Several reports have them second overall and looking very sharp.

51) Bill Malik and Eric Tremblay are reported to be suffering from chronic fuel starvation problems in their Volvo 740, and they're said to have stopped several times to attempt to deal with the situation. It doesn't sound as though they've had any luck, though.

52) This rally was set up to be primarily a daylight event, with nine of the 11 stages to be run in sunshine. However, as the day progressed it slowly fell behind schedule. Some teams failed to take note of that very important fact, however, and didn't install their long-range lights at what became the appropriate service stop. As a result, there were some cars out there groping their way along, unable to see well enough to go fast.

53) Well, the event is over and Noel Lawler has done it. He and Charlie Bradley are our only back-to-back winners in 1999 and the only three-time winners. More than one person familiar with the history of this rally has said that they also are the only two-time winners of this event. We'll try to verify that. Lawler and Bradley brought their factory Hyundai Tiburon home a comfortable eight minutes ahead of the second-place car, the classic Datsun 510 of Mike Whitman and Flynn Baglin.

54) Mike Whitman and Flynn Baglin are the Group 2 winners, a stunning second overall in their Datsun 510. Ralph Kosmides and Joe Noyes are the Group 5 winners, an impressive third overall in their Toyota Supra Turbo. Seamus Burke and Tom Lawless have taken the honors in Production GT, sixth overall in a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Peter Malaszuk and Derek Szerejko got the Production win in their factory Daewoo Nubira, ninth overall.

55) Group 2 winners Whitman and Baglin used their knowledge of western roads to their advantage over Hourt and Cardimen, who were in their first western event. Hourt and Cardimen had one lapse late in the event that put them off-course, cost them valuable time and dropped them out of what seemed a sure overall podium finish, in addition to the Group 2 win. Whitman and Baglin took the class by about three and a half minutes.

56) Other than losing a section of their exhaust system due to the roughness, Kosmides and Noyes had a trouble-free run --- mechanically. On the competition side, though, the Krolikowskis gave them a fight all the way, with the two cars trading fast times throughout much of the event. In the end, Kosmides and Noyes were able to nose ahead by about 45 seconds. Kosmides said that the event was "a wonderful rally for both of us." He figured that this was the best rally he has ever driven, and added that he had to dig deep for it. With the points still very close, he's expecting Lake Superior to be "a slugfest."

57) Malaszuk and Szerejko looked fast all day, and the final results show that they were. They were a full five minutes ahead of second place in Production, Mark Brown and Ole Holter, who were in a Toyota Corolla.

58) Burke and Lawless had the closest shave of the day. Their margin of victory was a tiny 0.03 minute, less than two seconds. Local hotshoe Roger Hull and Sean Gallagher almost got the win in their Eagle Talon, but couldn't quite do it.

59) The largest margin of victory on the event was in the Open Class. Lauchlin and Farina O'Sullivan nursed their wounded Audi 4000 quattro home second in Open, more than 15 minutes behind Lawler and Bradley.

60) Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley were happy campers, of course. Magically, the few troubles they had throughout the rally simply melted away and were forgotten --- the way they do when you win. They weren't draped in the Irish flag this time, as they have been in the past, but they were as happy as ever.

61) Although in his soft-spoken fashion, Henry Krolikowski was every bit as complimentary of his opponent's efforts as Ralph Kosmides was of his. It was an evenly matched battle, with each driving as fast as they could, trading fast times. Then on Stage 8 the panhard rod on the Krolikowski car broke. They drove on to the finish of the stage, where Henry lashed it more or less back into place with a ratchet strap. They did the final three stages like that; and it undoubtedly cost him his shot at the class win, but he never mentioned it.

62) Bill Malik's engine problems never were solved. He and navigator Eric Tremblay discussed withdrawing because the engine was cutting out at dangerous times. However, they carried on to the finish and took third in Group 2.

63) This was Canadian navigator Tremblay's first time rallying or traveling in this part of America, and he was very much enjoying the feeling that he was in the historic Old West that he'd read about and seen in countless movies.

64) "Mad Mike" Halley and Emily Burton-Weinman got third in Production with their Dodge pickup. Halley's observations were a bit different from most everyone else's, such as speeding up for cattle guards, instead of slowing down. Being in a truck, the roughness didn't bother him, but he did wake up some spectators with a little "oops" and a rather wide line that took the nose of the truck under the omnipresent yellow tape.

65) Mark Tabor and John Dillon had some exciting times, beginning when Tabor discovered that they didn't have any brakes on Stage 8. They finished the stage using the handbrake and made it through much of Stage 9 before it, too, went away. Then it got really exciting, but they made it through okay and got sixth in Production GT in Tabor's first ProRally.

66) Italian navigator Alex Gelsomino also helped get his driver through a first event, the companion ClubRally. It proved to be a real eye-opener for Gelsomino. It was his first US event, his first gravel rally and his first "blind" (no practice, no pace notes) rally. He and driver Steve Westwood had their share of adventures, but they got their finish.

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Series SCCA
Drivers George Plsek , Alex Gelsomino , Ralph Kosmides , Joe Noyes , Bill Malik , Paul Eklund , Carl Jardevall , Seamus Burke , Ken Cassidy , Peter Malaszuk , Patrick Richard , Ole Holter