Prescott Forest PRO Rally Round ...
Prescott Forest PRO Rally Round #8 - 1998 Michelin PRO Rally Championship Prescott, Arizona
#1 - Wednesday, September 30, 1998
1. Welcome to Prescott, Arizona, and the 11th running of the Prescott Forest Rally. This is the third time the event has run as a full national PRO Rally (1993 and last year). The rally runs on gravel roads through the Prescott National Forest, Chino Valley Ranger District. The event runs in both Ponderosa forest, and, in the high desert, Juniper forest. The weather promises to cooperate, with temperatures in the mid-80's during the day and the low 60's at night, with no precipitation predicted. The course has a reputation for being rough, but organizer Jeff Hendricks thinks competitors will like some of the new stage roads added for 1998, especially those on Friday night south here are a couple of impromptu water crossings.
2. Replica Productions of Cambridge, Mass., producers of the ESPN2 rally coverage this season (Wild West, Rim of the World, Susquehannock Trail, and Maine Summer so far), is here this weekend to cover this event for airing in November. Air dates - sometime in November - will be announced shortly. The Maine Forest Rally, which aired in early September, was viewed by 200,000 households - the first time the rally telecasts have broken that mark. The Ojibwe Forests PRO Rally is the next scheduled telecast, slated for Tuesday, October 27, at 6:30 PM Eastern time on "The Deuce."
3. Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, Inc., the New York-based PR firm which is handling the Michelin PRO Rally Championship publicity, will not be doing so for 1999. In a letter to both SCCA and Michelin, KGPR President Mike Geylin expressed his thanks for allowing the firm, and its account executive Andy Schupack, to be involved with PRO Rally during its recent growth, and wished the sport continued success in the future. Geylin said that the company has taken on new activities that make it impossible to continue with the PRO Rally publicity. SCCA and Michelin are currently looking for a new PR person for 1999. Schupack will continue in his role as the series PR liaison through December 31, 1998, and will work with his successor as soon as one is named. In a statement issued by Dennis Dean, VP Rally/Solo for SCCA, Dennis said, "It is with sincere regret that SCCA acknowledges Kermish- Geylin's decision to reallocate their priorities for 1999 in a way that prevents them from providing their superb support to the Michelin SCCA PRO Rally series. Andy Schupack's contributions to the series over the many years he has been associated with it are legendary. He has proved himself and his firm to be not only staunch advocates of the series and the sport, but also friend and supporter to the competitors, organizers, sponsors, and supporters of the series. His contributions to SCCA's efforts in the conduct of the series have been many and have been much appreciated by all. Everyone on the SCCA staff extends their thanks and wishes Andy and Kermish-Geylin nothing but the best in their future endeavors with the hope that they depart with the same fond memories of the series that we all enjoy, as a result of their singular efforts."
4. In the last few years, the Prescott Forest Rally has provided some of the more bizarre PRO Rally stories on the circuit. In 1992, Rod Millen rolled his Mazda and shattered the windshield, but won the rally after borrowing glass from Toyota truck competitor Gary Gooch. In 1995, Harris Done won this event in a divisional Mazda RX-7, while Rui Brasil took his old Audi Quattro to victory in '96 as Bill Malik and his co- driver missed a timing mistake that would have given them the win. It was here that actor Jason Priestley made his national PRO Rally debut (1993), and Jeff Zwart won one of the his two PRO Rally victories here that year in his Porsche Carrera 4. Last year, of course, Paul Choiniere had a 12-second lead on Henry Joy going into the last stage when Henry's Mitsubishi Lancer took a 200-foot dive into a canyon.
5. The web site for the Lake Superior PRO Rally is up and running - you can dial in at <www.up-plaza.com/lspr>.
6. "African Americans On Wheels" magazine has a brief article on Authur Odero-Jowi's Team TPi Rallying in the Fall 1998 issue. Visit their website to read the article at URL: <http://www.automag.com/fall98/feature-f.htm> Click on the "Around the Track" hyperlink and scroll down to the bottom of the feature article. The article is titled "Introducing Off-Road Racing". 7. Congratulations are in order for Subaru co-driver Paul Eklund, who won the E-Stock national championship recently at the SCCA Solo Nationals. After finishing in the top five for the past four years at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo II National Championships, Paul Eklund has put his Primitve Racing Toyota Celica GT into the winner's circle in the competitive E-Stock class.
"I've been making the long trek from Oregon for the last four years, and it feels good to have it finally pay off," says Eklund. Eklund finished ahead of Larry Fine also driving a Celica, the 1994 champion Steve Brolliar driving a Neon, and last year's champion David Pearson driving a Saturn. There were 30 drivers in the class representing Toyota, Honda, VW, Saturn, Dodge, Plymouth, Ford, and Subaru and the margin of victory was 3 tenths of a second.
8. The Jeffrey Panton/John de Mercado Toyota Celica GT4 for will a no-show at the second straight event due to hurricanes in the Carribean causing car transportation problems.
9. This event will feature two of the Japanese teams which have done well in U.S. in the past several years. The Hiroyuki Genta/Kazumasa Takata Subaru Impreza Open class car, which finished second here last year behind Paul Choiniere, was also second by only a bit to the David Summerbell/Chris Griffin Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV earlier this year at Rim of the World in California. Tony Takaori, who has also finished second overall twice in U.S. PRO rallies (here and in Maine in 1994) will be here with co-driver Ken Cassidy in the Japanese-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III.