|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
March 23, 2000
|Contact: Kendall Russell, Organizer|
Cleveland, TN -- Hi Ya'll! The organizing committee for the Cherokee Trails ClubRally are a'gitten some of these here dirt roads in the Cherokee National Forest ready for some racers to test their mettle on. Teams from all over these here parts and clear north of the Mason-Dixon will be comin' to Cleveland, Tennessee for the first Cherokee Trails ClubRally sanctioned by the Chattanooga Region of The Sports Car Club of America.
Over the last two weeks, the weather has been a little hard on the forest roads. On Monday evening, March 20th, high winds with gusts up to 70mph blew many tress down on roads being used on the rally course. The week before, heavy rains created washouts and exposed rocks on several of the roads. However, the Ocoee/Hiwassee District of the US Forest Service sprang into action to insure that our rally roads are in good condition and clear. We appreciate their diligent efforts to make this race a success.
The weather in the Cleveland, Tennessee area on race day is expected to be clear with lows in the mid 50's and highs in the low 70's. Earlier in the week light rains were expected on race day but this front is moving north of the Cleveland area resulting in almost perfect race weather.
Twenty-three teams are expected to take the start flag at Cherokee Trails. Most notable among these will be the team of Driver, Doug Shepherd, and Co-Driver, Pete Gladysz. Shepherd has five national class championships to his credit and Gladysz has over 15 years of car preparation and rally experience. Conversely, over one third of the field will be new competitors with 12 registered for the ClubRally licensing seminar.
Seamus Burke, one of the Southeast Division's most competitive drivers in a Group N prepared (Open Class for ClubRally) '96 Subaru Impreza will team up with the 1999 SCCA ProRally National Co-Driver Champion, Charles Bradley, to give Shepherd/Gladysz something to watch for in their mirrors. While Tom Lawless ('90 Eagle Talon) who has been "practicing" in the CARS Series and Bogert/Bogert who are coming off two top ten ClubRally finishes at SnoDrift are not to be discounted as top finishers in Open Class. Also running Open Class is Driver Paul Dunn ('88 Toyota Celica) who has recruited wife, Rebecca, for the right side. Drislane/Geary ('87 Audi Quattro) are making the trip down from NY and newly licensed team of Sarnecki/Hansen ('98 Subaru Impreza) from Illinois in Central Division will be calling Cherokee Trails their first event.
Production GT looks to be a battle between Southeast Division Driver Paul Dubinsky ('91 Eagle Talon) and Northeast Division's Celsus Donnelly ('89 Mirage). A late entry in this class may be Chuck McCrary from Atlanta in one of his many rally cars that have been stored awaiting the return of rally to the Southeast Division.
Southeast Division ClubRally Group 5 champions Mark and Duffy Bowers in their '87 Starion are the competitors to watch as they try to give Group 5 Central Division competitors Villemure/Villemure ('72 VW Beetle), Butts/Rudstrom ('77 Plymouth Arrow GT), Bosek/Zaremba ('92 Eagle Talon TSI), and newly licensed Brownell/ Windsor ('83 Chevy Citation) a lesson on driving southern roads. The lone Northeast Group 5 team of Srisook/Shindle ('81 Mazda RX7) will also be competing.
Of the six teams entered in the Group 2 Class, three are Southeast Division competitors. The father/son team of Richard and Brian Pilczuk ('87 VW GTI) who run the national races with father Richard in the Driver's seat will be changing sides as son Richard takes over the wheel- moving Dad to the right side. Enthusiastic North Carolina racers Matthew Johnson/Eric Adams ('88 VW GTI) were the first competitors to submit their entry for Cherokee Trails. The rally lost two workers and road racers from the Chattanooga Region when they got so excited about ClubRally that they converted their '85 MR2 to a rally car; we are glad to have Randy Bailey and Will Perry competing in Southeastern Division ClubRally!
The VW Golfs of Hamilton/Westhoven and Delcan Hegarty along with a '74 Porsche 914 campaigned by Gilfeather/Cox round out the Group 2 field.
Our lone Production car is no stranger to the national SCCA ProRally series. It is the '95 Dodge Neon of Production Class Driver, Evan Moen. For Cherokee Trails, Evan will be on the right side as Tom Young gets under the wheel.
One of the changes to the route book noted on the official announcement board was the addition of a notation of a Port-O-John located on the transit between stages 2 and 3. (Wonder whose idea that was?)
Cherokee Trails is the first Performance Rally held in the Southeast since the 1993 Chattahoochie race that was thwarted by a blizzard during the month of March.
First car will start from the Ocoee Whitewater Center, USFS at 9:00am to
Kick Some Dirt Southern Style!