Press Release

Contact: Michel Poirier-Defoy
Tel: (450) 491-2480
Date: May 24, 1999

presented by

EVENT:Rally Bighorn
LOCATION:Hinton/Edson, Alberta
STATUS: Third event in 1999May 22-23
STATS: 19 special stages185 Km of speed sections
TOTAL RALLY DISTANCE: 585 KmOne day event

1999 Standings: Frank Sprongl, 60 points; Sylvain Vincent, 42; Tom McGeer, 25; Yves Barbe, 20; Éric Tremblay, 14; Jean-Sébastien Besner, 12; Jon Nichols, Jeff Smith, 10

Class Leaders: Open: Sprongl; Production GT: Vincent; Group 2: Hammer; Prod. Sport: Mendham, Lévesque; Prod. 1750: Rosenshein, Krawczyk

Leading Marques: Open: Audi; Group 2: Suzuki; Production GT: Eagle; Prod. Sport: Toyota, Nissan; Prod. 1750: Suzuki, Subaru

Feb. 12 - 13Rallye de QuebecQuebec City, QCFrank/Dan Sprongl
Feb. 26 - 28Rally Perce NeigePembroke, ONFrank/Dan Sprongl
May 22 - 23Bighorn RallyHinton, ABFrank/Dan Sprongl
May 28 - 29Rocky Mountain RallyCalgary, AB
July 2 - 3Rallye Baie des ChaleursNew Richmond, QC
Sept. 10 - 12Rally of the VoyageursParry Sound, ON
Oct. 29 - 31Rallye Auto CharlevoixPointe-au-Pic, QC
Nov. 20 - 21Rally of the Tall PinesBancroft, ON

NEXT RELEASE: Wednesday, May 26
Rocky Mountain Rally


Sprongls, McGeers, Take Top Two Spots at Bighorn Rally

By the closing stage at Bighorn in Hinton, Alberta, the Subaru Canadian Rally Championship featured a traditional Sprongl brothers first place finish, with Tom and Trish McGeer in second place. But it wasn’t without its battles.

In fact, until the McGeer’s Subaru Impreza WRX suffered from a seized brake calliper on the fifth stage, both teams were consistently within seconds of each other. «We were having a good battle with Frank,» said Trish McGeer, «but the right front calliper seized on us, we lost quite a bit of time, and couldn’t make it up after that.» The Sprongls and the McGeers, both averaging speed of 120 kph exchanged best times stage after stage. «I think after the first four stages we were only ten seconds apart, so it was quite tight,» Frank Sprongl said.

Despite the problem, the McGeers completed the fifth stage, force the wheel free. The short service time however, meant the McGeers’ crew was forced to pinch off a brake line and send the car out for the next four stages with brakes on three wheels only. The Sprongls were not free of difficulties, either. Their Audi had power steering problems right from the rally start. «We ran 90 percent of the rally without power steering » said Frank Sprongl.

Good outings for local crews
After Jean-Marc Alcaraz who lost a wheel on first stage and the Latreille team with a faulty transmission, local teams took over and performed really well, with Jeff Smith finishing 4th, a shy 22 seconds in front of Greg Olsen, another minute ahead of John and Clark Paynter of Halifax.

Muddy roads and large waterholes
Warm and sunny weather after several days of rain meant road conditions were rough, with the occasional mud and water holes thrown in for good measure. Just ask rally driver Eric Tremblay. His Subaru 2.5RS sucked water in as he passed through a large mud pit. Water in the engine meant the car barely made it past the end of the stage. Luckily, the service area was close-by; he made repairs and continued. Towards the end of the rally, it was a clear Sprongl win, with the McGeers in second place, and Sylvain Vincent with co-driver Dominique Cyr a close third. Vincent, running the event on Yokohama tires, finished first in his class (GT), and still holds on to second place in the overall national standings.

The Subaru Canadian Rally Championship is presented eight times in 1999, between February and November. It is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of RallySport and supported by Subaru Canada and Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. Additional information is available from the CARS website at

CARS (905) 640 6444
Stephan Mostad
Michel Poirier-Defoy (450) 491 2480


presented by

22 - 23 May 1999

1 Frank / Dan Sprongl Audi Quattro S2 Mississauga, ON Open 88:30
2 Tom / Trish McGeer Subaru WRX Georgetown, ON Open 92:56
3 Sylvain Vincent/D. Cyr Eagle Talon La Plaine, QC GT 95:39
4 Jeff Smith / Bob Burton Subaru RX Beaumont, Alta GT 103:57
5 Greg / Cathy Olsen Volks Gti Brooks, Alta GR 2 104:19
6 John / Clark Paynter Subaru Legacy Sackville, NS GT 105:26
7 Eric Tremblay/ J.F. Guité Subaru RS Quebec, QC GT 110:08
8 Lee Shadbolt / Claire Chizma Subaru Impreza Tigard, Oregon GT 110:17
9 Dave Sharp / Dwight Heck Maxda RX 7 Edmonton, Alta GR 2 111:56
10 Paul Westwick / A. Dobric Toyota Celica Vancouver, BC GT 119:07

The high points:
Excellent performances by the western teams
Sprongl brothers win their third rally in a row
Sylvain Vincent holds on to second place in the championship

The low points:
Because of heavy rain, roads were tougher than usual
Jean-Marc Alcaraz lost a wheel while driving at speed in a stage
Barry and Sandra Latreille’ Talon suffered a faulty transmission

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