|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||February 22 1982|
ALPINE, Texas -- In one of the most confusing endings to an SECA PRO Rally ever, New Zealander Rod Millen and his partner R. Dale Kraushear of Tigard, Oregon, drove their factory backed Mazda RX-7 to a two-minute win at the Big Bend Bash here in the southwest Texas desert. Second went to Jon Woodner of Washington, D.C. and Jerry Hinkle in their Datsun 510. Woodner led the event briefly near the midway point until officials threw out one of the stages that had been overwhelmed with water during the rally. Since Woodner had won that stage, he lost his advantage and dropped to third. He then worked his way back up to second.
The plight of Bruno Kreibich and Rich Schneider was even more disappointing. In what had to be the best drive of Kreibich's career, he put his Porsche Carrera into first place at the end of the 11th stage and held on for the best score. However, demon water had struck again as stage 11 had proven to be completely impassible and all of the cars got stuck. It was only after several had gathered that there was enough manpower to start freeing them. It just happened that Kreibich was the first one freed, and after helping several other drivers, he went on to finish. Unfortunately, this stage, too, was later thrown out.
Al Schmit was originally listed as the second place finisher with Bill Todd in their Volkswagen Beetle 1600 making the provisional results a sweep for Volkswagen of America. However, when stage 11 got thrown, Schinit dropped to 6th.
Fourth went to Eric Ford and Mark Long in their Porsche-powered Kelmark GT, a fiber-glass-covered VW chassis. It was the finest drive that this team has ever turned in and they did it in spite of several problems. Fifth were Texans John and Liz Witt in their 28OZX Datsun and was their best finish ever at a National PRO Rally.
Gene Henderson and Jim Kloosterman took Production Class in their AMC Eagle SX/4, but even that car's four-wheel-drive couldn't save it from trouble in the deep water. They got stuck in the middle of a water-filled wash on stage four and had to be pushed and pulled out. When Gary and Carolyn Eaton came upon the wash, they tried to get their Peugeot 505 Turbodiesel around and also got stuck. Lots of manpower finally got the Henderson AMC moving and some other cars could then get through. It was to take the rest of the night to free the Peugeot, however. While Eaton was running, the car ran consistently in the top five.
Peugeot's hard luck wasn't over there. The 504 V-6 Coupe of John Woolf and Grant Whittaker jumped into a lead early on and had stretched it to several minutes near the midway point of the rally. This is the same car which won the rally in 1981. This time, how-ever, it lost its oil pressure on the 7th stage and had to be retired while leading.
Production Class was noted for its lack of finishers at the Bash this year. In fact, behind Henderson (and just behind, too) were the only otner Production Class finishers, Tom French and Dave Fremder in a Saab 99. The car ran half the rally with a hole in the transmission "big enough to put your fist in" and was still running strong at the end aided by regular transfussions of lubricant.
The city of Alpine really got behind the rally this year lending tropies, PR and money to the effort. Motorsport legend Carroll Shelby was on hand as the Grand Marshal of the pre-rally parade and presented MilIen and Kraushaar with the new Shelby Cup, a perpetual trophy for the winner of the rally. Most everyone hopes that next year the desert will stay dry--dust is easier handle than flash floods.
EVENT: Big Bend Bash EVENT CONDUCTED BY: Texas Region SCCA in LOCATION: Alpine, Texas cooperation with Dallas Sports Car Club DATE: February 20-21, 1982 LENGTH: 275 miles, 12 stages, 98 stage miles ENTRANTS: 33; FINISHERS: 12 WEATHER: Cool, cloudy with intermittent rain TERRAIN: Desert, rolling hills FIN. CHAMP. MFG. POS. DRIVER/CO-DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR SCORE POINTS POINTS 1. Rod Millen, Costa Mesa, CA Mazda RX-7 85.96 20 20 R. Dale Kruashaar, Tigard, OR 20 2. Jon Woodner, Washington, D.C. Datsun 510 87.70 15 15 Jerry Hinkle, Columbia, MD 15 3. Bruno Kreibich, Ridgewood, NY Porsche Carrera 90.59 12 12 Rich Schneider, Forest Hills, NY 12 4. Eric Ford, Columbus, OH Kelmark GT 95.83 10 10 Mark Long, Richardson, TX 10 5. John Witt, Mesquite, TX Datsun 2802X 95.24 8 Liz Witt, Mesquite, TX 8 6. Al Schmit, Ft. Lee, NJ Volkswagen 101.96 6 6 Bill Todd, Nashau, NJ Beetle 1600 6 7.(lP) Gene Henderson, Pinckney, MI AMC SX/4 102.52 4 Jim Kloosterman, Ypsilanti, MI 4 8.(2P) Tom French, Irving, TX Saab 99 106.52 3 Dave Fremder, Rowlett, TX 3 9. Ken Stewart, Grove, OK IH Scout 109.44 2 Donald Hart, Jay, OK 2 10. Clint Heuring, Long Beach, CA Dodge Colt 119.38 1 Jeff Palmer, Arlington, TX 1 PRODUCTION CLASS WINNERS 1. Gene Henderson, Piockney, MI AME SX/4 102.52 20 20 Jim Klnosterman, Ypsilanti, MI 20 2. Tom French, Irvine, TX Saab 99 105.62 15 15 Dave Frender, Rowlett, TX 15 UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ONE EVENT DRIVER (Current Car) PRODUCTION DRIVER (Current Car) 1. Rod Millen, Mazda 20 1. Gene Henderson, AMC 20 2. Jon woodner, Datsun 15 2. Tom French, Saab 15 3. Bruno Kreibich, Porsche 12 4. Eric Ford, Kelmark 10 5. John Witt, Datsun 8 CO-DRIVER PRODUCTION CO-DRIVER 1. R. Dale Kraushaar 20 1. Jim Kloosterman 20 2. Jerry Hinkle 15 2. Dave Freader 15 3. Rich Schneider 12 4. Mark Long 10 5. Liz Witt 8 MANUFACTURER PRODUCTION MANUFACTURER 1. Mazda 20 1. AMC 20 2. Datsun 15 2. Saab 15 3. Porsche 12 4. Kelmark 10 5. Volkswagen 6