Press Release

May 5, 2003
  Contact: Paul Eklund

Primitive Survives Rim of the World! 3rd in Club Class both days

Palmdale, CALIFORNIA - About 40 Club Class cars and 40 Pro Rally Cars arrived sunny Palmdale, California on Friday May 2nd. But the sun breaks soon turned gray as a massive storm system settled over central California bringing inches of rain, flash floods, and general havoc. Teams looked to the darkening skies as ominous flashes of lightning bouncing off the hills they knew that they were heading for. Some contemplated tire choice, others their lights (or lack of fog lights), but team Primitive was thinking about all those poor course workers who were standing in whipping winds, driving rain, and even hail just to let us play.

The rally cars left the beautiful grounds of the Pelona Vista Park promptly at 7pm towards the wonderful Magic Mountain tarmac stage. Indeed it was raining and the mountain enveloped by cloud cover when the rally began. The grip was still very good and the Primitive Team had a great run on the 90% tarmac. Unfortunately, on the 10% dirt near the end, Paul Eklund was looking for a left hand turn when the road went right and the lizard-shod 2002 WRX went into the dirt and rock berm on the left side of the road. The impact was gentle, but enough to flatten the left front tire. They finished out on the flat. Co-driver Jeff Price was begining to feel a bit "green-in-the-gills" with the constant turns, fog pressing in, and looking down into the route book. The team was still about 11th overall despite the flat. It turns out that dozens of co-drivers got motion sickness despite pills, bands, ginger...

After the tire change and short transit to Stage 2, the team pressed on charging hard into the dirt and rock. Despite the rain, the stage was not yet muddy, but many of the infamous "rockadillos" began to appear in the road. These are LARGE rocks (shoe box size and larger) that begin to emerge from the apexes of corners and from below as the first cars disturb them from their resting place deep within mother earth.

Many teams sport large creases in skid plates, broken shocks, bent wheels and yes, flat tires from these critters. For Primitive, it was unfortunately the latter that affected them early in the stage. After crashing hard through some rocky areas, a rockadillo tore a hole through a right front tire flattening it instantly. The tire thankfully held onto the rim, but steering was greatly impeded. Doug Havir and his spanky yellow Prodrive WRX caught the pair by the end of the stage.

Bummer to loose a bunch of time. Bigger bummer not to have brought 2 spares. After exiting the finish control, the Primitive team spied a blue WRX amongst the control crew cars. Team captain Eklund shouted to the dark hillsides, "whose WRX is this! We need to borrow your mini spare!" After some confusion, a young gent named Josh came forward and said "it's mine." Primitive quickly moved a rear tire to the front and then mounted the "donut" onto the rear of the car. Thanking Josh and roaring off into the night to try to make up time on the toughest transit, Primitive barely made it to the start of Stage 3 on time.

Needless to say, the handling of the WRX was not quite the same with a mini spare, but Primitive finished the stage with a decent time (despite one 360 degree spin and stopping to make sure that Doug Shepard was OK in his rolled Neon--no triangles or OK showing). Stage 4 was the great Gleason Mountain hillclimb, and the Primitive pair set a top 10 time (with a fresh tire from service). The stage is mostly paved, but HEAVY FOG made it a matter of who had proper lighting and the biggest commitment to the turns. The last stage of the night was a re-run of Stage 3, this time slick with accumulated mud.

Stages 4 and 5 ended up being thrown for the ClubRally due to an ambulance coming off the mountian with a person (course worker?) suffering from hypothermia leading to chest pain and fear of heart attack. It's not all clear exactly what happened yet. In the end, Primitive was 3rd overall in the ClubRally, just a bit behind Ralph Kosmides in his Impreza. Leon Styles was further ahead, enjoying a great run in his EVO (and eventually finishing 4th OVERALL in the ProRally!!!!).

Day 2 started with rain delay as course workers determined whether the stages were even passable. The answer in general was "no." Most stages could not even be reached, let alone raced. Paramedic locations were adjusted and it was determined that only Del Sur and Leona could be reached and raced safely.

The run up Del Sur was a muddy mess. The Primitive Racing Team took it easy, maybe just a bit too easy. It was not known at that point that the rally was already very near the finish, so there would not be enough miles to relax even a moment. The team posted a 16:26 up, and then pushed hard down posting a good 16:29 on the way down. Going down was hair raising, but somehow more fun that going up!

Leona is a terrific stage, and even in the fog, and light rain it held up well. Primitive was catching up to Kosmides on the sandy stage, but after the Spectator Area, Eklund's IQ dropped near zero and he put the car off the road onto a large sand berm. Co-driver Price reminded him to be gentle engaging reverse and after some coaxing, the car slowing pulled itself off the embankment. The team continued, but had lost precious time. And when it was announced in service that the rally was oficially finished, that time became critical, dropping the team from a solid 2nd into 3rd place. Still, not a bad finish to a wild rally. Leon Styles had indeed turned up the wick and finished minutes ahead of all other ClubRally competitors.

Adding up the times, Primitive would have still finished 8th or 9th in the overall ProRally had they chosen to enter the Pro. The team retains its first place standing in the new Western States Rally Championship. The next WSRC event is Dryad/Shitepoke in Shelton, Washington on June 7th-8th.

Due to the rains and visibility, Rim was actually much easier on cars this year, with fewer DNF's and much less car damage. Maybe next year. Maybe next year.

The rally ended back at the Pelona Vista Park, where Nicky Grist had been wandering around giving autographs, the Pirelli girls were displaying Lycra, and many vendors had set up booths to display their wares. Most were Subaru related as Subaru Western Region had done a lot to give the rally a professional look and provide the amenities to attract a lot of fans. And despite the "iffy" weather, the field was packed with fans and vendors (like reported heavy foot traffic and good business as people took advantage of "at-the-show" specials.

Forgive any typos in the above and lack of info about all the other teams, but I am sure that info like David Higgins winning overall in the Mitsubishi is well covered by SCCA...

More info and leg scores available at:

Paul Eklund

Primitive Enterprises, Inc
8425 SW Ashford St
Tigard, OR 97224-7501 USA
(503) 624-2139

# # #

Press Release Index
Teams Index
RRN Index