Press Release

September 17th, 2000
Contact: Tamara Shadbolt
Tel: (503) 624-6366

Hairpin Racing Team Finishes Wild West ProRally

Portland, Oregon-- The Hairpin Racing Team returned to Portland today after competing in the Wild West ProRally. Held in the forests near Shelton, Washington, the event featured sixteen stages on rock, gravel, and dirt roads. The Hairpin Racing Team, consisting of driver Lee Shadbolt and co-driver Bob Sherman, entered their 1997 Subaru Impreza in the Open class which is populated by the fastest rally cars in North America. The event, sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), was the seventh round of the 2000 ProRally Championship Series.

The Wild West ProRally started with 56 entries. The first six stages took place on Friday night on rough gravel roads. In ProRally events, teams are not allowed to practice the course before the start. Route instructions are issued just prior to the beginning of the event and the team then transits on public roads to the start of the first stage. The forest stages are isolated from public traffic and each is assigned a stage captain who oversees the start and finish procedures of the stage workers. On stage, the driver executes the instructions from the co-driver as quickly as possible and the stage workers record their start and finish times. The rally teams are scored by their accumulative stage times.

From the start of the Wild West ProRally, attrition was high with many teams suffering mechanical failure, crash damage, or both. Despite cars sporting high-powered auxiliary lighting, they still could not avoid all of the road hazards. Sharp rocks tore at the undersides of cars and slashed purpose built rally tires. The Hairpin Racing team's Michelin tires held, despite large chunks being torn from their alloy rims. Rallying is not a wheel-to-wheel sport as cars are released on one or two minute intervals. The Wild West organizers chose one minute intervals for the entire event. Therefore, dust became a factor on certain stages as some competitors came to a complete stop to wait for dust to settle from the cars in front of them. This problem, combined with intermittent light rain, made for a difficult first night.

ProRally events can feature stages between one and eighteen miles in length and the second day of the Wild West rally featured both. The first long stage immediately caught teams off guard as roads permitted speeds exceeding 100 mph. That stage took five cars out of competition due to crash damage and delayed several others who had to extract their cars from ditches, forest, and even log piles. To make the stage more difficult, the teams had to negotiate three railroad crossings and several extremely sharp hairpin corners. The Hairpin Racing Impreza speedometer registered 5 mph on one extremely rough hairpin corner and 120 mph on a long straight! If all of this was not enough, the teams returned to run this fast tricky stage again. Driver Lee Shadbolt was able to improve on his initial run by 23 seconds. However, a tire had to be changed immediately afterwards due to rim damage.

Stages twelve and fifteen took place at the Off Road Recreation (ORV) Park on Hwy 8 near Olympia. On display alongside the Hairpin Racing service area was the 2000 Legacy GT of sponsor SPO Motorsports. The white Legacy, fresh from SYMS in Japan, featured a number of enhancements sure to meet the needs of the most demanding driver. It only seemed appropriate that the short course was also the most demanding stage. From its smooth gravel start to thick dirt course normally used for motocross events, the stage bounced cars and muddied them for the stages to follow. The Hairpin Racing Impreza dug up a sharp rock in the mud requiring yet another wheel replacement before the final stage.

The final stage, which had the longest triple caution section in the event, had a long downhill finish with an even longer downhill exposure on the co-driver side without guardrails. The team was headed for a fantastic run until a rock caused severe damage to the front skidplate, oil pan, and exhaust system. Fortunately, this happened just 0.15 miles from the flying finish. The car drove away from the stage with plumes of smoke pouring from under the hood and exhaust. As specified by the event rules, a service crew cannot assist the team outside of the designated service area. Team Manager Tamara Shadbolt sat within sight of the ailing car as fellow competitors John Tabor and Kevin Poirier hooked up a towrope and towed the car through the final checkpoint.

In the end, Shadbolt and Sherman took the Hairpin Racing Impreza to a satisfying 12th overall and 6th in the competitive Open class. Other Subaru finishes included the fantastic 5th place overall finish of Paul Eklund and Scott Huhn in the Primitive Racing Impreza and the equally impressive 6th place overall finish of PGT competitor Patrick Richard and Ben Bradley in the Rocket Racing Impreza.

With only nine days until the Prescott Forest ProRally, the Hairpin Racing Team began repairs on the car immediately upon return to Portland. For more information contact Tamara Shadbolt at (503) 624-6366 or email

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