FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2001
Contact: Tamara Shadbolt
Tel: (503) 624-6366
Tigard, Oregon-- The Hairpin Racing Team, consisting of driver Lee Shadbolt and co-driver Bob Sherman, finished 19th in the Oregon Trail ProRally despite unusual weather conditions and an extremely strong field of competitors.
Bob Sherman, fully recovered from shoulder surgery, had his hands full from the start of the event. Cold weather saw hail and sleet on Friday with no improvement in sight for the weekend. The official route book, consisting of artistic looking "alpine" instructions and exacting mileage indicators, showed the gravel stages to be long and twisty with frequent elevation changes. Melting snow at higher elevations promised standing mud or water. The event officials expressed concern about passage of certain stages.
The start of the rally was at the famous Tillamook Blimp Hangar, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. Stage one was set for a 1.45 mile course near the Hangar on a combination of mud, gravel, grass, and tarmac. Driver Lee Shadbolt had some difficulty finding the course, but managed to post a respectable time. The teams then transited to forest stages outside of Tillamook and along the Nehalem River. It is here that trouble started when a top rally team found themselves upside down and close to the river. The rally car required immediate removal and the rest of the competitors were diverted to the next stage. Neither member of that team was injured in the incident.
Stage four got interesting for the Hairpin Racing Team when their Impreza spun on a very narrow section of road. Over 40 seconds were lost as Shadbolt backed the car out of a ditch and then spun it around to face the correct direction on the stage. Things became even more challenging by stage eight as it became dark and blinding snow began to fall. This condition was isolated to just one region and by stage nine the skies were actually clear.
Day two of the rally began at higher elevations where snow had accumulated during the night. The downhill section of stage ten was extremely slippery with many rally cars sliding dangerously close to the edge of the road. Sharp drop offs were marked as "exposure". The Hairpin Team had to intentionally steer into a stump to avoid experiencing one of the exposures on a particularly tricky part of the stage. The damage was isolated to sheet metal and the team finished the stage with newfound caution. This stage was run twice and was equally challenging on the second time through despite melting snow.
The final stage was back at the Blimp Hangar where the Hairpin Racing Team managed a comparable time to their first run on the 1.45 mile stage. In the end, they finished 19th overall and 12th in the competitive OPEN class. Overall winners of the event were Mark Lovell and Steve Turvey in a Prodrive prepared Subaru Impreza WRX followed by Richard Tuthill and John Bennie in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV. Seamus Burke, despite heavy damage from a roll over, finished third in another Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IV.
The next round of the SCCA ProRally Championship is the Rim of the World ProRally in Palmdale, California. This event, scheduled for May 4-5, is perhaps the most grueling event of the series and certainly the most challenging.
Watch for Hairpin Racing Team updates on their website at www.geocities.com/hairpin35
For more information on Hairpin Racing, please contact Tamara Shadbolt at (503) 624-6366.