The Wild West PRO Rally, sponsored by the Little Creek Casino, started on April 17th, 1998. This PRO Rally was sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Series Championship is sponsored by Michelin. The Hairpin Racing Team from Tigard, Oregon was ready for the 6:00 pm start. The rally teams, consisting of a driver and navigator, competed on timed stages at speed on the gravel and dirt roads outside of Shelton, Washington. It is not unusual for such events to take place at night where high illumination auxiliary lights are required. The final stage for the first day of this event ended just prior to midnight.
The second day of the Wild West PRO Rally featured a Parc Expose in downtown Shelton. The Parc Expose allowed the public a close-up view of the rally cars. This took place at 8:30 am with the competition resuming at 9:00 am. Spectating guides were available at the Parc Expose on Saturday morning and at the Little Creek Casino. Special spectator stages took place between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm at the Thurston County Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Park. The rally ended at the Little Creek Casino at 6:45 pm with an awards presentation at 9:00 pm.
The Hairpin Racing Team, consisting of driver Lee Shadbolt and navigator Paul Eklund, competed in a 1997 Subaru Impreza Coupe in the Production GT class. This class features vehicles similar to those purchased at a local dealership and enhanced with safety and suspension modifications. This is their second season of competition driving a Subaru.
And what a season it is shaping up to be! After finishing first in class at the Doo Wops III & IV, the team was met at the Wild West event by the 1997 Production GT Champions Steve Gingras and Bill Westrick in their Eagle Talon sponsored by Act II Popcorn. Other Production GT drivers present were Kendall Russell in her V-6 Dodge Shadow and Ken Cassidy in his right-hand drive Mitsubishi Galant VR4. Friday night saw Gingras/Westrick ahead of Shadbolt/Eklund by a mere 8 seconds! On Saturday their lead increased with Gingras/Westrick finishing 10th overall and Shadbolt/Eklund 11th overall. A failed clutch kept the Galant from finishing allowing Russell to claim third place in Production GT.
Rally enthusiasts unable to attend this event were able to follow the action at
the following three web sites via the internet:
The Wild West PRO Rally, the first full national event of the 1998 Michelin / SCCA PRO Rally Championship, is scheduled to be televised on espn2 on May 9th at 6:30 pm Eastern. It is recommended that you check your local listings.
For more information contact Tamara Shadbolt at (503) 624-6366.