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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone!

As I mentioned in my previous threads, I recently received quite a few WRC magazines from Poland. In one of them, there's an interesting biography of Markku Alen. It briefly explains the 86 Olympus when he declared himself World Champion and then lost it due to the San Remo decision being over turned.

How many of You were at the Olympus that year? Would it be possible for anyone to recount Alen's battle on the stages with Kankunnen? What was it like to see the Group B cars? etc. etc.

What about following years?

I'm also looking to bring back some WRC Olympus nostalgia.

Simon
 

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Well, I was at the 1986 Olympus servicing for John Vanlandingham in his SAAB 96. My Opel Ascona was entered in the rally as well, but that was about a year before I owned it.

The parc expose and start ramp were inside the Tacoma Dome that year. This was back in the days of open service. The service crews were having a rally of their own just trying to get from stage to stage on time. Servicing is easy (and safer) these days with centralized service. Back then you had to plan out your service route each morning and figure out how to get from point A to point B on time. This usually involved a lot of speeding.
Lancia and Peugeot each brought one rally car but they rented something like 10 or 20 Ryder box vans each for servicing one car. Five trucks were used just for the tires they brought for one car. Toyota had 3 Celica Turbos for Bjorn Waldegaard, Lars Erik Torph, and Steve Millen. I had heard that they brought something like 1500 rally tires for the three cars.

Markku Alen and Juha Kankunnen walked away from everyone, of course. John Buffum finished 3rd overall, ten minutes behind them in the ex-Michele Mouton Audi Quattro. Markku won with Juha about a minute behind. The difference was time lost for Juha due to changing a bad battery at the ORV park.

More later when I remember it.
 

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I've got a few photos from 1986 at http://www.prorallypix.com/olympus/olympus2.html

In 86 I was working the overnight shift in the Olympus press room, helping people with deadlines in places like Helsinki and Tokyo use the telex (that's a pre-internet attempt at data communications).

The thing I remember most about the Bees is the way they accelerated out of the corners. Everytime Alen and Kankkunen got the wheels straight they were just gone. Picture F1 acceleration on gravel and you'll get the idea.

edited to add:
Dave nailed it on the service. I came off a foggy stage, heading down 101 to the next spectator spot only to encounter the Peugeot service crew rebuilding the suspension on the side of the road. They had one guy with a fireproof suit, his job was to lay on the turbo so people could work over him without getting burned. This is going on about four feet from a two lane road with 60 mph traffic. Talk about speeding through a service area!

Jim Culp
 

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I came from Edmonton, Alberta to work with John and Claudia and all those crazy (but nice)people; believe it was 85, 86, and 87...missed the last one. The one that ran in December (was it 86?) was during the hunting season. The hunters in the hills were very angry (really pissed off) that ALL the helicopters kept scaring all the game away. I went out to get 'notes' from all the drivers (with Judy Halliday) and report them back to HQ for (forget her first name) Grass. It was truly a 'life shaping' experience. More tales as I remember them. Thanks.
 

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1986 we sat out, actually crewed for Mark and Casey Qvale. Amazed at the performance of the little Audis.

1987... Best memory was Juha Kankunnen towing in his recce car to my shop...BIG hole in oil pan, I commented the speed was supposed to be 30 mph...he winked and said ( with that great accent ) 'rreally big rrocks'..very gracious and classy guy.. My parts from Europe didn't show up for my car, lasted about 3 stages before suspension and electrical gave out. I remember coming upon Jon Woodner's Peugot, it was spread out for a couple hundred feet, seemed like 2 cars were wrecked instead of one.

1988 was our year, Ray Damitio co-drove. I remember Ray literally hanging out the passenger window screaming at traffic coming out of Olympia. We were short on transit time, made the stage start in the ditch past a dozen cars parked in the middle of the road ( morons ;) ) and the start guy said " what's your hurry, you got 14 seconds". We finished 6 or 7th in GrpA and won $700 from Toyota.

Gene McCullough
Olympus Chief Scrutineer
 

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>1986 we sat out, actually crewed for Mark and Casey Qvale.
>Amazed at the performance of the little Audis.
>
>1987... Best memory was Juha Kankunnen towing in his recce car
>to my shop...BIG hole in oil pan, I commented the speed was
>supposed to be 30 mph...he winked and said ( with that great
>accent ) 'rreally big rrocks'..very gracious and classy guy..
>My parts from Europe didn't show up for my car, lasted about 3
>stages before suspension and electrical gave out. I remember
>coming upon Jon Woodner's Peugot, it was spread out for a
>couple hundred feet, seemed like 2 cars were wrecked instead
>of one.
>>Gene McCullough
>Olympus Chief Scrutineer

Gene, you drove 1986 Olympus in that Fiesta, according to my memory and the Offical Results sitting right here, sent thanks to another Ford Fiesta temporary refugee Dick Fuhrman.
First stage was up in Hill Top in the housing developement that never was in the dak with curbs and wet asphalt.
Alen won it in 1:56, Kankkunen in 2:02,
amogst us mere mortals Jim Wright did it in 3.0, Grant Whiting and Ray Dimitio in a Topi Hynanen TRS Starlet was 3.04,
I was 3.13 in the same Saab I still have but with motor fit for a street car, you did it in 3.24
and Dick was 3.42 in his Fiesta.

It was stage 2 Summit Lake that Woodner scattered so much platic that I too thought two cars had met and it was a catastrophe.
Juha won the 4.14 miler in 3:57
Markku 4:05
Buffum 4.12
Grant 26th at 5:32
Jimmy Wright at 5:35
Me 36th at 6.12
Furhman at 6:35
You at 7:13

Your "brand new rebuilt" alternator was dead and lighting was dying and I believe you dropped out after this stage.

In the end it was on the road
Alen 5h 28m 1o sec
Kankunnen 5h 28m 36 sec but 1 minute total road points for Juha.
Buffum 5h 50m 24 , 22m 14 second down.
Not too bad

We broke on stage 19 after several stoppages after a fill up in Shelton, brand new filter plugged badly.

I'll post some fun stuff later


Oh Gene remember, 1986 Olympus was the last GpB event in history, no Peugeot till the late 90s in WRC.

And Woodner was dead before long, spring I think, playing with light aircraft.

Looking at that start list I can't help of thinking of several others gone:
Lars Eril Torph, nice guy who liked a beer, run over and killed by Miki Biasion at Monte carlo a few years later,
Tom Grimshaw co diving for a very young Paul Choiniere,
Possum Bourne gone too.

Whew I'm amazed I'm still here.






John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

janvanvurpa (at) f4 (dot) ca

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi John!

Thanks for the post. Just curious on something. If I remember correctly (from what my Dad told me, because I was just a kid then), it wasn't Biasion who ran over Torph, but Alex Fiorio.

If I'm wrong, my apologies.

Simon
 

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John...no I don't remember, that's the problem. Used to be some short term stuff, now the long term is failing. Some stuff is still there, some gone.:( The last year I ran with Damitio in the 510 was '87 or '88....I can't remember, Ray thinks it was '88. Do you have results from either of those?? Thanks, Gene
 

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>Hi John!
>
>Thanks for the post. Just curious on something. If I
>remember correctly (from what my Dad told me, because I was
>just a kid then), it wasn't Biasion who ran over Torph, but
>Alex Fiorio.
>
>If I'm wrong, my apologies.
>

Who knows it was a long time ago and so horrible to think of that of all the tens of thousands of people and hundreds of km of route that one guy of the same generation of new guys would be run over by another.

I think you're right.
>Simon






John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

janvanvurpa (at) f4 (dot) ca

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It may sound a little weird }( , but this allows me to live vicariously through that ! I've always dreamed of seeing a WRC event. As of yet, it has not happened. But maybe the US is on course for something, given the size of the car market here. WOW, that would be awesone!!

Thanks again,
Simon
 

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Some of the stages near Raymond had black rubber marks in and out of the corners on the hardpack. Soft Michelins and big horsepower, pretty strange to see. I think the fastest drivers were actually the Lancia service crews in the Toyota vans...yeehaw those guys were maniacs !
 

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>
>We broke on stage 19 after several stoppages after a fill up
>in Shelton, brand new filter plugged badly.
>

John, I seem to remember the ring gear bolts falling out of the diff and the tranny locking up. I think it was the John's River Lodge stage or somewhere out there. I remember waiting for hours out in the woods with the car while you went back to town to find a tow truck.

While waiting out there these foreigners in a service truck pull up and ask us some questions in some unintelligible language. Turns out they were New Zealanders, just a really heavy accent! They were Neil Allport's crew looking for their skidplate! There's another on gone, BTW, Rodger Freeth, his codriver.
 

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>John...no I don't remember, that's the problem. Used to be
>some short term stuff, now the long term is failing. Some
>stuff is still there, some gone.:( The last year I ran with
>Damitio in the 510 was '87 or '88....I can't remember, Ray
>thinks it was '88. Do you have results from either of those??
>Thanks, Gene


All of us old guys are losing our memories. I'm a little younger than the rest of you so I guess I remember more.;-)

Gene, you ran the 510 in 1987. I have pictures. I was a worker that year.

Ray codrove for Grant in the Starlet in '86 and again in '88 where they were up to 7th overall until the rear axle gave out.
 

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>I was at the 86 or 87 event cheering on my dad! I think I was
>like 11 at the time. The cool thing is I have signed "team"
>promotional cards (post cards) from each of the top drivers!
>
>Scott
>www.rmtcontracting.com/rsport

Scott, I remember talking to your dad in the parking lot of the Tacoma Sheraton. I think it was '87 or '88. I don't remember you there, you little punk!:p J/K...
 

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>How many of You were at the Olympus that year? Would it be
>possible for anyone to recount Alen's battle on the stages
>with Kankunnen? What was it like to see the Group B cars? etc.
>etc.

I have hundreds of slides from those events. I keep hoping to find time to scan them and make a gallery. It was early in my rally career, but I still managed to get some decent shots of neat cars and some of our friends who got to compete in those awesome events.

One of my favorite stories. At the '86 Olympus I was standing right next to Martin Holmes when he took the picture that was on the cover of the AutoSport issue which covered the event (Alen's Delta S4). This, of course, being just after I, as an over-exuberant marshal, asked him to move (not realizing who it was).

Ben
 

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Martin Holmes

At one of the early Nevada rallies, Martin was standing IN the apex, shooting cars. I was navigating for Guy at the time and I remember looking right into Martin's lens. Afterward I asked him if he did that for all cars. He looked at me like I was nuts, and said something to the effect of - "of course not, only for about the first 10 cars, after that you can't predict what line they are going to take".

>One of my favorite stories. At the '86 Olympus I was standing
>right next to Martin Holmes when he took the picture that was
>on the cover of the AutoSport issue which covered the event
>(Alen's Delta S4). This, of course, being just after I, as an
>over-exuberant marshal, asked him to move (not realizing who
>it was).

press on,
 
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