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THE HISTORY

Rally in SOUTHERN Ohio

The state of Ohio has hosted American national championship stage rally events on 17 separate occasions, beginning with the establishment of the SCCA Pro Rally Championship in 1973 and ending in 1996. Many of the stages that made up previous Ohio events will return to action in 2017 as the Southern Ohio Forest Rally makes its Rally America debut.

Only six drivers have taken overall victories in Ohio, led by John Buffum and Paul Choiniere with five apiece. The battles between Buffum and three-time event winner Rod Millen defined the Ohio stage rally scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the two drivers finishing 1-2 on five occasions (Buffum came out on top four times).

PREVIOUS SOUTHERN Ohio Event Winners

  • 1973: Scott Harvey/Wayne Zitkus
  • 1974: Jim Walker/Terry Palmer
  • 1975: John Buffum/Vicki Dykema
  • 1977: Ralph Brooks/Dick Messal
  • 1978: Jim Walker/Ginny Reese
  • 1979: Rod Millen/Mark Howard
  • 1981: Rod Millen/Bob Kraushaar
  • 1984: John Buffum/Neil Wilson
  • 1985: John Buffum/Tom Grimshaw
  • 1986: John Buffum/Tom Grimshaw
  • 1987: John Buffum/Tom Grimshaw
  • 1988: Paul Choiniere/John Bellefleur
  • 1989: Rod Millen/Tony Sircombe
  • 1990: Paul Choiniere/Scott Weinheimer
  • 1994: Paul Choiniere/John Buffum
  • 1995: Paul Choiniere/Jeff Becker
  • 1996: Paul Choiniere/John Buffum
  • 2017: Arkadiusz Gruszka/Lukasz Wronski
The roads in the Ohio forest, dating back to the 1980s, were some of the best in America. Smooth and twisty, they were awesome for a driver!
— John Buffum

RALLY LEGENDS

John Buffum

The most successful American stage rally driver of all-time, with 11 national championships and 117 event victories to his name, Buffum has won in Ohio as both a driver and navigator. Since hanging up his driving gloves, he has served as both a team owner and mentor to many of the sport’s biggest stars, including Travis Pastrana.

Rod Millen

One of the most accomplished international racing drivers in the world, Millen’s triumphs range from multiple SCCA Pro Rally titles, to setting records at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, to victories in off-road trucks, rally raid, and even the 24 Hours of Daytona. Millen’s sons Rhys and Ryan have followed in his footsteps.

Paul Choiniere

The dominant figure in American stage rally at the end of the last millennium, Choiniere won eight SCCA Pro Rally championships from 1990 to 2000. After taking his first win in the state in 1988, he won the last four major stage rallies to take place in Ohio while driving for Audi (1990, 1994) and Hyundai (1995, 1996).

Images on this page provided by rally historian R.W. Graves and Tim Shannon. Click their names for the broad history of rally in southern Ohio.