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 returned to action in 2017 as the Southern Ohio Forest Rally made its Rally America debut. 2018 brings back even more of the historical roads of Ohio Rally's by including Tar Hollow State Park. For 2019 the Southern Ohio Forest Rally is now under the sanctioning of the American Rally Association, a USAC Racing entity. The SOFR crew and Ohio Forestry Department has worked together to add Shawnee State forest. We’ve also worked with the City of Chillicothe to bring back a teaser of the the infamous City Park stage in downtown Chillicothe's Yoctangee Park.
Only seven 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
2018: Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak
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.
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.
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).