This past weekend the New England Region of the Sports Car Club of America held a combined rally , the Big Lap 19 and the Car Store Rally in Norwich, Vermont. By far the most interesting entry was the team of Dave Talbot/John Buffum. Fifty-one years ago, in 1964, Dave Talbot asked his friend John Buffum if he wanted to enter a car rally with him. John Buffum responded to Dave by saying: “What’s a rally?” John ultimately agreed and entered his first rally as the navigator while Dave drove. For that first rally Dave borrowed a white MGA.
John Buffum And Dave Talbot Pose With A 1959 MGA
At Saturday’s rally one other competitor showed up to compete with a white 1959 MGA! What serendipity! As a result, John and Dave were able to pose with a white MGA at a car rally 51 years later!
Dave and John rallied together for a year or so then went their separate ways. By this time John was truly bit by the rally bug and went on to win the U.S. National PRO Rally Championship eleven times, become a nine time winner of the U.S./Canada North American Rally Cup Championship, break the record at Pikes Peak, win a European Rally Championship event, and in his first rally in Europe, the 1969 Monte Carlo rally, as a young unknown US soldier on an extended weekend pass drive his own Porsche to a 12th place finish which, I believe, is still the highest finish ever for an American in this event. He also has two second-place finishes and a third-place finish in the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.
While John was doing all of this rallying, Dave Talbot settled down to a comfortable non-rally linked life living and working on scenic Cape Cod.
On Friday night before last weekend’s rally, Gary Hamilton and I had the opportunity to have dinner with Dave Talbot and John Buffum in Vermont. Many rally stories were told. It was very enjoyable.
Dave Talbot and John Buffum Won Class A and First Overall In The Big Lap 19 Rally At The Car Store In Norwich, Vermont
In a story-book finish Dave Talbot and John Buffum went on to win this weekend’s rally – 51 years after their first rally together! The photo above shows rallymaster, Scott Beliveau, presenting Dave and John with their trophies.
In keeping with the theme of rallying 50 years ago, John Buffum brought along some information related to some rallies that he and Dave competed in during 1965. John was generous in loaning to me some information on the 1965 Rip Van Winkle National Rally. This was the first “big” rally that Dave and John said that they competed in.
1965 Rip Van Winkle National Rally Route Instructions Cover Sheet
As a person interested in rally history, it is interesting to look at the Route Instructions from that rally. I have included below a scanned copy of the first page from the Route Instructions from the first day of the three-day 1965 Rip Van Winkle National Rally.
Sample Page From Rip Van Winkle National Rally Route Instructions
I also have the Entry List from that rally as well. I have included it in this post as I was wondering who else who competed in this rally 50 years ago is still active in rallying. If anyone knows of any of these competitors who are still active, then please share this post with them, as I’m sure that it will bring back memories.
Page 1 Of The Entry List
Page 2 of the Entry List shown below, has a cut out at Car 27. This car was Dave Talbot/John Buffum. John can’t remember why he cut their name out sometime in the past.
Page 2 Of The Entry List
Page 3 Of The Entry List
As I knew that John Buffum was going to be at the rally, I did something that had been on my to-do list for sometime. I brought along my copy of Tom Grimshaw’s book about John and I got John to autograph it.
I hope that is inspiring to young rallyists that such a successful rallying career can begin at a small humble local rally and to see that it is an activity that can still be done well 51 years later. In addition, it is great that two guys can have a rallying related friendship that can last at least 51 years. It was a great day.