Welcome to Round 4 of the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship. The event was held around the Mt Crawford area of South Australia on the weekend of September 10 & 11 2016. This Rally had me making the drive over to SA from Victoria. After seeing some awesome roads and what the drivers were in for, the heavens above had other ideas for everyone and decided to belt down rain, which in turn turned roads into rivers. Great for kayak racing, not so good for rallying in general. So it was decided on safety grounds that some stages were cancelled. These stages were replaced by other stages being repeated to make up for the short fall. So in the end, it was thumbs up and rallying was on the menu for everyone!!!
Saturday morning started with Heat 1 and everyone ready to do battle. The mornings stages were set and the battle was on between Brendan Reeves, Simon Evans and Harry Bates for top honours.
Also in the battle was Molly Taylor, staying smooth and consistent right through the heat within striking distance of anyone should they faulter. It seemed to be an exciting battle developing already in SA. It was shaping up to be a great day’s competition indeed. The action was heating up right into the afternoon, which had then brought dramas into the afternoon stages.
The afternoon stages ended up being postponed due to an incident on stage, involving the car of Harry Bates which ended up having the front right wheel ripped off after colliding with a tree. The car was deemed to be in a dangerous position on the road, so it was then decided to halt the stage so the car could be removed and the stage could then continue. On top of the that the dramas had continued and tipped the battle on its head. The car of Simon Evans hit a Kangaroo on the transport stage! This had ended up damaging the front end of his car. So now going into the night stage the battle was certainly on.
Team mechanics worked frantically late into the night in a desperate attempt to get Harry Bates back on the road.
Nothing beats the unforgettable sound of a classic Audi S1 belting it’s 5-cyl through the forests!
With the night stages running after approx 1 hr delay, the action had certainly heated up. Following the night stages saw the cars retiring for a desperate service before being parked for the night. But at the end of Heat 1 it was the combo of Brendan Reeves/Rhianon Gelsomino in the Subaru WRX taking the heat win. 2nd was an impressive Molly Taylor/Bill Hayes in another Subaru WRX, and 3rd for the heat Brad Markovic/Glenn Macneall in another Subaru WRX Three different Models of WRX’s taking the top 3 spots. Great for Subaru.
With cars getting a good going over for the battles that lay ahead for Heat 2 on the Sunday, everyone was ready to go after much needed repairs. Come Sunday morning and it was on for everyone from the get go, but it was Brendan Reeves on the charge straight off the bat. Simon chasing hard in 2nd and Harry bates in 3rd. With Brendan on such a charge, there was no stopping him as he romped off into the distance. In the end it didn’t matter as the overall results saw Brendan Reeves take the weekends win, followed by Molly Taylor in 2nd and Simon Evans in 3rd. The biggest benefactor for championship placing would be Simon Evans as he now leads the championship with 1 round to go, and everything to fight for.
Arron Windus from Vic was competing in his first ARC event this weekend and managed an impressive result in Heat 1, finishing 5th overall for the day. In Heat 2 unfortunately they had an incident where the car had a slight off and softly rolled onto its roof. Their choice was either hit the tree or put the car into a slide. Option B was chosen. Still an impressive display of speed and maturity for someone of Arron’s age. He will be back again next year to have another crack!
In the end it was a Rally filled with action and drama which saw some brilliant driving put on display on the beautiful roads of South Australia along the fantastic hills as a backdrop. I am hoping to return next year to do it all again.