Sunday August 28 2016 saw rallying in Victoria commencing again after its mid year break. It was a welcome return for crews and competitors alike, all champing at the bit to get back to business behind the wheel for Round 4 (minus the cancelled Round 3 at Bega due to storms) of the Championship in quiet Avoca, approx 1:45 drive out of Melbourne. Welcome to Leech’s Mitsubishi Pyrenees Rush 2016.
This event had an entry list of 41 cars for the days battle. This was a welcoming return of Arron Windus back into the fold, after driving for the Vauxhall Junior Team in the UK. Another addition for this event, was the appearance of Will Orders in his immaculate Evo 6, and in Left Hand Drive! Also for some fun there was Simon Evans being Co-Driver for Luke Sytema, in the Grant Walker Parts backed Ford Escort which had everyone excited.
Stage 1 had ended up being cancelled due to an accident, involving the Subaru STI of Viv Dilkes-Frayne and Tracey Dewhurst. Their car unfortunately hit a tree and was badly damaged. Both driver and co-driver were taken to hospital for check ups. Driver and co-driver are recovering and okay with some broken bones. The car did its job in protecting the occupants but I doubt that car will be making another appearance this season. We would like to send out our best wishes to Viv and Tracey for a speedy recovery.
With stage 1 cancelled, cars were to commence battle from stage 2. The Battle for heat 1 had begun. Heat 1 victory was taken by Arron Windus/Joe Brick in their STI by 15 seconds, over Will Orders/Toni Feaver in their Evo 6, followed in 3rd by Warren Lee/David Lethlean in their Evo 9.
An impressive 4th overall was taken out by the combo of Luke Sytema/Simon Evans in their Escort as well. Next up in 5th was Andrew Daniell/Emily Leech in the awesome sounding and looking Datsun Stanza.
6th Steven Mackenzie/Brent Mackenzie in their wicked looking and sounding Ford Fiesta ST. An impressive debut for the new Subaru of Andrew Pannam/Doug Fernie in their MRF badged Subaru in 7th.
8th Sees another Focus in the top 10 of Tony Moore/Simon Rowland, while 9th was taken by Grant Walker/Steph Richards in their Ford Escort. Rounding out the top 10 we see Paul Eccles/Tom Ruesmann in their Subaru WRX making it to the finish of heat 1.
The Our Auto Rally Series is a one make Hyundai Excel series. This is great for starting drivers and great for competition as modifications are limited. This particular series saw Stephen Eccles/Simon Pilepich continue their winning streak this year and take out heat 1. These cars are great to watch, as you will never see an Excel driven to an inch of its life like these Excels!! Being a one make series makes an even playing field.
The service time was a much needed service for everyone, as not all cars made it due to mechanical issues, blown turbos, steering racks and oil leaks, overheating, brakes, or slight encounters with the countryside and minor scrapes etc. The Rally was already claiming its victims. Mitch Garrad had managed to limp back to service after having a soft roll as well. Repairs were carried out as much as possible so battles could continue. Welcome to Rallying!
So with Heat 2 the action continues into the afternoon and action there was a plenty with times very close throughout the afternoon. The battle of the last 3 stages of the day seemed to be between Arron Windus and Will Orders, each claiming stage wins throughout the afternoon. But in the end it was Will Orders taking the win for heat 2. So that’s a win for a Mitsy! For those keeping score that is 1 heat each to both Subaru and Mitsubishi.
An impressive 3rd went to Brad Mackenzie/Brent Mackenzie in their Focus ST.
4 th for Warren Lee/David Lethlean being consistent and bagging some nice points. 5th for the heat was Andrew Daniel/Emily Leech in their Datsun Stanza.
6th for the first time combination of Luke Sytema/Simon Evans in the Grant Walker parts Ford Escort. Awesome stuff!
7th Michael Conway/Jennifer Cole in their Ford Escort . 8th saw another Ford Escort of Grant Walker/Steph Richards. 9th went to Andrew Pannam/Doug Fernie on debut of their new car. And to round out the top 10, the combo of Neill Schey/Scott Middleton in another Ford escort.
Again for heat 2 it was another heat win for Stephen Eccles/Simon Pilepich in the Our Auto Rally Series. Not much stopping him at the moment. All up it was an awesome event but with the drivers and crews also having their thoughts on their fellow competitors Viv and Tracey. No one likes to see any one injured in any sport and rally especially as its not just competition, rallying is a very close knit bunch of guys/girls. It’s like a family and everyone is very close. That’s one of the many reasons why I love rally.
To see any info or come to a Rally in Vic. Look up www.vicrally.com.au or you can also find them on Facebook as well.