2019 Copyworld Walky 100
Zayne Admiraal and Matthew Heywood have won the 2019 Copyworld Walky 100 in the one of the tightest contests in the recent history of the South Australian Rally Championship. A small but quality field of competitors arrived in Eudunda, South Australia for the second round of the 2019 South Australian Rally Championship. From the first of the twelve stages, the scene was set for what was going to be an epic four-way battle throughout the entire day, with drivers relentlessly trading close times in some very trying weather conditions.
2019 South West Stages winner Aaron Bowering was reunited with navigator Nathan Lowe for the first time since 2017 and took the opening stage, Hill Big One 1, of the day by a second from five-time winner Declan Dwyer and co-driver Craig Adams. Less than 5 seconds behind Bowering were Admiraal/Heywood and the outside chance of the front runners Jamie Pohlner with co-driver Ken Moore.
Admiraal hit back in the second stage humorously named Roast Reverse on such a cold, wet rainy day. Pohlner was the closest to Admiraal on this longer and muddy stage, trailing by 8 seconds. As the rain began to fall hard on stage 3, Bowering once again topped the times, however there was only 12 seconds between the top four drivers.
Special Stage 4 saw competitors negotiate the wetter, slipperier One Big Hill again. This time it was Pohlner and Dwyer who were inseparable at the top with Admiraal and Bowering less than 5 seconds behind. Dwyer was warming up as the temperatures were dropping but not enough to break clear of the pack as once again only 1 second separated the top 3 cars on special stage 5, the second run through Roast Reverse. The last of the repeat stages before lunch was won again by defending champ Dwyer, by the slimmest of margin with only 5 seconds between the top 4 again.
After lunch on Special Stages 7 and 8, the battle of the top 4 continued. Even though the margins were small, Dwyer look like he might be doing enough to win the rally for the fourth year in a row. Aaron Bowering fought back on special stage 9 to keep the tight race going before the night stages began. The first night is where disaster struck for Bowering as a mechanical issue dropped him out of the running of the top 4. It was at this point Admiraal began his charge for the lead winning the first night stage by 3 seconds as Bowering dropped 18 minutes limping his wounded vehicle to the end of stage. Dwyer once again ran faster in than Admiraal and Pohlner with Bowering experiencing more mechanical problems in the penultimate stage. However, Dwyer still couldn’t create enough separation from the Admiraal and Pohlner to be comfortable.
On the final stage, Pohlner managed to drive the last stage fast enough to occupy the third step of the podium as Admiraal outpaced the rest of the field by 8 seconds to take the win by only 3 seconds over Dwyer.
Admiraal and Heywood now take the lead in the South Australian Championship as the final round, the Adelaide Hills Rally is coming in September.