2019 South West Stages
Aaron Bowering and co-driver Heath Weedon have fought very hard for their victory in the South West Stages Rally. The first round of the South Australian Rally Championship was held over the weekend of the 26th -28th of April 2019 and, strangely enough, in the Victorian town of Heywood.
The small, but high-quality field of competitors then began the proceedings with a Friday night Super Special Stage on a purpose-built course, designed to be a real crowd pleaser.
A large crowd turned out at the small country town for the night stage, to catch a view of the best rally drivers of South Australia as they challenged the timeclock before heading out to the forests between Heywood and Hotspur. The night stage set the scene for the rest of the rally, with Aaron Bowering and Zayne Admiraal, both in Subaru WRX’s, trading fastest times over the three stages. Under lights, we witnessed only 2 seconds separating the two drivers at the end of the night.
Morning rain threatened to have an impact on the days racing however it held off enough to see some really tight racing on arguably the most diverse rally stages in Australia. Admiraal and Bowering continued to trade times throughout the day, creating one of the tightest head to head battles in the recent memory of South Australian Rallying. It was the penultimate stage where the 2017 State Champion, Bowering, broke the deadlock when he pulled out 28 seconds on his younger rival, by throwing caution to the wind and not leaving an extra second anywhere in the stage.
Jamie Pohlner and Kevin Millard were also applying pressure to the top two drivers in a tight tussle for the third spot on the podium. A valiant effort from Millard, in a much older two wheel drive Datsun, with Pohlner claiming third in another Subaru WRX.
With excellent stages, ranging from free flowing fast sections to extremely tight, technical stints and everything in between, this created an even playing field for all drivers and cars. Also, a great spectacle for fans, supporters and sponsors, this event will continue to grow and will potentially become one of the best state run rallies in the country.
1st – Aaron Bowering/Heath Weedon – Subaru WRX – 1:42:12
2nd – Zayne Admiraal/Matthew Heywood – Subaru WRX – 1:42:32
3rd – Jamie Pohlner/Ken Moore – Subaru WRX – 1:44:47
1st – Kevin Millard/Adam Branford – Datsun 1600 – 1:48:05 (Also 4th an impressive 4th outright)
2nd – Damian Reed/Dale Neighbour – Nissan Silvia S13 – 1:57:50
3rd – Michael Nixon/Jim McGough – Ford Escort Mk.2 – 2:16:52