Wins for Quinn and Dwyer in Lightforce Rally SA
The shorter format of this year’s Lightforce Rally SA on September 16-17 seemed to be well received by most involved.
Eli Evans and Glen Weston’s MINI Cooper was a withdrawal prior to the event due to the funeral for Eli’s mother Iris the Thursday prior to the rally.
The much-anticipated debut of points leaders Harry Bates and John McCarthy’s Toyota Yaris AP4, replacing their much-rallied Corolla S2000, came to nothing when the car developed a misfire immediately after the start.
The crew attempted to have it right for Sunday, only for the problem to recur.
As disappointing as this was for spectators, the crew must have been gutted.
What didn’t disappoint, however, was the high-profile appearance of Irishman Frank Kelly’s Escort Mk II, co-driven by his daughter Lauren.
The You Tube star was as quick and spectacular as expected.
Locals Matt Selley and Hamish McKendrick, in their similar Escort, did their best to beat the Irishman, taking one fastest time away from him, finishing 2 minutes 14 seconds behind after the two days of competition.
Saturday began in the afternoon, with runs of Crawford (twice), Telephone Road and Cromer for the ARC competitors.
Nathan Quinn and Ben Searcy (Mitsubishi EVO IX) was fastest on all four of the daylight stages, finishing 23 seconds ahead of current Champions Molly Taylor and Bill Hayes (Subaru WRX STi), in turn 1 minute 46 seconds up on Tasmanians Craig Brooks and Steve Glenney (Subaru WRX STi).
Lewis Bates and Dale Moscatt’s Corolla narrowly led Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penny’s Mazda RX7 for 2WD honors before the Corolla retired with alternator problems on the first night stage.
MRF Tyres S.A. Rally Championship began with the four night stages – two runs each of Goldfields and Trial Hill Reversed.
Unfortunately Stephen Mee and Matthew Harriot’s Corolla went out on the first Goldfields with a broken driveshaft whilst Marc Butler and Peter Sims dropped from seventh in SARC with a stick through the radiator. After repairs to the radiator of their Honda Civic, they pressed on, setting quick times.
The usually bulletproof Volvo 242 GT of Ross Kingham and Lisi Phillips, also running in ARC Classic, which had been a little smoky all day, retired with engine problems.
Meanwhile in ARC, Taylor was quickest on both runs of Goldfields, but Quinn extended his lead by eight seconds by the end of the night.
He finished the day 20.9 seconds ahead of Taylor with Brooks 3 minutes 15 seconds further back, with Jindabyne’s Andrew and Kirra Penney fourth, a further two minutes back.
The ARC Classics had the Kellys one minute 13 seconds ahead of Selley/McKendrick with Craig Haysman and Julie Boorman (Triumph TR7 V8) seven minutes further back.
As Craig can point out, his car is the true classic whilst the two Escorts are invitational.
Walky 100 winners Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams (Mitsubishi EVO VI) went into an immediate lead that they were never to lose, trailed by Ben Kittle/Caroline Vale (EVO X), Aaron Bowering/Nathan Lowe (Subaru WRX), David McDonough/Darren Masters (EVO VI) and Selley McKendrick (Escort Mk II), the first 2WD.
On the second run through Goldfields, Bowering and Lowe had a flat tyre, dropping them down the order, whilst McDonough pulled out when Masters became too ill to continue.
Dwyer’s lead at the end of the heat was one minute 9 seconds over Kittle, 43 seconds back to Selley, with Gary Brown and Mike Dale (Galant VR4) 45 seconds away.
Darren Masters was replaced in McDonough’s car by Dave Langfield for the second heat.
Sunday saw stages of Crawford (twice again), Telephone Road, Corryton Park (twice) and Buddys for both ARC and SARC.
Quinn was even more dominant on the second day, winning all stages to finish up 46 seconds in front of Taylor with Brooks 56 seconds behind with the WRX STi of WA’s John O’Dowd and Ken Sheil almost four minutes back, followed by a distant Kaplan.
It was Quinn’s first ARC win, moving him up to second in the pointscore, 30 behind Taylor and 35 ahead of Bates.
In the Classics, Kelly finished one minute 20 seconds up on Selley with Haysman over four minutes away in third.
Dwyer kept up his great run, ahead of Brown, Kittle and Bowering whilst an O-ring on McDonough’s power steering failed on Telephone Road 2, but they rejoined for the following Crawford 4 after repairs.
Butler hit a bank, damaging the rear suspension but elected to push on to the finish.
Fifth-placed Ben Calder and John Caldicott’s WRX STi hit a rock, tearing out brake and clutch lines whilst ninth-placed Dale Cagney and Ken Moore were out with suspension problems on their EVO III.
McDonough was back, second-fastest to Dwyer on Corryton Park 1 but the day ended with Dwyer a full 2 minutes 17 seconds ahead of Brown with Kittle 10 seconds back, Bowering fourth and Selley fifth.
Butler received the Atlantic Oils Spirit of the Event Award for finishing each day despite major damage.
With one round of the MRF Tyres S.A. Rally Championship to go – South West Stages Rally in Heywood, Victoria on 8 October – Bowering and Lowe lead with 178.5 points.
Having missed one event Gary Brown is next in the drivers score with 122.5 to Philip Kerr’s 122 and Neil Gehan’s 117.
In the co-driver’s, Mike Dale trails Lowe with 162.5 from Andrea Gehan’s 123.5 and Peter Sims’ 109.
The final round has bonus points so the Championship is still open.
Pictures by John Lemm and Frank Kutsche.