2019 Experts Cup Rally – Loose and Dusty

Mark Keltie & Graham Mogg on the 2019 Experts Cup Rally

The 2019 Experts Cup Rally. Where there was as much fun in the service park as there was out on the stages!

Big Field of Experts

A bumper field of 38 cars entered the 2019 Experts Cup this year. Running in the coal mining town of Collie it was the last round of the Better Value Tyres – Zestino – Rally WA Championship. The event would decide a few categories for the year even though the outright was already settled.

 It ran in October, quite a late time slot for this rally. The date change altered the conditions of the 2019 Experts Cup rally completely. Normally a wet and sometimes muddy event, this time it was warm, loose and very dusty.

2019 Experts Cup format

Six special stages and a hundred kilometers competitive lay ahead of state competitors. Clubman Cup ran the lesser distance of 50 kilometers over three stages. There was one service only for state and no service for Clubman. This is a trend that has continued for a few rallies this year. The trend of no service for Clubman is not one we’re fond of either.

Slippery when Dry?

At the first service a few commented they were struggling with the conditions. The loose roads also caused a few tyre dramas. Glenn Alcorn/Shaun MacMacken went wide and found a ditch in their MK2 Escort. The impact de-laminated the tyre and they had to stop and change it.

Glenn Alcorn/Shaun Macmacken had tyre trouble on the 2019 Experts Cup and dropped some time in 2WD.

Barry McGuinness and Steve Wade also had trouble with the 2019 Experts Cup rally. Unfortunately they put their WRX off the road and got it stuck for a while losing a chunk of time.

Peter Major did very well on his first gravel event at the 2019 Darling 200 Rally. This time he and co-driver Jimmy Marquette unfortunately went off at a double caution corner. They glanced a tree in the process and got stuck. A fair bit of time was lost getting the car out, dropping them down the order.

Drive it like an Escort!

Young Kelly Thomas with dad Dave alongside had a bit of transmission trouble. Their WRX dropped into rear-wheel drive on the first stage. Initially it was thought that it was a front drive shaft causing the problem. The suspect shaft has changed during service however the problem persisted. Kelly had to drive the car more like an Escort to get to the finish of the 2019 Darling 200 Rally.

David Smith was on his second rally as a driver. Most WA Rally people know that he’s been involved in the administration and organizing side of events for quite some many years. On this event he got caught out in his Daihatsu Charade near instruction 25 of stage two. He had a spin and got the car stuck pointing back the way that he was going. It was a bit of a learning curve. Luckily it was an easy tow our and they were able to finish the rally.

David Smith was caught out and got his Charade stuck on SS2 of the 2019 Experts Cup.

20 Year Return

Dale Ashford with Ross Burton alongside him brought out his rotary powered Mazda RX2. Dale and the car hadn’t been out for twenty years since our days in the Clubman Cup last century. At the 2019 Experts Cup rally the pair had a couple of moments where they went off the road and got stuck. Eventually they did get the car to the finish. It was good to see Dale back, hopefully we’ll see him at many more rallies to come.

The Rally Action team at the 2019 Experts

Within our own team we were only running one car. We had Mark Keltie and Graham Mogg in the Celica GT4. At the first spectator point they had a moment and it took a little bit to get the car round. The pair went off into the ditch and had to reverse out. Thankfully not much time lost. The warm weather was wearing tyres very quickly.

More Drama!

The dramas didn’t end there either. Cody Reynolds and Anthony Staltari were pretty well earlier on in the 2019 Experts Cup Rally. We haven’t seen them for most of the season so was good to see them back in their WRX. Unfortunately they put the car off in pretty much the same place that Peter Major had gone off earlier. They got the car stuck and it was wedged.

Unfortunately it was a bit of a tricky corner where the two cars had gone off.  Another competitor came around the corner after Reynolds and clipped the stricken WRX. I think it was lucky the Subaru was there otherwise the other car would have gone in further. Even then it took some time to get the other car out and going again.

Clubman Cup

So after three stages in the Clubman Cup the results were in. A great drive on their debut event David Walbran and Bryden Coker took third place in their Mitsubishi Lancer. Kevin Hollingsworth and Simon Gratton came second in their Suzuki Swift. With the teething trouble sorted in their Peugeot 206, Rod Fowler and Keith Mayes won the Clubman.

2019 Experts Cup Rally Top Ten

Onto the outright placings in the 2019 Experts Cup Rally. In tenth place were Greg and Deanne Flood in their Mitsubishi Lancer. Ninth place went to Mike Joss/Meghan Logue in their Nissan Silvia S15. The fresh engine obviously made a big difference to their times.

First two-wheel drive and eighth outright was Raz and Iona Vlad in their Ford Fiesta ST. Ben Perard/Damon Nicoli brought their WRX STI to seventh place. Sixth place and a welcome return to the championship went to Doug Tostevin with Dan Adams alongside his Subaru Legacy RS.

Fifth place went to Craig Rando and Matt Scaffidi in their WRX. Another making a return to the championship was Brad Markovic with Glenn MacNeil alongside. Unfortunately they got a flat tire in the first group of stages and dropped about two minutes. By rallies end they were in fourth place.

Podium Places

Onto the podium positions for the 2019 Experts Cup Rally. Ben Searcy with Steve Glenney finished well in third place in their Lancer Evo 9. The result gave Searcy second in the Rally WA state championship. Second place in the rally was Steve Oxley and Michael Wood in their WRX STI. It was a strong finish to their season.

Steve Oxley and Michael Wood did well and finished the 2019 Experts Cup Rally in 2nd place.

With the win on the 2019 Experts Cup Rally John O’Dowd/Toni Feaver sealed their second state title. They debuted their Skoda Fabia R5 this year and had a flawless run. The team had also taken the car to several national rounds as well with encouraging results.

The Skoda Fabia R5 of John ODowd and Toni Feaver taking a win on the 2019 Experts Cup Rally

The end of the 2019 season also marks the end of the second decade or rallying in the 21st century. The 2020 Rally WA calendar is out now and we’ll write up a blog post on it soon.

Photos courtesy of Ash Ridden and Blake Rattenbury: https://www.blakerattenburyphotography.com/

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