2019 Kirup Stages Rally – Getting Down and Dirty

Glenn Alcorn/Lee Tierney on the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally

The Wheels on Yirrigan 2019 Kirup Stages Rally, round four for the WA State Rally Championship.

At the first three rallies this year there was dust, dust and more dust. At the end of the last state championship event (2019 Safari Rally), I said hopefully we’ll get some rain. Well yeah we got some and it changed the ground conditions completely. The 2019 Kirup Stages Rally was muddy!

Rally Format

Three special stages run twice made up this year’s event. The service park was in Kirup and the stages were a little further south in Baligup. The action all took place in the Grimwade tree plantation.

Barry McGuinness/Steve Wade on their way to 3rd place on the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally

The Rally Action Team

We had pretty much the same team lineup for the 2019 Kirup Stages rally as the last round. Mark and Graham ran the Celica GT4. Lance and Chris were out in the Silvia and we had Hugh and Karen in the V8 Commodore.

Sunny with a chance of down pours!

To be fair it had rained in the days leading up to the 2019 Kirup Stages rally then on the morning of the event it dawned clear. The skies looked pretty good as we set up the service park and everything was set for a good day of racing. Then the rain came in about midday and it got heavier and heavier.

Thankfully after the afternoon downpour it cleared up and we didn’t get any more rain for the rest of the day. The deluge had however made the stages very muddy and slippery. It was definitely going to be a day for the four-wheel drive cars.

Catch me if you can

Our mates Nic Box and Todd Payne hadn’t been out for a while. They brought out their S13 Silvia for a play at the 2019 Kirup Stages rally. They were seeded car three on the road and were having a very good go. Despite the conditions they fought hard to keep up with the leaders. After the first few stages they were in third place. Nic did say he was having trouble with traction and wasn’t going to be able to catch the four-wheel drive cars unless the roads dried out dramatically.

Nic Box/Tod Payne working hard in their S13 Silvia to catch the leaders on the slippery roads of Kirup

At the first service our state guys (Mark/Graham and Hugh/Karen) were going fine. There were no major dramas apart from the slippery roads. Lance and Chris however were repeating themselves on the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally. Just like the Safari the previous month, the pair had a bit of an off-road excursion with the right-hand side of the car.

History repeating

The right rear and right front suspension on the Silvia was bent. During the 30 minute service we managed to straighten and replace some parts. With only moments to spare we got them back out again for the next group of stages.

Taking the win!

By the end of the first leg of the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally, Lance and Chris came away with a great result. Despite the bent suspension and taking it easy on the last stages, they won Clubman Masters! It was a great drive and they somehow maintained their lead of nearly two and a half minutes.

Crunch, bang, no drive..

There weren’t too many people putting their cars off the road at the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally. There was however a few a mechanical dramas. Those dramas soon began to impact the field. Amongst others Nic and Todd had problems. They had transmission trouble in the Silvia and were forced to retire when the car jammed in third gear. They weren’t alone.

Leigh Hynes and Stuart Percival hadn’t competed since the 2014 Safari Rally. They came out in a Hyundai Lantra for this event and also had transmission trouble forcing retirement. Glen Alcorn and Lee Tierney were going well in their MK2 Escort. They were finding pace early on before a broken alternator bracket cost them a good result.

 At the last service we fitted lights to the cars and sent them out to do battle on the last two stages. Those stages like they have in the past at Kirup were going to change the face of the rally substantially.

The youngest competitor in the field Kelly Thomas and her dad Dave were having a solid run earlier on. Unfortunately on the last stage they had drama. Something electrical intervened after a puddle and a bump. The WRX cut out and it took a good ten plus minutes to get the car going again. Luckily it did restart and they were able to finish. They nearly ran out of late time and finished the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally in last place.

Hugh and Karen charging early on in their V8 Commodore. Later they would be forced to retire.

Cruel Mistress

Hugh and Karen were having their best event of the season so far. They were well inside the top 10 going into the last stage. About 3km into the final test, the car lost power and stalled. The fault was thought to be electrical, cutting power to the fuel pumps. They did limp the Commodore to the end of the stage however unfortunately they had to retire.

Not all bad

 It wasn’t all bad news though. Mark and Graham had a great run in the Celica. It ran flawlessly all day and they were rewarded with ninth place. Our Irish mates Barry McGuinness and Steve Wade had a brilliant event. The duo finished third outright in their WRX. Barry sold the car after Kirup so sadly we may not see him out again this year.

Mark and Graham taking a neat line on their way to 9th Outright at the 2019 Kirup Stages Rally

For the Rally Action Team we came away from the 2019 Kirup Stages rally with a win, a top-10 finish and unfortunately a retirement. It is much better than this time last year when the whole of our team didn’t finish Kirup.

We’ve now got a bit of breathing space in the championship with a break to the next rally. The Darling 200 in Jarrahdale will run in mid September. It is the closest event to Perth in the 2019 Rally WA calendar.

Darling 200 Rally

The Darling 200 is actually going to be a blind rally where the organisers provide a road book. Pace notes are not permitted so it’ll be an interesting one to watch. We’ll have all the cars turned around for the Darling and be ready to go again for round five of the championship.

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