2021 Safari Rally – Muddy Mundaring

2021 Safari Rally

Hi and welcome back to our website. This time we’re off to the 2021 Safari Rally. So I’ve said several times this year that we’ve had a hell of a lot of rain. It has been unusual, well at least in the last 20 years. We are no strangers to the Safari. We ran it ourselves as event organisers a few years ago. Normally this event at this time of year is very dry and dusty however 2021 and well it rained.

The weather

Just like pretty much every other rally this year, the 2021 Safari Rally heralded the damp. This was the wettest that we have ever seen the roads around the Chidlow area near Mundaring Weir. For a lot of competitors it gave a great deal of trouble. We weren’t alone there either, in fact all of the cars in our team had troubles.

Our Team

 This year we ran a three-car team in the 2021 Safari Rally. We had Hugh and Karen in the WRX and joining us was Tim and Jon.  Tim was new to a WRX although he’d been competing for a while in an Excel in the Clubman. This was his first state rally in a 4WD turbo car. Also in the team we had Tiana and Graham in the Clubman running in their Impreza.

Innovating on the Safari

 To say that we had a eventful 2021 Safari Rally would probably be an understatement. Before we get into that let’s talk about the format of the rally. For a start things were done a bit differently this time. There were some slightly different organisers involved and they took some very novel approaches. One was getting the promotion into the local newspaper. Another was running nine stages for the state championship and six for the clubman. The clubman started later so they would effectively finish at the same time as state. It meant that everybody could get to the presentation at the end. The clubman also got a service which was a great idea.

 The factor outside of everyone’s control was the weather. The screenshot from my weather app told its own story. After recce in the morning, the 2021 Safari Rally started in the afternoon. The first group of stages well they were wet and slippery and everybody was struggling with the conditions. Even state championship leaders Ben Searcy/Damon Nicoli had a moment they’d rather forget.

 Mechanical troubles were also plaguing several teams. Dylan King/Lee Tierney lost their rear brakes by the time they got to the first service. Several other competitors would suffer similar fates. Dale Faulkner/Rachel Ferrante on Dale’s first rally suffered a collapsed rear strut top in their Mazda 323. They dropped a few stages affecting makeshift repairs.

Our troubles began

After service competitors were off to start the 2nd leg of the 2021 Safari Rally and Clubman joined in as well. That is where our dramas began. Not long after Tiana/Graham had started I got a phone call. The news wasn’t good. Unfortunately just 11 kilometers into what was their first stage they’d had a bit of an incident. When I say a bit of an incident, I mean a major off. Thankfully both of them were okay however the car was pretty bad.

Stage four would also catch out Hugh/Karen. They got stuck at one particular corner that another competitor had already been stuck in. They lost about seven minutes getting the car out. Only a couple of corners further on, Tim/Jon also had dramas and got their car stuck as well. It took a bit of time to get it out.

At the final service of the 2021 Safari Rally Hugh/Karen only needed a minor check over.  Tim/Jon however had a broken suspension arm. We swung into action and changed it swiftly ready to head out for the last group of stages.

The results

The final leg of the event neared twilight and would run pretty much into the dark. Despite the brake troubles Dylan King and Lee Tierney went on to win the 2021 Safari Rally. It was their only showing for the year and it was a good one at that. On the clubman side of things Jarrod Sewell and Adrian Burnie won in their Daihatsu Charade.

Thankfully we didn’t have any more dramas in the team. At the end Hugh and Karen finished 16th and Tim and Jon finished 17th. With our two state cars home safely it was now time to turn our attention to the stricken Impreza. That was rather a bit of a mission to get it back to the service park. We finished the recovery well into the dark.

With just over three weeks from the 2021 Safari Rally to the last event for the year, we’d have our work cut out to repair the car. I would like to thank everybody that gave their support to us after the rally. The messages, phone calls and emails asking about Tiana and Graham were very much appreciated. It just goes to show what a fantastic community rallying is.

The last round of the 2021 RallyWA championship is in Collie in late October. We’ll be taking the team down for what will hopefully be a drier event! In the meantime, who needs sleep?!

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