Gravel Action Sprint Round 4 – 25+km of sideways

Gravel Action Sprint Round 4

The first of October dawned cool and clear. Recent weather in Perth resembled the depths of winter rather than a day well into spring. Much of the rain that had drowned the southwest had not reached the Wheat Belt. Not good news for farmers, however it had kept our roads mostly dry and free from mud.

Longer & Longer

Several weeks had passed since round 3 which we ran as a Night Sprint. In that time we’d opened up more land around recent tree planting. The gap between events allowed us to spend the time building another two kilometres of roads in the new area. With the extension works, the sprint track has grown to 8.5km long.

Getting those entries in

Originally we had 16 entries for round four. Due to a family illness, Michael & Julie Arthur had to withdraw and so 14 lined up to start. Ahead lay more than 25km of competition over three stages. Simon Quinby started the field as car 1 in his AR51 buggy.

The Stages

As the times came through for stage one it was evident the roads were much faster in the dry. During the night sprint, the fastest times through the 6.5km stage were around 6 minutes 40 seconds. That was with some slippery sections and the dark to contend with. The fastest times for the 8.5km stage of round 4 were around 7 minutes and 10 seconds.

The warmer weather had made the roads dusty. It was no problem for visibility as the breeze was up all day. All the competitors got through all three stages without major incident. For the first time this year, all who started the rally sprint, finished the event. In the previous rounds mechanical dramas had seen some retire early.

The Top Ten

We got the results sorted and announced the top ten. Graham Mogg/Danielle Jeffrey finished tenth in their Hyundai Excel. They had a spin at the hairpin during stage 2 and dropped a few seconds.  Ahead by ten seconds, junior Kelly Thomas with father Dave alongside took ninth in their Ford Laser. Daniel McGuckin and father Colin brought their Toyota Corolla home in eighth. Daniel also snatched first junior from Kelly by just two seconds. Fastest rookie went to Ali Aslam/Sakib Malik. The pair got their bug eye WRX to seventh place by three seconds. For Glenn Alcorn/Anthony Bonner it was third time lucky. Finally having cured the rear axle bogie in their Ford Escort RS2000, the pair made the finish in sixth.

Top Five

Declan Treacy/Jason Carusi  drove well to bring their WRX home in fifth place. Ash Sudholz/Simon Cain won the last event, relishing the dark and damp. At this event they looked primed to challenge for the win in their Polaris RZR side by side. A broken suspension part slowed their progress on all the stages however they still finished a solid fourth.

For the second sprint in a row, third place was shared. Simon Quinby in his single seater AR51 buggy  held third with Syed Arshad/Syed Hussein. On the last two stages the oil light came on in their WRX. They decided to ease off instead of challenging for the win.  Simon took the points in the buggy class.

Winner are Grinners

That left the top two. Barry McGuiness/Steve Kingston were committed and neat all day. The great driving brought them their highest finish to date. The pair finished second in their blue WRX. Top spot was taken by Dave & Kelly Thomas. Dave jumped out of the blocks from the get go and nearly had a moment at the hairpin on stage two. They managed to keep it together and won by just three seconds. The closest finish so far this year. Click Here to download results

Series Points

Click Here for series points after Round 4

Round Five

The final round of the Gravel Action Sprint series is due to run on the 18th of November.

Details can be found here: Gravel Action Rally Sprints