Action & Drama at the 2016 Karri Rally

The second rally in this year’s 2016 Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship again took us south just three weeks after the Quit Forest Rally.

A direct replacement for the Donnelly Rally, the Trade Hire Karri Rally was run out of Manjimup and to say the least, we had to work very hard to get all of the six cars turned around in the short time frame.

31 cars entered the event, with half of the field Clubman Cup. The numbers possibly lower than expected due to the short time frame from the previous round.

Karri_Rally_2016_RADT_carsWe took the same six car team to the Karri Rally, the only change to our line up was with Andrew Percival who had Jim Pearce sitting alongside him calling the notes in his Honda Civic. This was to be Jim’s first event with our team and his first using a road book in lieu of full pace notes.

Overnight rains leading up the to rally meant there was a good chance of slippery conditions and as Brad/Richard Nowell and Mark/Damon Keltie headed out to write pace notes on Saturday morning, we started to set up our base for the day at the service park at the Manjimup recreation centre.

The rally comprised of two stages that state teams would run three times totalling around 100km competitive. One stage had been used as part of the Donnelly Rally, the other was new and had not been used previously. The Clubman cup entrants would run 2/3 of the distance of state championship completing over 60km competitive. Sure enough when our father-son duos arrived back from pace noting they reported that there were some very slippery patches. The older stage was fast and flowing whereas the new stage was technical and wet in some places.

The clouds parted around midday and the sun was out for a while, making it quite warm. The weather radar showed rain on the coast and there was a chance of it coming in far enough to give us another soaking.

All of the teams started as the afternoon rolled on with the first loop of two stages. On SS1, Shane Harmer/Nic Anyan were on aKarri_Rally_2016_Joss_Crash fast straight in sixth gear when their red Holden Commodore twitched moving off line and collected a small stump with the left front and speared them off into the trees. The solid Commodore had not faired too badly from the softer pine trees and both guys were unharmed, however they were out of the event only a couple of kilometres in. A similar fate belied Mike Joss/Megan Logue in their Nissan Silvia when they too left the road and came to rest in the scenery in the slippery conditions.

By the first service our state competitors were easing into the event. Brad/Richard (WRX) were running in 12th, Mark/Damon (Celica GT4) were 13th and Neil/Dannielle (Excel) were 15th. At the front of the field, multiple state champion John Macara with Lee Tierney alongside had started well in their Lancer Evo 7. The pair held a ten second lead and were looking forward to a good event.

Karri_Rally_2016_Silvia_StringerAmongst our Clubman teams Rohan/Nigella (Galant) were hovering just outside the top ten in 11th place with Andrew/Jim 6th and Lance/Jace (Nissan Silvia) 5th, helped along by a fourth fastest time on SS2. Leading the Clubman were Julian Wright/Ryan Doe (Datsun 1200) with Kiel Douglas/Ashley Burton (V8 Commodore) hot on their heels in 2nd. We fitted lights to the cars during service as the next stages would definitely end in the dark.

The next group of stages would see the retirement of the overall leader when Macara/Tierney suffered a seized turbo. Dylan King/Abbey Hayes (Spec C WRX) grabbed the initiative and moved into the lead with Doug Tostevin/Tammy Adams (Spec C WRX) now 2nd.  Our guys became more comfortable with the event and in some places the roads were drying allowing for more speed. Brad/Richard had moved up to 10th with Mark/Damon 11th and Neil/Dannielle now 14th.

At the end of SS4 the Clubman finished their rally. Wright/Doe had gone off the road in the dark on a muddy patch and found a log, putting them out of the event and changing the leader board.

Rohan/Nigella moved up to 10th place, their best finish so far. Jake Foster/Archa Oxley (Excel) finished 9th and Stephen Karri_Rally_2016_Civic_PercivalMackinlay/Lachlan Beresford finished 8th in their Mirage Asti. Daniel Webb with ARC driver Tom Wilde “calling the notes” took 7th place in their Daihatsu Charade. Andrew and Jim held their position in 6th as did Lance and Jace who took a strong 5th , Lance also won Clubman Rookie Driver. Husband and wife Carl and Tracey Rattenbury (Escort MK I) had suffered some fuelling problems during the event however finished 4th. Dene Courtis/Dan Adams (Corolla) drove well for third, behind the Douglas Automotive sponsored V8 Commodore of Douglas/Burton in 2nd. Mike Young/Peter Barnes took their well used green Honda Civic to the Clubman win.

Karri_Rally_2016_WRX_NowellAnother service saw the state teams head out to contest the last two stages in the dark. Brad/Richard had not had the best success in the dark in the past and eased off to aim for a finish. The strategy worked with the guys finishing without a scratch on the car, however they had dropped back a place to 11th. Neil and Dannielle finished the rally in 14th place, commenting that the roads were well cut up by the third pass and with the dark, they found it hard work. Still the pair brought the Excel to first in the 2wd Challenge section of the event. Mark and Damon moved up a place finishing their first rally in the dark in 10th. The Celica had run flawlessly all day and Mark also won rookie driver in the state too. 9th place went to Hugh Harmer/Mitch Gray in their V8 Commodore with Andy Van Kann/Maddie Kirkhouse (Toyota Corolla) taking 8th. David Farnworh/Alexandra Martin had a good day in their Corolla FX-GT with 7th place and young Kody Reynolds and Anthony Staltari taking their 2WD Karri_Rally_2016_Excel_TrethowenSubaru Impreza to a well driven 6th. Raz Vlad/Daymon Nicoli were first 2WD and 5th outright in their Ford Fiesta ST. A broken driveshaft slowed Tostevin/Adams on the third leg and they moved back to 4th place. Mick Steele with new co-driver Alex Butler (WRX STi) drove well to 3rd allowing Mick to retain his lead in the championship and 2015 state champions Garry Whittle/Steve Vass took their WRX to 2nd place. After Macara dropped out earlier, King/Hayes continued to stay out in front and were rewarded with the rally win.

The next rally will see us head to Boddington for the MRF Tyres Boddington rally at the end of May.

Karl Drummond

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