The brand new MRF Tyres Boddington Rally 2016

On the June long weekend we tackled our third state championship rally in 45 days. Round three of the Onslow Contracting WA State Rally championship, the MRF Tyres Boddington Rally was a brand new event. Whilst the town was no stranger to rallying, previous events had always been run in the Bunnings tree plantation 25km north of the town. 2016 was different as the new stages were only eight km away in tree plantations to the West of town.

The Light Car Club had worked hard to secure the new area and put together three forest stages coupled with a super special stage around the Boddington Oval next to the service park. The total competitive distance for the state championship was just under 100km.

The roads had never seen a rally car over them before and so most sections had plenty of loose gravel. Also adding another dimension to the event, the Clubman Cup cars would run first instead of the state cars. It was a big challenge to be on virgin roads without pace notes, however the Clubman took up the gauntlet and started at midday.

MRF_Tyres_Boddington_Rally_CivicAndrew Percival/Jim Pearce (Honda Civic) drew car one and were the first to sample the previously unseen roads at rally speed. They and the first few cars behind them would play gravel sweeper to the rest of the field. The stages were all very technical meaning they were tight and twisty. In most places the stands were logged making it hard to read the roads and the tree lines so you really did have to drive on what you could see. The lack of open roads or long straights also kept the average speeds of the rally down as well. This one would really test the skills of the competitors. It was the type of event that the championship had not seen for many years.

Amongst the Clubman, only two of the 18 entries did not get through the forest. Simon Gratton/Tim Jackson rolled their Daihatsu Charade on a tricky right hand corner and Daniel Webb/Glenn Alcorn had clutch trouble in their Charade and had to retire early.

After service, the Clubman completed two runs of the 800m oval stage and finished the rally. Whilst the state were re-grouping and servicing from their first pass of the forests, the Clubman results were in.

Chris & Beth Bowley brought their Ford Fiesta to a brilliant 10th place in only their second rally. Stephen Mackinlay/LachlanMRF_Tyres_Boddintong_Rally_Silvia Beresford took ninth in their Mitsubishi Mirage and Jon Nannen/Robert Holmes had a good finish in eighth in their Hyundai Excel. Hanging the tail out everywhere, Lance Stringer and Jace van Saarloos came home seventh in their turbo Nissan Silvia and Jake Foster/Archa Oxley took sixth and rookie Clubmen in another Hyundai Excel. Andrew/Jim had a great job to be first car on the road and finished fifth behind Mitchel and Stuart Clarke who brought their rear wheel drive Datsun 1600 home in fourth. The top three Clubman cars were separated by just 37 seconds. Kiel Douglas/Ashley Burton took a podium spot, swinging their big V8 VS Commodore around behind Dene Courtis/Robert King in their Toyota Corolla in second. The latter had managed to find the scenery with the rear of the Toyota and a trip to the panel beater will be needed before the next event. Winning the Clubman were the husband and wife of Carl & Tracey Rattenbury in their Ford Escort Mk I.

The state guys headed out again to tackle the next leg. The second pass over the forest stages yielded some well swept lines, increasing the speeds and level of grip in some sections. Other places however were a little cut up. The oval stage for example had to be shortened slightly on the final pass.  Amongst the state competitors, there was not a single accident causing retirement. Of the 18 who lined up for the WARC, six retired with mechanical problems throughout the day.

As the sun started to set and the temperature began dropping rapidly, the top ten for the WARC at the MRF Tyres Boddington Rally were in.

MRF_Tyres_Boddington_Rally_CelicaMick Steele/Tracey Dewhurst (Subaru WRX STi) broke a driveshaft earlier in the rally and had to replace it, dropping a stage in the process. They finished the rally in tenth place and salvaged some points toward the championship that Mick was leading going into this event. Father and son Mark and Damon Keltie had a troubled run with their Celica GT4 at Boddington. Earlier in the day they ran wide on a corner and perched the car with all four wheels off the ground on a couple of small stumps. It took a bit to get themselves out and they lost some time. Later in the event they damaged the exhaust on a wayward rock which pushed it up into the driveline. They soldiered on and finished the rally in ninth, also taking rookie driver and co-driver in the process. Andy Van Kann/Maddie Kirkhouse finished well in their rear drive Toyota Corolla, rewarded with eighth place behind father and son Brad and Richard Nowell who brought their two door WRX STi to seventh. Shane Harmer/Nic Anyan had to work their guts out to get their Holden Commodore repaired after the Karri Rally just three weeks earlier. They had a great event at Boddington and finished sixth. Graham Iddles/Graham Day went well in their leased MRF_Tyres_Boddington_Rally_2dr_WRXMaximum Motorsport WRX STi, finishing the rally in fifth place. Showing the pace of two the wheel drive competitors, Jason Lowther/Matthew Teape took fourth place in their Toyota Corolla Twin Cam, a brilliant result. Not to be outdone by the former, father and daughter Greg and Deeann Flood went a step further in their front wheel drive Lancer and took third! It was a sensational drive by the pair. To have two wheel drive cars so high up in the results is a rarity, particularly finishing on the podium. In second place, John O’Dowd/Ben Searcy had a neat and quick drive in their Spec C WRX and taking top spot were the pairing of Doug Tostevin/Tammy Adams in their Spec C WRX.

The next rally, the Experts Cup is in Collie in July.

Karl Drummond

Watch the video of our team on the rally below.





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