Gravel Action Night Sprint –

Gravel Action Night Sprint – round 3

Up until the driver’s briefing at around 4pm Saturday, our gamble seemed to have paid off. Running an event in mid winter is always a risk with the weather. Whilst Perth and the southwest had received torrential rains, we’d had very little. Compact roads and no dust, perfect conditions to run round 3 Gravel Action Night Sprint.

Down came the rain

We’d nearly finished the briefing when the heavens opened for a few minutes. It was the heaviest shower in a week. The hard clay in some sections turned slippery very quickly. Luckily it was before recce and the 18 teams could write notes accordingly.

After recce there was a 50/50 split amongst competitors. Some were looking concerned with the conditions, others revelled in it. Some of our new entrants had rallied in Africa and tackled the deep mud of the Kenyan Safari Rally. They reckoned it was a walk in the park! We knew that the roads would start to dry as long as we didn’t get any more rain.

Darkness Falls and the action starts

As the sun set the wind dropped and the sky cleared. Mercifully no more rain would fall during competition. From the get go all stages would be run in the dark. It was a new challenge for many. The first 1.5km was the most slippery where the road is almost all clay. The surface layer was greasy and it made judicious use of the throttle a must. Everyone came through fine and many were grinning when they reached the stop point.

Stage 2

The second and third stages were similar to the first however the roads had dried a little. As the stage progressed it was drier and faster. Daniel and Colin McGuckin clipped a bank not far into stage two. Their Corolla punctured a tyre and they drove the rest of the stage on it. Surprisingly they only lost about 30 seconds. Brothers Brad and Roger Nowell started stage two without their spotlights on. After the first couple of kilometres they realised they were running on headlights only. They too lost some 30 seconds in the dark.

Stage 3

Neal Johnson and Anthony Bonner struck trouble in stage three. They managed some precision driving and perched their Hyundai Lantra neatly on a bank. The car was undamaged however all wheels were off the ground and they needed recovery. The dark had proved a challenge for some and an advantage for others.

The Top Ten

As our officials left their roaring fires and headed back to HQ, the results were calculated.

Michael and Julie Arthur brought their WRX to tenth place. Daniel and Colin took ninth despite the flat tyre in stage two.  Kelly Thomas and father Dave drove their Ford Laser to eighth and first junior. Barry McGuinness and Steve Kingston brought their WRX to seventh. Declan Treacy and Jason Carusi were in sixth place in their WRX.

Top Five

Syed Arshad/Syed Hussein were on their first Gravel Action Sprint. They got their WRX into fifth place with a ten second buffer. Mark and Damon Keltie had a great result finishing fourth in their Celica GT4. It was to be Damon’s last event for a while. He had accepted a job in the Pilbara starting a new career.

Equal Third

Third place was shared by two teams. Graham and Jeremy Mogg pulled out a blinder in their Hyundai Excel. They drove well to equal third with Sammy Aslam/Saqib Malik. For the latter it was their first Gravel Action Sprint. The experience with African rallying helped them get their WRX onto the podium.

The winners

Second place was taken by Dave and Kelly Thomas in their autocross spec 2WD Ford Laser. Yet further proof that driving skill counts for more than the car. The win was taken by Ash Sudholz/Simon Caine in their RZR side by side buggy. The conditions totally suited the off road vehicle and they won by 32 seconds.

Click Here for Round 3 Results

Series Points


Dave/Kelly Thomas lead the outright series and 2WD class with Ash Sudholz moving up to second place and Barry McGuinness/Steve Kingston third.


Neal Johnson holds second in 2WD with Jeff Thomas/Jim Pearce (Mitsubishi Starion), Tim Bayer/Garry McCagh (Excel) and Garth McGuire/Ashlee Taylor (Proton) sharing third place.


Barry McGuinness/Steve Kingston currently lead the 4WD class with Mark & Damon Keltie second and Michael and Julie Arthur third.


Amongst the juniors Kelly Thomas now leads. Daniel McGuckin  is in second and Nicholas King/Donna Davies (Ford Escort MK2) third.


The rookie series has been swinging back and forth during the year. Graham Mogg now leads to Ben Kitchen/Danielle Jeffrey (Subaru Impreza) 32 to 28 points.

Click Here to download points after Round 3

Next Event – Round 4

With two rounds remaining there’s plenty of fun ahead. Round four of the Gravel Action Sprint series will run on Sunday the 1st of October. Click the button below for more info.