Our team at the 2014 Forest Rally

And so it was that the long weeks and 12 hour days culminated when the team headed to Busselton and Nannup for the start of the season in early April. The Quit Forest Rally is the longest and toughest event of the year with 2 days of competition covering some 220km for state championship and 100km for Clubman Cup.

The four car line up of our team featured Geoff & Paul in their Nissan 180SX who contested State and three new cars and crews entered Clubman: Andrew & Jessica debuted their red Honda Civic alongside Brad & Richard in their Toyota Yaris, with Neil & Dannielle rounding out the team in their bright orange Hyundai Excel.

The rally started on the tarmac in Busselton on Friday evening with two short blasts around the Super Special Stage. Geoff and Paul had electrical problems early that required the team to make hasty repairs to the 180SX in the falling rain.

With a very late night and an early start, Saturday was the busiest (and most tiring) day of the weekend.
Geoff and Paul hadn’t incurred any penalties from the night before and the first service of the day ran smoothly as they headed out onto the gravel stages around Nannup.
Meanwhile, our new crews felt some nerves as they anxiously waited their start times to head out into the forest. By mid morning all of our cars had joined the competition.
Whilst Geoff and Paul were making good use of their turbo power and moved into the lead of the state 2WD category, the “newbies” were taking a tentative approach, the goal to finish their first event.

By the mid way service point, the team had little more to do than check and adjust all the cars, and feed and water the competitors. That would all change by mid afternoon. Geoff and Paul continued to set leading times when on the 3rd last stage of the day it all came undone. The Nissan landed heavily in a ditch on a left hand corner, the same place that two of their rivals also had trouble. The result was damaged front suspension and a retirement from Day 1.
No sooner was the car extricated from the stage, it was on the trailer back to the Nannup service park for the team to work their magic. Luckily the repairs were mostly of the bolt on kind and we had the appropriate spares.

As the team worked to get Geoff and Paul back into the rally, our three Clubman Cars all finished their first event.
In the Clubman Cup Andrew and Jessica secured a solid 6th place, followed by Brad and Richard in 9th and Neil and Dannielle finished 12th. With not even a scratch on any of the cars, everyone was smiling and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

After considerable repairs, Geoff and Paul climbed into their mount and headed back to Busselton for another run around the tarmac on Saturday evening. Sunday dawned a clear day with the action returning to Nannup. The road conditions were unusually rough and very dusty.
By the second service of the day, Geoff and Paul had picked up a puncture and incurred a 15 second penalty when they changed it.

The pair started a charge to recover lost time and by the last service of the weekend, held a slender lead with just 3 stages to go. The team worked to service the car when it was discovered that the intercooler had broken all three mounting brackets and was now loose. It took a couple of extra minutes to effect repairs.
It was going to be a nail biting finish! Geoff and Paul were tussling for 2WD honours with rivals (and good mates) Sean and Caleb (“Cash”) in their Nissan Silvia. Both teams were evenly matched and seconds were being traded back and forth throughout the day.
By day’s end, Sean and Cash had taken the 2WD win by just 13.1 seconds. It was close!

The smiles under the finish arch on Sunday afternoon were a mixture of happiness and relief. To have all four cars finish the event was a fantastic achievement and a credit to the whole (exhausted) team.

The cars will all return to the workshop to be prepared to tackle the next event in mid May and the team will no doubt catch up on some lost sleep!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field