Plenty of sideways action and drama at the first Khanacross for 2016

Even before entries closed we had numbers in the high 20’s and when we completed the final tally, 31 drivers were confirmed to contest last weekend’s  Light Car Club/Rally Action Twilight Khanacross. It was a great field with a good mix of new and experienced competitors on the entry list.

We woke on Friday morning to the weather forecast and it sounded ominous. Thunderstorms, hail and up to 50mm or rain were all on the cards and a glance at the Perth radar seemed to strengthen the possibility. Twilight_Khanacross_206_MayesLast year we had to re-schedule one event and seriously alter another one due to heavy rain. If we received a heavy dose as forecast, we’d have to consider cancelling as the calendar this year is too tight to find another date.

By Saturday morning we’d received no more than a few drops of the wet stuff even though we could see the rain falling a few kilometres away in all directions. With our fingers crossed, we set the tests and prepared as competitors arrived around midday. If the heavens opened at any stage from now on, it could easily turn the Khanacross tracks into impassable mud.Twilight_Khanacross_Legacy_Puzey

As the first test kicked off in the early afternoon the skies stayed dark, however the rain didn’t fall and the surface was loose and dusty. A few were having trouble finding their feet early on. Andrew Percival managed to remove his Honda Civic’s front bumper only 30m into the first test when he went through a dip and Craig Puzey almost went the wrong way losing precious seconds getting himself sorted. It was not to be the last of the Puzey’s woes for the day. Constant coolant loss, a couple of blown cooling lines and a broken driveshaft kept Craig & son Cam busy working on their protesting Legacy RS throughout the event.

Amongst the field there were the odd wrong way or knocked over marker as the racing got into its stride. By the third test Neil Twilight_Khanacross_Lined_upTrethowen, Dannielle Turton and Mark Keltie were having trouble too. Their white Excel was experiencing electrical and fuel gremlins. A hasty car swap saw the Excel parked up in lieu of a Holden Astra. As the dinner break neared, the sky darkened further and lightening could be seen in the distance yet still no rain fell. Luckily a breeze had kept the dust away for the six tests completed so far.

Out into the dark after dinner, the whole character of the Khanacross changed. Visibility even with spot lights was totally different to the daylight and many of the marker cones had a reflective strip which caused some confusing reflections for a few. The perspective of the tracks altered even though they were repeated from the daytime and a few more markers were knocked over on a couple of the tests.

The next to have car troubles was Monique Smith. Her Corolla first had lighting dramas then an investigation under the bonnet revealed a bulging and smoking battery. Monique transferred into Andrew’s Civic and finished the event and her Toyota was left parked up to cool away from everyone.

As the last test finished, (Aunty) Joan Percival and the team processed the results.Twilight_Khanacross_Percival_Excel

Neil Trethowen brought the Astra to tenth place less than five seconds behind Brad Nowell who took his well used Excel to ninth. The gap between Brad and eighth placed driver Keith Mayes in his Peugeot 206 was just 0.16 seconds! Ben Kitchen took his Lancer to seventh, less than half a second behind Mark Keltie in the Astra who was sixth. Jace van Saarloos managed to clip a tree on the eighth test, taking the bumper off his shared “Mickey Mouse” Excel. It didn’t slow him at all and he took fifth place by the end of the event. Neal Johnson again proved fast on this event, driving his Lantra neatly to fourth place just over five seconds behind Bob Percival (Excel) in third. One of the great tussles of the day was led by Shane Eather in his FJ20 powered Nissan Silvia. It was a second by second fight with Andrew and come the finish, the pair were separated by under four seconds. Andrew took the win Twilight_Khanacross_Silvia_Eatherwith Shane taking second spot on the podium.

Looking through the results, the slim gaps between competitors wasn’t reserved only for the top ten. 17th to 24th place were separated by under 8 seconds. Amongst those, the fastest junior driver was Damon Keltie (Nissan Pulsar), who managed to edge out Cam Puzey by 0.68 seconds with Jessica Mansfield (Hyundai Excel) a mere 0.37 further back.

Click Here for Results

The next Khanacross is scheduled for the 12th of June. You can find details and enter online by clicking here

Karl Drummond

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