Eli Evans and Glen Weston have made Australian rally history by winning the 2013 Scouts Rally SA, leading the event from start to finish in their Honda Jazz G2. This win makes 9 consecutive wins from 9 consecutive starts, equaling the record set by the great Possum Bourne during his period of dominance in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Jack Monkhouse and John Allen were fighting hard for their place on the podium until a broken water pump ended their efforts on Saturday afternoon. They fixed the car and rejoined, but were unable to place highly. They certainly entertained the spectators with long slides and big jumps wherever they went.
Neal Bates and Coral Taylor once again won the ARC Classics class in their brilliant RA40 Toyota Celica. Bates is a seriously good steerer and this RA40 is like no Celica you’ve ever seen before so it’s not hard to explain their consistent wins. Some of their stage times are actually up there with the leading 2WD ARC cars!
The fight for the remaining two podium places was hot, and in the end it was the local crew of Neville Whittenbury and Dave Rudham who just edged out their competition to claim second. The battle would have been even tighter had Barry Lowe not rolled his thundering Commodore on the second stage of Saturday in the Mt Crawford Forrest stage.
Local’s Michael and David Krichauff fought an intense battle all weekend to win the South Australian Rally Championship component of Scouts Rally SA, taking maximum points toward their effort at the title.
Paul Heenan and Andrew Kriesl claimed the final podium position in their similar Galant VR4. I think this must be the first time in quite a while that a round of a state championship has had two Galants on the podium!
Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams were focused on chasing the $2000 bounty offered by Justin Dowel (more on that later), and as a result were cruising to an easy lead of the state round for the whole event. That was, however, until an unfortunate accident on Sunday morning…
This was a real shame, because Declan’s dedicated service crew had put in a simply mammoth effort in the weeks leading up to Rally SA to fix the mechanical and chassis damage from the previous round at Millicent. And especially given dramas such as discovering coolant in the cylinder bores just days before scruitineering meant that even making the start was a big deal.
Oh yes, back to that bounty. In the weeks leading up to the event, Justin Dowel offered a $2000 cash prize if anyone could beat him the the ARC 4WD class. Given his unrestricted Evo 9 and his experience this was going to be a tough job for anyone, however for the entire event Declan and Craig were actually beating Dowel fair and square, if only by a little bit. Given their Evo 6 trades a lot of speed in to Dowel’s Evo 9 they must have been pushing fairly hard, and unfortunately history is history.
Despite Declan’s crash, mechanical problems meant that Dowel didn’t actually win, instead claiming second place. Victory and the $2000 cash went to the Victorian crew of Warren Lee and David Lethlean in a similar Evo 9.
Rally SA this year was quite a challenging event in terms of crashes and mechanical problems. Michael Busby and Steve Fisher were out on Saturday afternoon with a blown apex seal in their rotary, a result of adding more boost before the event. But no worries, as Michael assures me that the RX7 will be back out next season with much more ‘brap brap’ and even bigger lift-off flames.
This video is in the process of going viral – as at time of writing, it has been viewed over 30,000 times and has been reposted more than 10 times by different users. But surprisingly, it wasn’t the lack of wheel that caused their retirement – unfortunately it was an LSD issue that ended up stopping them.
The shift to 2WD for the ARC was a touch controversial when it was announced, but with a couple of years experience I think everyone can safely agree that it is breathing new life into the championship. Both the Renault and Honda factory teams were out in full force at service park, which reminded me just how long it’s been since we’ve seen manufacturer rivalry in the sport.
Not only that, but there’s a whole new wave of exciting challengers taking the fight to the manufacturers. The All Star Garage Nissan 370Z of Nicholas Box is one example of something I never thought I’d see gravel rallying, but it is a great addition to the sport. Unfortunately mechanical problems saw the 370Z’s retirement on Saturday, but it’s a good sign for the future.
Will Orders and Toni Feaver were out in the Nissan S13 that they used in last year’s Rally America series, where they represented our country in the land of stars and stripes. An old chassis yes, but when properly prepared like this one, its a chassis more than capable of taking up the fight.
Speaking of international competitors, European based Molly Taylor interrupted her schedule to come down under and compete in Rally SA in an Innate Motorsport Ford Fiesta R2. The daughter of Coral Taylor, Molly did the 2011 WRC Academy, and is this year competing in the European Rally Championship for the Italian United Business behind the wheel of a Citroen.
The new 2WD regulations are also responsible for a number of top spec European cars coming out to compete on our shores, such as the Volkswagen Polo Vivio of last year’s Scouts Rally SA 4WD winners Michael Boaden and Helen Cheers. I personally think its fantastic that were are getting to see cars of this caliber.
And whilst not actually competing in it, Henry Nott brought out his new BMW 130i gravel car to put on display. With a 3.0 straight 6 and a whole host of tasty gear from Europe, the 130 will be serious contender when its ready. Henry had it entered for this event but they weren’t able to get the car finished in time to have a properly sorted package. Look for a future Any Given Reason feature story on this car.
And finally, Scouts Rally SA saw the debut of the second car in the SUV class, a Porsche Cayenne. At 2.1tonne the Cayenne has some serious weight, but the V8 engine has some serious power too, so it will be an interesting and unusual challenger to the Forrester diesel of Brett Middleton.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles.
Any Given Reason’s coverage of the Scouts Rally SA was minimal this year due to an extended European tour starting the Monday after the event; I write this story from a quaint seaside village in the UK. I’ve got plenty of really cool things planned for the next few months, so stay tuned!