Co-driving in a proper gravel rally car is a whole lot of fun but it’s not always the easiest seat in the house to get. There’s plenty of rides to be had if you’re good enough but you’ve gotta work your way up from the bottom over many seasons, and a lot of the hire cars out there tend to be fairly well used up.
As a result a lot of rally fans and the friends and family of competitors don’t actually know what it feels like to be strapped in and sliding through a gravel corner sideways at speed. James Rodda of Rallypower Motorsport and Lewis & Sarah Parin of Cupcake Crumbz/ Velocity Racing are well aware of this so decided to organise a rides day to raise money for two charities that sit close to their hearts.
The formula was simple. They chose a venue (Lanac Park, close to Mount Compass in the state’s South) where the cars could get some speed up and be flung around without risk of hitting anything too solid. They convinced a couple of other drivers to come down and give rides too, and asked a bunch of officials to volunteer their time to run the day. They found some generous sponsors to cover the costs of putting the day on, and they organised and marketed the event themselves.
Rally Rides for a Reason was a sellout and over the two days the four cars gave over 150 rides, raising $8,000 to be split equally between Cystic Fibrosis South Australia and the Royal Society for the Blind.
Any Given Reason went for a few rides (strictly for holistic event report reasons only, I swear) and is happy to report that despite the fact that the drivers were just giving rides and not actually competing, these blokes weren’t hanging about.
Riding back to back, it was fascinating to feel the differences in the way the cars handled. The longer wheelbase of the Evo 7 certainly made it feel, to me at least, a lot more stable in the faster turns.
You might say that the real winners out of this were the drivers, getting to drive their rally cars at speed for a whole weekend. But the reality is that it actually cost these guys a lot of money to give these rides. Tuned turbo engines chew a lot of fuel when they’re being worked; gravel tires don’t last that long; antilag takes its toll on turbochargers and the harsh nature of rallying means that gearbox, engine and suspension component life is often measured in a shockingly low number of events. Spending two full days belting around Lanac Park effectively added an extra event (or two) on these cars, putting a dent in the annual and already stretched rally budget.
Those who attended Rally Rides for a Reason were also treated to what will most likely be the last time that full spec rally cars will have a run at Lanac Park. With a history of competition stretching back almost 40 years, Lanac Park is facing closure at the end of the year as the Southern Districts Car Club relocate to a new facility in a different location. The new facility will be bigger and better and will provide new opportunities for a wide range of events, but it’s hard to picture a more scenic location than Lanac Park for some casual motorsport on a Sunday afternoon.
On behalf of everyone who was fortunate enough to go for a ride, I’d like to extend a huge thanks to James, Sarah, Lewis and the whole team involved in making Rides for a Reason a reality. It just goes to show that with a little bit of vision and a whole lot of dedication, anyone can make a big difference.
Even though the event is over, the guys are still accepting donations and I know that anything you can give to the cause will be received with open arms. Rally Rides for a Reason was quickly sold out and who knows, a donation may just be enough to secure you number one spot if they run it again! You can make your donation here via Paypal with Cupcake Crumbz, or by emailing James Rodda direct (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The event organisers would also like to thank their generous sponsors: Fresh 92.7, Supaloc, Rallyschool.com.au, Cupcake Crumbz, Autosport, Graham West Workshops, Signs One, Dan Day Racing, Morgan Smith LJ Hooker Christies Beach, Limitless Media Productions, Adelaide Turbo Services and Wetsuit Coolers Stubby Holders.