Rally Rides for a Reason

DSC_0563Co-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.

DSC_0104As 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.

DSC_0349The 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.

DSC_0301The punters paid either $30 for two laps or $50 for 4 laps, and could choose between hot laps in the the freshly built and unrestricted Lancer Evo 3 of Lewis Parin…

DSC_0186… the GC8 WRX Sti of 2013 South Australian Rally Champion James Rodda…

DSC_0255… the Synergy Rallysport Lancer Evo 7 of Josh Doyle…

DSC_0339… or the Ralliart built, ex Ed Ordynski Lancer Evo 5 of Tim Ramages.

DSC_0075Rally 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.

DSC_0578Any 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.

DSC_0009Whilst they obviously weren’t right on the limit, it felt like it at times!

DSC_0661Riding 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.

DSC_0768But the smaller Evo 3 and 5 felt more nimble in the tight stuff.

DSC_0004Rally Rides for a Reason had a great atmosphere, and everyone pitched in and helped wherever they could.

DSC_0151Sarah sold her now famous cupcakes (they’re excellent, I had three).

DSC_0088And despite not having rally cars, Henry and Claire even offered to take people for rides. Surprisingly, there were not many willing to take them up on their kind offer.

DSC_0030You 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.

DSC_0096That’s not to say that the guys didn’t get to have some fun, though. Lewis was experimenting with some different camera angles and yielded this excellent drivers eye view video:

DSC_0632Those 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.

DSC_0211On 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.

DSC_0426Even 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 (jrodda@rallypower.com.au)

DSC_0964The 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.

DSC_0363Words and photos by Andrew Coles

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  1. smee October 30, 2013 Reply

    Again, another good write up.
    You want nimble, try a familia, they fit through a gate opening sideways.
    In relation to navigators.
    If you are a novice driver, then a good navigator is worth their weight and more. Ask for one to ride with you in a clubman round, or a rally sprint. Offer to pay for their seat. You may be suprised who will accept. The amount of information they can dish out is amazing. They can teach you the finer arts of pace noting, time management and a few other things.
    For those Novice navigators looking to get into the sport. Approach a seeded driver and see if they would be willing to again, run a clubman or rallysprint round with you. Get them to show you what needs to be done and how the system operates. Control officials are another source of information and are always there to help. Other navs will always pitch in to help, it is the nature of the sport.
    Speaking from experience, I took a fellow who probably had 2 small events under his belt and stuck him in a front running car. With help from my ex-navving wife, we assisted in anyway we could. He has run with me now for 3 seasons and has become an accomplished WRC and State championship winning navigator. He is now in demand.
    Alas, he cannot drive so I know I'm safe out on the course.

  2. Michael Myllynen November 5, 2013 Reply

    What an awesome event! Great coverage and well done to James, Lewis and Sarah for organising it.

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