Sydney-London Classic Marathon Rally 2014

Syd-Lon2014 (7)There’s an undeniable attraction to long distance rallying. Combining motorsport and travel with the adventure and challenge that comes with rallying every day for over a month, the opportunity to compete in an event like the Sydney-London is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When it passed through South Australia’s Barossa Valley recently, Any Given Reason just had to get out and see it.

Syd-Lon2014 (26)The Sydney-London is mooted as a reverse direction re-run of the famous London-Sydney rallies of 1968 and 1971, the likely never to be seen again pinnacles of long distance competition. Unfortunately the modern interpretation is far from the original, but that’s more a sign of the world we live in than anything else. The 1968 original raced through Turkey to Iran stopping in Tehran, through Afghanistan stopping in Kabul, and through Pakistan to Delhi. The route then traveled through India to Bombay (now Mumbai), where the cars boarded a boat to Perth. The Middle East is a stunning part of the world but sadly these days it’s more renowned for war and violence than anything else, and the thought of running a car rally through some of those countries seems vaguely laughable right now.

Z_Syd-Lon2014 (3)Hopefully in our lifetimes we’ll see these countries politically stable enough to host a car rally, but that isn’t the case right now so for 2014 the Sydney-London flies over that part of the world. Legs 1 & 2 last for 12 days and sees the competitors travel 7750km from Sydney to Perth, with 33 timed Special Stages (1133 competitive km). After an airlift the rally resumes in Ankara (Turkey) with 6000km through Europe comprising Leg 3 to Rijeka, and then Leg 4 with some classic stages through Wales on the way to the London finish. Continue reading

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Sydney – London Classic Marathon to pass through SA before Easter

Sydney-London_Prep 1423The Sydney – London Classic Marathon is passing through South Australia over the next few days, so to prepare Any Given Reason went and had a look at what is sure to be one of the front running contenders – the Datsun 260Z of Geoff Olholm and John Doble.

Note – keep reading for leg maps and stage times for the South Australian stages

Sydney-London_Prep 1414Longtime Any Given Reason readers will be familiar with Olholm and his Coconut Car Racing Team – AGR checked out the Rally Raid Desert Warrior he used in the 2011 Dakar Rally, and followed his 2013 Dakar Rally campaign where he was first privateer and 11th outright in an Overdrive built V8 Hilux.

Sydney-London_Prep 1430Like all of Olholm’s cars, the 260Z has been prepared for the rally in the Adelaide workshop of Garry Kirk. It looks like your regular gravel rally Z-car, but with a few minor additions for both strength and reliability.

Sydney-London_Prep 1426The 260Z isn’t new to the world of marathon rallies, having been previously used in the 2009 East African Safari Classic Rally. It has received a complete teardown rebuild since then, and is in stunning shape. Continue reading

Mount Alma Mile Hillclimb 2014

MtAlma2014 1276Kevin Mackrell has thundered his way to another consecutive 4WD outright victory in the Mount Alma Mile hillclimb, held recently at Inman Valley on the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula. Behind the wheel of his all-conquering V8 powered Datsun 260Z, Mackrell held a firm grip on the two-day event, overcoming a five second penalty to take the win.

MtAlma2014 1277The 2WD category was won by Clinton Faustmann in the REVS/Faustune prepared FD RX7, who wrangled the flame spitting rotor up the hill slightly quicker than Jason Unkovich, who claimed third outright 2WD in the same car.

MtAlma2014 1320The big battle all weekend was between Mackrell and the Supaloc Racing Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera of Kevin Weeks, now sporting a fresh twin turbo setup. Weeks was still a fraction off Mackrell’s times, but the noise of the forced induction Italian V10 outclassed the 260Z in every way. It was spine tingling and worth coming just to listen to it alone. Continue reading

Any Given Reason Burger Meet 3

BurgerMeet3 627The concept of Burger Meet is simple – a car park meet to get as many readers of Any Given Reason and their cars in the same place as possible. The emphasis is on diversity and informality, and the vague idea of standing around a car park eating burgers is about as far as the planning goes.

BurgerMeet3 525On the evening of Saturday 28th December, the readers of Any Given Reason descended on the Hagen Arms Hotel at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills to watch the sun set with burgers, beers, and of course, cars. And what a spectacular array of cars it was – but more on that later.

BurgerMeet3 518The thing that makes organising Burger Meet such an exciting, rewarding and completely terrifying experience is that I have absolutely no idea who actually reads and follows this blog. I get traffic statistics but they’re just abstract numbers and graphs, so when I put the word out that Burger Meet 3 was happening I had exactly zero idea who and how many people would actually come. I guessed about 80 cars and thought it would be pretty cool if we could fill the car park, but when streams of cars started pouring in and it wasn’t even the 6pm start-time yet, I started to get a little nervous/overjoyed. Continue reading

Scouts Rally SA 2013

DSC_4397Eli 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.

DSC_4402In a strong showing for the new factory supported Renault Sport team, Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt claimed second place driving their freshly built Renault Sport Clio R3.

DSC_4182The experienced crew of Brendan Reeves and Rhiannon Smyth finished third in another strong showing behind the wheel of the Rally School G2 Mazda 2.

DSC_4189Jack 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.

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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!

DSC_4139The 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.

DSC_4382The popular NSW crew of Fro Horobin and Greg McPherson fought hard for the final podium slot in their similar Datsun 180B. Continue reading

The Henry Lawson Memorial Rally

Stephen Mee and Damian Reed have won the Henry Lawson Memorial Rally, round 3 of the South Australian Clubman Series, held at the Tailem Bend Motorsports Complex on Sunday 1st September. Fighting overheating issues and the rough roads which claimed many other competitors, Smee and Reed pushed hard all day to take the victory by almost a minute and a half after after 64 competitive kilometres.

Paul Rowe and Alex Raggatt, driving a Subaru Legacy RS Turbo, finished in second place.

Third outright was won by the Datsun Stanza of Andrew Gleeson and Lisi Phillips, who also took victory in the classic class.

The Datsun 1600 of Gavin Fowler and Warren Neitz looked fantastic as it slid around the two stages to take fourth place. Continue reading

Scouts Rally SA – Australian Rally Championship round 4

Eli Evans and Glen Weston have maintained their dominance in the 2WD Australian Rally Championship to claim victory at Scouts Rally SA in their G2 spec Honda Jazz. Despite a strong push from local hero Jack Monkhouse, Evans held on to extend his lead in the 2WD national championship.

The experienced husband and wife pairing of Simon and Sue Evans cruised to second place in the debut outing for the new Rallyschool Mazda 2. The car showed exceptional pace throughout the event and was a serious challenger to the Jazz of Simon’s brother, Eli. This really is a remarkable effort because despite its looks, the Mazda isn’t actually a factory backed car – it was developed and built by Mick Ryan and the privateer team at Rallyschool. For it to be up challenging for an outright win in its first event speaks volumes of the thought and skill that went into its preparation.

Third place was earned by the second Jazz G2 of Mark Pedder and Claire Ryan, which was a momentous occasion for two reasons. The first is that this was Claire’s first ARC podium, and the second is that this is the first time that the entire podium was taken by cars from the new G2 class.  Continue reading