Scouts Rally SA 2014

ROSA_2014_Saturday (46)Scouts Rally SA once again returned to the Mount Crawford Forest and the northern hills over the weekend of August 1-3 for three heats of intense gravel rally action on some of South Australia’s most challenging roads.

ROSA_2014_Sunday (12)Taking the outright event win and victory in round four of the Australian Rally Championship was Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt in the Walkinshaw Performance prepared Renault Sport Clio R3. The pairing narrowly claimed victory in all three heats which was enough to snatch the lead of the ARC.

ROSA_2014_Saturday (50)Claiming second place was Brendon Reeves and Rhiannon Gelsomino in the quick little G2 Mazda 2. It was a close battle for much of the event however the Mazda 2 was struck with problems, including non functioning windscreen wipers in heavy rain and the loss of a rear wheel on SS20 when the studs broke, forcing Reeves to tripod back to service. Reeves was able to match the pace of Pedder when everything was working correctly, but these niggling problems kept him down at this crucial point in the championship. With two rounds remaining, Pedder managed to snatch the championship lead. Continue reading

Preparing for a wet (and snowy?) Rally of South Australia – 1st -3rd August

ROSA_2014_Recce (17)This was pretty much going to be just a post with a few links to maps and the spectator guide for this weekend’s Rally of South Australia, round three of the South Australian Rally Championship and round four of the Australian Rally Championship. But that would have been pretty boring, right? Luckily Henry Nott and the NOTTRacing crew stepped up and invited Any Given Reason to their Wednesday test day, so I strapped in for a sideways blast down the muddy test stage in Henry’s seriously quick little Lancer Evo 6. But more on that in a moment.

ROSA_2014_RecceRally is arguably one of the hardest forms of motorsport to take photos of because you can’t just simply rock up and start shooting. Before you even get to thinking about camera gear and knowing how to use it, you need to be in the right place at the right time. And with literally hundreds of competitive kilometers stretching the entire Adelaide Hills over just three days, you can’t be everywhere at once.

ROSA_2014_Recce (26)The only real way to do it is to drive the entire course beforehand and make educated guesses about which spots will deliver the results. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you mess it up completely, but at the end of the day that’s half the fun. So with the competitors out there completing their recce and writing their pacenotes, we grabbed a forestry key to the Mount Crawford Forest and joined them in my WRX to go have a look. Continue reading

Scouts Rally SA – Round 4 of the South Australian Rally Championship

Sandy Nott and David Langfield have delivered a superb effort in difficult conditions to win round 4 of the South Australian Rally Championship, the Scouts Rally SA. Despite the extremely slippery stage conditions in the Mt Crawford and Kutipo forest areas where the rally was held, Nott and Langfield climbed to first place early in Heat 3 and managed to hold off the charge from second place Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams in their Evo 6.

Dwyer and Adams sped to an early lead on Friday’s Heat 1, but were soon suffering from brake problems later in the day that left them with as little as 30% brake capacity at some points. The pair clawed back their lead with a trouble free run on Saturday’s Heat 2, however despite winning Sunday’s Heat 3 they still couldn’t quite catch Nott’s Evo 4. But when everything was working as it should, the recently purchased white Evo was unstoppable. It was an absolute pleasure to watch Declan drive – every time we saw him he was right on the limit, but never stepping over it. Comparing stage times makes for interesting reading – Declan’s time through the famous Tweeden stage would have placed him third outright in the overall ARC 4WD category, especially stunning when you consider that his Evo 6 has considerably less power due to its lower state championship spec tune, and is a full decade older than the Evo 9 and 10 that were faster.

Dan Day and Steve Glenney had another trouble free run to claim the final podium position in Day’s STI. This is a strong result for the 18 year old Day, as entry into this year’s SARC (and ARC) with co-driver and mentor Steve Glenney is purely an experience gaining exercise to learn as much as possible for future campaigns.

Fourth place was claimed by James Rodda and Jim Gleeson, who had another trouble free run to claim valuable championship points. Despite not yet managing to win an event this year, Rodda has proven that consistency is the key and went into Rally SA leading the state championship. Dwyer has since claimed that lead by just a few points, but Rodda is still firmly within reach heading into the final round in a few weeks time. But the big news from Rally SA is that Rodda won the 4WD class of the Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge, securing his place in the Junior Challenge grand final at the Coffs Coast ARC round in October.

This edition of Rally SA proved to be one of the toughest on record as it turned into a rally of attrition. Despite the relatively dry weather during the event in some of the coldest and wettest parts of the state in the middle of winter, very heavy rain in the weeks leading up to the rally meant the roads, particularly in Kuitpo forest, were boggy even before the event began. In many places the roads were seriously slippery, even walking across them was a challenge in not slipping and making a fool of oneself.  Continue reading