The last round of the VRC, VCRS and VSRS was very well organised and very well received by all the people I spoke to during and after the event. Competitors all seemed to enjoy the roads which were in great condition and by the end of the event had black rubber tell-tale signs of some seriously quick cars flying down them. The Club supplied all the officials for stages 3 & 7 as well as officials on other stages and also the preceding days.
Thirty eight crews started on Saturday morning with 18 nominated as HRA members and the event was won by Darren Windus and Joe Brkic with Eli Evans returning in the potent Mini to take second place. Highest HRA crew was Adrian Stratford and Kain Manning who were 3rd outright. Tony Moore was our next best in 8th place then came Mitch Garrad as co-driver for Brad Till in 11th, just ahead of Braedon Kendrick in 12th and Joel Wald in 13th. Next home were Ian Martin and Vice President Steve Young in 20th place then Peter Ellis in 22nd and Lochlan Reed in 24th. Tim and Bruce Shepherd came 26th and John Downs and Kylie Turner finished 29th. Missing 3 major controls were Luke Sytema and Tracey Dewhurst who were classified as 31st and Doug Fernie again had bad luck co-driving with Tim Clark to finish 32nd after missing 4 controls. David McGhee with Greg Hilton, calling pacenotes for the first time with him, had transmission problems and was unfortunately amongst the 4 crews listed as non-finishers. 11 members nominating other clubs included Darren Snooks and Michael Forshew in 16th place with Nick Seymour right behind in 17th, Ben and Cathy Hayes were 21st with Ross Stapleton 26 seconds adrift in 22nd place. Troy and Sam Brendel came home in 27th place. Kevin Wilson, who was a very late inclusion as co-driver in car 24 was another to DNF.
13 members entered although unfortunately only 9 nominated HRA as their club.
Highest placed was Tony Robinson (nominated NCCA) as co-driver for Steven Porter who finished 1st outright. Andrew Daniel co-drove for Kevin Millard to come home in 2nd place and so was our highest scorer in the VCRS. Keith and Judd Lewis finished in 4th place and I believe finished the season as top crew in the series. The newest club members, father and son Trevor and Chris Stilling, came home in 9th place just ahead of David McKenzie with another newly signed member in son Ewen who were 10th. Unfortunately the 2 DNFs for the event were both HRA members. Gary Kendrick and Ron Gottschalk had gearbox issues and Michael Trucano and Heli Thaw had a major altercation with a bank on SS4 and although there don’t seem to be any serious injuries the medical team was sent in to check them. Unfortunately I think NCCA has taken out the series this year so we will have to try harder next year. We must encourage members to nominate as HRA if they are competing in any of the events.
The only HRA crew in this was Keith and Judd Lewis who finished 1st and won the series.
The Gippsland Rally is to be a round of the ARC next year and is calendared for 27-28 August so will probably be held in much cooler conditions. Put it in your diaries because as an ARC round it will need even more officials than this year.
Down The Drains 2021 Touring Assembly
28 November 2021
22 crews entered the event comprising a Novice morning section and 15 of those crews continued into the afternoon Experts section. The start, lunch break and finish were at the Pakenham Auto Club facility.
Clerk of Course, John Ellis, provided a reasonably straight forward route for Section 1 (the Novice section) made a bit more challenging by basing it on maps from before WW2. Crews needed to travel about 63 kms, find 22 information boards, answer 2 questions and pass through a passage control from 2 directions. The first DNF of the event came when the Mini of Team O’Connor had alternator problems and had to return to the halfway break on a trailer. Alex Kovacevic and Doug Fernie withdrew Doug’s Peugeot 203 at the halfway break with distributor problems.
5 crews managed to find all the informations and answer the questions to claim maximum points (480) with a further 4 crews missing only 1 info to be just 10 points behind. The close results meant the 2nd section for the “experts” would require everyone to be on the ball to break clear of the bunch.
For the Novice division the winners were Michael O’Brien and Scott Liggins, in their Volvo and Matt and Jessy de Vaus, in a Subaru, with 470 points. That score had them equal with 2 of the “Experts” crews and only one spot behind the outright leaders, so a very good effort from inexperienced navigators to do so well. Third place went to Jacqui Collihole and Greg Hannah in a Porsche.
After a lunch break and time for the navigators to sort the instructions for the second half, crews again left at 1 minute intervals for the “Expert Section”. Heading generally east then south east from Pakenham, this section took crews over 115 kms to try and find 47 information or R boards and 2 passage controls while still getting back to the finish before closing time for the final control.
John Ellis managed to set a challenge where someone found each of his discretely placed boards while no-one found all of them. That was his aim so Well Done John.
The only problem some crews had was a road temporarily closed by police as a result of a car accident (not involving any of the competitors) which meant about a 30 minute hold-up and in the final scoring VIAs 14, 15 and 16 were deleted from the results as some crews had navigated around the closure to ensure they finished within time whilst the crews that waited were given a time allowance.
Out of a possible score of 680 points, top score of 640 points went to Geoff Floyd with Peter Canals driving him around in a Holden Rodeo. In 2nd place, very close behind with 630 points, were Bob Watson and Phil Nicholas in Bob’s Renault 16 and just 10 points further back were Paul Eccles and Robin Smalley in a Ford Everest.
Many thanks go to the organisers and the crew of wonderful officials who made the day a great occasion for all.
We hope that the coming season has fewer interruptions and everyone has a chance to get out and enjoy the sport we love.
14 December 2021
Adrian Stratford and Cain Manning, 3rd OR in the Gippsland Rally. John Doutch pic