West Australians competitors finish first and third in Canberra and South Australia

Netier National Capital Rally
 
West Australian Champion co-driver Ben Searcy has added another winner’s trophy to his poolroom after finishing fastest at Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra last weekend (1 – 3 June), a round of both the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC).
 
It’s back-to-back wins for Searcy and driver Eli Evans in their Skoda Fabia R5 after taking Western Australia’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally in April.
 
The duo who currently lead both the drivers and co-drivers ARC standings, finished almost five minutes faster than nearest competitor, Adrian Coppin and co-driver Glenn Weston also in a Skoda Fabia R5. In third place 6:13 minutes behind first was Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis in a Subaru WRX STi.
 
Searcy of East Vic Park said that the rally in Canberra was challenging.
 
“The rally, as expected, was rough and tough on cars with the roads breaking up to become rocky and slippery. We had two flat tyres on Saturday, so it definitely wasn’t a faultless run,” Searcy, 39, said.
 
“Harry Bates’ AP4 car is going really well and he pushed us all the way to the end, it was a great battle with him and with Steve Glenney in the Subaru – it’d be fair to say we worked very hard for the eventual win.
 
“Eli drove really well, very measured and we didn’t have any problems with the Skoda R5; the RaceTorque team always prepare the best cars, which was proven with a 1-2 overall finish.”
 
For full results visit http://www.rally.com.au/championship/
 

Overall Netier National Capital Rally
Pos Crew Vehicle Total
Gap 1st 
1 EVANS
SEARCY
Skoda
Fabia RS
2:41:23.7
+
2 COPPIN
WESTON
Skoda
Fabia RS
2:46:22.1
+04:58.4
3 GLENNEY
SARANDIS
Subaru
WRX STi
2:47:37.2
+06:13.5

 

From left: Ben Searcy and Eli Evans. Photo: CAMS 
Andrew MacDonald and Tom Wilde, Rally of the Heartlands. Photo: Rush Media
AGL Rally SA – Rally of the Heartlands
 
West Australian driver Andrew MacDonald and co-driver Tom Wilde celebrated a podium finish at the classic car AGL Rally SA – Rally of the Heartlands held 2nd and 3rd June in South Australia.
 
At the time of writing results remained provisional, expected to be finalised in the next week. There was confusion with results from the get-go with non-classic cars listed amongst classic cars making it difficult to follow rankings during the event.
 
As such, for MacDonald, it was a surprise to learn they’d finished in third place in his 1983 Toyota Sprinter when handed a card at time control.
 
“Obviously I’m very happy. To finish on the podium was a surprising and emotional result. I’ve been rallying on and off for ten years, and that’s the first time I’ve sprayed champagne – Tom had to teach me how to do it!” MacDonald quipped.
 
“The rally was completely different to our roads in WA. In some parts it was almost like an outback safari and on the wind farm, the roads were really fast and flowing with blind crests.
 
“We were able to reach twice the speed I’m used to, there was nothing left, it was as fast as the car could go, there was enough road to really go flat out, and that was fun.
 
“The car held together, or rather held on, which is incredible given it copped so much abuse in one weekend. A result like this makes all the effort and expense all worth it,” MacDonald said.
 
“Big thanks to Flood Motorsport, Allstar Garage, Gearmotive, Driving Sports, Rally School and most importantly my usual co-driver and wife Caity.” 
 
MacDonald’s co-driver Tom Wilde, the reigning Western Australian Rally Championship drivers champ, said it was a great result.
 
“It was great to finish third, especially for Andy (MacDonald) as it was his first podium,” said Wilde, a cheesemaker from Nannup.
 
“As a blind rally, it was different to what I’ve done before. The roads were fantastic especially through the windmill farm where the roads are private and not open to the public, which I suppose that keeps a blind rally, totally blind.
 
“Andy drove really well, his car has no where near the power of others, it’s only a 1.6 litre, so really, he’s punching above his weight,” Wilde said.
 
For Nic Box and co-driver Todd Payne, it was a bitter-sweet rally from the start, suffering a split oil line that destroyed the engine of their 1988 Nissan Silvia during the first stage.
 
“It took four of us about ten hours to rebuild the engine, which we did in time to restart Leg Two on Sunday,” Box said.
 
The hard work paid dividends with Box / Payne winning two of the Leg’s six stages and finishing second in three stages before being forced to retire in the final stage.
 
The only car quicker was the Audi Quattro of Mal Keough and Pip Bennett from NSW who won the event.
 
“It was good fun when it was going, but disappointing to miss so many stages,” said Box.
 
“The event was awesome with the best roads I’ve ever driven, they were fast and flowing, lots of high speed opportunities and that’s what I like.
 
“Aside from the spectator stage, we were reaching speeds over 200 kilometres per hour on every stage, the maximum speed we reached on the final stage was 234 kilometres per hour, we were flat out. The car, when it was going, was perfect to drive, it really suits high-speed roads.
 
“But on the first pass of the 70-kilometre stage which was the second-last stage of the rally, we blew a diff toward the end but managed to finish the stage. We changed the diff in service but blew another diff about 51 kilometres into the last stage and we had to get towed. Rally over,” said Box, a 36-year-old mechanic from Ballajura.
 
“I’d like to thank WAGS Automotive Gearbox Specialists – the gearbox was the most reliable thing on the car all weekend, and Zestino tyres – I felt like they gave us an unfair advantage they were so good.”
 
Of the 21 cars that started the Rally of the Heartlands, six had West Australian drivers or co-drivers and 11 cars finished.
 
Shane Attwell and co-driver David Moir in a 1971 Ford Falcon finished in seventh overall and Tony Gilfuis and co-driver Stuart Young in a 1978 Ford Escort finished in eighth.
 
WA driver Robert Webber in a 1988 BMW E30 and NSW co-driver Gregg McPherson retired after Stage 10 and WA’s Richard Bennett in a 1967 Ford Mustang and South Australian co-driver Matthew James-Wallace retired after Stage 12.  
 
The route centred around the Burra in South Australia with stages around the Flinders Ranges and the Goyder Region, home of AGL’s wind farms. Competitors covered a total of 863 kilometres, of which 433 were competitive kilometres on 15 stages run in daylight and at night.
 
For more information, visit www.aglrallysa.com.au.
 

Overall 2018 Rally of the Heartland – Classic
Pos Crew Vehicle Total
Gap 1st 
1 KEOUGH
BENNETT
Audi
Quattro
1:35:16.5
+
2 REDDIEX
MITCHELL
Datsun
1600 SSS 1971
1:42:15.9
+06:59.4
3 MACDONALD
WILDE
Toyota
AE86 Levin
1:44:55.1
+09:38.6
7 ATTWELL
MOIR
Ford
Falcon 1971
1:57:07.2
+21:50.7
8 GILFUIS
YOUNG
Ford
Escort 1978
1:59:24.9
+24:08.4
  BOX
PAYNE
Nissan
Silvia 1988
DNF
  WEBBER
MCPHERSON (NSW)
BMW
E30 1988
DNF
  BENNETT
JAMES-WALLACE (SA)
Ford
Mustang 1967
DNF

 

Nic Box and Todd Payne. Photo: Rush Media
Andrew MacDonald and Tom Wilde. Photo: Rush Media
Tom Wilde and Andrew MacDonald
Shane Attwell and David Moir. Photo: Rush Media
Tony Gilfuis and Stuart Young. Photo: Rush Media
Robert Webber and Gregg McPherson. Photo: Rush Media
Richard Bennett and Matthew James-Wallace. Photo: Rush Media
Nic Box and Todd Payne. Photo: Rush Media