Photos courtesy of:
John Doutch

Evans And Honda Taste Champagne

At the end of a difficult weekend at Rally Victoria, the final Round of the 2013 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, Eli Evans and Honda have tasted champagne as their relationship comes to an end after four years of success.

 
In addition Evans’ win this weekend extends his unbeaten run in the Championship to twelve consecutive Round victories and means he hasn’t been beaten to the top step of the podium over the past two seasons
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Posted on November 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Saturday Forest Spectating

Heat two of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship starts early Saturday morning with 5 great spectating opportunities to see the Championship competitors along with the many Victorian State Championship crews who’ll be out to try and match the pace of the national teams.

With the first car due on the mornings Special Stage “Bennies” at 8am, this point will be great to watch the drivers perfecting the “Scandinavian flick”, where they’ll then make their way to the next stage of the day, and a short refuel a the Neerim Oval.  This point is repeated, with the 2nd pass expected to take place around 1pm.

If seeing the cars hard under brakes is more your style, then the Torbets/Learthmonth point will expect it’s first car through at 10am.  Competitors will approach via a fast downhill road where they will slide into a right hand corner, and then disappear to complete the remaining 34km Special Stage!  Thanks to the Port Phillip 4x4 Club hot food and drinks will be available, to rejuvenate yourself for the 2nd passing due at 3pm.

Finally competitors will end the event covering the 2.28km Super Special Stage around Lardner Park from 4.30pm before the Event Podium & Champaign Spray takes place shortly after 5pm.

Rally Victoria is the final round of the 2013 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, and the Victorian Rally Championship, and is proudly supported by Tankformers, Fuji Xerox, Racerecall, The Shire of Baw Baw and the State Government of Victoria.

Download your full Spectator Guide Here

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Eli’s Unexpected Sprint Win

With four stages making up Heat One at Rally Victoria it was always going to be a sprint full of surprises, and it didn’t disappoint with Brendan Reeves showing incredible pace, Scott Pedder ending up off road, Eli Evans securing an unexpected win and Honda securing the manufacturer’s Championship.

The afternoon began with Reeves powering out of the starting blocks on the unbelievably slippery Ada River stage by a remarkable 6.6 seconds, with all drivers complaining about the atrociously boggy conditions they encountered.

Reeves would then extend that lead by a further 2.8 seconds on the 13.6km Gunns stage to lead Eli into the service break by 9.4 seconds.

“I had great balance with the car,” explained Brendan of his advantage. “It felt like a Super 2000 car, I could get it inch perfect on every apex.”

While Reeves was elated with his times arch rival Evans was left scratching his head. “Being 9 seconds down after two stages was a worry, we had a big chat at service and I wasn’t feeling that confident heading into the final two stages of the day.”

Running first on the road Evans arrived at the finish control of the third stage, the repeat of Ada River, to find that he’d gone a full one second slower than his stage time on the first run.

“I drove that stage as hard as I could, so to get to the finish and see I was slower, I just couldn’t believe it. At that stage I thought I was at least 15 seconds down on Brendan, and heading into the last stage that’s all I could think about,” said Evans.

In fact, unbeknownst to Eli, while he’d gone slower than his first run he had in fact been 9.6 seconds faster than Reeves and had reclaimed the lead by a slender 0.2 seconds overall.

Thinking he was up to 15 seconds down Eli charged, threw caution to the wind, and charged through the last stage to claim the Heat by 3.2 seconds.

“I’m so glad I attacked otherwise we wouldn’t have won,” said a relieved Eli. “On that last stage I honestly had no idea we were actually ahead 

of Brendan. I think I can say that is one of the best drives I’ve ever had in the (Honda) Jazz.”

“I look forward now to tomorrow on roads I really enjoy. They are fast and wide, and I’m going to attack every corner until there isn’t a single bit of rubber left on the tyres!” Eli exclaimed.

Meanwhile Reeves was upbeat despite coming close to a Heat victory. “I knew his times and I knew what was at stake. Unfortunately I made two big mistakes on the third stage and that’s what cost us the big lead we’d built,” said Brendan.

“It was a good day, we used less tyres that Eli did, and we know we have the speed to match him and beat him. So I head into tomorrow confident that if we do a good job we have a chance to win,” he added.

 

Back on the opening stage disaster for Scott Pedder who broke the steering on his Renault Clio, which dropped him off the road and beached his car in the wet and muddy conditions.

Disappointment on the very first corner of the opening stage for veteran Neal Bates, who arrived too fast and similarly, beached his Celica on a hidden stump. “Just too fast, ran wide and went off – simple as that,” he explained.

The hidden stump bent the rear differential housing on the Classic Celica, forcing Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor to limp through the remaining three stages before the damaged components could be changed.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 11:22 PM

Not out of the Waters Yet

Whilst the wet weather has certainly been clearing up, were not quite out of the waters yet - The team behind Rally Victoria, would though like to put out a special thank you to the Competitors & Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).

Wednesday saw the cancellation of testing due to the huge falls of water occurring, and the high potential for significant road damage & decreasing the abilities/access for medical response teams, should they be required. Whilst this has impacted several teams, it has also reinforced the strong partnership between Rally Victoria & the DEPI.

Today DEPI officials transversed the stages along with event officials prior to the running of all Special Stages - this allowed certainty of road conditions, to ensure both the safety of Competitors & Officials could be maintained to a high standard.

With Saturdays weather forecast set to further improve, Representatives from the department will continue to travel with event organisers, sharing there expertise's and advice to the benefit of competitors & volunteers alike.

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Heavy Rain, washes out Testing

An Unprecedented amount of rainfall in Gippslands west has resulted in the cancellation of official pre-event testing today.

"After discussions with the Ranger, It's very unfortunate that we've had to pull the pin on testing.  If we had continued to run, it would have jeopardised the running of the Rally on Friday & Saturday" said Event Clerk of Course Alan Mackay.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology report that a in the 24 hours to 9 AM Tuesday, rainfall totals of up to 76 mm have been recorded in the West Gippsland catchments.
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Posted on November 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM