All systems go for Bathurst Rally
- 23rd May 2008, 9:10am
The opening round of the inaugural AASA Australian Rally Championship, the Bathurst RSL Club Rally of Bathurst will be conducted in the Bathurst region this weekend, and has attracted a high class 52 car field with several drivers capable of winning.
Starting from the rear of the Bathurst RSL Club tomorrow morning at 8.35, the field will transport to the Sunny Corner State Forest, where there will be 13 competitive stages over the two days with 240 klms competitve drivng. There is one central service point at Marys Camp on the Sunny Corner Road.
The event will be conducted by AMSAG, with Dave Aitchison as director, and apart from being the first round of the AASA Australian Championship, the rally is also the second round of the AussieDuct Southern Cross Rally Series.
Due to a business commitment in New Zealand, former Australian champion Ed Ordynski will not be seen by AMSAG rally fans, however his place has been taken by international star Ron Cremen who will start as car 1 with former Australian champion co-driver Dale Moscatt, in a Mitsubishi Evo 6. In Dubai, where Cremen has competed in rallies for several years, he is a star, with advertising material using his face on bill boards scattered around the city.
The first four cars are 4 Wheel Drive turbo-charged, and in car two is an up and coming youngster from Sydney, Scott Kuhner with the experienced Phill Dodd navigating for him in an Evo 5. This will be a good test for Kuhner, who has been putting in some very good performances in a Mitsubishi VR4, until moving up to the Evo this year.
Right behind the youngster are two Bathurst drivers, both driving Subaru WRX STi's, and both very hard chargers who know the area well, and both are capable of pulling off an upset.
Gareth Morgan-Thomas, the 2004 AMSAG Aussie Duct Southern Cross Rally Series champion behind the wheel of a 5 litre V8 Commodore, will start from position three in his WRX, and if he adapts fast enough to the 4 Wheel Drive turbo car with brakes, he will be a big chance to take victory.
Former Search for a Rally Star winner Joe Chapman will start from #4 in his WRX, with his father John Chapman as co-driver. The 29 year old is painfully aware luck deserted him after purchasing the WRX when he won the competition, but he is confident with a clear mind after a two year spell, and a very successful recent test of the car, he can turn that luck around this weekend.
Chapman will also know that Brad Goldsbrough, from whom he purchased the car, is just behind him in position five, driving his very potent Datsun 1600 with his brother Ashley alongside. Goldsbrough is a talent of AMSAG from where he started his career, and is a former winner of the Southern Cross Rally Series, NSW Rally Championship and Australian Privateer championship. Now back in the 2WD Datto, he will be keeping the 4WD's honest in this years AASA ARC, after having already won the first round of the 2008 Southern Cross Series, the Jenolan Rally.
The defending Southern Cross champion in Jamie Waterhouse starts next in his potent little Datsun 120Y, more commonly known as a 240Y. One spot behind Waterhouse is another regular AMSAG rally star, Jeff David and Grant Geelan in their Porsche.
There is also a Queensland contingent in Bathurst for the rally led by Richard Galley and Barrie Burr. The pair made the trip south for the Jenolan Rally and finished second to Goldsbrough in a Datsun 260Z. This weekend, however, they are in a recently puchased Datsun 1600, and will start from position eight.
Of the 52 cars, the field is made-up of four cars in the modern 4WD, two in the modern 2WD and the remainder in the popular classic class.
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