Alpine attracts who’s who of rallying
- 15th October 2007, 11:52am
In no particular order, check out the following competitors of note:
Steve Ashton – current chairman of Rallycorp, the commercial rights holder of the Australian Rally Championship. Ashton is a former ARC competitor and has done many marathon events. He will drive a Mitsubishi Galant with wife Ro Nixon co-driving.
Paul Batten – regular ARC competitor in 2007. Batten will drive a Leyland P76 with his father, Mike, navigating.
Wayne Bell – perhaps the fastest driver never to win the Australian Rally Championship. Bell is a rallying legend, having driven for the Holden Dealer Team in many rallies, and is the man responsible for starting Hyundai’s rallying program in the 1990s. Although he’s been out of the sport for some years, Bell will drive a Fiat 131 Abarth replica that has previously been driven by Greg Carr.
Neil Cuthbert – Director of the Rally of Melbourne for many years, Cuthbert is a former top Victorian driver, having driven Datsun 1600s and Subarus over the years. This will be his first rally for many years.
Gerry Duyvestyn – not regarded as a possible top finisher in the event, Duyvestyn drove a Lancia Stratos in the last Alpine, in 2005. This year he’ll drive another ex-works Italian machine – a turbocharged and supercharged Lancia 037. It will be worth going to the Alpine just to see this car!
Brett Middleton – a former Formula 2 winner in the ARC, Middleton has driven Daihatsu Charades, Honda Civics and Subaru Imprezas at ARC level. He will contest the Alpine in a Honda Civic, with regular co-driver Andrew Benefield in the passenger seat.
Jack Monkhouse – one of the fast young guns of Australian rallying, Monkhouse’s career has been cut short because of a lack of funds in recent years. For the Alpine he’ll drag his beloved Datsun 180B SSS out of the shed and could be a real chance for victory. The experienced Dale Moscatt will partner him.
David Officer – The 1986 Australian Champion, “Dinta” is now a regular in Historic Rally Association events in a Mitsubishi Galant. Now enjoying rallying simply for the fun aspect, rather than going out to win, Dinta and wife Kate will be hoping to finish this year’s Alpine, rather than rolling, as they did in the 2005 event.
Geoff Portman – the two-time Australian Rally Champion won the last Alpine in a Holden Commodore, and will drive another V8 Holden in this year’s event. Portman honed his skills at the Otago Classic Rally in New Zealand in April, and will have Steuart Snooks calling the corners for him.
Brian Semmens – winner of the 2003 Alpine Rally, Semmens has been continually improving the performance of his V6 Nissan 200SX. His can will be one of the quickest in the rally, and one of the favourites to win.
Darryn Snooks – one of the country’s leading classic rally car exponents, Snooks drove his Stanza to eighth place in the Otago Rally in New Zealand this year. After a disappointing run in the Great Lakes Classic Rally in NSW last month, he’ll be keen to make amends.
Bob Watson – yet another former Australian Rally Champion who’ll compete in the Alpine Rally, Watson will drive a Datsun 1600, and will have Wayne Gregson navigating. Gregson is best know for navigating for Greg Carr in the 1970s, when Carr was at the wheel of the Gerry Ball Tuning Services Datsun 180B SSS.
With a 110 car limit, the Alpine Rally has a number of reserves on the list, who will be hoping that they get a start in the arduous two-day event.
The Alpine Rally will run on November 24 and 25, with stages on Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday. Further details on the event can be found at the official Alpine Rally website.
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