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By Matthew Harriott

On June 20, the Light Car Club of Canberra Safari Rally was contested in the forests surrounding Canberra. The Safari Rally is traditionally a popular event with ACT and NSW competitors, with this event contributing to both the PCD Engineering ACT Regional Rally Series and the CAMS NSW Clubman Series.

After winning the last round in Canberra, Michael Barrett and Tim Batten led the field into the forest as car one, however, it was NSW competitors, Jon Parker and Jamie Neale in a Mitsubishi EVO, who drove a solid opening two stages to secure an early 20second lead in the outright standings.

Now Barrett and Batten, along with fellow Canberrans Peter Taylor and Kim Martin in their Group N(P) Corolla, set out to chase down the NSW pair. By half way through the event, Barrett/Batten had claimed back only six seconds. Over the following stages Barrett/Batten drew even and took back the lead of the event.

As night set in the rain started to fall and the final stage become extremely slippery. A grueling 32 kilometres stood between the crews and victory with only ninety seconds separating the top teams. Barrett and Batten drove through to victory, winning by a commanding 110 seconds, Taylor/Martin 2nd and Parker/Neale 3rd.

The competition for the ACT Clubman saw David Boyd and Julie Boorman drive a Datsun Stanza to an outright seventh place whilst winning maximum points for the clubman series ahead of a fast finishing Mike Behnke and Brett Southwell in a Honda Civic and the father and son combination of Kagan and Phil Skipper in Charade. Behnke's determination was obvious to spectators at the Mineshaft as he landed sideways after jumping over the infamous drop.

Novice competitors showed some impressive speed with Stephen Duthie and Damien Hanns in a Datsun 180B finishing 11th outright leaving some clubman drivers scratching their heads as to what it takes to beat him.

Spectators were treated to a day of excitement, Dennis Stanford and Andrew Kohler turned hard into a left hand corner and the car ended up on its roof, to the cheer of the spectators. Both men were unharmed during the event but unfortunately the damage to the car meant they could not continue.

Of the all female crews, Cathy Donohue and Renee Jeffrey, started strong but suffered some issues mid event and unfortunately fell down the leader board. Kelly Caruana and Mel McMinn in a Holden Commodore had their gearbox break early in the event. Donna Moran and Charlotte Hodgkin, gained confidence throughout the event in the Mazda 323 and finished their first event together.

The teams now have a large break until the next event in Canberra on September 26.

For more information on how to get involved, as a competitor or official, visit www.bmsc.com.au or contact publicity@bmsc.com.au

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