Bishop wins 4WD World Border Ranges Rally
- 4th September 2012, 3:12pm
On Saturday August 25, Rob Bishop and Nathan Long, in a Mitsubishi EVO 6, took Victory at their first attempt of the 4WD World Border Ranges Rally”. Although this was the crew’s first time on the beautiful shire roads, it was their car’s second win in consecutive years (last year in the hands of Peter Roberts). The team also took out the ‘MEX Maintenance Software’ Queensland Rally Championship section of the event and set four fastest stage times along the way.
This now iconic event attracted the largest line-up of RS Escorts ever seen in Australia, led by rallying legends Ross Dunkerton, Keith Callinan and Ed Mulligan. The event was held under perfect conditions and while rain did not arrive to settle the dust, there was sufficient breeze to clear visibility for following competitors. Of the 56 starters, more than 40 cars made it to the finish line at Woodenbong showgrounds by 10pm Saturday night.
Taking second on the podium and only ten seconds behind at rally end was Bishop’s main rival for the Queensland Championship, Ian Menzies/Rob McGowan, in a similar Mitsubishi Evo 6 with Mark Neary/ Stephanie Booth in a Subaru WRX taking third outright a further eight seconds behind. South African born rally driver Marius Swart (VW Polo S2000) was equal fastest on stage 1 but had trouble in stage 2 which resulted in time loss of 19 minutes and put an end to his challenge for the win.
SS1 ‘Beaury North’ saw just one second separate the top four teams as Swart and Bishop shared honours from Neary and Menzies. Tony Scott (P2 Corolla DX) was fastest of the 2WD cars with, ahead of the fastest “CQP Classic” Ross Dunkerton (RS1800). Wayne Menzies (Evo 8) encountered electrical problems which saw the first retirement of the event.
In SS2 ‘Beaury South’, Ian Menzies lifted the pace and set fastest stage time while Bishop had a half spin and lost 11 seconds. Neary’s Subaru WRX was second on stage ahead of Paul Williamson (Evo 6) and Tony Scott. Dunkerton was again the fastest Classic, with Mike Bailey being quickest of the P6 cars in his Nissan Pulsar GTiR.
Ian Menzies maintained his pace in SS3 ‘Boomi’ and again set fastest by eight seconds to Neary with Bishop in third. Fastest 2WD was again Scott, followed by Dunkerton and Keith Fackrell in another one of the BDAs. Bailey was again the fastest P6 by ten seconds to Ross Cox in his new VR4 and Tim Erwin (Evo3).
At the first break Ian Menzies held a 12 second lead over Neary and a 26 second lead on Bishop going into the next loop of stages. Scott was the leading 2WD while Dunkerton headed the “CQP Classics”, 19 seconds clear of Fackrell.
SS4 ‘Beaury North 2’ was the turning point for Bishop as he set his first of four fastest stage times, taking an impressive 23 seconds off his first pass and closing the gap to Menzies to just eight seconds while Neary also took time off Menzies to be only five seconds from first outright. Again Tony Scott was quickest 2WD and Dunkerton fastest Classic.
SS5 ‘Beaury South 2’ saw Neary take his first QRC fastest stage time from Menzies and Bishop, while nothing had changed in 2WD and Classics.
SS6 ‘Boomi 2’ would see a change of the rally lead as Neary took the lead by just one second. With Bishop setting fastest stage time he had managed to be now equal second outright with Menzies, while 2WD class leader Scott was now an impressive fourth outright ahead of three newer 4WD cars. Fastest Classic on the stage was Fackrell ahead of Allan Griffin in his Stanza, meanwhile Dunkerton was delayed with gearbox issues.
With two long stages and two short tarmac stages remaining it was still anyone’s to win. Sadly, due to two accidents on stages 6 and 7, stage 8 had to be cut, for the event to remain on schedule.
SS7 ‘Beaury Long’ combined Beaury north and Beaury south and was the first of the night stages. This stage would see the third change at the front in the last two stages with Bishop beating Menzies and Neary. This is the order they would go into the last two short stages out of Woodenbong.
SS9 & 10 were the ’sting in the event’s tail’ with both using the same roads and run simultaneously with one minute gaps. Mostly Tarmac and starting in town and 3.2 km in length, the stages finish with one kilometre of tight and technical gravel. Menzies set the fastest stage time on the first pass while Bishop was quickest on the second run, the final stage of the event.
The final results for the 2012 4WD World Border Ranges Rally would see Bishop/Long taking a ten second win from Menzies/McGowan and Neary/Booth a further eight seconds back in third. Ex-pat Kiwi, Tony Scott, had the drive of the event in his P2 Corolla finishing first in Sportsman A, P2 and 2WD classes & fourth outright.
Ross and Lisa Dunkerton finally had something to celebrate with a finish in their sometimes-fragile-but-always-exciting BDA Escort and more significantly, victory in the “Central Qld Petroleum Classics” Category. Allan Griffin/Evans (Stanza) were only 13 seconds in arrears , with Keith Fackrell/Tony Best (BDA) a further 19 seconds back in third place. Mike Bailey/Harriott (GTiR) won P6 by 1 minute 38 seconds from Tim Erwin/Parkinson (EVO 3), with Ross Cox/Swinbourne (VR4) third home, a further 14 seconds behind. Jamie and Michelle Lawson (V6 Commodore ute), won P4 and John and Chris Black took out P1.
The Event organisers and the Gold Coast Motorsporting Club would like to thank all volunteers, competitors, community groups, Rural Fire Service, SES, Kyogle and Tenterfield Shire Councils and sponsors 4WD World, Central Qld Petroleum, Amalgamated Glass, RallyNav, Racer Industries, Baden Construction, Saab Care and Performance Suspension, for making this event possible.
Visit www.gctmc.org.au for full list of results.
Photo: Australian Motorsport Photography
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